Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Interview with Rosemarie Ross

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
Cobblered to Death is my current release and my first foray into the mystery genre. I've previously
Rosemarie Ross
had ten inspirational romance novels and a children's non-fiction book published.

For a review of Cobblered to Death, click here. 

What was the most recent book you read?
Murder in the First Edition by Lauren Elliott

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
My favorite programs to watch on the weekend are cooking shows! Courtney is a combination of what I like to see in chefs/televisions personalities. I wanted an isolated location to write a 'closed room' mystery. What could be more isolated than a valley in the Pocono Mountains?

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I researched the Pocono Mountain area by purchasing non-fiction books and reading about the locale. I did some internet researching for the historical aspect of coal mining, then just went with what wealthy people did in the Gilded Age...built mansions or in this case, a castle for their homes. Most of my research starts in a book store or library reading non-fiction/historical books about the area.

What books did you read as a child?
The Little House on the Prairie series, Little Women, Little Men and Jo's Boys.

What drew you to writing?
Umm...this is tough. I guess I have a 'writer's mind'. I tend to see things in story form or what if's. I excelled in all my writing and literature classes so it was a natural progression for me.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don't be impatient and don't compare yourself to other writers. It took me a long time to realize, I wasn't comparing apples to apples.

Who is your favorite author?

For mysteries, E. J. Copperman, for suspense/romance Heather Graham

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Miss Marple, Nancy Drew, E. J. Copperman, Annette Blair and Lee Hollis

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I do have a day job and it's finance/accounting related and that is other thing I always wanted to do.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Death Brings Shadow

Prudence MacKenzie and her partner Geoffrey Hunter are traveling to Bradford Island, Georgia to participate in the wedding of their friend Eleanor Dickson. In Death Brings a Shadow by Rosemary Simpson, Eleanor is a New York debutante and an almost-older sister to Prudence. (Death Brings a Shadow will be released by Kensington Publishing on November 26.)

She has fallen madly in love with a gentleman from an old Southern family. Teddy Bennett's family lost much in the "War of Northern Aggression" as the Confederates like to refer to the Civil War. Much of their large estate on Bradford Island has been purchased by Eleanor's father where he built a huge home. The Sea Islands along the coast of Georgia have drawn the rich and famous from New York including Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Carnegies as well as Eleanor's family. 

The Bennetts are looking forward to the marriage, not for the future happiness of the young couple, but for the prospective dowry and inheritance the bride will bring with her. But Eleanor has not felt welcome on Bradford Island. She confides to Prudence that she feels someone is watching her.

When a terrible tragedy befalls the bride-to-be, Prudence vows to discover the truth about Eleanor's death. Ruled an accident by the local sheriff, Prudence cannot forget the bruising on Eleanor's body, as if someone held her under the water in the swamp.  

Before long Prudence finds herself involved with voodoo, spells and other deaths. The war may be long over, but the memories are still fresh. There are dark secrets that many residents want to remain buried in the past. 

Another excellent mystery by Rosemary Simpson in the Prudence MacKenzie Gilded Age Mysteries. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Death on the Danube

The first in what promises to be an entertaining travel mystery series by Jennifer S. Alderson, Lana Hansen, newly divorced and down on her luck, finds herself as a tour guide on a Danube River trip. In Death on the Danube, Lana is looking forward to the trip. She has never been out of the country, but dreamed about traveling when she was married. 

For the most part the people on her tour are older and seem to be seasoned travelers, which is a relief for Lana. She joins the tour in Budapest and with no tour guide experience, she is flying by the seat of her pants. Her co-tour guide Carl has been elusive, but when she finally meets him, he tells her her role is small and not to worry. 

We've all looked forward to a vacation only to have two people in the group be obnoxious and rude. On top of that two women are fighting over tour guide Carl. One is a friend of Lana's, the other is a young waitress.

Sally announces that she and Carl are engaged and that sets Jess off.  Although she seems
oblivious to the obvious flirting going on between Carl and Jess, Sally finally reacts and pushes Carl overboard into the icy Danube. Fortunately the ship is in port and the crew is able to rescue him.

Another couple Helen and Tom seem to be arguing every day. Luckily for Lana, the Fabulous Five, a group of widowed ladies in the seventies, are the easiest tourists on the trip. They rarely need anything from her except for a few drinks and seem to have adopted her. 

Lana is entranced by the beauty of Budapest. The city glimmers with lights during the holidays and she is thrilled to be able to see many of the sights. As she starts to relax and enjoy the trip, things get messy though. Carl is found dead, tangled in a net attached to the river boat. Jess, naturally blames Sally and Sally blames Jess. It's all Lana can do to keep them separated. When the police arrest Sally, Lana knows she has to find the real murderer. 

The other books planned in this series take place in France and Holland. Can't wait to read them. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Second Sight

Eliza Carmody returns to her hometown Kinsale, Australia, not for a homecoming, but as the attorney for a client. In Second Sight by Aoife Clifford, Kinsale was devastated by a brush fire that nearly burned down the entire time. Eight people were killed and the town is still recovering.

Through her expert witness, Eliza realizes Colcart, her client, was responsible. but she doesn't want anyone in Kinsale to know she works for them. On her way into town, she witnesses an old friend attack another person on the road leading in. She leaps out of her car to try to stop the fight, but one person is badly injured.

Suddenly she is an eyewitness and that leads her to brother-in-law Gavin Pawley, Senior Sergeant on the police force. While the police are searching for Luke Tyrell, Eliza flashes back to New Year's Eve 1996. From there the story spins back and forth between present day and the fateful events of 1996.

It's New Year's Eve 1996 when teenagers Eliza, Amy and Grace
decide to celebrate with three teenage guys at their own private party. Not old enough to go to the paddock party, they decide on their own fun, but things get out of hand and Grace storms off never to be seen again. The next day Eliza's father Sergeant Mick Carmody learns from a witness that Grace was seen boarding a train into the city that night. And although the police search for her, they could not confirm or find her.

This event has haunted Eliza most of her life as her interaction with Luke, the teen Grace liked, led Grace to flee in anger. Now 20 years later with her father incapacitated by an car accident, Eliza is called upon to help the police find Luke.

Eliza becomes more entangled with the past and finding what happened to her friend. The mystery causes her to doubt even her family and friends.  A tense, mystery with a dramatic conclusion.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Cobblered to Death

If you love the Great British Bake Off or the American Baking Show, Cobblered to Death is the book for you. Cooking show host Courtney Archer is selected to participate in the filming of the reality baking show in the Poconos. In Cobblered to Death by Rosemary Ross, the reader gets a first hand view of how a reality TV show is filmed. (Cobblered to Death will be released by Kensington Publishing on November 26.)

Courtney is excited to be selected for the show and she believes it will boost the audience for her own show, Cooking With the Farmer's Daughter. But Courtney has a secret. Her persona of being a farmer's daughter is fake. She was born and raised in the big city and someone knows that secret. 

While she and her producer Eric are discussing her secret, she notices someone in the cafe near them pretending to be reading a newspaper. Mick Henderson is one of the contestants and when he leaves, he slyly says her secret is safe with him.  

The net morning when Courtney tries to retrieve her cobbler, she stumbles across a body. It's Mick and he has been bashed over the head with a cast iron skillet containing Courtney's cherry cobbler. She knows she didn't kill him, but there is some much tension with the other cast members, she finds it hard to discover who the killer is. Unfortunately after a late night of baking on her own, Courtney is immediately a suspect. 

As she probes and uncovers connections to the contestants, she comes closer to the killer, putting herself in jeopardy. 

A terrific start to a new series. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Interview with Nancy Coco

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published? My latest book is Fudge Bites, which is on shelves now. I have published 28 books mostly cozy
Nancy Coco
mysteries with a few romances.

What was the most recent book you read?
I'm reading Game of Scones by Mary Lee Ashford. Loving it!

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
My characters come to me and stand by my bed and demand I tell their story. I choose my location either based on where I'm living, a place I love to visit or a place I'd love to live in - like the Oregon coast, Mackinac Island, and London, England.

What books did you read as a child? 
I was huge into Laura Ingalls Wilder's series, and other books like Virginia Dare and Pocahontas and Sacagawea. I loved historical fiction.

What drew you to writing?
I wanted to live in other people's stories, so I asked my 5th grade best friend to write a book with me. She wasn't interested, but I wrote anyway.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Enjoy every moment you write, even the hard ones. It's all part of the process.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 
I love research! It's a hobby of mine to dig around on line about a subject, a place, a time. I have to be really careful to stop researching and write. Also, not to put in too much research as it takes away from the story.

Who is your favorite author?
I have so many favorites - authors I know, authors I read, it's too hard to pick a favorite.
If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Oh, this is a hard one. I want to meet so many people. Okay, I'll try to limit myself. Let's see... Agatha Christy, Emily Dickinson, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Leonardo DiVinci, and Jane Austin.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I would love to be an editor at a fashion magazine in NY or a soap opera actress. Oh, those answers make me laugh. When I was young, I wanted to be an astronaut. A bookstore owner. A corporate lawyer or a CEO. I think that's why I write. I want to be so many things and stories let me be whoever I want at the moment.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Chai Another Day

Nothing sounds my peaceful than going to a yoga class and then to a massage, and Pepper Reece is looking forward to both of those events. In Chai Another Day by Leslie Budewitz, Pepper's tranquil massage is interrupted by a medical emergency.

As her friend and massage therapist Seetha rushes downstairs to help, Pepper struggles into her clothes and goes downstairs to her other friend Aimee's vintage decor shop. There she finds Seetha covered in blood, Aimee looking like she is going to faint and someone surrounded by emergency medical technicians. The victim turns out to be Aimee's employee, Joelle, and she has been stabbed to death. 

Shocked and frightened for her friends, Pepper tries to soothe Seetha's anxiety. After the three have been questioned by the police, Pepper helps Seetha gather her things and head to another friend's house. 

As Pepper recalls events, she remembers catching snatches of what sounded like an
argument before she went to Seetha's office. Could she have overheard the murder arguing with Joelle? Could she have interceded and stopped the crime?

At her Pike Place Market Spice Shop, Pepper is planning her fall and winter lineup even though Seattle is experiencing very hot weather. She'd like to add chai to her teas, but wants to make an authentic brew similar to the one Seetha's mother sends her from Boston. 

When Pepper's main suspect winds up murdered, she realizes she has been looking in the wrong direction.

I love these books and every time I read them, I start to plan a trip back to Seattle. This time I mean it. We are going next year. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Murder off the Page

Librarian Raymond Ambler finds himself involved in another murder case when his friend, bartender Brian McNulty is on the run from the police.  In Murder Off the Page by Con Lehane, Shannon Darling was doing research at New York Public Library's crime collection and she had been drinking in McNulty's bar. (Murder Off the Page will be released by St. Martin's Press on November 19.)

One thing stood out about Shannon - she was a different person when she was drinking. Being the kind of guy he is, Brian stepped in when things got out of hand with a couple of his patrons and Shannon. He walked her home and one thing lead to another, but the next day another man is found dead in Shannon's room and she is missing. Brian finds himself an immediate suspect and he disappears as well. 

When Ray discovers McNulty is a suspect, he begins to dig
into Shannon's background and is shocked at what he discovers. She was a doctor named Sandra Dean, was married and lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, not the bar fly she portrayed herself as. What caused her Jekyll and Hyde personality? Ray and Adele seek to learn the truth.

When a second death occurs, the bulls eye on McNulty draws tighter. Still Ray and Adele believe in Brian and they continue researching Sandra Dean. With NYPD Detective Mike Cosgrove breathing down his neck, Ray continues his investigation and unearths answers to the crimes. 

Ray is a quiet, dependable investigator and Adele never lets him give up. I enjoyed the pairing of these two and look forward to more in the series. 

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

An Ale of Two Cities

The Shady Creek, Vermont, Winter Carnival is about to begin and Sadie Coleman is excited about experiencing it, even though it is freezing cold outside. In An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox, Sadie, a former Southerner isn't sure the cold weather is for her.  (An Ale of  Two Cities will be released by Kensington Publishing on November 26).

Although she is happily running her literary pub and developing tasty literary-themed cocktails, Sadie knows she needs to venture outside to at least see her employee Mel in the ice sculpting contest. Mel has been the winner the previous two years, and there are high hopes at the Inkwell.

But the wild card in the contest is former Shady Creek resident and arrogant chef Freddy Mancini, now known as Federico. He pretends he is too good for his former hometown and goes out of his way to snub his former girlfriend, his half brother and just about everyone in town. 

This, of course, does not sit well with Sadie, but she is at the Winter Carnival to cheer Mel on. When Mel discovers her ice sculpting tools have been stolen, she is at a loss to explain who in town would do that. Then she finds one of them embedded in the chest of Freddy Mancini. 

Naturally the police want to question Mel and Sadie staunchly defends her. As she learns more about Freddy, the suspect list grows and Sadie becomes more convinced that Mel is innocent. 

On the personal front, Sadie is feeling lonely because most of her family will be away at Christmas, but her relationship with brewery owner Grayson Blake seems to make some progress. 

Although she puts herself in jeopardy, she finally figures out who the killer is. The literary pub aspect of these books is so much fun, especially to someone who reads as much as I do. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Death of a Hero

Ever wonder how Joe Horseman went from accounting major in college to the Fiji police force? In Death of a Hero by B.M. Allsopp, we meet Joe as a young university student. His plan is to follow in his father's footsteps and become an accountant, but of course, he still wants to play rugby.

When team captain Seru recognizes Joe's talents and selects him to be on the University's first team, Joe turns into a  loyal fan. Even though he has been assigned lowly duties like caring the team singlets, filling the water bottles and other mundane chores, Joe is thrilled to be accepted by Seru and he idolizes the team captain.

In a hurry one day to get to practice, Joe stumbles on what he thinks is the resting figure of Seru. Before long he realizes Seru is not breathing and rushes out to find help. When the ambulance arrives, it's too late to save Seru. With no visible signs of violence, Joe cannot believe the captain is dead.

When Detective Sergeant Ratini arrives, he is very rude to Joe and makes a point of telling him not to get involved in the investigation. He even intimates that Joe might have killed Seru or that Seru killed himself.  

Not happy with the progress being made by the police, Joe decides he needs to discover how Seru died so he would not be dishonored by being thought a suicide. Joe knows that's not possible, but as he investigates, he discovers some interesting bits of information about Seru's personal life. 

A delightful prequel to the Joe Horseman series. If you love the adult Joe, you will love the youthful Joe. Looking forward to adult Joe's next adventure.