Sunday, May 20, 2018

Guest Post: Get A Clue by Author Julie Moffett

Today, I'm excited to have Author Julie Moffett as my guest...  

Get a Clue!
By Julie Moffett

One of the reasons I love to read and write mysteries and adventure stories is I get to sort through clues and figure out the problems as the story unfolds. In mysteries, romantic suspense and thriller novels, the discovery of the clues and the resulting action and adventure are what drive the plot. I admit it—I love the thrill of the hunt, the misdirection, red herrings, false clues, relationship drama and, ultimately, the final twist and denouement.

It's so much fun!

When I was a kid, I loved to play the board game Clue. I still do. My eleven-year-old son and I play all the time. It's an activity we enjoy doing together, and I like knowing I'm stimulating my son's observation and deductive skills.

Our favorite cartoon? Scooby Doo and the Mystery Gang, of course. Not surprisingly, Velma is our favorite character. Why? Because she looks for clues! She thinks. She deduces. She's the brains behind the operation. Her clue assembly and observation skills lead to the resolution of the mystery. Our intrepid heroine likes to figure things out piece-by-piece, clue-by-clue. For her, the devil is in the details. Mystery solved. Jinkies!

As a writer, I love to give my readers a good conundrum, a puzzling twist, a plot that is mysterious, adventurous and interesting. As a reader, I actively search for books with these elements. I like to add those elements to my stories because I enjoy writing them as much as like reading them. So, bring on the clues and let’s get reading!

Question for you: What’s your favorite mystery series right now?


NO REGRETS is Book 10 in the humorous Lexi Carmichael mystery series published by Carina Press and was released January 2018.

Geek girl Lexi Carmichael has tackled her share of formidable tasks, but nothing quite as daunting as serving as maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding…

When I agreed to stand by my best friend, Basia, on her big day, I had no idea what I was in for. Bouquets and unflattering evening wear I can handle. But between disgruntled dates, a beach venue and suspicious packages, what else can go wrong? Oh, right—my parents don’t know I’ve moved in with Slash. Oops?

Thankfully, I’ve got everything semi under control, at least as far as Basia and Xavier know. They can leave for their honeymoon happy, knowing Elvis, Slash and I will keep things safe at home.

Meanwhile, Elvis and Xavier’s boss at ComQuest has asked X-Corp—well, me—to take a quick trip to retrieve a sensitive company package from the British Virgin Islands. No hacking involved. Just show up, accept the package and bring it home safely. A cushy assignment, and a safe one. Right?

Wrong. Things start to unravel the minute I set foot on the boat to the island. Before I know it, I’m up to my neck in thugs, sand and trouble. I’m going to have to work fast to stop the bad guys before the sun sets for good on this unexpected beach vacation…

Links to ALL the books in the Lexi Carmichael mystery series (including NO REGRETS) are HERE.

Note: NO MONEY DOWN, the novella in the Lexi Carmichael mystery series is only 99 cents until midnight (EST), May 31st.

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Meet the Author 

Julie Moffett is a bestselling author and writes in the genres of mystery, young adult, historical romance and paranormal romance. She has won numerous awards, including the 2014 Mystery & Mayhem Award for Best YA/New Adult Mystery, the prestigious 2014 HOLT Award for Best Novel with Romantic Elements, a HOLT Merit Award for Best Novel by a Virginia Author (twice!), the 2016 Award of Excellence, a PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel AND Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002, and the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Action/Adventure Novel. She has also garnered additional nominations for the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Sign up for Julie’s newsletters (about 5 a year) for a chance at awesome prizes and free books at her website: You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. All comments are welcomed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spotlight New Release: CHARMED BONES (A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery) by Carolyn Haines

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Zinnia, Mississippi is rife with quirky characters, but the arrival of three sister witches—and their intention to open a Wiccan boarding school—sets the small town on its ear. And bodies begin to accumulate as a result. Faith, Hope, and Charity Harrington are sexy and smart. They’re setting up their boarding school in an old dairy—a piece of property with tremendous development potential. And they’re standing in the way of “progress,” according to some in the town.

When young Corey Fontana goes missing, Delaney Detective Agency is hired to find the youth—who’s well known as a local hooligan. His mother, Kitten Fontana, who is married to the kind of land development, believes the witches have abducted her son and makes no bones about it. She’s willing to pay hard cash to find her son, especially if she can implicate the witches in his disappearance.

When Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner, Tinkie Richmond, find Corey, unharmed, it is only the beginning of a series of events that include midnight dances under a full moon, love potions, and murder. Are the sister witches criminals… or victims? Do they truly have magical powers, as they claim? Sarah Booth and Tinkie must find the answer before more people are harmed.

The Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Series

About the Author

Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series and a number of other books in mystery and crime, including the Pluto's Snitch paranormal-historical mystery series, and Trouble, the black cat detective romantic suspense books. She is the recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. She is a former journalist, bartender, photographer, farmhand, and college professor and lives on a farm where she works with rescue cats, dogs, and horses.       

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spotlight: CHERRY PIE OR DIE by CeeCee James

Synopsis (from Amazon)

After a traumatic life event, Georgie Tanner returns to her hometown to start her life over... at 31 years old. Add sporadic memory loss to the mix and Georgie is a certified hot mess.
Luckily, Aunt Cecelia is there with a job for Georgie. She might not feel able to take on the world, but she's think she's up for taking tourists through Gainesville, Pennsylvania's historic downtown. The place is as American as apple pie, steeped in rich Revolutionary history, Amish settlements, ghost stories, and colonial manors. Georgie knew it was a safe place to go to piece back her memories.

After all, what could go wrong in a sleepy town like this?

Until she leads a group of tourists through the Three Maidens' Manor, a battle site converted into a museum. When the power goes out during the tour, Georgie thinks it's a crazy fluke. But when it returns, she has six panicked guests, and a dead man in her midst.
Who would want to kill him? And more importantly, which one of them was the murderer?

Bonus: With Recipes!  Only $0.99 or FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

The Series:
Crème Brûlée To Slay (Baker Street Cozy Mysteries Book 3)

About CeeCee James (from Amazon)
CeeCee James is a wife, mom of four kids and pet mom to two mini-dashchunds. She's always loved to read and always had her nose in a book-- getting her into trouble at school when she'd sneak it in her text books.

Writing has been a life long passion. Her first works were published in middle school in a local newspaper, and she won several short story and poetry competitions through out her life. Her published works include the Angel Lake Cozy Mystery series, nonfiction Ghost No More, and Wrecked and Yours, a sweet romance series. She loves writing about love and the celebration of life. Sometimes there is beauty even in the chaos of a messy moment. For her, writing is about taking time to savor those moments.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Spotlight: COOKS, CROOKS AND A CORPSE : Baker Girls Cozy Mystery Book 1 by Maria Grazia Swan

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Can't resist lighthearted comedy dressed with a little mystery that never takes you down a dark road?

Good, because that’s what you get when you put two hot Italian imports together. Meet the hot pink Fiat 500 and its owner, real estate agent Monica Baker. 

Now stir in a dead body, a caterer about to lose her license, a real estate office coming off the rails, a goofy Great Dane, and a lively heroine who can’t help falling for the brooding bad boy. This is the world of Monica Baker: a high-speed mystery with a serving of mischief and a side of laughs.

Psst... only 99 cents until May 10th!

Book Trivia from Maria Grazia Swan:

When I started this new series I wanted to insert as much of my real life details as possible. Here are a few examples:

Like Monica, I sell Real Estate in Phoenix, Arizona

I’m from Italy, but have US Citizenship.

I married, and divorced an American man.

I learned how to drive in a Fiat 500.

I owned and loved to death a goofy Great Dane.

I often hike the 40th street trails.

I love Amaretti di Saronno and spinach balls.

And last, Monica’s version of recipes, is what I do when I cook for myself.
Author Info

From her author bio on Amazon : 

National Bestselling author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona--but stay tuned for weekly updates of Where in the World is Maria Grazia Swan?

I haven't read this one yet, but humor and mystery sound good to me!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

REVIEW: DOG COLLAR CRIME Misadventures of a Frustrated Mob Princess (A Lucie Rizzo Mystery Book 1) by Adrienne Giordano

Synoposis (from Amazon):

Out of work and down on her luck, Lucie Rizzo is forced to do the one thing she’s long avoided—come home to her nutty, mob-infested family. A move that brings her back into the tempting arms of Frankie Falcone, the smoldering Italian ex who’s no stranger to living with the mob.

When Lucie parlays her temporary dog-walking gig into a legit career, Frankie becomes her number one supporter. Suddenly, shaking her mob princess reputation doesn’t seem so crazy…until three of her clients are dogjacked.

Despite help from the on-again, off-again Mr. Fix-It in her life, Lucie is thrown into a criminal conspiracy straight out of a gangster movie. One that, if she’s not careful, could leave her sleeping with the fishes.


Lucie's dream is to stop being a mafia princess and to do this she got a degree and a good job in a bank. That's now history and she's back in her same princess bedroom and dog walking to make some money until she can once again escape. She also starts, with her mother's help, making dog collars and dog coats. And Frankie, whose only fault is that his father is also in the mob and has taken over for Lucie's father while he's in jail, is as supportive as he can be. When Lucie's dog walking leads to dognapping, Frankie and Lucie's brother even help with the dog walking. 

This is the first in a series with humor, romance, and the mystery of who's behind the dognappings which may be connected somehow to the mob. The characters have depth and idiosyncracies, the pace is steady. I love dogs, I'm Italian, and this was a fun read. I already picked up another one in the series. 

As of this posting, Dog Collar Crime is FREE on Amazon!

Dog Collar Crime
Knocked Off

Monday, April 23, 2018

Blog Tour:Cover Reveal THE GOLD PAWN

The Gold Pawn

November 1936. Mayor La Guardia’s political future buckles under a missing person case in New York City. Simultaneously, Lane unravels devastating secrets in the outskirts of Detroit. As two crimes converge, judging friends from enemies can be a dangerous game . . .

Finally summoning the courage to face the past, Lane Sanders breaks away from her busy job at City Hall to confront childhood nightmares in Rochester, Michigan. An unknown assailant left Lane with scattered memories after viciously murdering her parents. However, one memory of a dazzling solid gold pawn piece remains—and with it lies a startling connection between the midwestern tragedy and a current mystery haunting the Big Apple . . .

Meanwhile, fears climb in Manhattan after the disappearance of a respected banker and family friend threatens the crippled financial industry and the pristine reputation of Lane’s virtuous boss, Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia. Fio’s fight to restore order leads him into more trouble as he meets a familiar foe intent on ending his mayoral term—and his life . . .

Guided by overseas telegrams from the man she loves and painful memories, only Lane can silence old ghosts and derail present-day schemes. But when the investigation awakens a darker side of her own nature, will she and New York City’s most prominent movers and shakers still forge ahead into a prosperous new age . . . or is history doomed to repeat itself?

Ready . . .

Set. . .


Coming September 25 from Kensington Books!

Pre-order your copy today!

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About the Author

L .A. Chandlar is the author of the Art Deco Mystery Series with Kensington Publishing featuring Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and a fresh take on the innovation and liveliness of 1930s New York City. Her debut novel, The Silver Gun released August 29, 2017, and the sequel, The Gold Pawn, will release September 25th, 2018. Laurie has been living and writing in New York City for 16 years and has been speaking for a wide variety of audiences for over 20 years including a women’s group with the United Nations. Her talks range from NYC history, the psychology of creativity, and the history of holiday traditions. Laurie has also worked in PR for General Motors, writes and fund-raises for a global nonprofit is the mother of two boys, and has toured the nation managing a rock band.
Author Links

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

MALICIOUS MISCHIEF : A Hannah and Tamar Mystery



Social media, smoke bombs, and a secret society.

When a popular jock senses something’s up with his younger sister, he turns to local teen sleuths, Hannah and Tamar, for help. At the same time, a rash of smoke bombs attacks across Rosedale has the community on edge. Are these events connected and could someone at Rosedale High be involved?

Join Hannah and Tamar as they uncover malicious mischief and forge new friendships in this mystery for teens and young adults.

Read an excerpt:

It was the end of the day and as the bell rang, the halls erupted with students and noise. Hannah rushed through the crowd to her locker and grabbed her jacket. Her sister, Tamar, waited on her in the parking lot and she was not known for her patience.

Hannah felt someone collide with her and tried to keep going to no avail. She turned to see what the problem was and faced a very tall, stocky male. His hand was hooked through the strap of her backpack. He yelled to someone, “I know. I’ll see you there, Jake.”

He turned to Hannah. “You’re Hannah Bertolet, right?”

Hannah nodded.

“This way. I need to talk to you.”

When Hannah held her ground, he looked around and whispered, “Honest, I’m not gonna hurt you. I need your help.” He pleaded, “Please, this way.”

Her curiosity won out over her better judgment, and she allowed him to guide her in the direction of the gym and into an empty classroom. Once inside, he let go of her backpack and slid into a chair. Seated and slumped over, he was a lot less threatening than when he was towering over her. He had a baby face and dark hair that stuck out in tufts, reminding her of a bear. She sat down next to him and waited for him to speak.
“I’m Miles Rothstein. My grandmother told us all about how you and your sister solved a mystery for one of her pals at Parkview Heights. That’s why I need your help.” His voice was low and quiet, like he shared a secret.

Hannah racked her brain and it finally clicked. Stella Rothstein, the gossip at Parkview Heights. “What’s wrong? Is Mrs. Rothstein alright?”

“She’s fine – well, at least as fine as ever. I’m the one who needs your help. You’ll help me, right?”
“What? I don’t know if I can.”

“You just have to help me. I… I don’t know who else can.”

The door to the classroom opened and students started walking in, along with Coach Summer.
Miles straightened up and extended his hand. In a louder voice, he dismissed her. “Thanks for agreeing to tutor me. I need to keep my grades up to play. I’ll call you to set up times.”

With a quick glance, Hannah realized the whole football team was pouring into the room. She nodded and left. She still didn’t have a clue what Miles needed help with though she was sure he’d be in touch.
Hannah looked at her watch and ran to the parking lot. The Bertolet’s green Subaru Outback was nowhere to be seen. She checked her phone to see if there was a message. No message. She clicked on Tamar’s name and waited for her to answer.

“Tamar, where are you? I’m in the parking lot.”

“You didn’t come out so I figured you must have made other plans.”

“Right. Well, you can come right back here and get me. I wasn’t that late so you can’t be all that far from here.”

“Alright, alright. I’ll be there in about five minutes.”

Hannah waited impatiently and tried to imagine what Miles might want. She was pretty sure it wasn’t tutoring. She shook her head as Tamar pulled up.

“What are you shaking your head about? Why were you late? Studying with Scott?” she teased.

“If only. One of the football players grabbed me – he wanted to talk to me about something, but then the rest of the team showed up.” Hannah shrugged. “No idea what the problem was, I only know Mrs. Rothstein is his grandmother.”

“Oh, gosh. If he’s anything like her…” She groaned.

“I know. I also know he wasn’t trying to ask me for a date. When the team showed up he made comments about tutoring him in math. Only before that, he made a point of mentioning our solving the mystery at Parkview. He said he needed our help.”

“Was he cute? Not that the jocks would be interested in dating nerds.”

“What about Matt? Or Dylan?”

Matt and Dylan were friends from Vermont. The sisters hung out with them when they visited their grandparents for the holidays. The foursome would go skiing or skating or out for a movie or dinner. More recently, Matt and Hannah or Dylan and Tamar might do something on their own.

“Hannah, people in VT – even Matt and Dylan – don’t see us every day or in school. They don’t know you’ve been taking college level classes for two years and I’m taking some now. All they know is we’re the granddaughters of one of their own. Besides when we’re there, it’s all about the holidays or vacation – not how smart we are or our grades.”

“Are we really not nerdy or geeky when we aren’t in school?”

“I don’t think we’re labeled that way. Besides, thanks to Gramps, Matt, and Dylan, we actually know about sports and stuff other than school subjects. Most girls don’t even understand the games.”

“You realize you just admitted we’re even geeks about sports.” Hannah chuckled.

Tamar rolled her eyes. “But was this guy cute? Another quarterback for you? You never answered me.”

“Miles? Definitely not a quarterback. I don’t know for sure what position he plays. We can look it up later. He’s tall and big. Not just because I’m on the short side. Taller than Matt. And stocky. I’m not sure he’d have to do much more than hold his position to block someone. I’d guess he plays defense or maybe he’s a linebacker. Okay looking, I guess.”

“Oh, well. I still bet Scott will be jealous if you start hanging out with him.”

“I keep telling you, Tamar, Scott and I are just friends. We’re study buddies. Yes, we went out on one date. That’s it.” Hannah shook her head. “I could say the same thing about you and Kyle you know. You eat lunch together every day and he took you to homecoming last fall.”

“Okay, okay. Kyle and I aren’t even study buddies. Miles may not want you to tutor him, but that’s the motivation for Kyle. He wants to stay on my good side so I can help him with his English lit. He and Bella are on again, off again – that’s the only reason he asked me to Homecoming.”

Tamar sighed. Kyle was awesome. His blonde hair, blue eyes, and easy smile got to her every time. No chance with him though. Bella had his heart or at least his hormones. On the dance team, she was athletic with curves in all the right places and very social. An attractive girl of average height with straight, dark brown hair and hazel eyes, Tamar’s slim figure couldn’t compete with Bella’s curves.

Tamar pulled the car into the driveway of their home in Rosedale, Virginia. The sisters exchanged worried glances when they parked next to their father’s silver Lexus.

“What’s dad doing home so early? Or are we that late?”

Hannah looked at her watch. “He’s early. I wonder what’s going on?”

Excerpt from Malicious Mischief by Christa Nardi & Cassidy Salem. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

To celebrate the release, both Malicious Mischief and The Mysterious Package are on sale through April 24th for $0.99!   

Purchase Links:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: SHARPE TURN : Maycroft Mystery Series Book 4 by Lisa B. Thomas

Sharpe Turn (Maycroft Mystery Series Book 4)

When a famous author agrees to teach a writing course at the library, amateur sleuth Deena Sharpe eagerly signs up. But on the second day of class, the author’s wife dies in a car crash, and the police suspect foul play. Is it a hoax to teach his students about plotting a murder mystery? Not likely.

Deena dives into the investigation when a friend is accused of the crime. With her brother’s help, she must clear their friend’s name and stay out of trouble with the town’s newest detective. As if that weren’t enough, it’s her husband’s birthday and her pushy mother-in-law is coming to town. What’s a Southern gal to do?

Sharpe Turn is Book 3 in the Maycroft Mystery Series. If you like a savvy sleuth and a twisty plot, this clean whodunit may be your new favorite cozy mystery.


Deena is once again involved in a murder mystery, this time of a famous mystery writer. Everyone is excited he's going to teach a class, including the librarian. When his wife dies in a suspicious wreck, her friend is a suspect. Even her brother ventures outside his comfort range to help. Deena's husband Gary is away at a conference and there's a new detective on the case - and not one she particularly has had good interactions with before. Amidst all the mystery, the crisis facing Deena is making Gary's birthday cake to impress his mother that she really can cook. 

This is the fourth in the Maycroft Mystery Series, a fun series. Each can be read as a stand alone mystery with characters re-occurring across books. I've managed to read them out of order without any problems. This is also a clean read, so if you like your mystery without the gore and graphic descriptions, you won't be offended by this one, or the others in the series. 

AMAZON BUY LINK for Sharpe Turn

Sharpe Shooter #1
Sharpe Edge #2
Sharpe Mind #3
Sharpe Turn #4
Sharpe Point #5
Sharpe Cookie #6
Get Sharpe #7

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Blog tour: THE SILVER GUN by


New York City, 1936. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Big Apple is defiantly striving toward an era infused with art, architecture, and economic progress under the dynamic Mayor La Guardia. But those in City Hall know that tumultuous times can inspire both optimism and deadly danger . . .

It’s been six months since Lane Sanders was appointed Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia’s new personal aide, and the twenty-three-year-old is sprinting in her Mary Janes to match her boss’s pace. Despite dealing with vitriol from the Tammany Hall political machine and managing endless revitalization efforts, Fio hasn’t slowed down a bit during his years in office. And luckily for Lane, his unpredictable antics are a welcome distraction from the childhood memories that haunt her dreams—and the silver gun she’ll never forget.

When Lane gets attacked and threatened by an assailant tied to one of most notorious gangsters in the city, even the mayor can’t promise her safety. The corrupt city officials seem to be using Lane as a pawn against Fio for disgracing their party in the prior election. But why was the assailant wielding the exact same gun from her nightmares?

Balancing a clandestine love affair and a mounting list of suspects, Lane must figure out how the secrets of her past are connected to the city’s underground crime network—before someone pulls the trigger on the most explosive revenge plot in New York history . . .


Lane was raised by her aunt after her parents died and she almost died. Now she's working in the Mayor's office with the usual jealousy - especially with Fio's relationship with her aunt and his morning stops at their home for breakfast. The political opposition is believed to be behind the recent crime including the murder. They are getting more and more bold, so much so that she seeks the assistance of the well known (and feared) gangster with a promise that she'll find the killer. Amidst all this, Lane has recurring nightmares that include a silver gun, and now she's seen the real thing. What she finds out is unexpected and only adds to the mystery.

The characters are unique in their antics and personalities. The story includes subplots and red herrings to distract the reader.  The pace is steady and I enjoyed the book. This is the first in the Art Deco Mystery series and I look forward to reading more of these as Lane matures. 

About the Author
L .A. Chandlar is the author of the Art Deco Mystery Series with Kensington Publishing featuring Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and a fresh take on the innovation and liveliness of 1930s New York City. Her debut novel, The Silver Gun released August 29, 2017, and the sequel, The Gold Pawn, will release September 25th, 2018. Laurie has been living and writing in New York City for 16 years and has been speaking for a wide variety of audiences for over 20 years including a women’s group with the United Nations. Her talks range from NYC history, the psychology of creativity, and the history of holiday traditions. Laurie has also worked in PR for General Motors, writes and fund-raises for a global nonprofit, is the mother of two boys, and has toured the nation managing a rock band.

Watch for the Cover Reveal for the 2nd book in this series on April 23!

Author Links


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Tour Participants

April 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

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

April 13 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

April 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

April 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 16 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

April 17 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

April 17 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST


April 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT

April 20 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

April 21 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 22 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Guest Post: Carl Brookins, Author of GRAND LAC

Today, it's my pleasure to welcome Carl Brookins, author of Grand Lac and his take on amateur sleuths. 


I’ve been participating in a local SISTERS IN CRIME chapter panel on amateur detectives. From that experience I have gleaned a number of useful ideas which I share here, thanks to my fellow sisters and my own experience. I do not maintain that these suggestions are in any way endorsed by Sisters In Crime. That doesn’t make them any the less useful for the writers who may read this piece, looking for a few pointers.

Amateur sleuths need to be special, in the sense that they have a higher level of interest or motivation. That interest can come from a very wide range of sources. My unlicensed detective, Alan Lockem, was Military Intelligence in an earlier life. His companion was a very intelligent and talented exotic dancer.

Some amateurs have friends who are cops like Betsy Devonshire, owner of a needlecraft shop, whose customers and knitting friends, and the cops bring her into crime solving. When an amateur detective has good relations with local law enforcement—and some don’t—it can add another dimension to your story. Amateurs are often able and willing to engage in questionable behavior to aid police and help solve the crime.

In the area of the paranormal, or spirit world, amateur sleuths may draw on that uncertain world for clues that ordinary citizens wouldn’t recognize. Occasionally a small group of otherwise ordinary individuals may pool their talents and boost access to the spirit world through their multiplicity of strengths. Such a group is called No Ordinary Women, a series in which the five characters refuse to accept things at face value, which leads them into danger and crime-solving of many sorts.

Nosiness is a helpful attribute. An inherent unwillingness to accept circumstances at face value is vital. Another useful attribute is life circumstance. My unlicensed detective referred to above is financially independent, as is his companion, Marjorie Kane. Thus, in GRAND LAC they can fly off to Idaho at a moment’s notice to aid Marjorie’s relative, accused of murder. Your amateur investigator must have a spouse or companion, or a career, which allows him or her to pivot to nearly full-time attention to the case (or body) that intrigue’s her. Presumably they have a normal job and life to return to after solving the case.

There are only so many relatives asking for help and so many law officers who will put up with amateur meddling, which mean an author ought to spend some time figuring out the context, social, professional and otherwise, presuming that a series will result, in a situation which does not provoke readers and reviewers like me to throw up our hands in frustration at the unlikely circumstances engaging the protagonist. 

In sum, amateur detectives are mostly (but not always) sheer invention. Those with true talent and ability often end up working as professionals for law enforcement. The others often go gently into that good night.

Brief bio and links for Carl Brookins:
Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Carl Brookins was a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Brookins and his wife are avid recreational sailors. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can frequently be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave.

He writes the sailing adventure series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney. The third novel is Old Silver. His new private investigator series features Sean NMI Sean, a short P.I. The first is titled The Case of the Greedy Lawyers. Brookins received a liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota and studied for a MA in Communications at Michigan State University.

Buy links:

Grand Lac