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History & Mystery April 25, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in fiction, historical fiction, mystery.
1 comment so far

Topic of the Week: April 26-30

Tasha Alexander

This week in LitChat we’re discussing mysteries set in historical periods. Joining us as guest host on Friday, May 7, is Tasha Alexander. Alexander’s first book, And Only To Deceive, drew on the premise of a young Victorian-era noblewoman who falls in love with the husband she barely knew after his death. Reading through his diaries, she becomes convinced that his death was not an accident and defies Victorian conventions by setting out on her own to find out what happened. Not only does Lady Emily uncover her husband’s murderer, she finds a way of life that leads to romance and mystery in subsequent books.

Tears of Pearl, Alexander’s fourth novel in the series featuring Lady Emily, finds the amateur sleuth on honeymoon with new husband, Colin Hargreaves, a special investigator for the Crown. When the honeymoon is interrupted by the death of a harem girl of British descent, the duo’s honeymoon turns into a diplomatic mission to investigate the crime. Lady Emily is ushered into the world of the harem, where men are forbidden and western women rarely have access. Reading like a vivid travelogue with sharp historical detail, Tears of Pearl offers a mystery with history and romance as sweet as strong Turkish coffee.

Tasha Alexander attended the University of Notre Dame, where she signed on as an English major in order to have a legitimate excuse for spending all her time reading. She lived in Amsterdam, London, Wyoming, Vermont, Connecticut and Tennessee before settling in Chicago, where she lives with her fiancé, novelist Andrew Grant. In addition to the Lady Emily mysteries, she is also the author of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the novel companion to the film of the same title.

Follow Tasha Alexander on Twitter at @talexander.


Murder As a Laughing Matter March 21, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, fiction, mystery.
1 comment so far

Topic of the Week: March 22-26, 2010

Wendy Clinch

When murder is wrapped around a feisty protagonist, a cast of zany characters, a love interest, and a vivid setting, laughter ensues and the horror of death is deflected. Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich have turned this list of ingredients into a formula that has elevated them to celebrity status in the minds of mystery readers. A formula this broad allows ample room for new authors to  play. This week in LitChat we’ll discuss books that use humor to deflect tragedy.

On Friday, March 26, Wendy Clinch, author of Double Black, joins us as guest host of this discussion. Double Black is Clinch’s first novel, a story set in a picturesque Vermont ski town so real you’d swear you took your first lesson there. A deft casting of straight characters against caricatures deflect the pall of death that hangs over this idyllic setting, picking up speed for a fun run to the finish. While the story never lacks sparkle, it’s the passages when characters are geared-up on the mountain, reflecting Clinch’s passion for skiing, that brings this novel to life.

Born and raised in Ocean County, NJ, Wendy Clinch is the founder of TheSkiDiva.com, the premier internet community for women skiers. She writes about women’s skiing and related topics at her blog. Clinch is a former advertising copywriter, having spent more than 25 years in the field, most recently as a partner in her own agency in suburban Philadelphia. A graduate of Syracuse University, Wendy now lives in Vermont with her husband, Jon Clinch, author of Finn: A Novel and the forthcoming Kings of the Earth, both from Random House.

Follow Clinch on Twitter at @WendyClinch.

Read chatscript from Wendy Clinch’s visit in #litchat here.