Thursday, August 27, 2015

Only five more sleeps!

It’s Victoria and Mary Jane and we’re both here at Cozy Chicks today.   

We’re incredibly excited about THE MARSH MADNESS  our fourth book collector mystery coming out September 1st: that’s only five more sleeps.

  It’s hard for us to believe, as a mother-daughter team, with all the possible drama that might entail, that we’re already at book number four in this series that we love so much. Of course, we have had other joint projects over the years.

Piano lessons: an early joint project

Over the course of the four books, we’ve felt very lucky to have met and heard from so many loyal readers. And we are meeting new readers all the time, many through the Cozy Chicks.  You have a relationship with our characters and we develop a relationship with you. That's part of the joy.
You become part of our life of crime.

As for the book collector mysteries, we love playing around with the Golden Age of Detection and thinking hard to create a new set of circumstances and peril for our characters.  As they say, bad news for the character is good news for the author. 

Each mystery revolves in some way around an artifact, character or set of books connected to the author in the title. So far we’ve done Agatha Christie (The Christie Curse),  Dorothy L. Sayers (The Sayers Swindle),  Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe (The Wolfe Widow) and now the great Ngaio Marsh (The Marsh Madness).  Dashell Hammett is next in The Hammett Hex, 2016.  The authors and sleuths fit in well with our contemporary series in which Jordan Kelly Bingham is the research assistant and book scout for Vera Van Alst, the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, N.Y.  Jordan is the first person in her large Irish family to go straight and she’s determined to stay on the right side of the law. It’s not her fault that sometimes, say to save a life or whatever, she may have to make an unauthorized entrance to someplace or other in the wee small hours.  She did get that set of lockpicks for her Sweet Sixteen, but the less said about that the better.  We'r e sure that secret is safe with you.

Writing this series allows us both to live the kind of life we want. 

 Victoria is an artist and photographer who enjoys spending time in the outdoors and painting what she sees.

This huge and mysterious painting of Victoria's hangs in MJ's dining room and gets many comments.

She’s a free spirit with a quirky sense of humor and, naturally, working nine to five, five days a week behind a desk is not for her. She has an affinity for animals and they like her right back.

Victoria’s painting of our friend Erika Chase's

Siamese gave us the spark for Good Cat and Bad Cat in the books.

Her real life pug, Peachy, has offered profound insights into the rich emotional life of our fictional pug, Walter. Here’s Peachy dressed for a book launch.  Those of you who are familiar with “The Peach” aka Walter, know she’s ready to party any time. By the way, that 'face' is directed at the camera.  Peachy loves her outfit.

MJ is a lapsed librarian, a former co-owner of Prime Crime Mystery Bookstore in Ottawa and award-winning author of three mystery series: the Camilla MacPhee books, the Fiona Silk comic capers and the Charlotte Adams organizer mysteries. Her miniature dachshunds appear in the Charlotte Adams series. She lives to read and writing the book collector mysteries requires that she immerse herself in the work of the Golden Age author chosen for each book.  For The Marsh Madness she reread twenty-nine of the thirty-two Ngaio Marsh mysteries.  That made her very happy.  Here’s the stack of perfect paperbacks that her friend Nancy Reid gave her.  Peachy liked them too. 

MJ gets to research their authors and find a way to link them to the current story. This may be the best job in the world. She can do that with tea and chocolate in her recliner.

Vic loves all things vintage and antique, and she is responsible for anything that explodes in the books, the layouts of the grand houses and much of the historical research as well as illegal stills.

MJ is in charge of the food and puts in requests to Signora Panetone’s kitchen.  Some recipes appear in the books and The Marsh Madness contains the recipe for the signora’s chocolate tiramisu. 

We both get along remarkably well although every now and then there may be a small “discussion” about this or that.   

We’re glad of the chance to be silly from season to season and to cook up plots.  We enjoy the feeling that we may be just the tiniest bit dangerous. 

We both categorically deny all responsibility for the crooked uncles, especially the unpredictable Uncle Kev.  As the family says, “Where there’s smoke, there’s Kev.”
Uh oh!  Do you smell something burning?  

As you can see, we love the Golden Age and the fun we can have with it.  I hope you’ll drop in today to wave the flag for The Marsh Madness and tell us if you have a favorite author or suggest one that you think we should consider for future book collector mysteries.