~ About the Book ~
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 trust.
Series: #2 The Nosy Parker Mysteries
Genre: Historical, Cozy Mystery
Publication date: 1 August 2017
Publisher: Journey Fiction
~ Excerpt ~
Somewhere in the building, a heavy thud breached the silence, bringing Heather’s musings to an end. At least she wasn’t the only one around. She left the Ladies’ and headed back down the stairs, jerking open the door to her floor. Its counterpart at the other end of the hall banged against its frame, but she saw no one in the hall. Maybe a window was open somewhere.
Was the building always this unwelcoming? So downright creepy? Night had descended and the corridor’s bank of overhead lights were off. She wasn’t prone to flighty imaginings, but the artifacts lining the walls appeared sharp-edged and dangerous. Death masks became devilish in the oblique light filtering through the narrow glass panes in each door.
She patted her hip in search of the key fob. “Darn it.” She must have left it on the sink after removing it from her too-small skirt pocket.
Heather retraced her steps. Upstairs to the pink room. Back down. Even without witnesses, she was embarrassed how much time she’d spent away from her post. Chances were good that the ugly bowl she considered a pre-Roman casserole dish had managed to survive without her.
Heather put the key in the lock and paused. No light shone through the narrow, frosted glass in the collection room door. Odd, she could have sworn she left the light on. Inside the dark room, the loud swirl of bagpipes filtered in through the open window in dramatically dying wails.
Her fingers brushed the wall and then flipped the light switch. She squinted as the fluorescent bulbs came to bright, shocking life.
Why was Jack Winter on the floor? Was this his idea of a joke?
He didn’t move. She couldn’t. Her heart demanded a retreat. Instead, she forced herself to cross the ten or so feet to kneel at his side.
“Mr. Winter. You have to get up.” Shaking him, her chest ached for oxygen. Please. Why was he doing this?
His head lolled to one side, revealing a splotch of red blood discoloring the fair hair at his temple. His handsome face, his perfect mouth . . . so pale.
She drew back in horror, slumping against the cabinets as the truth sank in. He wasn’t going to move.
~ Review ~
If you’re after a cozy mystery to curl up with for a couple of hours, look no further. Heather Munro has you covered! It may be a while since the days of the Olentangy Heights Girls’ Detective Society, but she hasn’t lost her curiosity or her desire to solve a mystery; particularly when it could save her from being arrested!
Heather is only recently arrived in Edinburgh at the opening of this story, fresh from a crossing of the Atlantic where she met charming and charismatic fiction author, Professor Jack Winter. She couldn’t help but develop a small crush on him during the crossing, despite learning he was married, but when he had flowers sent to her cabin, she began to suspect he was not an honourable man. Imagine her dismay when she discovered he would be lecturing at the same university she’s attending. How will she avoid him? Well, as it turns out, that won’t be a problem.
The story was well-paced with a wonderful assortment of characters, and I found it impossible to be entirely sure who the murderer was. Jack Winter’s ex-wife was certainly not happy about his philandering ways, and there’s a big question mark over Jack’s agent, Mr Crowder. Just what is his relationship to the grieving widow? Then there’s adjunct professors Tom Brown and Sean Innes, both of whom lost their lectures and their private offices to make room for the celebrity professor. And what about the mysterious antiques dealer, Mr Summerhill?
Heather’s formidable landlady, Mrs Kintyre, is determined to help get to the bottom of it all. After all, no one pays any attention to a greying woman with a thick waist. They’re invisible. (Remind you of Miss Marple, anyone? Well, not so much the thick waist, but you know what I mean!) And as Heather soon discovers, Mrs Kintyre could charm an answer out of an MI5 agent!
Oh, and the Scottish setting was an added bonus. All in all, an engaging mystery with just a hint of romance.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Other Books in the Series ~
~ Ten Behind the Scenes Facts ~
- We reference “The Girl Detective” but we never actually use her name! You know who I’m talking about though, don’t you?
- The book is set in 1956. Can you guess why I chose that particular year? Go ahead. You won’t offend me!
- 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!)
- 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!
- 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 my great-grandparents called home.
- 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!)
- I actually stayed on both of the Edinburgh streets used as ‘home addresses’ for two of my characters.
- Some retired policemen and professors answered my questions, including a gentleman with an OBE. You do know what that means, don’t you?
- Lisa Richardson, author of The Counterfeit Clue designed the covers!
- 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.
~ Giveaway ~
Enter the giveaway HERE.
~ About the Author ~
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.
~ Blog Schedule ~
October 2-Reading Is My SuperPower
October 3-Bibliophile Reviews
October 4-Singing Librarian Books
October 5-Joy of Reading
October 6-Karen Sue Hadley
October 7-Fiction Aficionado
October 9-A Baker’s Perspective
October 11-The Power of Words
October 12-By The Book
October 13-Ponderings of a Poet & Procrastinator
October 14-Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen