Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Case of the Clobbered Cad - My Review




If you love mysteries, you will thoroughly enjoy Debra E. Marvin’s book The Case of the Clobbered Cad.   The story is set in Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1950's, and it follows the academic career of Heather Munro.  She has arrived in Scotland to pursue a history degree, but in the process falls into a bit of a tragedy.  A professor at her university gets murdered, and Heather becomes one of the main suspects—along with several other individuals within her circle.  Dealing with this man’s death is not only overwhelming, but Heather also begins to wonder who she can trust.  Everyone seems kind and helpful, but deep down, Heather knows that someone she has interacted with is ultimately the one behind Dr. Winter’s murder.  Will the police be able to find that individual before someone else gets hurt? 


Unfortunately, Heather has a connection to the recently departed professor.  She met him on the ship that brought her from America to Scotland and embarrassingly was briefly enchanted by his dashing ways.  Heather worries that her reputation is being scarred from her brief encounter with the professor, since the local detective wants to use her previous knowledge of him against her.  So many people want to embellish her past introductions to the Winter’s family, in order to scar the truth, and therefore be able to use it against her in their murder inquiries.  Can she find a way to make them listen to the facts?  Will they ever believe the information she voluntarily gives to the local authorizes? 

Mrs. Kintyre is Heather’s landlady and her instant friend.  She is the one person who Heather confides in as she deals with all the horror that is unfolding in her life.  After traveling so far from home, Mrs. Kintyre does all she can to make Heather feel welcome in this new city.  From making tea to chatting about life over scones, Kintyre is a welcomed addition to Heather’s world and someone she knows she could not live without.  Interestingly, Heather begins to learn more about her landlady as the case goes along—even to the point of seeing how great a sleuth she truly is. 

I highly recommend checking out this book.  Mysteries are my favorite genre, and I loved getting to know the characters throughout the various scenes in this book—along with the protagonist—I thought her name was really great too.  :)  Another thing I loved about this book was the setting.  I traveled to Edinburgh when I was in college—beautiful city—and it is always amazing to read books that have a backdrop from another country and that are detailed through the eyes of another decade.  When you get an opportunity to read this text, let me know your thoughts about this mystery in the comments below.  Happy reading!    


This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Singing Librarian Books for my copy. 



Series: The Nosy Parker Mysteries
Genre:  Journey Fiction, Historical, Mystery 
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: August 1, 2017

Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls' Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until... 
Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master's Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, 
the same would-be lothario she’d hoped 
never to see again. 

As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to believe in.


 

Debra E. Marvin is a member of ACFW, Sisters in Crime, a Grace Awards Judge, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She’s one of the founders of Inkwell Inspirations Blog, and is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction and contracted with Barbour Publishing. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University in upstate NY, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.




1. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I started making illustrated books as a child, then became a student who wrote two thousand words for a five hundred word essay. Hanging around with readers and authors just feels right, because we are all compelled to step into a story. I love beautiful words and images and there’s not quite so satisfying as finding just the right word. There may have been a time when I read a story and thought… I can do that!  (Oh how naïve! I can do it but it’s darn hard work!)

2. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did being an author ever cross your mind?
Despite the fact I tend to be a bit driven by all I want to get done now, I wasn’t a particularly focused child. I recall a few years of wanting to be an astronomer, but basically I just liked to make things and spend time daydreaming.  I was an art major (and we know how difficult that is as a career!) and then all of a sudden I was a housewife and mother who obsessively made things. Finally, I took a creative writing class in my thirties and it all just took off. Writing satisfies like nothing else!

3. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about this project?
Currently, I’m working on my second contemporary romance novella. Somewhere along the way this project became a difficult emotional journey and was put aside while I finished this mystery and a colonial era novella. The first contemporary romance was a breeze—I wrote 17,000 words in three days. This one is like picking up egg whites, but I’m determined to see it through! It takes place on Cape Hatteras and will be out later this year from Forget Me Not Romances.

What inspired the idea for The Case of the Clobbered Cad?  Oh I wish I knew how to explain the tangled lines that became this story. Ideas just seem to pop up and then explode into a puzzle that needs to be solved. When my setting changed from Sturbridge Village to Edinburgh, Scotland, research pulled me into the University’s archeology department. I had that lovely lightbulb moment upon seeing some reference to an artifact. I’d contacted the secretary of the History and Archeology departments and it happened that a retired archeology professor gave me all sorts of information on the very vibrant archeology department of the 1950s.

4. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Case of the Clobbered Cad?
This story doesn’t quite fit into a nice, neat genre and so I hope readers find it unexpected,  fresh, enjoyable, entertaining and creates nostalgia for the days when a girl detective story kept them up late on a school night!

5. When you are not writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
I love to make things that involve color, texture and handwork. It might be decorative painting, knitting, gardening and the occasional fairy house. But mostly I’m like to design and sew—quilting or making costumes. (I have a little problem with buying fabric.)


 

Top Ten Authors Who've Influenced My Writing...

 

  1. LaVyrle Spencer –for word choices that made me sigh
  2. Phyllis Whitney –for making me love romantic suspense
  3. Anna Sewell –for writing the book that so inspired my childhood imagination
  4. Barbara Cartland –for bringing us rakes and rogues 
  5. Margaret Mitchell –for making me an historical fiction fanatic
  6. Diana Gabaldon –for making me choose reading over food or sleep
  7. Laura Frantz –for showing me what it is to be a story teller that touches the heart
  8. Anne Perry –for proving that I’m not the only one who love historical mysteries
  9. Louise Penny –for writing a perfect, compelling balance of character and plot
  10. My critique partner, Susanne Dietze –for pointing out the emotions I need to upgrade when I’ve been too busy with the plot.

  1. We reference “The Girl Detective” but we never actually use her name!  You know who I’m talking about though, don’t you?
  2. The book is set in 1956.  Can you guess why I chose that particular year? Go ahead. You won’t offend me!
  3. Heather’s first trip abroad is to the U.K. Sixty years later, Debra made her first trip abroad and was greeted in the Edinburgh airport by a lovely customs agent with a broad Scottish accent. (Debra grinned like an eejit!)
  4. The Case of the Clobbered Cad was originally set in Old Sturbridge Village because I wanted to visit there. The heroine was a history major doing an internship.  When I made the last minute decision to buy a ticket to Scotland, I asked my publisher if she minded if I changed the setting! She loved the idea!
  5. Like Heather, my grandfather was Scottish. (though mine was born in the U.S. to a Scottish immigrant family). He insisted I was “Scots t’ the backbone and prood of it.” What a thrill to be able to visit the village where his my great-grandparents called home.
  6. I visited the Archeology Department at the University of Edinburgh and went inside the archives room. If you read the book, you’ll understand why that was so important! (Though in 1956, the setting was completely different!)
  7. I actually stayed on both of the Edinburgh streets used as ‘home addresses’ for two of my characters.
  8. Some retired policemen and professors answered my questions, including a gentleman with an OBE.  You do know what that means, don’t you?
  9. Lisa Richardson, author of The Counterfeit Clue designed the covers!
  10. While my earlier published works have been sweet romances, mysteries are my first love and I hope to take Heather elsewhere in Scotland and Ireland.

Friday, October 13, 2017

First Line Fridays


I read and review The Elusive Miss Ellison last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Carolyn Miller.  I can't wait to purchase her new book in this lovely series, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, which comes out later this month.  For this week though, I wanted to highlight the second book in the series, The Captivating Lady Charlotte.  Obviously, I love reading a myriad of genres, but it is so nice when you can continue a book you loved within the pages of a series.  Do you enjoy reading series?  How long is too long for a series or does it matter?  I suppose one of the longest series of books I can of is the Mandie collection by Lois Gladys Leppard.  If you have any young readers in your life who enjoy mysteries, I highly recommend these books.  They have even made a few films based on her books.  Happy reading!  

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  The Captivating Lady Charlotte
by Carolyn Miller  



And the first line is...

St. James Palace, London 
April 1814

"The room glimmered with a thousand points of sparkling light, the bright glow from the enormous crystal-dropped chandelier glinting off heavily beaded gowns, ornate mirrors, and the desperation shining in dozens of pairs of eyes."  

Happy Friday and happy reading!  


Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 







Friday, October 6, 2017

First Line Fridays


Welcome to another week of First Line Fridays!!  I have some exciting news this week too!  I will still be posting my first line here on my blog, but going forward, First Line Fridays will be hosted by Hoarding Books, which will give each of you a chance to join in on the fun!  After reading my first line below, head over to the Hoarding Books website to see who else is participating.  Once you are there, please feel free to add your name and first line to the list.  Happy reading!   

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Jane Austen at Home: A Biography
by Lucy Worsley



And the first line is...


'The rector of a parish has much to do...
his parish duties, and the care
and improvement of his dwelling.' 
                    ~Jane Austen~  

"To generations of Austen worshippers,  the site of Steventon Rectory is hallowed ground.  They are often to be found at the side of the lane, silent and thoughtful, peering through the hedge into the Hampshire field where it stood.  This is the place where she spent twenty-five years and wrote three novels.  This is where it all began."  

Happy Friday and happy reading!  


Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 






                              


Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Long Shadows of Summer - Spotlight Book Tour



Series: Seasons
Genre:  
Historical
Publisher: Bird's Nest Books
Publication date: August 31, 2017


​The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.

It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.
Mercedes has always been an avid reader and devours each new Sherlock Holmes mystery as soon as she gets her hands on them. When one of her friends comes to her, Mercedes vows to keep Simone’s secrets and uncover the truth.
 
But as Mercedes plays detective to her friends’ questions, she discovers something far more shocking—she herself is not who she thought she was.
 
 
 
“I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa, in 2013.  Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned her BFA in Interior Design.  Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years.  Her characters face many of these same demons.

Ms. Mason writes stories of identity conflict. Her characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, her stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. “I know, I write from experience.”

Ms. Mason has three novels previously published in the unsavory heritage series. Tessa, Clara Bess, and Cissy are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. She also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She is currently working on The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, Book Two in her new series, Seasons. It releases in November, following The Long Shadows of Summer which releases in August. Books 3 and 4 in the series will be out in 2018.
1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?
The voices in my head! LOL I’ve always had story ideas, and once I started writing and got serious about it, this whole writing thing just took off!
              
2. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
It really never did. The stories were there but writing them just didn’t occur to me. I wanted to be an actress (I have done some acting and I love it!) When I was pre-teen, I wanted to be an Interior Designer—and I earned my degree four years ago.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?  Do these authors influence your writing?
As Tosca Lee said when I asked this question in interview, “Are you trying to get me killed?” LOL I have so many author friends, so many I love to read—I could mention a few but not possible to list them all... That said, and in no particular order, I give you Pepper Basham, Mikal Dawn, Tessa Afshar, Kristen Heitzmann, Laurie Tomlinson, Conni Cossette, Varina Denman, Marian Merritt…

4. When you are not writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
Reading, of course, and working in the yard, painting / drawing, designing, creating artist books.

5. What inspired the idea for The Long Shadows of Summer?
As with all my stories, there is a question of identity. TLSoS is the first of four stories that are woven together in a larger story. That larger story is what first incubated in my mind.

6. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Long Shadows of Summer?
We are who God made us to be, no matter our life or circumstance.



10 Places You Have Visited or Want to Visit

  1. I’ve been to Trinidad and Tobago three times on mission trips. Third time it was November, and it was just as muggy and hot as summers here! Beautiful people, beautiful scenery, and beautiful ministry.
  2. Ireland. Want to go. Will go someday. I’m part Irish, and I do love all things Celtic. And I do a fair good Irish accent, too, don’tcha know?
  3. England. Apparently, per my accent, I’m from Reading, a mere 40 miles from London. I love the history—and of course, I love our good friend, Jane Austen.
  4. Israel. The birthplace of my faith, the land where Jesus walked.
  5. Egypt. Pyramids, yes, but Dame Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile piqued my interest. Well, so did Conni Cossette’s Out from Egypt series.
  6. South Africa, specifically Victoria Falls. I’ve a few friends from S.A. and after writing a piece on the falls decided I just need to see this place for myself.
  7. Australia. I gotta come see my lovely hostess of course! wink wink  I’ve made a few other Aussie friends along this writer journey, and it would be dear to me to see all your faces!
  8. Machu Picchu. I’ve been intrigued with this place since I first laid eyes on pics of it as a child. The green! The mountains! The ruins! Breathtaking!
  9. Hawaii. Because who doesn’t!
  10. Greece. Because it’s beautiful Because Plato and Hippocrates and Socrates. And because the pivotal scene in my debut novel takes place on Santorini!
 
            “I need your help, Mercedes.” Her long gloved fingers toyed with the watch.
            “Does it still work?” She looked at me. “The watch. Does it work?”
            “It does, yes.” A smile curved her lips as a memory crossed her face.
            Monsieur Fontaine had visited Saisons House but rarely. He had business dealings with Monsieur Dubois, and they were never pleasant. The household staff, indeed the whole house seemed to hold a collective breath when the man was near.
            All except us girls. We all found it quite intriguing. I was an avid reader, and most enamored of detective stories, and Scarlett and Simone liked me to tell what I had read. Our childish imaginations took fanciful flight, and we spun our own stories from the intrigues of the house. Pearl, of course, was bored with our game, preferring the more dainty activities, but she joined in as our damsel in distress.
             We had a great many adventures, roaming the house and the property, and imagined secret passages and underground dungeons. That was quite impossible, living at the edge of the swamp as we did, but we neither knew nor cared.
           
             Simone was at her leisure in the house, even in her papá’s study, unless he or her grand-père were in there. We thought ourselves great stealthy spies, hiding behind the dark blue velvet drapes. Many was the discussion we overhead, none of which we understood. But we took grown up words, and made up our own significance to them, weaving fantastic tales of murder and intrigue and high crimes.
            On one such occasion, we were sprawled on the leather couches, mimicking what we had observed as the men smoked their cigars and pipes. We were tossing about the language they often spoke, mostly weather and crops and trading.
            We heard angry voices in the hallway, and heavy footsteps coming toward the study.
            One of the voices was Monsieur Fontaine.
            Scarlett panicked, and I feared she would wet herself. Simone and Pearl both made themselves scarce, disappearing in the best spot behind the drapes in the corner. A large potted fern stood in front of them.
            I drew Scarlett with me, hiding behind the drapes in the opposite corner behind the settee. Not as discreet, but we had no choice.
            “I saw your girl in my house.” Monsieur Fontaine slammed his fist onto the desk. “And now my watch is missing. Mon père gave me that watch, and his père before him. And now it’s missing.”
            “Adrién—” Simone’s père began.
            “I demand you fetch your girl this minute.” Monsieur Fontaine cut him off. “I shall interrogate her and she will tell me where my watch is.”
            “You will do no such thing.” Monsieur Dubois rarely lost his temper. But Monsieur Fontaine always brought out the worst in even the best man. “I shall ask my daughter if she knows of your watch. And if she does, then she will tell me where it is, and I, sir, shall discipline my daughter as I see fit. You will have nothing to do with her.”
            Scarlett was shaking quite violently at this juncture, and I quietly drew my hand over her mouth. What had the man done to her, for her to be so frightened in his presence? I truly did not want to know; I feared what the answer might have been.
            I held her close, stroking her hair with my hand. I could not whisper to ease her discomfort, as I feared even my whispers would carry, and our position would surely be discovered.
            The men argued for some time, Monsieur Dubois standing his ground, and Monsieur Fontaine growing angrier by the second. I was sure, if I were to peek, his face would have been as red as a beet with steam spewing from his ears.
             Presently, the horrid man left, and Monsieur Dubois sank into his chair with a loud sigh. He rummaged through his desk drawer and soon the smell of black cherry tobacco filled the room.
           Simone was brilliant sometimes, and now was one of those moments. She took advantage of being in her father’s periphery, and crept her way along the wall behind the drapes. There were windows all along the northern wall, with a set of doors in the center.
          
            She made her way to the doors and—she told us later—peered out to be sure her père was not looking, opened the doors and stood there as if she were just coming in from outside. We all took our cue from her, and chattered nervously, asking Monsieur Dubois of his day.
            “Oh, Père.” She rushed to him, and hugged him tight. “I can see you’ve had an awful day. Can I pour you a brandy?”
             Monsieur Dubois laughed at this, knowing she was imitating her mother’s gestures. He declined the brandy, but stood and spun her around, Simone’s feet swinging out. She giggled, and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
            The watch was never recovered.