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Topics - Becke Davis

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What I'm Reading / Oldies but Goodies
« on: September 14, 2020, 10:40:19 am »
While my husband and I were on a little getaway up the coast in Oregon (no fires in Newport, thank goodness), I reread two Agatha Christie short story collections: PARKER PYNE INVESTIGATES and THE THIRTEEN PROBLEMS. Both are old favorites. I was in the mood for another vintage mystery, so I just finished CAT AND MOUSE by Christianna Brand, first published in 1950, this edition was published in 1985. It's spooky with lots of twists. I enjoyed it!

My friend Susan Stokes sent me the details about a book offer I'd missed:

From the Queen
By Carolyn Hart


Stories bring us together, even when we’re apart. That’s why we’re pleased to share with you a complimentary copy of one of our favorite thrilling reads! #TogetherInStories
Thrift shop owner Ellen Gallagher finds in her possession a first edition of Agatha Christie’s Poirot Investigates that has been signed by the author and inscribed to the Queen of England. But when the coveted book goes missing, Ellen must call on her friend Annie Darling, owner of the mystery bookstore Death on Demand, to track it down.

I just read it - what a fun story! Also, Carolyn Hart mentions a couple of vintage mysteries that are now on  my wish list:


MING YELLOW by John Marquand


I don't have an ereader but I was able to download this for my PC for free. :-)

My husband and I discovered a new TV show last night - WILD BILL, a mystery centered around an American police chief sent from Miami to the north of England to help solve a wave of murders. We watched all four episodes and enjoyed them all. We were looking forward to more, but unfortunately, the series has been dropped. :-(

September 15, 2020 marks what would have been Agatha Christie's 130th birthday. Let's celebrate by re-reading a favorite or two, and maybe watching a TV show or movie based on one of her books.

I mentioned months ago that my son gave me a birthday gift - a visit to a hotel on the Pacific Coast where we will be staying in their Agatha Christie suite. We delayed our visit, hoping coronavirus would be a thing of the past by summer's end. As it turns out, our timing will be perfect for celebrating Dame Agatha's birthday. Now if only the weather holds...

What I'm Reading / Hank Phillippi Ryan's THE FIRST TO LIE
« on: August 12, 2020, 03:53:15 pm »
I'm a huge fan of Hank Phillippi Ryan's books, and her new release THE FIRST TO LIE is awesome!

What I'm Writing / Sale Alerts
« on: August 12, 2020, 03:50:29 pm »
Joanna Campbell Slan has a sale ending today:

FREE tomorrow (Tuesday, Aug. 11) and the next day (Wednesday, Aug. 12

Tear Down & Die: Book #1 in the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series is FREE tomorrow (Aug. 11) and Wednesday (Aug. 12) – SAVE $4.99

By Joanna Campbell Slan


Dread and Butter: An Apple Orchard Mystery -- $5.99

By Chelsea Thomas


Chaos in Little Leaf Creek (A Little Leaf Creek Cozy Mystery Book 1) – 99 cents

By Cindy Bell


Bayou Bubba: Mischance and Calamity Mystery– Pre-order for 99 cents

(08/11/2020 release)

By Sam Cheever


Echoes of Murder--$4.99

By Summer Prescott

A new Thriller/Suspense book.


Pineapple Beach House -- 99c - SAVE $2! (AUG 9-12)

Pineapple Land War -- 99c - SAVE $2! (AUG 11-18)

Both by Amy Vansant

What I'm Writing / New Releases!
« on: August 09, 2020, 12:58:14 am »
New Release Day is an exciting event for readers who are eagerly awaiting new books by their favorite authors, and for authors, who get to celebrate the "birthday" of the books they've sweated blood over. And while we might not always catch the actual day a new release comes out, authors are invited to tell us about their new (or newish) releases right here. I'll try to add cover images when I see authors post here.

Readers - you are welcome to tell us what books you are waiting for here, too!

What I'm Reading / Is a 1983 book vintage?
« on: August 02, 2020, 11:47:47 pm »
I'm used to coming across books I read as a teenager that are now considered vintage. But my daughter was born in 1983, when this book was published. I'm having a hard time thinking of this as vintage, but it's certainly not a new release. The book I just read is THE CASE OF THE MISSING BRONTE by Robert Barnard. He is known for twist endings and interesting plots. This was definitely an interesting plot, but I didn't find it particularly twisty. I thought it was worth reading, but kind of slow going.

I made another trip to the thrift store library and came home with some interesting old paperbacks, a couple hardcovers - Parnell Hall's ARSENIC AND OLD PUZZLES, and Lawrence Block's THE THIEF WHO COULDN'T SLEEP. I thought at first it was one of his series THE BURGLAR WHO... - I really like those, so I hope this one will be similarly entertaining.

I also picked up a couple of old Reader's Digest condensed books for 25 cents each. My parents used to subscribe to those - I read my first Barbara Michaels' book in condensed book form (AMMIE, COME HOME). I picked these volumes for two reasons - Evelyn Anthony's A PLACE TO HIDE and Dorothy Gilman's MRS. POLLIFAX AND THE SECOND THIEF.

I hope you are all finding good things to read!

When a friend recommended this cozy-ish paranormal mystery series, I was curious but not convinced I'd like it. I finished Book One of Nancy Warren's series (she has other series, too) and I immediately ordered Book 2. I think there are about a dozen books in this series and I'm curious about her other books, too. I hope I can either find used copies or get some from the library!

I read about this in the Agatha Christie newsletter and at first I thought it was a typo. I thought they meant the Miss Marple story, "Greenshaw's Folly." Further investigation in the newsletter revealed the exciting details:

"Written by Agatha Christie in 1954 to help raise money for her local church at Churston Ferrers, The Greenshore Folly novella was ultimately never published in its original form. Instead, it became the basis for one of her favourite novels, Dead Man's Folly, and a Miss Marple story was written for the church.

Marking 60 years since it was written, this previously unpublished version of the story is introduced by Tom Adams, whose intricate paintings graced Agatha Christie's paperback covers throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and who has painted the remarkable new jacket for the book. It also includes a preface by Agatha Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard, and an insightful afterword about the writing of the story by the renowned Christie expert, Dr John Curran."

My copy arrived today and it's next up on my reading list:

"Hercule Poirot And The Greenshore Folly

An urgent telephone call summons Poirot to Devonshire on what Miss Lemon declares is a "wild goose chase". The caller is the eccentric detective novelist, Mrs Ariadne Oliver, and the reason for her alarm seems based solely on woman's intuition. Is the fictional murder scenario she has been asked to devise a cover-up for something more sinister? And what is the significance of the Greenshore Folly, an architectural embarrassment in the sweeping grounds of the otherwise impressive Greenshore House?"

From Goodreads:

The Trail of the Wild Rose
(English Garden Mystery #4)
by Anthony Eglin (Goodreads Author)
 3.52  ·   Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The hunt for an ancient Chinese rose turns deadly in this latest English Garden Mystery featuring Dr. Lawrence Kingston.

A plant-hunting expedition haunted by tragedy leads to a perilous trail of greed, larceny, and deceit. Has Peter Mayhew, the man who plunged to his death on a mountain in China, come back to life? Which of the expedition members is hiding an explosive secret? Why are some being targeted for murder?

Once again, Dr. Lawrence Kingston—retired professor of botany and reluctant sleuth—finds himself at the center of a baffling case like none he has ever encountered. Following an ambiguous trail with only scant clues, he must find the hidden meaning dormant in a cache of valuable Chinese antiquities, shadow a ruthless assailant through London’s teeming Underground, and travel the length and breadth of Britain, from a hospital ward in Oxford and an anonymous rendezvous in a Hampshire garden, to a remote farm in Dorset and the mystical Cornish coast—even to the mountains of Wales—in his search for the truth. Even the most likely suspects are becoming victims themselves, and the stakes rise exponentially as each lead comes to a dead end...literally.

Racing to save the lives of the remaining plant hunters and not become a victim himself, Kingston discovers the extreme lengths to which desperate men will go for riches, recognition, and the thrill of the hunt. Clever and chilling, The Trail of the Wild Rose effortlessly combines Anthony Eglin’s horticultural knowledge and literary skills to create an innovative and riveting new mystery.

On Sunday, June 28 we will be focusing on Edith's short fiction:

Short Stories

The following stories of murderous revenge and other crimes were originally published in juried anthologies or magazines. Many have been republished as standalone short stories. And one of the most popular characters, Rose Carroll, went on to be featured in her own Quaker Midwife Mystery series.

“Blue Motel Room” is inspired by Joni Mitchell’s song by the same name. It appears in The Beat of Black Wings (April 2020), a collection edited by Josh Pachter in which all stories riff on Mitchell songs, at least one from each of her albums. When petty thief Robin Rousseau finds a desiccated hand in the safe she’s pilfering, she stays in her depressing blue motel room in Savannah long enough to dig up the truth before using her maps to head for the other coast.

“One Too Many” is Edith’s first story in one of the two big short crime fiction magazines. It appears in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (March/April 2020). In the story, a hyperpolyglot – someone who easily speaks a dozen or two languages – uses her talents, for better and for worse. On the EQMM blog, Edith explains about how she came to write the story, and what pantsers and language learners have in common. Listen to her read “One Too Many” on the EQMM podcast.

Black Cat Thrillogy #9: 3 Historical Mysteries collects three previously published Rose Carroll short stories.

“A Questionable Death” – a 2015 Agatha nominee for Best Short Story
“The Mayor and the Midwife” – a 2017 Agatha nominee for Best Short Story
“Adam and Eva” – told from the point of view of postmistress Bertie Winslow

“Sushi Lessons” is Edith’s second short crime fiction set in Japan, where she lived and taught English several decades ago – and where she learned to make sushi. It appears in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, and features a young American couple, an old fish lady, and a wickedly helpful bartender in a suburb of Tokyo.

“A Divination of Death” is Edith’s first short fiction set in West Africa, where she lived for two years. It appears in Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical (Wildside Press), with a diviner, an American researcher and her Burkinabe translator, and murder in the village.

Edith’s story “An Ominous Silence” appears in Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories (Level Best Books), with the tale of an 1890s midwife stuck on a train in Vermont in the winter, with a baby to deliver and a murder to solve.

“Murder in the Summer Kitchen” appears in Murder Among Friends: Mysteries Inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier (2017). Midwife Rose Carroll once again brings her sleuthing powers to bear after a body is found in Whittier’s own summer kitchen. All proceeds benefit the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace Museum in Haverhill, MA.

Edith was honored to have “The Unfortunate Death of Mrs. Edna Fogg” included in Malice Domestic 12: Mystery Most Historical (Wildside Press). In the story, midwife Rose Carroll finds the body of a woman suffrage activist and tracks down the killer even as she does her job of helping women birth their babies.

Edith’s short story “The Mayor and the Midwife” appeared in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 edited by Greg Herren (Down & Out Books). When the mayor of New Orleans comes to Amesbury, Massachusetts in 1888, Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solves the mystery of his son-in-law’s death. The story was nominated for a 2016 Agatha award for Best Short Story.

“A Questionable Death” appeared in Kings River Life Magazine (2017), originally published in History and Mystery, Oh My! The story was nominated for a 2015 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and follows midwife Rose Carroll and postmistress Bertie Winslow in 1888 Amesbury, Massachusetts as they unravel a tale of abuse and deceit.

In “Adam and Eva,” published in Kings River Life Magazine, September 2016, Rose Carroll’s friend Bertie Winslow narrates how the two of them work to solve a murder of a handsome young man stemming from a supposed love triangle in 1888.

Agatha-nominated and Amazon best-selling “Just Desserts for Johnny” (also available on Nook and Smashwords), a short story of exacting revenge on a literary thief, originally appeared in Kings River Life Magazine. Agatha-nominated editor and author Chris Roerden said this about the story: “Just Desserts for Johnny” by Edith Maxwell is a model short story, from the perfect opening line to the satisfying, twist end.  Love it!” The story was nominated for a 2014 Agatha Award for Best Short Story.

When cozy mystery writers meet Edgar Allan Poe, the result is Edgar Allan Cozy. Each story in this suspenseful anthology is inspired by the work of Poe – “The Raven,” “The Lighthouse,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “Annabel Lee” and Edith’s story, “An Intolerable Intrusion,” a riff on “The Tell-tale Heart. The stories are set in the fictional town of Raven Harbor, Maine. Edited by Sadie Hartwell.

The story “Pickled” in That Mysterious Woman (Mozark Press, November 2014) debuts Robbie Jordan outsmarting a murderer in her country store restaurant, Pans ‘n Pancakes, in southern Indiana from Edith’s Country Store Mysteries series (written as Maddie Day).

“A Fire in Carriagetown” is an Amazon best-selling historic crime short story (also available on Smashwords) that first appeared as “Breaking the Silence” in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold (Level Best Books, November 2013). The story features Quakers Faith Bailey, John Greenleaf Whittier, and the fictional story of who set a very real fire in 1888 in Amesbury, Massachusetts. The story won an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Al Blanchard Short Crime Fiction contest. It received a great review, too.

“The Stonecutter,” possibly Edith’s favorite piece of short fiction, is a murder story of middle-aged romance gone wrong in an increasingly dark New England fall. The story first appeared in Fish Nets: the Second Guppy Anthology, an anthology of crime stories (Wildside Press, April, 2013).

“Reduction in Force” describes murderous revenge after a corporate layoff, the first piece of fiction Edith wrote after being laid off from a job she’d held for fourteen years. It is available on Smashwords and Amazon and was originally published in Thin Ice: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books, 2010).

“Yatsuhashi for Lance” is a short story about murderous revenge exacted after a betrayal in Japan. When Elise agrees to accept a package for her friend Lance, things go terribly wrong and change her life forever. It’s available on Smashwords and Amazon, and was originally published as “Obake for Lance” in Riptide: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books, 2004).

No story, no paycheck. In the Amazon best-selling “An Idea for Murder,” crime fiction writer Dorothy finally hits on an idea for murder for her next story, which turns out to be fatal in real life, too. The story, also available on Smashwords, first appeared (written as Tace Baker)  in the Burning Bridges: A Renegade Fiction Anthology.

“The Importance of Blood,” also an Amazon best-seller and available on Smashwords, shows how identical twins’ differences in ambition and attachment to family can prove lethal. The story first appeared in the Burning Bridges: A Renegade Fiction Anthology.

“The Taste of Winter,”
a story of love and loss in later life, was published in the Larcom Review, Fall/Winter 2001.

Note: Since these books are currently out of print, we do not have a discussion planned for this topic. As soon as we have details about the reissue of these books, this thread will be updated accordingly.

The Lauren Rousseau Mysteries feature Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau, small-town intrigues in the coastal Massachusetts town of Ashford, and conflicts at the college where she teaches.

Edith Maxwell writes this series as Tace Baker.

Note: As of August, 2019, these two books are temporarily unavailable for purchase new, as the publisher has gone out of business. We have plans to reissue them in summer, 2020, as Edith Maxwell books with fresh editing and new covers, so stand by for news!

The books:

Bluffing is Murder

Summer promises to be anything but easy for Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau in Bluffing is Murder. During a run near the sea bluffs, Lauren discovers a corpse and sets out to discover the real story behind a mismanaged land trust, the dead man’s volatile sister—and a possible link to her own father’s mysterious death more than a decade ago. The book was a finalist for the 2015 Silver Falchion Award for Best Romantic Suspense Novel.

“All… the characters are strong and complex, and I enjoyed spending time with them… not a book to rush through…well worth reading.  I will definitely be back for Lauren’s next case.” — Mark Baker, Carstairs Considers

“Lots of satisfying plot tangles and a deep secret from Lauren’s past …keep you turning these pages. No bluffing, you’ll love Lauren Rousseau’s second adventure.” — Kaye George/Janet Cantrell, National bestselling author

“That Lauren is a trouble magnet, around whom the mysteries swirl, makes for a quick and satisfying read.” — Rae Francouer, North Shore Book Notes

“In this page-turner of a mystery, linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau uses her smarts, her Quaker faith, and her summer vacation to bring a vicious murderer, and a secret from her own past, into the light.” — Barbara Ross, Agatha-nominated author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries

Speaking of Murder

In Book One, Speaking of Murder, the murder of a talented student at a small New England college thrusts linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau into the search for the killer. Lauren is a determined Quaker with an ear for accents. Her investigation exposes small-town intrigues, academic blackmail, and a clandestine drug cartel that now has its sights set on her. Speaking of Murder was first runner-up in the Linda Howard Award for Excellence contest, 2012.

“Entertaining, innovative and suspenseful, this charming traditional mystery debut is just the ticket for those relishing a contemporary puzzler. Tace Baker’s first novel shows remarkable polish.” — Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author

“Clever, compelling and terrifically smart, Baker’s intelligent writing—and wryly wonderful sleuth—gives a hip, contemporary twist to this traditional mystery.” —Hank Phillippi Ryan , Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity winning author

“What’s the recipe for a delicious mystery? A generous helping of academic politics, a dash of small town flavor, a touch of family complications, a savory handful of illegal herbs. Sweeten with a little romance, toss well until combined and then sit back and enjoy Speaking of Murder.” —Kate Flora, Edgar-nominated author

“Debut author Tace Baker combines convincing, diverse characters, a vividly described setting, and a plot that picks up speed until it reaches a surprisingly intense confrontation. Who knew that linguistics professors led such interesting lives?” —Sheila Connolly, New York Times bestselling author

Note: I have revised the dates of some of these to fit better with Edith's schedule.

The Local Foods Mysteries feature novice organic farmer Cameron Flaherty and take place in the town of Westbury, Massachusetts.

The books:

Mulch Ado About Murder

Mulch Ado About Murder, book five in this popular series, released in May, 2017. When a local farmer is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry, there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex‑husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and farmer Cam’s own mother.

Murder Most Fowl

Murder Most Fowl came out in 2015. When a cold-blooded killer puts the big chill on the residents of Westbury, Massachusetts, organic farmer-turned-sleuth Cam Flaherty has to set aside her seedlings for the time being as she tills the soil for clues in the mysterious death of a local poultry maven.

Farmed and Dangerous

In book three, Farmed and Dangerous, snow is piling up in Westbury, Massachusetts, but murder seems to be the crop in season. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at an assisted living facility seems like the least of Cam’s worries—until one of the elderly residents dies after eating some of her produce. As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”

'Til Dirt Do Us Part

In the second book in the series, ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part, the produce is local–and so is the crime–when long-simmering tensions lead to murder following a festive dinner on Cam Flaherty’s organic farm. It’ll take a sleuth who knows the lay of the land to catch this killer. But no one ever said Cam wasn’t willing to get her hands dirty…

A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die

In A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, geek-turned-novice farmer Cameron Flaherty hopes to make a killing selling organic produce. But when a killer strikes on Cam’s property, her first foray into the world of organic farming yields a bumper crop of locally sourced murder. To clear her name, Cam has to dig up secrets buried deep beneath the soil of her farm. And when the police don’t make progress in the case, she has to catch a murderer whose motto seems to be, “Eat Local. Kill Local.”

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