Posted in Cozy, Guest Post, mystery on September 29, 2017

The Bell Tolls (A Hollis Morgan Mystery) 
Traditional Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (June 1, 2017)
Paperback: 256 pages

Synopsis

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it becomes apparent that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects.

Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar, she knows a liar when she sees one. A lot of people in this case are lying and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancé and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll.

Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.

Book 5 in the Hollis Morgan Mystery series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club.

Guest Post

BIRTH OF A SERIES

By Rae James

I didn’t start out wanting to write a series, but it was clear to me by the time I reached sixty-thousand words, that Hollis Morgan, my protagonist in the Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, had much left to say.

My first book was in first person, a voice initially I was not that comfortable with, except that I could hear Hollis whispering in my ear. Her reactions, thoughts, and words all spilled out onto the page – her story was not only about fighting for a second chance, she wanted redemption. Once book one was launched, later books were written in third person-close and I saw the world through Hollis’s eyes.

Book one, The Fallen Angels Book Club, poured out of my keyboard. The members of the book club were all white-collar ex-felons, and were as different and complex as any miscreant ensemble. The fact that they shared a love of books took precedence over their unfortunate deviation from the law. Now considered social outcasts, they fought hard to regain society’s acceptance and even harder to re-gain their own self-respect. Unfortunately, their efforts are discounted. They are obvious suspects when a member of the club is murdered mimicking the plot from one of their book club selections.

But Hollis’ story couldn’t end with the resolution of the crime. I wanted to know what would (or could) happen to Hollis Morgan. Would she tire of having to prove herself to society that she deserved to be trusted?  Or, would her innate sense of helping those who, like her, just needed a second chance, move her to confront risk, face danger and her own worst fears?

The outline of a series revealed itself to me.

Books two through four, not only reveal the character development and growth of Hollis, the plot lines are more complex and darker. Hollis’s resolve to remain true to herself while resisting letting down the towering walls she has built up, becomes harder and harder to do. Her encounter with others, who not only need her professional skills, but with whom she finds she must trust to share a part of herself—is her series character arc.  While each book stands on its own, readers will enjoy experiencing Hollis’s evolution from a brash, standoffish ex-con into a thoughtful, confident but still brash young woman.

The trick for any mystery series (for any book, really) is to keep the reader engaged and vested in the plot, anticipating and eager to find out what lies ahead. A book club of ex-felons not only contains a caldron full of sub-plots, it creates the major opportunity to keep readers’ attention. Today’s world is full of distractions and short attention spans, but when your sub-plots are as intriguing as your main plot, readers will not put down the book until the last satisfying page.

Subplots are essential to a series. These stories within a story not only provide tension and multi-layered suspense, subplots weave dimension to characters allowing them to express themselves differently under potentially different situations. Hollis comes from a dysfunctional family that contributes to her isolation, but we see in how she reacts to confrontations with her family that she keeps hidden her vulnerability when responding to her clients. For them, she’s as “tough as nails”.

It’s important to write characters that readers care about. When you’re writing a series, the storyline has to be gripping for the long haul. In my case it had to be six books long. This is key not only for mysteries, but for any work of fiction, as well. Shallow or stereotyped characters are not sympathetic, they are boring. An antagonist has dimension when they have at least some redeeming qualities, and becomes a complex character that enriches the storyline. In a like manner, a flawed protagonist will keep readers turning the pages of your mystery, because it’s unexpected and if the flaw is an emotional wound—even better.

 

About the Author

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy. After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB was published by Camel Press. Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, STICKS & STONES, was followed by THE RETURN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB, and THE TRADE LIST. THE BELL TOLLS, book five was released in June 2017.

R. Franklin James lives in Northern California with her husband.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

September 20 –  Varietats2010 – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

September 20 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

September 22 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

September 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

September 23 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

September 24 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST

September 25 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

September 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 27 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

September 28 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

September 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, Free, Guest Post, mystery on September 28, 2017

In The Stars: A Humorous Romantic Mystery (Amber Reed Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Print Length: 364 pages
ASIN: B00QXFNP62

Synopsis

One desperate phone call is all it takes to turn Amber’s previously dull day into one speeding scarily out of control!

Amber Reed’s at work making up the horoscopes for the local newspaper and wishing for some excitement in her life, when she gets a phone call offering her just that.

Plunged into the middle of a celebrity murder investigation she’s desperately trying to convince the scarily handsome special agent assigned to solve the case that she can help him catch the killer.

Amber’s soon battling something far more dangerous than she could ever have imagined – and it has nothing to do with the equally scary chemistry fizzing between her and special agent Charlie.

Is it Amber’s wish for more excitement in her life which has landed her in big trouble – or is her fate written in the stars?

In The Stars is part of the fun, romantic Amber Reed Mystery series:

In The Stars (book 1)
On Trial ( book 1.5)
Precious (book 2)
Forever Mine (book 3)
Past Perfect (book 4)
Stop The Beat (book 5)
Paradise Lost (book 6)

Guest Post

A Wedding Day Rescue…

My name is Amber Reed. I used to have a really boring job but now I’m training to be a support investigation officer for the Celebrity Crimes investigation Agency (CCIA) – how cool is that? How did I go from desk job to racing around trying to solve mysteries and catch the bad guys do I hear you ask? Great question! Well, that’s a whole other story and you can check out In The Stars, book 1 in this fun and flirty mystery series, for that life changing adventure. I will share that it involves a rather handsome special agent who works for the CCIA called Charlie. You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest! So, anyway, here I am now … about to be whisked off from agency boot camp training in a helicopter would you believe? Where am I going? Join me as we find out…

 

“You’re ready.”

I struggle to catch my breath. Tucking a strand of sweaty strawberry blonde hair behind my ear I gasp, “You’re sure?”

James, my agency trainer and mentor, nods and smiles. “Yep. I’m sure.”

When I signed up for the chance to become a support officer for the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (otherwise known as the CCIA) I knew my apprenticeship would be tough. I’ve fought to put aside the aching limbs, lack of sleep and mental demands of these past few months and keep my eyes firmly on the prize – my dream job.

If I do manage to complete my apprenticeship, and still be alive at the end of all of this, then hopefully the agency will offer me a job as a support officer. Right now though, I’m wondering if James is right. Am I really ready for the next stage of my training? It doesn’t feel like it. Despite all the efforts to build up my fitness I’m still gasping and out of breath after facing the assault course from hell. I have to confess, I didn’t realise throwing myself into muddy ditches, climbing trees and being abandoned in the middle of nowhere with just a map, compass and bottle of water would be the type of assignments I’d be put through. I mean, I’m applying to be a support officer, not a special agent. But as James pointed out, if I get this job I will work alongside agents, and where they go in order to solve a case, then so do I.

The steady beat of helicopter blades makes me shield my eyes and peer into the skies above the hundreds of acres of woodland, moor and hills which surround agency training camp.

“That’s our lift,” James says, gesturing towards the helicopter now coming in to land in the field just across from us. “You’ve got ten minutes to pack your stuff and meet me back here. This will be your final challenge. Fail this one and you’ll be on your way home with no job.”

Nerves and anxiety bubble up inside of me. This is it. My last chance to prove myself. My last training exercise. Whatever I am about to face will determine my life from this point on. “Only ten minutes? Where are we going anyway?” I shout above the sound of the sinister-looking black helicopter.

“Yes, you’ve only got ten minutes, so you’d better get a move on,” James shouts back. “I’ll explain later where we’re going and why.”

In the helicopter I sit back and focus on the horizon, forcing myself to think positive thoughts. I will not allow the rising tide of nausea and anxiety to take hold. I will not let negativity and doubt worm its way into my head. I think of Charlie instead. My Charlie. We’ve been dating for several months. He’s off working on yet another case at the moment. He’s a CCIA special agent and right about now he will probably be coming to the aid of some celebrity somewhere around the globe. He’s prohibited from telling me the details of what he’s investigating because it’s against agency rules. In addition, as all of the CCIA’s clients are famous, everyone has a big fat privacy clause written into their contract. Between his investigation caseload and my time at CCIA training camp we haven’t seen much of each other lately.

The helicopter suddenly dips alarmingly and it looks as though we’re heading in to land at our destination. My stomach performs several somersaults and I’m glad I didn’t have time for any lunch. I feel hot and cold at the same time. What have I got myself into? What will my last test be?

I gulp and remind myself to stay calm.

I can do this.

I can do this.

Can’t I?

We’re landing on the helipad of a large country house which looks vaguely familiar. It’s built of Cumbrian stone and slate and looks very impressive. Where have I seen it before?

“This is the Roseby Hotel,” James says, unclipping his seatbelt before we’ve even touched down.

The Roseby. Of course. That’s why it looks familiar. I’ve seen it in loads of magazines and on the TV. It’s a five star hotel frequented by the rich and famous. Nestling in acres of private grounds, it sits part way up a hill in the Lake District, a few miles from the tourist town of Delamere.

“This way,” James instructs. “The hotel is hosting a celebrity wedding. The happy couple and their guests have taken over the whole of the Roseby for three days with their family and friends. The wedding photos have been sold to Celeb Spotter magazine.”

A tingle of excitement runs through me. This is the kind of life I could lead if I pass this assignment and get offered a job with the agency.

“The wedding ceremony is scheduled for seven o’clock today and will take place in the marquee in the grounds,” James continues.

I glance at my watch. Seven o’clock. That’s in just over an hour.

“So what goes wrong? Does somebody shoot the groom?”

“You’re about to find out exactly what’s happened,” James replies. “Follow me.”

 

Do you want to continue this adventure? Do you want to read this book for free? You do? Brilliant!

Simply head to my website www.zannamackenzie.co.uk and you’ll discover how you can download a free copy of On Trial (a wedding day mystery) and join my fun and exclusive reader group.

Hope to see you there!

About the Author

ZannaMI write romantic comedy mysteries and when I’m not writing I can be found gardening (trying to grow tomatoes in the British climate is a major challenge!) walking the dogs or reading.

I’m a former therapist, a fan of the great outdoors – especially Scotland, the Lake District and Derbyshire’s Peak district – and also something of a dreamer!

Home is a village on the Derbyshire / Leicestershire border in the UK with my husband, our 4 Labrador dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

At every opportunity I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I’m working on and I love it when the characters in my work in progress novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Amazon Author Page * Pinterest * Google+ * Wattpad * Blog

check out the other blogs on this tour

September 21 – Carole’s Book Corner – GUEST POST

September 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 23 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – The Montana Bookaholic – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

September 26 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

September 27 – Socrates’ Book Reviews  – SPOTLIGHT

September 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

September 30 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

October 1 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

October 2 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

October 3 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

October 4 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on September 26, 2017

A Cajun Christmas Killing: A Cajun Country Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages

Synopsis

Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except, this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she’s identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he’s found stabbed to death at Maggie’s workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.

The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie’s boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.

The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries.

Review

I really love this series and I know a lot of it is tied to having family in Louisiana and I can relate/understand many of the situations and traditions but there is something about Pelican that makes me feel right at home.

But that aside, I really enjoy the mystery aspect and I did sort of guess the killer but not the whole situation…so I was about half right! There are some twists at the end that surprised me (hence only guessing half of the mystery).

I enjoy the quirkiness of many of the characters and of course Maggie and Bo’s relationship. It is nice to see it slowly evolve and they are not rushing into anything with each other.

We give this 5 paws up.

About the Author

ellen byronBody on the Bayou, the second in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery series, won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for a Best Contemporary Novel Agatha Award. Her debut book in the series, Plantation Shuddersmade the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Ellen is also a recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant from the Malice Domestic Convention. Her TV credits include Wings, Still Standing, and Just Shoot Me, as well as network and cable pilots. As a journalist, she’s written over 200 magazine articles for national publications. Her plays, published by Dramatists Play Service, include the popular Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. A native New Yorker and graduate of Tulane University, Ellen lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, daughter, and the family’s spoiled rescue dogs.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

 

 

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check out the other blogs on this tour

September 17 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST

September 19 – Bibliophile Reviews – INTERVIEW

September 19 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

September 20 – Girl with Book Lung – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 20 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

September 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

September 22 – Readeropolis – INTERVIEW

September 23 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

September 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 25 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 26 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – REVIEW

September 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

September 27 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 27 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 28 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW

September 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 29 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 29 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW

September 30 – Varietats – REVIEW

October 1 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 1 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, GUEST POST

Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery on September 25, 2017

Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: June 3, 2017
Paperback: 269 pages

Synopsis

Author Leena Clover announces a brand new cozy mystery series set in a small Oklahoma college town. Mystery readers will enjoy this culinary cozy murder mystery featuring plenty of yummy recipes like Masala Fried Chicken and Shish Kabob Blue Plate Special.

Meera Patel is back home with the family after she dropped out of graduate school. Now she shelves books for a living and rustles up fusion recipes at Sylvie’s Cafe & Diner. Everything is fine until her old nemesis Prudence Walker floats up in the local pond. Meera is accused of murder! Well, she did publicly declare Prudence would drop dead.

Meera cries foul and screams police harassment. But she has no defense when she is accused of a second crime. Flanked by pals Tony and Becky, Meera puts in the leg work, trying to solve clues and discard red herrings.

Fall in Oklahoma has never been more exciting.

Cozy mystery fans will love this new mystery series featuring an Asian American amateur sleuth. There is a full cast of characters with a professor father, young sibling, old grandparents, loyal friends and a candid glimpse into South Asian culture.

Review

There was a lot to like for this first book in this series. What i liked about it was that it was set in OK in a small college community town and where there seems to be a large Indian (Asian not Native American) population. The family is close knit and they are always eating…that may sound strange but I love food and all of the dishes that were described in the book sounded delicious. I also liked that the murder was solved in a roundabout way and really wasn’t the main focus, or it doesn’t appear to be the main focus most of the time.

There are some unknowns that might be addressed more in future books, such as, why did Meera drop out of school to work at the local college library? What happened to Meera’s mom all those years ago in the tornado? (side note, I think there might be some foreshadowing happening in this book at the end that might address that in future books).

I do think at times the writing seemed choppy and some words were used that didn’t seem right such as calling a car trunk a boot. That is the British word and Meera is American so would have used the word trunk unless her family always called it a boot and she picked it up that way.

This series has great potential and I look forward to reading them at some point.  We give it 3 1/2 paws.

About the Author

Leena Clover is the author of the brand new Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series, starring a 20 something Desi girl as the protagonist. The series is set in a small Oklahoma college town Meera calls home.

Leena Clover offers plenty of clues for her readers so that they can solve the mystery as they read along. Readers can expect a unique look into Indian/ South Asian culture and plenty of yummy recipes.

Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

September 18 – Student of Opinions – REVIEW

September 19 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

September 19 – Readsalot – GUEST POST

September 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 21 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

September 21 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

September 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

September 22 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 25 – Book Babble – REVIEW

September 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

September 26 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

September 26 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

September 27 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

September 27 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Cozy, Guest Post, mystery, Texas on September 24, 2017

Synopsis

A college student, dead, in an empty pasture. Rifle-carrying strangers in the local grocery store. An irresistible and loveable Labrador puppy. These add up to trouble for Susan Hogan, associate professor of English at Oak Grove (Texas) University, and her partner, Jake, Chief of Campus Security. Susan’s independent investigation involves a shooting, a break-in, vandalism, threats, a clandestine spy trip to the woods, and an attempted kidnapping. Throughout, she trips over—and trips up—law enforcement investigation, to Jake’s ongoing frustration. Small college towns just aren’t always as peaceful as they are billed.

The first book in this series is The Perfect Coed, click on the cover below to be directed to Amazon

Guest Post

The small worlds of the cozy mystery

Cozy mysteries are traditionally set in small towns, on the theory I suppose that the population in a small town is easier to handle. Everyone knows everyone else, and they interact—sometimes even murdering each other. With a limited case of characters, it’s easy to point the finger of suspicion at this one and that and to develop relationships, antagonistic or otherwise, that result in murder.

As soon as I say that I know people will come forward with favorite urban mysteries. Off the top of my head I think of J. A. Jance’s JP Beaumont series, set in Seattle, or Cleo Coyle’s New York coffeehouse series. Of course, there are exceptions to my sweeping generalization. I have even set the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries in the good-size city of Fort Worth, but the major characters live, work, shop and dine in one tight-knit neighborhood. Same as a small town.

Cozy is a subgenre of mystery, but even the cozy has its sub-subgenres. Think of the small and controlled worlds of the academic mystery or the mystery set in a library. All three settings—small town, university, or library—offer the advantage of the unexpected. Small towns are stereotypically peaceful; universities are bastions of learning and as such should be aloof from violence (never mind we know that’s not true), and the same is true of libraries. Gentle souls go to libraries to read, don’t they? Murders just don’t happen in places like that—or do they?

Academic mysteries seem not to have caught on, although some honorable authors have tried their hand—including Anthony Boucher (The Case of the Seven of Calvary, tracing way back to the ‘30s), Josephine Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes (1940s), American Sharyn McCrumb (Bimboes of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool-1990s), and right on up to John Grisham, with The Summons in the early years of the 21st century.

But the only sustained academic series seems to be the Kate Fansler mysteries by Amanda Cross (a pen name for professor and feminist author Carolyn G. Heilbrun). Kate, professor of English, is featured in close to twenty adventures, and most of the murders are set on campus and involve academic colleagues, either as victim or perpetrator or both.

Libraries also offer a small world, although that world, like academia, has not been much explored as a setting for mysteries. You might make a case for the popular Aurora Teagarden books by Charlaine Harris. Aurora is a librarian and some scenes take place in her library. Otherwise, again, single titles come to mind: Sylvia Nash’s Benjamin’s Ghosts and Ellen Butler’s Poplar Place, not set in a library but with a lot of the action in one. As with academic settings, there seems to be no sustained series set in a library.

I don’t know if the conclusion means that those settings just don’t work with readers or that no one has given them a fair try. My Oak Grove Mysteries are academic—Susan Hogan is an associate professor of English at a university in a small, west Texas town. The first book, The Perfect Coed, takes place mostly but not entirely on campus; in Pigface and the Perfect Dog, the action moves ore to the town than the campus.

Could it be that the world of libraries or college is too small to sustain a series? An author quickly runs into the Cabot Cove syndrome, where it stretches credibility that so many murders occur in such a small population. The small town offers more diversity that a library or a college campus, yet not the unmanageable crowds of the big city.

About the Author

Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, two books in the Blue Plate Café Mysteries; and two in the Oak Grove Mysteries. Pigface and the Perfect Dog follows The Perfect Coed in this series of mysteries set on a university campus. Judy is no stranger to college campuses. She attended the University of Chicago, Truman State University in Missouri, and Texas Christian University, where she earned a Ph.D. and taught English. For twenty years, she was director of TCU Press, the book publishing program of the university. The author of many books for both children and adults primarily on women of the American West, she retired in 2010 and turned her attention to writing contemporary cozy mysteries.

She holds awards from the Western Writers of America, the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Texas Institute of Letters. She was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and recognized as an Outstanding Woman of Fort Worth and a woman who has left her mark on Texas. Western Writers of America gave her the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement and will induct her into its Hall of Fame in June 2015.

The single parent of four and the grandmother of seven, she lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her perfect dog, Sophie.

Amazon * Blog * Facebook

Posted in Cozy, Guest Post, mystery on September 22, 2017

 

Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort by Stan Schatt
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: July 12, 2017
Paperback: 238 pages

Synopsis

When a very disagreeable resident of the exclusive River Bend Retirement Resort is murdered, bestselling mystery writer Miriam Lipsky has to find the real killer to save her dear friend from prison. She finds the retirement home seethes with intrigue, passion, and jealousy. To make matters worse, it’s hard to distinguish what residents actually saw from what they imagined.

Miriam finds she has to search for the killer while juggling an autistic grandson, a divorced daughter with a tendency to choose the wrong man, her best friend’s overly friendly husband, and a stalker who who leaves her more and more threatening notes. To make matters worse, her rabbi who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to fixing her up.

Miriam, a widow after a disastrous marriage, has given up on love. Just when she is sure that part of her life is over, someone new appears from a very unexpected place.

Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort is a cozy mystery with a sleuth who has to learn on the job. Despite her best intentions, Miriam makes mistake after mistake and yet moves ever closer to discovering a cold blooded killer who has no remorse.

Guest Post

Mystery Readers and the Writers Who Love Them

Supposedly Sigmund Freud’s last words consisted of a question: “Women, what do they want?” I’ve been mulling a slightly different question: “Mystery readers: what do they want?”

According to the National Endowment for the Arts has published a depressing report that shows that the percent of Americans reading fiction has declined ever since 2008. Only around 47% of all readers choose fiction to read. Why the decline? Social media has to accept some responsibility. One study reported Americans spend an average of twenty-three hours a week twiddling their thumbs in various social media applications. It also could well be that fiction is a victim of too many entertainment choices chasing too few hours available for recreation.

Some researchers have focused on the measurable benefits of reading fiction. Recent psychological studies have pointed to gains in empathy. Readers who experience a character’s particular emotion are more likely to recognize signs of that emotion on other people’s faces. Philosophers tell us that readers of fiction can learn morality. Graphing Jane Austen, a 2012 tract, described the evolutionary roots of the social lessons fiction taught and claimed those lessons learned go way back to humanity’s early days as hunter-gathers.

Of course these studies have focused on literary fiction, the kinds of books that target  “serious readers.” Bookstores generally proudly display their “literary books” in their most conspicuous locations while being very careful to segregate them from genre books such as mysteries, romances, and science fiction. Genre readers who visit bookstores and slink into the genre sections could be forgiven if they feel that they are slumming and revealing their secret pleasure much like an opera fan might feel if he visits a bluegrass festival and takes his shoes off to tap his feet to the music. It’s almost like the way fans of certain types of porn must feel when adult bookstores point them to the curtained off area containing the “good stuff.”

Literary critics dismiss most genre novels as mere entertainment. That does not mean genre lovers aren’t serious readers. When genre lovers find authors they like, they rarely are content until they collect a large stack of their novels. That can be challenging for a Michael Connelly fan, as an example, because he’s been publishing a novel a year for the last couple of decades.

Since I write mysteries, I’ve been pondering a subset of the question I raised earlier: What do mystery readers want? Of course the first problem when answering a question like that is that there are multiple categories of mysteries. Just as Caesar found that Gaul was divided into three distinct parts, the mystery terrain fragments into such separate fiefdoms as cozies, police procedure, paranormal, detective/private eye, etc. Interestingly enough, readers tend to find their comfort zone and narrow rather than broaden their horizons as they zero in on the authors who provide them with exactly what they want. That’s not to say some readers won’t take a plunge into the deep end of the reading pool and try a different mystery type, but generally they come home to the tried and true. At least that’s my experience reading hundreds of reader comments on various bulletin boards as well as reader reviews on Amazon.

I have dabbled in different types of mysteries, something that probably has hurt my sales and confused my readers. In doing so, I have learned some of the strict rules that readers expect authors to follow when writing stories in a specific category.

Let’s start with police procedure novels. I have published A Reader’s Guide to Michael Connelly’s novels. His devoted fans line up every year for the next Harry Bosch mystery. What do they expect? Harry is a kind-hearted first-rate detective who exhibits fearlessness, tenaciousness, a fine moral code, and a love for his daughter. Of course he also has his faults. He can be prickly, frequently disobeys orders, and he can’t seem to hold on to a girl friend. Connelly generally begins his novel with the call that Bosch receives, generally late at night. There is always pressure on Harry to take the easy out when it comes to solving the crime, but he never does so. His life usually is not in danger even though occasionally he sustains gunshot wounds; readers know he’ll survive for his next book and adventure, and they find that comforting.

Connelly lets the readers follow Harry from one clue to the next. Sometimes he leaves red herrings that lead Harry astray, but there is a logical, rational road that Harry follows to capture the villain. Harry is no youngster anymore, but he still has love affairs. Connelly’s readers have come to expect him to fall in love with an attractive middle-aged woman who is damaged in some way. Harry will enjoy some happiness, but it never will last. Similarly, readers expect Connelly to create at least one conflict between Harry and whoever happens to be his current partner because the crusty veteran will be far more committed to the “true detective’s code” than a partner willing to cut corners. Readers now also expect an appearance by Harry’s daughter. There will be at least one major disagreement, perhaps a slightly dangerous situation involving her, and then a resolution between the two. See how satisfying it is for a reader to know what to expect?

Fans of police procedure novels expect authenticity when it comes to police procedures, legal procedures, and forensics. Some authors who want to write this type of novel attend academies where they absorb this information from experts. I was fortunate enough to work for a large municipal police department and even co-author a book on some police procedures long before I ever thought of writing mysteries.

A year ago I published Hello Again. It’s a paranormal mystery in which a man starts to receive texts from his lover AFTER she dies. While the novel has the trappings of the supernatural, it is an old-fashioned mystery in which the paranormal does not play a role in the killer’s capture.

My Frankie and Josh series of paranormal mysteries combine police procedures with a paranormal element. That’s where it gets tricky. I feature a fearless female detective and a male tabloid reporter who has some psychic abilities. It also helps that he’s a former Ranger who can take care of himself. He is the only one who can see a beautiful, sassy guardian angel.

In combining these two types of mysteries I found myself having to bend over backwards to follow the rules of police procedure novels. In other words, ultimately the police capture the bad guys through rational police work rather than through supernatural intervention. Readers of police procedure novels would feel cheated if a supernatural figure appeared in the last chapter to solve a crime

Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort is my latest book, a cozy mystery set in a retirement home. Cozies keep all the violence off-stage and rely on a non-professional to solve the crime. In my novel the protagonist is a mystery writer much like Jessica Fletcher in the Murder She Wrote series. Other cozies feature specialists in various fields. There is an entire class of cozies that feature an art critic while others feature cooking experts. Kathy Reich features a forensic anthropologist in her Bones series while the old TV series Quincy featured a medical examiner played by Jack Klugman.

The civilian protagonists in cozies generally have some kind of relationship with law enforcement so that they can learn key details in a case, details generally not made public. In Faye Kellerman’s Peter and Rina series of mysteries Rina is an orthodox Jewish housewife who learns crime details from her LAPD detective husband. Faye Kellerman’s husband, Jonathan, writes his own series of mysteries that features a psychiatrist who teams with an LAPD detective. In Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort author Miriam Lipsky strikes up a friendship with a sheriff, and they agree to share information since the retirement home’s residents are far more likely to talk with Miriam than with a law enforcement official.

To add even more interest, cozies can feature various animals that “help” in solving a crime. There are several series that target cat lovers. Miranda James writes the Cat in the Stacks series while Claire Donally writes the Sunny and Shadow mystery series including “Did Curiosity Kill the Cat Lady?

Other cosy mysteries target dog lovers.  Susan Conant wrote A New Leash on Death, a novel that features Holly Winter, a dog expert. When a dog owner is murdered, she tracks the killer down using the victim’s Malamute. Leslie O-Kane wrote Play Dead, one of her Allie Babcock dog mysteries.

Cozies also feature other types of creatures. Clea Simon wrote Parrots Prove Deadly: A Pru Marlowe Mystery featuring an animal psychic and a parrot worth interrogating. I published Jane Blond, International Spy, a cozy mystery that features a parrot that overhears a conversation in a foreign language and then repeats it to my young heroine.

While I don’t have any pets in Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort, I do fill the book with Miriam’s concerns regarding her autistic grandson and her wayward adult daughter who has a tendency to always choose the wrong man.

What makes a mystery author’s task so challenging is that the various different types of mysteries have rules that need to be followed. I suppose it is very much like fans of various types of cuisine. Lovers of Szechuan Chinese food would be bound to express their dismay on Yelp if a restaurant claiming to serve that type of food holds the chili peppers and, perhaps even worse, adds various fruits to the stir fry.

When I mention rules, keep in mind that lovers of a cat mystery fully expect the cat to play a leading role in the next novel the author publishes and all subsequent novels. So, authors have to be very careful with their initial novels. When I wrote Silent Partner, the first of the Frankie and Josh novels, I never expected Pen-L to insist that I follow with two additional novels (A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer and Death and Donuts). Readers have told me what they like and what they dislike about certain characters. I can’t simply start over and recreate these characters. I’m stuck with them for better or worse. Thankfully, I like them.

I’ve created a set of characters in Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort that I do like. In fact, given the very positive response I’ve received so far, I expect to follow with additional Miriam Lipsky adventures. One key point to make is that there is a growing audience of older readers who apparently like reading about detectives who are almost old enough to collect Social Security. That’s particularly true if the heroes face everyday problems real people face. It doesn’t hurt for the writer to add a touch of romance. Miriam finds to her surprise that she’s not too old for someone to make her think of romance.

Sigmund Freud might have been looking for a single sentence answer when he asked what women want, but the question of what mystery readers want is far more complicated. They stake out their territory and their favorite authors and expect to be entertained with characters they have learned to love to the point where they have become like members of their family. They also have come to expect the world in these novels to operate a certain way. Authors who deviate from the rules that govern these various worlds do so at their peril.  I hope readers find that Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort not only follows the rules but also provides them with good deal of enjoyment.

About the Author

Stan is the author of over 40 books including the Frankie and Josh mysteries. He has published books on career changing, technology, and writers that include Michael Connelly and Daniel Silva.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

September 18 –  Back Porchervations – REVIEW

September 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

September 20 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – Mythical Books – REVIEW

September 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 23 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

September 24 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW

September 26 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

September 27 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT

September 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

September 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

October 1 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT

 

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on September 22, 2017

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Lyrical Underground (September 12, 2017)
Print Length: 247 pages
ASIN: B01MT0HN6F

Synopsis

Ruby Lake, North Carolina, might be the perfect place to go birdwatching during autumn, but it’s also a habitat for murder . . .

As Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms guides a halfhearted birding group around Ruby Lake, rumors soon start flying about the annual Fall Festival’s classic car and tractor show. Local eccentric Chick Sherman—boasting the hottest ride in town—has ruffled feathers by mysteriously entering the contest, and curious Amy hatches a plan to sneak a glimpse at the phantom automobile before the big event kicks off . . .

But competition turns deadly when Amy finally spots the sleek ’56 El Morocco—and it’s on top of Chick’s very dead body. With her neighbor and business partner framed as the murderer and priceless Audubon prints suddenly missing from Chick’s home, only Amy can identify the telltale markings of a killer before another hapless victim is plucked from the flock . . .

 

About the Author

J.R. Ripley is the pen name of Glenn Meganck, the critically acclaimed author of the Tony Kozol mystery series. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, he has chaired the Edgar committee for Best Original Paperback novel and served on the Best Short Story Committee. As a member of the International Association of Crime Writers, he has served on the Hammett Award committee for Best Novel. When not writing books, Glenn is writing songs, often singing them to the consternation of his audience and neighbors, or involved in one of his many passions, none of which have involved any of the dead bodies that seem to keep cropping up in his mysteries.

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September 11 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

September 12 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

September 12 – Queen Of All She Reads – REVIEW

September 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – A Blue Million Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 14 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

September 17 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 18 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW

September 18 – Deal Sharing Aunt – SPOTLIGHT

September 19 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

September 21 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

September 22 – Storeybook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on September 20, 2017

Hair Brained (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Orange Grove Press (September 12, 2017)
Print Length: 342 pages
E-Book ASIN: B072XVHPPH

Synopsis

Was the car crash an accident or a deliberate attempt to run Marla’s friends off the road?

When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son. No sooner does Marla say, “Baby want a bottle?” than she’s embroiled in another murder investigation. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident after all. But then, who would want Tally–or Ken in the car with her–out of the way? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. Nonetheless, it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk. Can she protect the baby and find the culprit before someone else ends up as roadkill?

iBook * Google Play

Guest Post

Killing Off a Character in Your Book by Nancy J. Cohen

Fiction readers, same as TV series fans, hate to see their favorite characters die. It could mark a series death when a writer terminates a main character like a promising romantic lead. I’d be annoyed at the writer myself and maybe wouldn’t pick up her next book. But killing off the villain or an irritating relative no one likes or a minor secondary character is acceptable, as long as it isn’t your sleuth’s faithful sidekick.

One reason I didn’t start watching Game of Thrones was because I’d heard they beheaded a character everyone liked. I didn’t want to get vested in someone only to lose him.

Reader reactions may depend upon the genre as well. In a thriller, you expect more folks to get bumped off, and a lot of the suspense comes from not knowing who will survive and who won’t. But in a romance, you don’t want to disappoint readers with an unexpected death, and the same goes for cozy mysteries. Just as you don’t kill the cat or dog in a cozy, you don’t eliminate someone readers truly adore.

In the recent Wonder Woman movie [spoiler alert!], I was shocked when Steve didn’t reappear. True, the movie’s action shifted from World War I to the present to frame the shot from the beginning, but I still felt let down. The action in the comics had taken place during World War II, and Steve played a large role in those stories. So where will this remake go now?

But other secondary characters are fair game, and I take advantage of this situation in Hair Brained, #14 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries. The tone of this story is more somber than my prior books. This one has some humorous scenes, but the general theme could be said to enjoy what you have now because it could be gone tomorrow, and to prepare for when that day comes. I didn’t feel great pangs about killing off a secondary player. Maybe I’d never really liked the person to start. But a lot of suspense comes from the threat to a character we do hold dear. Will she or won’t she make it out alive by the story’s end?

Marla, my hairstylist sleuth, has to deal with the fallout when her friends Tally and Ken go missing in Hair Brained. She and her husband Dalton go to Tally’s house to pick up her son Luke from a babysitter. Here’s an excerpt with her reaction:

Marla slung the diaper bag’s strap over her shoulder. Holy highlights, that thing weighed a ton! How did mothers do it? Back in the living room, she shot a panicked glance at Dalton as he shut the door on the babysitter’s retreating back.

“Wait, how will I know what to do?”

Dalton rounded on her, his eyebrows arched and his gray eyes like polished pewter. “What’s there to know? You change the kid’s diapers, feed him, and put him to sleep.”

Oh, yeah. Easy for you to say. You’ve been through it once with your daughter.

“Put him to sleep in what? We don’t have a crib in our house.”

“That’s okay; we’ll rig something up that will work for tonight. This shouldn’t last too long. Tally and Ken will reappear at some point.”

“Yes, but what if they don’t? I mean, we’re not equipped to handle an infant. Our house isn’t child-proofed. We don’t have a crib or a changing table or any of the other stuff.”

“Including a car seat, now that you mention it. I’ll look in the garage. Maybe Tally’s BMW is still inside.” He loped off in that direction, hollering a few minutes later that Tally’s car was parked there, and he’d retrieve her equipment.

Meanwhile, Marla wondered what she would do if Tally failed to show up in a timely manner. She had clients scheduled at the salon, as well as other commitments.

Dear Lord. Her throat closed until she reminded herself this wasn’t about her. It was about caring for Luke.

So how do you feel about recurrent characters who die in the midst of your favorite series?

 

About the Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list and been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

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September 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 13 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 14 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

September 14 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

September 16 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 17 – A Holland Reads –  GUEST POST

September 18 – Deal Sharing Aunt –  INTERVIEW

September 18 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

September 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

September 19 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

September 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery on September 18, 2017

Body on Baker Street: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 12, 2017)

Synopsis

Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are busy managing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room in anticipation of the store’s upcoming book signing with the illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris verbally attacks Renalta and her series for disgracing Sherlock’s legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author triumphantly lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is until Renalta collapses on the table―dead.

Donald insists he didn’t do it and pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects between author’s bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of other Sherlock enthusiasts with strong objections to Renalta’s depiction of the Great Detective. It’s up to the shrewd sleuthing duo to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man in Body on Baker Street, the second Sherlock Homes Bookshop mystery perfect for fans of Miranda James and Kate Carlisle.

Guest Post

Stocking the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium

By Vicki Delany

Great Escapes Book Tour Sept. 2017

When I first had the idea of creating a cozy series around a Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, I thought the idea would be fun but a bit far-fetched.   It’s been rather surprising to discover it really would be possible to have an entire store of nothing but Sherlock Holmes.

I dove into the crazy world of Sherlock, and I’ve had a lot of fun stocking my fictional shop.

First, the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  There were sixty original Sherlock Holmes stores, including four novels. Not a lot with which to stock an entire store, but the legions of books they’ve inspired is incalculable, what’s call the pastiche – novels and short story collections in which Sherlock and Dr. Watson are characters, in some form or another (e.g. Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series).  I expanded the bookshelves by including a section of Gaslight novels, meaning books set in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, most of which are mysteries (e.g. Gaslight series by Victoria Thompson or the Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen). We also have a non-fiction section for books about Sir Arthur, his writing, his contemporaries, and their life and times.

And then we can stock merchandize.  DVDs of TV shows and movies, posters, life-sized cut-outs, puzzles, games, coloring books, mugs, cups, tea towels.  The list is practically endless.

All of the stuff sold in the Sherlock Holmes bookshop can be found in the real world.  All, that is, except for the books in the Hudson and Holmes series by Renalta Van Markoff, for reasons which shall become clear in Body on Baker Street, the second book in the series.

I’ve enjoyed finding Sherlock pastiche and gaslight books and dropping their names into the books. It’s been a hoot trying to match a real book to a fictional character who comes into the shop.

After engaging in a frenzy of shopping, my customers have to go someplace for refreshments and where better than next door to Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room.  There they can enjoy a cream tea or full afternoon tea, perhaps served in a Sherlock themed tea pot and cups.  Quite a few of the things Jayne serves in the tea room have been made by me at some time, or at least eaten by me!

Research is tough but someone has to do it.

About the Author

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

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September 11 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 11 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 12 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 13 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

September 14 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

September 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 15 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

September 16 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW

September 16 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

September 17 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – CelticLady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 19 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

September 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 20 – Book Babble – REVIEW

September 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

September 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 22 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – INTERVIEW

September 22 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

September 22 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

September 23 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 23 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 24 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on September 17, 2017

Cat Got Your Secrets: A Kitty Couture Mystery 
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 12, 2017)

Synopsis

Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable groove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, she’s busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life. But when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle’s bark-mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene—and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father.

It’s up to Lacy to clear her dad’s name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good. But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets. And Lacy’s not the only one with bones in her closet.

Amazon * B&N * BAM!* IndieBound

Guest Post

What’s So Funny About Murder???

Definitely nothing. Nothing is funny about murder, but I’m a huge fan of humor, so I put it in all my murder mysteries. I also apply it regularly to my life, but I especially enjoy humor in books. The little chuckles provide a break from all that tension, and it feels really good to me as a reader, so I never skip it as a writer.

Something else I love about cozy mysteries? The murder and crime scene are secondary to the story. Yes, the murder is the catalyst, but cozies aren’t really about the murder. They’re about the adventure that follows and the unraveling of a great mystery.

Which leads me to my favorite thing about cozies. An amateur sleuth always solves the crime. Someone just like me (but infinitely braver) steps in to find justice and three hundred bumbling pages later, she does it! Can you imagine solving a crime? I can’t. I don’t like rocking the boat, being nosy, pushy or too forward. But my heroines do! They love asking questions and digging around for clues. Every day heroines are smart, sassy, resourceful and so much fun. I’d read the stories of their adventures any day.

When your local librarian, consignment shop or pet boutique owner steps in to chase the clues, the results are fantastic, and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

If you’re in the mood for a new author, book or series, I hope you’ll give my Kitty Couture Mysteries a try.

About the Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey.

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September 12 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

September 12 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

September 12 – Community Bookstop – INTERVIEW

September 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

September 14 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

September 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

September 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 16 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

September 18 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

September 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 19 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

September 19 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 20 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

September 20 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY

September 21 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

September 21 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – INTERVIEW

September 22 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 22 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

September 24 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

September 24 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

September 25 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

September 25 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT