DEATH OVERDUE by Marilyn Levinson

It’s my pleasure to welcome mystery author Marilyn Levinson, aka Allison Brook. Marilyn tells us about her latest, DEATH OVERDUE, which I highly recommend. She also shares about her winding path to publication.

Maggie, I’m delighted to be here as your guest to talk about DEATH OVERDUE, the first book in my Haunted Library Mystery series. Carrie Singleton has led a vagabond sort of life since she left college seven years earlier. Feeling downhearted, she visits her great aunt and uncle, who now live in the village of Clover Ridge after selling the family farm where Carrie had spent happy childhood summers. Uncle Bosco is on the library board and gets her a job in the local library. But the work is low level and boring, and Carrie decides it’s time to move on. The director offers her the position of Head of Programs and Events. Carrie’s about to turn it down when a voice urges her to be sensible and say she’ll think it over. Startled to discover the voice belongs to the ghost of Evelyn Havers, a library assistant who died six years earlier, Carrie reconsiders and accepts the position.

Carrie’s first big event features a detective who claims he’s solved a homicide—the murder of a local woman he was investigating fifteen years earlier. The victim’s older son wants the library to cancel the program, but Carrie convinces Sally to present it as scheduled. The detective is poisoned in front of his audience, and Carrie is beside herself. She joins forces with the victim’s younger son to solve the two murders. In the course of their investigation, Carrie exposes many secrets and witnesses various family squabbles. Still, she finds time to build friendships, engage in a budding romance and adopt a stray kitty that becomes a library favorite.

I started out writing novels for young readers quite some time ago. Years later, I wrote romantic suspense and mysteries, which were published by small presses. After encountering problems with some of the small press publishers, I published a few of my books on my own.

While my books have been well-received by readers and reviewers, none have gotten the acclaim and attention bestowed on DEATH OVERDUE, my cozy that came out in October. This time I decided to go the agent route, and my wonderful agent sold the manuscript to Crooked Lane Books. They gave me a two-book contract and asked me to write my new series under a pseudonym, which I was willing to do. I thought Allison Brook was the perfect non de plume.

This proved to be a wonderful decision for me and my Haunted Library mystery series! I have the most wonderful editor, and CLB gave DEATH OVERDUE a vibrant cover that readers love! Things started popping well before my October 10th pub date because of CLB’s wonderful publicist. Blackstone made an audio of the book. Library Journal gave DEATH OVERDUE a starred review and made it Pick of the Month. My book became available on Net Galley, which garnered it many great reviews from readers. It received a favorable review in Publishers Weekly, and thousands of readers have taken part in the Goodreads giveaways. The book is a Mystery/Literary Guild book club selection. The book was listed as #111 of the 200 most popular Goodreads books for October, 2017. I am thrilled each time I learn of  a new review or place where my book is being sold.

I’m thankful that I’m with a wonderful publishing company that sends out copies to reviewers and places that might feature my book. I could never do this as a self-published author. When I asked my local Barnes & Noble if they’d like to have me come and read from my new book, I was offered a choice of dates to appear. All this has been an amazing experience for me—and for Carrie Singleton, my sleuth in my Haunted Library mystery series.

Purchase DEATH OVERDUE at Amazon:


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A Tribute to Linda Palmer and Melinda Wells

An actress, a playwright, a wildlife photographer, a screenwriter, a producer, former vice president of production at Tristar Pictures, a professor at UCLA, and novelist, her cat is named ‘Magic.’

This is how the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) described the extraordinary Linda Palmer. I know her as the author of two cozy mystery series. One features Morgan Tyler, a soap opera writer living and working in New York City. She pens the second series, set in Santa Monica, California, under the pseudonym Melinda Wells; her sleuth, Della Carmichael, showcases her love of cooking both as star of a cable TV cooking show and as owner of a cooking school.

The Della Carmichael series includes lots of intriguing recipes. I haven’t tried them yet—but I will! First up will be Della’s “Gangster Chicken” Cacciatore.

I first read the Della Carmichael series and looked for more books by Melinda Wells. That’s when I found that she and Linda Palmer were one and the same and that she had passed away in 2013. And so I started on the Morgan Tyler series and have one to go.

Both series are cozy, but with a definite bite. The sleuths enjoy warm relationships with their many friends, but can be as snarky and feisty as anyone. Cat and dog owners will love the descriptions of the pets. There’s lots of derring-do and hair-raising situations. At times, Ms. Palmer makes the sleuths TSTL (Too Stupid to Live), but that’s a minor point.

If you haven’t read these short and finite series, do yourself a favor and seek them out.

For bibliographies, visit Stop! You’re Killing Me.

Read UCLA Extension’s tribute to Linda Palmer.

Read a tribute from one of Linda Palmer’s students.




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Amy M. Reade Interviews Sylvie Carmichael of Highland Peril

When Maggie first asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I had a hard time settling on a topic.

I considered writing about research, my experiences in Scotland (and the Highlands in particular), family vacations in general, the mystery festival Maggie and I were going to attend together, and the craft of mystery writing.

But I was working on another blog post when I came up with a different idea: how about an interview with one of my characters? My hope is that it will give you a glimpse into my upcoming release, Highland Peril, and also give you a chance to get to know my main protagonist, Sylvie, a bit better.


Interviewer (“I”): Do you mind if I record this interview?

Sylvie Carmichael (“SC”): I suppose not.

I: I’m here with Sylvie Carmichael, part owner (with her husband) of Highland Treasures, an antique shop/art gallery in the village of Cauld Loch in the Scottish Highlands. I’m interviewing her today because of her connection with one of the persons of interest in the death of Florian McDermott. Sylvie, as I understand it your husband, Seamus, has been questioned by police a number of times regarding the death of Mr. McDermott. Is that correct?

SC: It is correct, but he had nothing to do with that man’s death.

I: And we’re supposed to take your word for it?

SC: Isn’t that why you invited me here?

I: I’m the one asking the questions, Mrs. Carmichael. So we’re supposed to take your word for it?

SC: Listen, you. My husband may have spent some time in prison, but he’s paid his debt to society. He’s a sweet, gentle man.

I: Why was he in prison?

SC: He assaulted someone, but it was in self-defense. It’s not in his character to hurt people. Really.

I: Uh-huh. How did you come to be acquainted with Florian McDermott?

SC: He was a customer in our store. He bought a painting from us.

I: Was there anything significant about the painting?

SC: The man who painted it was an old Scottish master, a famous artist. Seamus first saw the painting in an old junk shop in Edinburgh and he bought it for a steal.

I: No pun intended.

SC: I don’t think you’re very funny.

I: Sorry. Please continue.

SC: Anyway, Florian came around one day and liked the painting and bought it.

I: Then he was killed?

SC: Yes. He was killed in a car accident that night.

I: The police obviously don’t think it was an accident.

SC: I suppose not. My money is on the guy who came looking for that same painting the next morning.

I: What guy?

SC: We don’t know his name, but he drove all night long, all the way up from London (or so he says), to see the painting in our shop. But by that time Florian had bought it and left.

I: Interesting. What’s so special about that painting?

SC: I have no idea. No one seems to know. But there must be something about it that would make someone kill to get it.

I: Who has the painting now?

SC: I don’t know. It wasn’t found among Florian’s things when the police found his car.

I: Do the police have any leads, other than questioning your husband?”

SC: Not that I know of. I’m not exactly on their list of people to call when new evidence turns up. But it wasn’t Seamus, of that I can assure you.

I: Yes. You mentioned that earlier. What brought you to the Highlands? As I understand it, you were previously a resident of Edinburgh.

SC: Seamus convinced me to move up here to get away from the city. At first I resisted, but I’ve come to love living in the Highlands.

I: What do you love most about it?

SC: It’s quiet, or it was until the frenzy surrounding Florian’s death. And I love the mountain behind my house and the loch that the village is named for. I’m a photographer and every day brings something new in the Highlands, whether it’s the interplay of light and shadow on the surface of the loch or the wildlife that live in the woods.

I: Do you miss living in Edinburgh?

SC: I miss some things about it. I miss my sister and her daughter, for example. When Seamus and I go to Edinburgh now it’s a treat. I don’t take it for granted anymore. But I’m always glad to be back home in Cauld Loch.

I: Anything else you’d like to say?

SC: Just that Seamus is a good man. He would never have hurt Florian McDermott. He wants nothing more than to see the police catch the person responsible for Florian’s death.

I: Thanks, Mrs. Carmichael.

SC: You’re welcome.

Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, and recovering attorney. But she also writes (how could she not write with that last name?) and is the author of The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross) and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

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From my TBR List to Yours: What I’ve Been Reading This Summer

I’ve been writing up a storm this summer, but managing to read a lot as well. And that makes me very happy. Here are just a few of the great new-to-me authors I can recommend for your TBR list:

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

At a special dinner in a Sudbury, Ontario restaurant, a lecherous photographer who has at some point managed to annoy all the women in the room, winds up dead. Did he provoke one of the women one time too many?

Lottery winner and entrepreneur Gilda Greco needs to protect her business and her investment in the restaurant, so she launches her own investigation. She uncovers the kind of secrets and resentments that can surely lead to murder.

I enjoyed the characters in Too Many Women in the Room and never guessed whodunit, but the clues were there all along. Learning about Northern Ontario and the Italian community—especially the culinary aspect—was a bonus. The author shares the recipes.

Joanne Guidoccio guest posted on this blog on July 26. Read the article here.

More on Joanne and her books.

Moral Infidelity by Rebecca Warner

Moral Infidelity is a well-crafted suspense tale of how a Florida governor’s intractable moral stance collides with his drive for money and power, threatening his marriage and political career.

There’s a great twist!

More on Rebecca Warner.

More on Moral Infidelity.

Money Grab by Frances Aylor

While financial advisor Robbie Bradford grieves after a personal tragedy, her colleague, Vivian Sutherland, steals her top client. When Vivian is murdered, Robbie becomes the prime suspect.

Can Robbie find Vivian’s killer and clear her own name before she’s the next victim of a money grab?

You’ll love this action-packed financial whodunit. Frances Aylor is an author to watch—as is her sleuth, the resourceful and feisty Robbie Bradford.

Disclosure: Frances is a friend from my local Sisters in Crime group. I was privileged to attend her launch party and look forward to many more.

More on Frances and Money Grab.

Arsenic with Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde

When Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from her great aunt, she expects her life to change. She doesn’t expect to embark on a murder investigation, confront the man who broke her heart 35 years before, and nearly lose her own life.

Emily finds parallels between the characters in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and the characters she suspects are guilty of murder.

Katherine Bolger Hyde has given readers a likeable heroine, intriguing mystery, an Oregon setting, and one of the best romances found in a contemporary mystery.

More on Katherine and her books.

View Katherine’s interview with Kings River Life here.

I met Katherine a few months ago at Malice Domestic.  I liked the premise of her series (Bloodstains with Bronte, #2 in the series, comes out in December.). To create buzz for her new release, Katherine will guest post here on November 29.

The Garden Club Mystery by Graham Gordon Landrum and Robert Landrum

Blurb from Amazon:

Rita Claymore gets things done. The Borderville YWCA would be nothing without her. And don’t forget all that street beautification she has done for the city.

Her main social bailiwick is the Buena Vista Garden Club, founded by her grandmother and now celebrating its status as the oldest such group in the state with a centennial. Rita Claymore also tramples on everyone else to get what she wants; so it is not that surprising when she is found conked with a squirrel ornament in her garden. Harriet Bushrow and Bob Kelsey come to the rescue in investigating the crime and a series of burglaries that don’t seem quite to fit in with the murder.

The Garden Club Mystery is the finale of the Social Club Mysteries series set in Borderville, Virginia (actually Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee). I learned of this series from the “Missing Authors Update #4” post on my blog. I publish a recurring series on Missing Authors and readers submit inquiries about the authors they loved who have seemingly vanished, at least from the publishing scene. One of these inquiries was for Graham Gordon Landrum, who died in 1995, leaving The Garden Club Mystery unfinished. His son, Robert Landrum, finished the story.

This is a charming story, told in first person, but from the perspective of multiple characters. While cozy mysteries, especially those set in the South, often feature quirky characters, this author avoided that practice.

The title especially appealed to me, as I once served as Administrator for the Garden Club of Virginia in Richmond. I will add the rest of The Social Club Mysteries to my TBR list.

More on The Garden Club Mystery at Amazon.

If you question my reading the end of a series first, it’s not unusual. In fact, I posted about this very subject last September. Read my article here.

I’m off to a great start on Amy Reade’s Secrets of Hallstead House.

What are you reading this summer?










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Joanne Guidoccio: Living Vicariously Through My Protagonist

Today mystery author Joanne Guidoccio is my guest. Joanne recently published Too Many Women in the Room and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves an intriguing puzzle and great food (recipes are a bonus!).

Without further ado, here’s Joanne:

In the spring of 2001, I enrolled in the Career Development Practitioner Program at Conestoga College in nearby Kitchener, Ontario. After meeting with the course director, I sat down and meticulously planned the next seven years of my life.

I would continue teaching full-time during the day and take one online course each trimester. I even selected the order so that the more demanding courses would be taken during the summer months. Upon completion of the program, I would spend two summers interning in preparation for retirement and the launch of ReCareering, a counseling practice that would cater to boomers.

That was the fantasy.

The reality was very different.

While the first trimester went smoothly, I encountered several life challenges that derailed my “Second Act” plans. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, entered a nursing home, and died shortly afterward; my mother’s Parkinson’s disease worsened; I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and underwent ten months of treatment. Afterward, I developed hypothyroidism and had three additional cancer scares.

Frustrated and discouraged, I met with the course director. His advice still resonates with me: “Sometimes life happens and you just have to deal with it. But stay the course and complete the journey.”

I managed to complete the CDP program in six years (one year later than planned). While undergoing chemotherapy I started reading cozy mysteries, devouring several books a week. Halfway through my cancer year, I came up with a storyline for my own cozy: What if a teacher-turned-lottery winner returns to her hometown in Northern Ontario, only to find herself the primary suspect in the murders of four blondes. Can she prove her innocence and solve this case before it’s too late?

I identified strongly with the teacher-turned-lottery winner (Gilda Greco). So much so, that I used the first person POV. Our similarities…Italian Canadian, born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, mathematics teachers, career development practitioners, yoga enthusiasts, non-foodies, and ambiverts (extraverted introverts).

Two major differences: Gilda won a $19 million lottery (I’m still hoping). Gilda also realized my “Second Act” dream and opened the first ReCareering office in Northern Ontario.


In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.


The Wild Rose Press released A Season for Killing Blondes in June 2015. This past May, Book 2 (Too Many Women in the Room) was released. Book 3 (A Different Kind of Reunion) will be released in the spring of 2018.

Blurb for Too Many Women in the Room

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?


Carlo’s hand caressed my thigh. More sex. The man could be insatiable. And it had been almost two weeks since our last romp. We started to kiss and then his cell phone vibrated.

Carlo groaned as he leaned over and picked up the phone. He sat up, his back to me. “What’s happened?” he barked. Carlo’s shoulders tensed. A long sigh and then his terse words. “Clear the perimeter, stat.”

Clear the perimeter. My heart beat faster as I recalled the last time I had heard those dreaded words. It could mean only one thing. Another murder. Two murders in less than twenty-hours. What were the chances of that happening in Sudbury? At the Christmas party, the police chief had bragged about one of the lowest murder rates in Canada during the past twelve months.

I swallowed hard. “What’s wrong?”

Carlo turned and gave me a long glance. “Andrew Frattini was found dead in the alleyway behind the ReCareering office.”

The nightmare couldn’t be starting again. This time with different players but still with the same intent. To pin the murder on me. But that strategy wouldn’t work. I had an iron-clad alibi no one could refute.

Carlo dressed quickly. He picked up his phone and then turned toward me. “Stay clear of this, Gilda.”

“How can I ignore it?” I said as I felt myself tearing up. “Someone’s trying to frame me again.”

He leaned over and kissed me. “Well, they didn’t succeed, did they?”

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