Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on May 13, 2016

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Failure Is Fatal (Laura Murphy Mysteries)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Creekside Publishing (January 21, 2016)
Paperback: 324 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997234909


Someone at Professor Laura Murphy’s college appears to be playing a joke on her by planting sexually explicit stories in her research results, but the joke turns deadly when one story details the recent stabbing murder of a coed. Laura’s close friend, Detective Derrick Pasquis from the local police, asks for her help in interviewing the prickly suspects who resist intervention from outside the campus community. Eager to search out clues, Laura ignores warning signs that playing amateur sleuth may jeopardize her newly developing romance with Guy. And of course her usual intrusive manner puts her at odds with everyone on campus—colleagues, the college administration, the head of campus security and fraternity members. Is there no one Laura can’t offend in her eagerness to find the truth? The closer she gets to solving the crime, the more it appears that the past—the coed’s, that of a prominent faculty member and Laura’s own—is the key to the murder. Caught in an early winter blizzard, Laura must choose between wandering the mountains and freezing to death or taking her chances with a killer clever enough to make murder look like the work of an innocent student.


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Guest Post

From one Leslie to another, I want to welcome author Lesley A. Diehl to StoreyBook Reviews!

Technology: the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Annoying

Technology certainly has made my life as a writer easier, simpler, almost cheaper. Well, mostly. It’s a love/hate relationship. No longer do I have to lug an entire manuscript off to the post office and mail it to my publisher. I simply hit “send” and off it goes via email. Rewrites are simple; cut, copy, paste, or delete the whole paragraph. Of course, the downside is that an agent can reject your manuscript in as little time as it took you to hit “send.”

Cellphones are dandy devices for the writer also. My husband uses his to compose work in progress. I don’t because my phone is cranky when it comes to my using its tiny keyboard. When I get close to the surface with my finger, it randomly selects a letter to appear on the screen. I seem to be highly electrostatically charged because no one else had this difficulty with my phone. Or maybe it’s that the phone hates me. I do not write or text on it. I can barely read my emails, and I don’t use it much to make calls. Anyway, I’ve learned that making calls is passé. One sends texts now. One is not me. If a call comes in and I miss it and the person leaves a message, I have no idea how to get to that message although hubby has told me how many times. I am cellphone challenged, and I don’t really care. I carry the world’s tiniest purse and there is no room for a cellphone. I never carry it with me. If I had to make an emergency phone call, I couldn’t. I’m coming to the point of view that my cellphone is a useless bit of technology for me.

The other day when I was in the gym exercising, the guy on a weight machine next to me was on his cellphone to a friend, or colleague, heck, it could have been a total stranger.  He was talking about how many expensive cars he owned. I tried moving to a corner away from him, but the gym is small and no one else was in there. The conversation continued, and, having been trained as a psychologist, I decided to amuse myself by analyzing why he was doing what he was doing. On the side of being understanding and kind, I determined he was insecure and needed to brag both to his phone contact and to me, a stranger. Poor fella. But most likely, he was simply an annoying windbag. Why do cell phone users think they have the right to invade everyone’s space. Do they really believe their lives are so interesting that I want to know about them? I’m keeping a list of people who annoy me in this way and hope I have enough time left in my writing life to make them the victims of some crime in one of my books. I think I’m getting as cranky about cellphones as mine is about me.

But I like cordless other stuff like vacuums and hand held vacs. The devices seem to go together with great ease (or maybe this is my forte—I can assemble devices easily). The only problem I find with these and other objects packaged in that heavy plastic housing is that the plastic can’t be removed unless you have a pair of garden shears or an ax. The manufacturers want you to buy the item, but they lose interested once they have your money in whether you can get it out of the package to use it .

Unfortunately, ninja defiant packaging extend to some items containing food. Here you are taking a break from work on your manuscript and you’re thinking cheese sandwich. You have a new package of Swiss in the fridge. The cheese people have kindly updated their packaging and included a new zip lock closure. All you have to do is “tear here.”, but you can’t. You try to use your teeth. It resists tearing. You find the pair of garden clippers you’ve recently employed to get into the package your new curling iron came in and you apply the clippers to the cheese package. It works. You extract the cheese and zip it back up so it “retains it freshness” just like the package says. It won’t zip, no matter how you attempt to close it. You grab the garden shears once more, cut off the top of the package and insert it into a zip lock bag. It won’t zip. You take the cheese from the bag and decide to wrap it in cling wrap. It won’t cling. You insert the entire 10 slices of cheese into your sandwich and take the mustard out. It’s a new container, so you must open the top and removed the little cardboard round thingy on the top of the bottle. Never mind. You’ll have your sandwich without. Oh, oh. You cell is ringing. You miss the call, and hope it wasn’t from a publisher offering a huge advance on your manuscript. Ah, a message left. If you could only extract it. Oh, well, you have a nice thick sandwich to eat. Something to drink with it? You think about trying to open the pop top on a can of soda and opt for a glass of water. Back to your computer and your work in progress. The screen freezes. You go to the kitchen and get the garden shears. It’s a nice day for cutting dead leaves off your peonies.

About the Author

LES DIEHLCROPPEDLike me, my protagonists choose to live their lives close to nature.

From the deep, green river valleys and tree-covered mountains of upstate New York to the palm-treed pastures of the Big Lake Country in Florida, these women have found their homes and their hearts in rural America.

These plucky snoops are joined by a transplant from Connecticut, Eve Appel, who moves to rural Florida to set up a consignment shop with her best friend and partner, Madeleine Boudreau.

All these amateur sleuths yearn for the simple, artless existence of hard work coupled with rustic pleasure.

That’s why they live away from big cities, but murder and violence have a way of stalking us, even our plucky heroines, who think they’ve avoided life’s perils.

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