Monday, December 31, 2018

Adventures of Beau and Delaney

When your dogs take a roadtrip, it's important to document the journey. In Beau and Delaney's Petlandia Roadtrip by Beau and Delaney, we read all about their desire to go to Hollywoof as they set out on their trip.

Their next adventure includes a cruise and also head to Mew York and San Franbiscuits, But there's trouble ahead as Beau and Delaney go their separate ways.

Will the two friends re-unite and make it back home to Brendan and Denise, their loving parents?

If your pets want to write their own adventure, go to to find out how it's done.

Friday, December 28, 2018

One Taste Too Many

Sarah Blair is newly divorced and she has traded her luxury lifestyle for a cramped apartment and a receptionist job in a law office. In One Taste Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein, the only thing Sarah has to show for her 10-year marriage is a Siamese cat named Rahrah.

Although she wasn't that keen on cats, Rahrah has grown on her and keeps her company. When Sarah's twin sister Emily calls with some dreadful news, Sarah rushes to her side. It seems Bill, Sarah's ex-husband, was found dead at the trade show where Emily was working. Worse still it appears he died from eating a rhubarb tart made by Emily.

Sarah knows this isn't possible because Bill never ate Emily's rhubarb tart because she added nuts and he never ate anything with nuts in it. Of course, there is some doubt about Emily as she and Bill were in the Food Expo center at midnight.

A wild card in the drama is Bill's newest girlfriend Jane who seems all of a sudden to be desperate to
own Rahrah. While the police investigate, Sarah finds herself in the midst of a legal battle for control of the cat and possibly a suspect in his murder. She also learns that Bill had a partnership interest in Chef Marcus' restaurant, the one in which Emily worked. This seems to make the police suspect Emily even more.

Emily asks Sarah to fill in for her at the Expo booth, but Sarah knows she isn't the least bit skilled with food prep. What ensues is a hilarious comedy routine that keeps everyone laughing while Sarah tries to clear Emily and herself from Bill's murder, and get her cat back.

This is the first in a new series by Debra H. Goldstein, but you can bet Sarah will not be able to stay out of trouble in the next book.

Purchase link

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Murder in Belgravia

Set during the early years of World War I, Murder in Belgravia by  Lynn Brittney introduces a new series subtitled A Mayfair 100 Murder Mystery. London is flooded with women seeking jobs and  Chief Inspector Beech has been advocating for using women on the police force in non-traditional jobs, but has met some resistance from the older male officers. (The American version of Murder in Belgravia will be released on March 2019 by Crooked Lane.)

While he is investigating the murder of Lord Murcheson supposedly at the hands of his meek, mild wife Lady Harriet, Inspector Beech realizes he needs a woman to assist in interviewing the injured wife.  He organizes a group called Mayfair 100 and off they go solving the murder and lots of other crimes.

He recruits two professional women he knows from his youth. They are Caroline Allardyce, a doctor, and the newly-widowed Victoria Ellingham, trained in the law.  Adding to his squad, he includes PC Billy Rigby and veteran police officer Arthur Tollman to round out the squad. Their headquarters are to be in Victoria's mother's luxurious home in Belgravia.

While Dr. Allardyce treats the gravely injured Lady Harriet, Chief Inspector Beech questions the staff at the Murcheson home and determines one of the maids is missing. As they search for Polly, Lady Harriet fights for her life and cannot be questioned. They also learn that since his return from the war injured, Lord Murcheson has been subject to fits of rage.

As Beech, Victoria, Caroline, Rigsby and Tollman investigate the murder, they found themselves in the midst of brothels, underworld drug rings catering the the upper classes and Harley Street physicians abetting the addiction to drugs.

Interesting set of characters and an intriguing plot. This is the first in the series. Looking forward to others.

Pre-order purchase link

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Live and Let Pie

If Torte were in my community, I would make a daily run for for the delicious pastries, coffee and sandwiches. Some days I am happy Torte is a fictional bakeshop, but other days . . .

In Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander, the huge renovation at Torte is finally completed and Jules is set to open with some additional staff. This leads to some friction and some changes, but there are always delightful treats in store for customers. (Live and Let Pie will be published by St. Martin's Press on December 31.)

When two young girls discover a skull in the lake where they are swimming, Jules learns about an old legend and a missing man. Through forensic examination, the police determine the skull belonged to long-missing resident George Mill and he was murdered, not drowned as legend had it when Emigrant Lake was enlarged. An old murder takes center stage 
and then another murder takes place. Are they connected? Jules and Lance seem to think so. 

Another squabble has broken out over some vacant property near downtown and several organizers and individuals are vying to purchase the property. A developer wants to build small expensive houses on the property. The local homeless shelter wants to use the land for their population and the theater assistant wants to find housing for his actors.

With her mind in a whirl trying to solve the case, Jules also needs to make sure the remodel works they way it was designed, and she needs to make peace among her staff. 

Another delicious installment in the Bakeshop Mystery series. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers. Hope there are plenty of cookies and good wishes this holiday season. 

The recipe for these is below thanks to my friend Jill Wells:

2-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soft butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp peppermint extract

Cream butter and add sugar until well blended, beat in egg and add extracts. In another bowl mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to butter and mix until well combined. Roll into golf ball size and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a glass and bake for 9-11 minutes at 375 degrees.

Let cookies cool for 30 minutes before frosting and adding candy canes.

4 oz package of cream cheese
4 oz unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup crushed candy canes

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth, add vanilla and sugar. Mix until blended. Frost and add crushed candy canes.
(An easier method is to purchase a can of cream cheese frosting!)

Monday, December 24, 2018

More winners

Congratulations to the winners of a copy of The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey. They are Clemmie Jackson and Sandy Giden.
Special thanks to Sujata for the books. 

For a review of The Widows of Malabar Hill,
click here

Friday, December 21, 2018

Wine and Punishment

Sadie Coleman heads to Shady Creek, Vermont after losing her job in Boston. In Wine and Punishment by Sarah Fox, Sadie arrives in Shady Creek, Vermont, purchases a pub and turns it into a literary locale complete with cleverly named cocktails.

The Inkwell Pub is decorated with literary touches, has drinks name for famous books and fictional characters and holds book club meetings. Opening in the midst of the town's Autumn Festival. Sadie and her staff throw themselves into decorating and even enter the catapult contest.

The fly in the ointment arrives in the form of her ex-boyfriend Eric. Her staff helps her avoid him for most of the day and she is able to attend a dinner with her aunt. When she returns to her pub, she encounters Grayson Blake, a local brewery owner, who Sadie for some reason doesn't care for. As they walk back to her pub, they smell smoke and notice flames shooting from one of the nearby buildings.

Two storefronts are on fire, but Sadie knows neither is occupied, fortunately. With her mind filled with worry about the fire spreading to her pub, she's
also thrilled not to have encountered Eric. Next morning she finds all her tires slashed on her car and not too far away, the body of her ex is sprawled at the water's edge.

Who would kill Eric and why? He didn't know anyone in town except her and that leaves Sadie with a chill of fear. When the police start questioning Sadie in earnest, she decides she needs to solve the murder herself.

A fun start to a new series.
Purchase link

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Gmorning, Gnight!

If you are looking for a totally sweet book to give to someone you love, GMorning, GNight! little pep talks for me & you by Lin-Manuel Miranda and illustrated by Jonny Sun is the book for you.

Filled with positive, energizing tweets, this charming book will lift your spirits and make you smile. The illustrations add to the book's charm.

Here is a sample:
Write a bit, just yourself.
Give that malestrom in your head a place to land.
Look at everything swirling in there!

Write some thoughts down for yourself.
grab what you can, pin it to the page.
Look at that! How long have you been hanging on to those!

Purchase link:

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Two Chances to Win and Interview with Sujata Massey

Want to read The Widows of Malabar Hill? Comment below for a chance to win one of two copies. Winners will be drawn at random on Friday, December 21 at noon. U.S. and Canada only. 

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My current release is The Widows of Malabar Hill. It’s my fourteenth work of fiction, but I’ve been
writing for 21 years, so I don’t quite write a book every year. Widows is my most successful book to date—it’s a novel set in 1921 Bombay, where the city’s first woman solicitor, Perveen Mistry, is in practice with her father. Perveen goes to advise the three widows of a deceased client who live in a beautiful estate in the city’s poshest neighborhood, Malabar Hill. However, the simple meeting to discuss their rights turns to murder.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I love to write about India, which is the country where my father was born in the waning days of British rule. I have been all over India and decided to set the story in Mumbai (Bombay at the time of my book). Many beautiful old buildings are still in use, so it’s great for research, but most importantly, this is a place an area where modern ideas took hold, and women had the freedom to study and work in the early 20th century. To answer the question about my protagonist, while researching women’s lives in British India, I found an article explaining that the very first woman lawyer in the whole British empire was an Indian woman, Cornelia Sorabji. Cornelia practiced from the late 1880s through the 1920s. I was amazed by her perseverance in an area where most men refused to accept her. Fortunately, Cornelia wrote memoirs that give me a realistic idea about the kind of family law cases that Perveen might handle.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?
A good writing day for me begins after I’ve taken care of my two dogs and my son has gone off to school. That’s about 7:30 a.m. and I try to work on my book in progress until 10, at which point I take a necessary exercise break, either yoga or aquatics. I might write more after lunch, but I frequently use that time to catch up on on errands as well as necessary emails. A significant portion of time is spent on blogging, media interviews, and editing, and I prefer to do that in the afternoon. I actually have maps of the locations in the front of my books, and that involves quite a lot of drafting and back and forth work with a cartographer. Creative details make books special.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
The fictional Perveen Mistry has obvious similarities to Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first woman lawyer, and Mithan Tata Lam, who was the second Indian woman lawyer. All three ladies are in the Maharashtra region of India, went away to Oxford to study, have supportive parents, and a passion to improve women’s lives. I never practiced law, so I had a lot of heavy lifting to do to learn how Perveen would look at a contract, and how a courtroom scene unfolds. But it was really fun to learn.

 If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
Actually, The Widows of Malabar Hill is being read by producers and studio executives right now. Rather than point to a particular actor, I’d like to take suggestions that come out of these talks. Fortunately there are so many talented actors in India and the rest of the world, that I’m sure someone great will be found. My hope is to have a smart web TV series with a similar feeling to the Australian series, Miss Fisher’s Mysteries, but I am open to a feature film as well.

Who is your favorite author?
I don’t have a single favorite writer, but I love the short stories by the late Sadat Hassan Manto, and I adored the mysteries of another deceased writer, Josephine Tey.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Five people to a dinner party: I'd avoid inviting professional writers because I wouldn’t want shop talk. Instead I’d go for accomplished people who also have a sense of humor and true love of humanity. I’d lead off with Barack and Michelle Obama; place Rachel Maddow near my husband (of course he’s got to be there!) and have Malala Yufsazai closest to my chair. I would serve Indian food, because I’m pretty sure they all like it.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
If I didn’t already have the wonderful blessing of this career, I would get a thrill out of being a book editor discovering unpublished writers. If I couldn’t get a job doing that, I might go to library school and become the lady behind the desk who helps you find things. I also have a fantasy of opening an independent bookstore in Honolulu Chinatown! The important thing for me is to be surrounded by books.

For a review of The Widows of Malabar Hill, click here.
Purchase link: The Widows of Malabar Hill

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

And the winner is . . .

Congratulations to Pam Flynn, the winner of Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day. Plus as a special Holiday event, there's a second winner. 

Congratulations to Liz Caldwell, the second winner.

Special thanks to author Maddie Day for her cooperation.

For a review of Murder on Cape Cod, click here.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets

Being a vulnerable heiress in 1889 could lead to death. Prudence Mackenzie and her ex-Pinkerton detective partner Geoffrey Hunter are hired to investigate the death of an opera singer’s twin sister. In Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets by Rosemary Simpson, Claire Buchanan shows the detectives a postmortem cabinet photo of her late sister Catherine.

Claire and her sister Catherine were very close as girls, but when Catherine quickly married Aaron Sorensen, he cut them off from each other. Before she knew it, Catherine was pregnant, then died along with her one-day-old child. Claire cannot accept that her sister would cut her off and doesn't believe her death was natural.

She hires Mackenzie and Hunter to find the truth. They start with the postmortem photographs, a morbid trend in the late 1880s. With the aide of their friend journalist and photographer Jacob Riis, they discover how the eyes of the deceased are made to look real. What they also discover stuns them. 

They find small blood vessel ruptures in the eyes which in many cases is indicative of suffocation.
They soon discover the new widower has quickly remarried and his current wife, a heiress, is very pregnant, and possibly in danger. 

An aside about postmortem photos. They were very popular and some photographers specialized in this type of photography. Photographers were usually called by family members when the person was near death so they could be posed before rigor mortis set in. In this book the photographer Bartholomew Monroe and his sister are well known for their work. But Monroe is completely obsessed with capturing the soul leaving the body and has been accused of helping along some of his clients.

As they continue to investigate, they find a murderous fortune hunter who marries then kills his new wives. Add to the mix a mentally unbalanced death photographer and you have a potent mystery.

An excellent book with a unique take on fortune hunting con men. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Just in Time

The Etonville Little Theatre joins forces with the Creston Players to perform Bye, Bye Birdie and Dodie plans to coordinate her menus to the musical. In Just in Time by Suzanne Trauth, Dodie's Windjammer Restaurant is presenting themed meals including a pre-show picnic that could put Etonville, New Jersey on the map.

Rehearsals seem to be running smoothly except for a new romance between lead actress Lola Tripper and lead actor Dale Undershot Lola's former love Walter Zeitman is the ELT director and he seems disturbed by the new romance. Dodie wants to help, but she has her hands full at the restaurant.

Her boss Henry was coerced into hiring a newly minted sous chief named Wilson. Wilson has excellent credentials, but he has the unfortunate fault - he is clumsy and drops and spills things - especially when Henry is around. Wilson has an outsized personality and everyone loves him despite his clumsiness.

Before the show opens, the rehearsal accompanist Ruby is found dead in her car. She had been a grumpy, chain-smoking pest, but according to the cast,
a musical savant. At first her death is thought to be cased by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, but a second look shows someone deliberately cut the pipe to expose Ruby to the fumes. But why would someone kill a seventy-year-old piano accompanist?

Despite being cautioned by her Police Chief to stay out of it, Dodie is knee deep in trying to solve Ruby's death. Before she knows it, she is in serious danger.

The interplay with Dodie and Wilson is hysterical and promises more funny antics in future books

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lady Helena Investigates

When Lady Helena's husband Justin dies, she is thrust into managing his estate. In Lady Helena Investigates by Jane Steen, Lady Helena is being pressured by her brother to let him manage her estate. She knows most women virtually have no power, but widows have some power until they remarry. That stiffens her desire to manage the estate.

Justin's sudden death appears at first to be an unfortunate accident. He was thought to have slipped into the river while trying to save a ram. When a young French physician named Armand Fortier, Justin's private physician, comes to call on Lady Helena he dispenses a theory that shakes Helena to her core.

He tells her he is not sure Sir Justin's death was an accident. Dr. Fortier had examined the body and found bruising around his face, neck and upper torso, not consistent with a slip and fall into the river. Dr. Fortier believes Sir Justin might have struggled with someone and had been held down in the water and purposely

Lady Helena is shocked and unsure what to do next as she is still in mourning. To take her mind off her loss, she tries to revive her interest in her mother's herbalism.  Reading through her mother's journal leads her to some disturbing secrets about her family and the truth about her husband's death.

An excellent first novel in the Scott-DeQuincy family series.

Purchase link 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Interview with Betty Hechtman

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest book is Hooks Can be Deceiving and it came out this week. It was a lot of fun to
write and I was thrilled to see the good review from Publisher's Weekly. "A lively ensemble cast led by Molly Pink, assistant manager of Shedd & Royal Books in Tarzana, Calif. lifts Hechtman's entertaining well paced 13th Crochet Mystery." It's the twentieth book I have published.
There are excerpts of all my books on my website

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I picked the Monterey Peninsula for the Yarn Retreat series because I love it there and it's an excuse to keep making trips. Casey Feldstein just showed up in my imagination and started telling her story. The Crochet series takes place in Tarzana which is where I live, though I created a lot of the stores and changed the names of some of the real places. Molly just kind of showed up as well. After a while the characters just start talking and at seems say things that totally surprise me.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?
I find I write best in the morning, but sometimes other commitments get in the way. But when I have a deadline I work all day into the night. I don't have a quota of words and often will start by writing on a yellow legal pad. Supposedly you use a different part of your brain when you hand write. The words seem to tumble out when I hand write.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
I do have some qualities in common with Casey. I have done a lot of different types of jobs and tried all kinds of crazy things like taking tap dancing and a magic class. There are people who think Molly resembles me, but she is younger and braver than I am. We do share nosiness in common.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
I think Jenna Fischer would be great as Casey and I'd love Julia Roberts to play Molly.

Who is your favorite author?
It keeps changing. Right now I'm reading Mary Poppins.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Agatha Christie, Princess Diana, Michelle Obama, Oprah and Florence Atwater, my high school French teacher who wrote Mr. Popper's Penguins

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
Maybe a dessert chef like Casey or work in a bookstore. I love to bake and I would totally enjoy spending my days surrounded by books.
Hooks Can Be Deceiving (Crochet Mystery #13)
Inherit the Wool (Yarn Retreat Mystery #6)
On the Hook (Crochet Mystery #12)
FB: Betty Hechtman Author Fridays

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Murder on Cape Cod

A new series from Maddie Day is set on Cape Cod. In Murder on Cape Cod, the first in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida’s bicycle shop is ready for the influx of summer tourists. Being located in the quaint, seaside hamlet of Westham, Massachusetts, the bike shop is in the perfect spot for summer fun.

Returning home one evening, Mac stumbles across the body of Jake Lacey, a down-on-his-luck handyman. To Mac's dismay, she recognizes the knife used to stab Jake. It or something like it belongs to her brother and he soon becomes a suspect.

Mac’s only experience with murder investigations is limited to the
cozy mysteries she reads with her local book group, the Cozy Capers. To clear her brother’s name, Mac asks her mystery book club for assistance in solving the case. Many of the members have opinions, some just want to meet Louise Penny.

For a chance to win a copy of Murder on Cape Cod, click here a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Day on Cape Cod with Maddie Day and a Giveaway

Welcome to a new series by Maddie Day (or Edith Maxwell as many of you know her). There's also a chance to win a copy of Murder on Cape Cod in a giveaway at the end of the interview, so be sure to enter. 

Why is Cape Cod a good setting for your new series?
Cape Cod is a nationally known attraction in the Northeast with something for everyone. It’s a
popular destination for its beaches, natural seacoast beauty, lighthouses, and iconic shops. Couples flock there to get married. Photographers appreciate the unique light. Artists and writers find solitude and community to produce their work. Nature lovers explore the wide variety of birds, other wildlife, ponds, and shorelines. Families visit in the summer to get away from the city. There are many historic sites to visit, and the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians are also located on the Cape.

Tell me about your experience on the Cape.
Because I live on the New Hampshire border, as far north in Massachusetts as the Cape is south, I don’t venture down there in the summer. Instead I rent a Quaker retreat cottage in West Falmouth during the off season for solo

writing retreats. I walk on the Shining Sea bike trail or rent a bike and tool around. I watch the ospreys fish and generally soak up the delectable sights, sounds, and smells of a coastal town. I staged my fictional town of Westham somewhere near there.

Why a bike mechanic protagonist and how does that work with the setting?
I’m always looking for an unusual occupation for a cozy protagonist. Because the Cape is generally flat, lots of people bike, so I knew Mac Almeida would have repair customers year round, not just during tourist season. Being a local business owner makes her a regular in the book group, too.

How did you choose Cape Verde Island as the character’s ancestry?
I knew that a number of people with Cape Verdean ancestry live on the Cape year round, and I have some familiarity with the language (I speak Portuguese and it’s a partly Portuguese Creole). The echo of “Cape” matches, too, and I thought, why not?

Love the Book Club reading only cozies. How will they be involved in future books? Will they
ever meet Louise Penny?
Ooh – great question! I don’t know if Louise will vacation on the Cape, but she might, or maybe the Wicked Authors will go on retreat there and help solve a crime. The Cozy Capers will certainly be involved in every investigation.

What are your plans for the future of the series?
Book two, Murder at the Taffy Shop, is complete and submitted. It takes place during the height of the tourist season in August. Book three will take place in early fall but I’m not yet sure what’s going to happen. I hope to have contract renewal after that.

The book releases December 18 in a paperback exclusive from Barnes & Noble. It will rerelease a year later in all formats on all platforms. This is an experimental deal between B&N and Kensington and none of us is quite sure how it will fly. In the meantime, I’d love to give away a signed copy to one commenter here today.

Readers: Where’s your favorite waterside getaway? Do you ever rent bikes and ride along the shore? What about book groups? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Dish!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Agatha- and Macavity-nominated Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and two elderly cats, and gardens and cooks when she isn’t wasting time on Facebook. Please find her at the Wicked Authors, on Killer Characters and her web site, and on social media:

twitter: @MaddieDayAuthor
Instagram: MaddieDayAuthor

Friday, December 7, 2018

Inherit the Wool

Yarn retreat business owner, part-time magician's assistant and community baker Casey Feldman does the worst thing you can do to yourself - invite your long-lost college friends to town for a reunion/yarn retreat. In Inherit the Wool by Betty Hechtman, Casey has inherited her aunt's yarn retreat business along with her house in beautiful Cadbury by the Sea, California.

She holds her retreats in the very rustic Vista Del Mar resort. Many visitors are shocked to learn there is no WIFI, no cell service and no TV. Needless to say this does not go over well with some of Casey's high-powered college friends.

When she meets up with her friends again Casey's feelings of inadequacy are increased by business owner Vanessa Peyton who owns a chain of car dealerships; Courtney Arlington, a high powered attorney; Lauren Clark, a fundraiser for good causes;  Elizabeth Bronsky, only a little more neurotic about her state in life than Casey and an unknown guest.

When the guest arrives, it turns out to be a guy they all knew who now is a journalist. He claims he was invited to the retreat to be part of a news scoop. No one admits to luring him to the retreat and he happily joins the knitters waiting to see what happens. Tensions are high without total access to their smartphones, but Casey convinces them that knitting will relieve the stress.

A bomb scare at the resort empties the building, but when Casey returns, she finds the body of Vanessa slumped on the ground. The doctor rules it a heart attack but Casey's policeman sort of boyfriend hears rumors about air bubbles in the victim's bloodstream.

Because of her past crime investigating experience, Casey jumps right in trying to figure out who the killer is. There are some very funny scenes with Lieutenant Theodore Borgnine, especially when he pretends to teach the suspects how to meditate.

All in all a very entertaining book and I look forward to others in the series. I might even pick up knitting again.

Purchase link

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Mystery of Three Quarters

Hercule Poirot has returned from an excellent lunch to be confronted by a very irate Sylvia Rule. In The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah, Ms. Rule is waving a letter in his face that accuses her of murdering Barnabas Pandy, claiming she doesn't know who Barnabas Pandy is.

A stumped Poirot cannot understand how this horrible mistake has occurred. When three other accuse him of the same "crime", M. Poirot uses his little gray cells to discover first, who sent the letters, second, who was murdered and third, who is the murderer.

But there is also trouble brewing at one of Poirot's favorite spots - Pleasant's Coffee House. Run by a young woman with the unlikely name of Euphemia Springs, or Fee, as she asked to be called. Poirot always enjoys her excellent coffee and delightful cake, but it seems someone has stolen the recipe for Church Window Cake, Fee's special family recipe.

Besides being tasked to discover who stole Fee's recipe, M. Poirot
also needs to find Barnabas Pandy and determine if he was murdered or not. At the coffee house, Poirot meets a young man named Hugo Dockerill, who it seems, also received a letter declaring him a murdered, but he, in fact, knows this Barnabas Pandy. He tells Poirot that Pandy was nearly one hundred years old and he drowned in his bathtub recently.

This leads M. Poirot on a merry chase to discover if a crime was committed. As it turns out, there was a crime committed, but not the one everyone is accused of.

Another exceptional novel by Agatha Christie - not really - but Sophie Hannah does a great impersonation of the Grand Dame.

Purchase link

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Interview with Jane Steen

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My latest book is Lady Helena Investigates, the first in a new series called The Scott-De Quincy
Mysteries. I’ve also published three books in the House of Closed Doors series.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
My inspirations usually begin with a location. I see or read of a place where I’d love to set a story, and somehow characters walk into that location and start talking to each other in my head. If they stick around long enough I know I have the basis for a book, so then I start trying to write something. Character development is quite a long process; it happens mostly during the first draft although I’ll often go back and flesh out the background of key characters, especially the villains. I rewrite a lot so the characters become more complex as the drafts progress.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?
I tend to start writing toward the later part of the afternoon; I reserve the earlier part of the day for my writing business and all the other things I have to do. That’s the opposite way round from most writers, but once I start writing I find I can’t tackle all the practical stuff and that has led to some horrendous admin backlogs. I’ve tried writing a set number of words but my life is quite full and some days I wouldn’t be able to hit targets. I’ve found it’s easier just to resolve to keep writing, and to track my progress. My fans motivate me by asking for more books.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
My characters come from all sorts of sources. I might give them an appearance that suits their story, or I might have been inspired by someone I’ve met. Their personality traits come from lots of different people I’ve observed over the years. I would never copy somebody directly from life; that would feel very odd.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
I’m not very good at remembering actors so I rarely connect my characters to them. Besides, what I’d really want to do would be to make some unknown or minor actors into stars—much more fun than using big names, although it would be fun to have a major actor play a villain. I’d love to be an advisor during the casting process. I remember following Diana Gabaldon’s Facebook page when they were casting for Outlander and it was amazing to see two fresh faces turning into Claire and Jamie.

Who is your favorite author?
Golden Age detective mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers. I fell in love with her books in my teens, as my school library had the whole set. I adored the elements of an aristocratic family saga, and that has directly influenced Lady Helena Investigates.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Dorothy L. Sayers, of course! Queen Victoria, so I could watch her eat—supposedly she was quite greedy and ate very fast. Classics professor and blogger Mary Beard, as moderator of the conversation. Lord Byron, because a good dinner party needs some eye candy and I think he was probably quite funny. Benedict Cumberbatch, so I could get a selfie to send to a friend who’s nuts about him. I think that combination of guests would either start a riot or lead to the world’s best evening, and either way I’d enjoy watching.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
At my time of life I might be tempted to fall back on retirement, although I’d keep myself very busy with volunteering for several good causes I wish I had more time for. I’d also raise money by long-distance walking. If I had to work I think I’d look for a job connected with garden design or horticulture, because I adore plants. In all of these circumstances I think I’d launch a blog or website and try to monetize it, or start up a related business. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur, and I’m completely hooked on being my own boss.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Steamed Open

When an elderly neighbor, Heloise Herrickson dies and her heir decides to cut off access to the beach, everyone in Busman's Harbor, Maine, is worried about their business and their recreation opportunities. Most of all Julia Snowden is concerned about her Clambake Company's ability to get the staple of their cookouts - clams - with the beach access closed. (Steamed Open will be released on December 18 by Kensington Publishing.)

Clammers, locals and tourists alike are outraged when they discover a chain link gate across Herrickson Point, the access to the beach. The sign calling out Private Property means business. When Julia discovers the heir to the property is responsible for the fence, she sets out to change his mind.

Despite her urging Batholomew Frick keeps the gate closed and prohibits access, but shortly after Julia speaks with him, he is found dead. Not a good sign being the last to see the victim alive. Especially when he is dead with a clam rake stabbed into his neck.

Julia knows other clammers from surrounding areas can provide her with clams for a short time, but she knows the local beach needs to be open again. As Julia investigates, she finds many suspects. Included among them is a couple who have a reservation at the lighthouse near the beach, but they cannot drive their RV to the lighthouse because the local access is blocked by the fence.

When Julia discovers a connection between one of the locals and Heloise Herrickson, she probes deeper to discover who the murderer is.

You will feel the warm Maine sun and smell the ocean breeze and the clambake while you are reading this. I think a trip to Maine might be appropriate. I always crave Maine seafood when I read this series.

Pre-order purchase link

Monday, December 3, 2018

Back from the Cruise - Giveaways Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway while MapYourMystery was on the cruise.

Special thanks to the authors: Maddie Day (Edith Maxwell), Linda Wiken, Isis Crawford, C.Michele Dorsey, Cheryl Hollon, David Burnsworth, V.M. Burns and Wendy Tyson for their books. 

Book 1 winner: Candace Knight (Death Over Easy)
Book 2 winner: Sheryl Holden (Marinating in Murder)
Book 3 winner: Rita Pacchiana (A Catered Cat Wedding)
Book 4 winner: Deb (No Virgin Island)
Book 5 winner: Kara Marks (Shattered at Sea)
Book 6 winner: Dianne Nickel Casey (Read Herring Hunt)
Book 7 winner: Rowe (Bad Time To Be In It)
Book 8 winner: Jenne Turner (Rooted in Deceit)

Please email me your address at 

If I don't hear from you by Friday, December 7, I will have to draw another name. 

Thanks again to everyone who entered and keep reading