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Blog Tours Guest Post

Guest Post: Ten Things About Me by Catherine Wallace Hope

My novel Once Again is out this year, and you can find out about it and about me on my website, catherinewallacehope.com — and here are ten other things to know about me.

• If I could host fantasy dinner parties with literary guests, living or dead, I would start with: Leonardo da Vinci, Nora Ephron, William Shakespeare, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, Dorothy Parker, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, David Sedaris, Sappho, Horace, and Agatha Christie. I would set the feast in a grand ballroom and serve ten courses and create a unique artisan alcoholic beverage for each one. Imagine the conversation!
• Autumn is my favorite season.
• I would love to start an artists’ retreat on an huge, rambling estate near the Côte d’Azur where we could spend the day by the shore and then have long, lovely dinners on a candle-lit terrace, followed by poetry and book readings, music and dance performances, and unveilings of new pieces of art.
• My favorite style of art is Art Nouveau, with special fondness for Clara Driscoll, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Maxfield Parrish.
• My greatest concern is that we might make an unlivable hell of this beautiful paradise we’ve been given.
• I don’t know how to knit, but I can crochet, and I have a collection of carved wooden hooks. Once, I was traveling across the country on a train, and the elderly woman in the seat next to me saw the yarnwork I had with me and taught me how to create stitches that look like waves. Years later, I crocheted baby blankets in that style for each of my three sons during my pregnancies. We still have those blankets, somewhere.
• When I was a kid, I used to run away from home quite often. I created adventures for myself as a forest princess, a midnight thief, a refugee from a royal murder plot. Though I never got into any serious trouble, I scared the living daylights out of my mother. By comparison, when she was four, she tried to run away from home too. She packed her little suitcase with her favorite doll and took off. However, she didn’t get far because she wasn’t allowed to cross the street, so all she could do was go to the end of the block.
• I used to spend summers in Beach Haven, a little seaside town on the East Coast, with my father and stepmother, and I loved nothing more than walking to the beach, diving into the clear water, swimming out to the sandbar, and then body surfing for the rest of the day. One morning, I arrived at the beach earlier than usual. There had been a storm the night before, and the shoreline was sparkling with thousands of tiny silver fish that had been stranded at the edge of the surf — alive, flipping and flopping in the sunlight. The other swimmers and I spent the morning tossing the fish back into the sea where they belonged — with our felicitations to the sea gods.
• I love hiking and photography.
• My favorite soup is tortilla soup, my favorite sandwich is grilled cheese on sourdough, my favorite salad is Waldorf, and my favorite dessert is chocolate ice cream — or German chocolate cake, or chocolate chip cookies, or chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream, or chocolate pudding with cream — okay, anything chocolate really.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

What if you had the chance to save someone you lost? Isolated in the aftermath of tragedy, Erin Fullarton has felt barely alive since the loss of her young daughter, Korrie. She tries to mark the milestones her therapist suggests – like this day: the five hundredth – but moving through grief is like swimming against a dark current. Her estranged husband, Zac, a brilliant astrophysicist, seems to be coping better. Lost in his work, he’s perfecting his model of a stunning cosmological phenomenon, one he predicts will occur on this same day – an event so rare, it keeps him from being able to acknowledge this milestone alongside Erin. But when Erin receives a phone call from her daughter’s school, the same call she received five hundred days earlier when Korrie was still alive, Erin realises something is happening. Or happening again. Struggling to understand the sudden shifts in time, she pieces together that the phenomenon Zac is tracking may have presented her with the gift of a lifetime: the chance to save her daughter. As Erin is swept through time, she’s unable to reach Zac or convince the authorities of what is happening. Forced to find the answer on her own, Erin must battle to keep the past from repeating – or risk losing her daughter for good.

You can buy the book here.

Thank you Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the blog tour and to Catherine Wallace Hope for this post.

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Blog Tours Guest Post

Guest Post: Martin Edwards, author of Mortmain Hall

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Today I’m delighted to share a guest post from Martin Edwards whose debut novel Mortmain Hall was released April 2nd.

My Top 10 Sherlock Holmes Stories – Martin Edwards

Sherlock Holmes is not only the most popular fictional detective, he is the most popular fictional character of all time. From his very first appearance in A Study in Scarlet, he cuts a truly unforgettable figure. His friend Stamford describes him to Dr Watson as ‘a walking calendar of crime’, but he’s much, much more than that.

At the age of ten I wrote my first crime story, very much inspired by Sherlock and Agatha Christie. Thankfully it was never published, but to this day the idea of the Great Detective fascinates me, and I’ve tried to give this classic notion a fresh spin in the shape of Rachel Savernake, the dark star of my latest book, Mortmain Hall.

But Sherlock is always, to paraphrase Arthur Conan Doyle, the detective. Here are ten of my favourites.

The Hound of the Baskervilles
This classic is by far the best of the four novels about Sherlock. The Dartmoor setting is superbly evoked and the legend of an old family curse sets our man on the way to solving a fiendish crime. The dialogue is vintage Doyle: ‘Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!’

‘The Red-Headed League’
The second short story featuring Sherlock is also one of the finest detective short stories ever written. The brilliant deductions at the start introduce a marvellously intriguing scenario and a mystery packed with excitement.

‘The Five Orange Pips’
What frightening secret lies behind a message taking the form of the eponymous orange pips? This story was also one of Doyle’s own favourites because of its dramatic quality.

‘The Speckled Band’
This is a masterpiece, chock-full of vintage ingredients. A hateful villain, a baffling ‘dying message’ clue, and a locked room mystery – what more could a detective story fan wish for?

‘The Copper Beeches’
This is a dark story, which demonstrates the truth of Sherlock’s famous observation that ‘the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.’

‘Silver Blaze’
The tale of dirty dealing in the world of horse racing would merit classic status if only for the legendary passage in which Sherlock draws Inspector Gregory’s attention to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time…

‘The Priory School’
There’s a clue in this story about bicycle tracks which is far from credible, but it’s a tribute to Doyle’s storytelling gifts that the verve and power of the narrative make us willing to suspend disbelief.

‘The Dancing Men’
As with ‘The Five Orange Pips’, the starting point for the mystery is a puzzling message. Stories about codes and ciphers can be fascinating, and this tale of revenge is perhaps the most successful example of all.

‘The Musgrave Ritual’
T.S. Eliot paid homage to this story in Murder in the Cathedral. It’s a highly evocative tale, a memory of Sherlock’s early life, and again one of Doyle’s own favourites.

‘The Final Problem’
Sherlock engages in a life-or-death struggle with Professor Moriarty, ‘the Napoleon of Crime’, at a vividly described Reichenbach Falls. Doyle intended this story was intended to mark the end of the maestro. But Sherlock was too strong for him as well as for Moriarty. He has proved immortal.

Mortmain Hall is published by Head of Zeus on 2 April, £18.99 hardback

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martin Edwards is the latest recipient of the CWA Diamond Dagger, the highest honour in British crime writing, given for the sustained excellence of an author’s contribution to the genre. His most recent novels, set in 1930, are Mortmain Hall and Gallows Court, which was nominated for two awards including the CWA Historical Dagger. British librarians awarded him the CWA Dagger in the Library in 2018 in recognition of his body of work. His seventh and most recent Lake District Mystery is The Dungeon House. Earlier books in the series are The Coffin Trail (short-listed for the Theakston’s prize for best British crime novel of 2006), The Cipher Garden, The Arsenic Labyrinth (short-listed for the Lakeland Book of the Year award in 2008), The Serpent Pool, and The Hanging Wood.

Martin is a well-known crime fiction critic, and series consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics. His ground-breaking study of the genre between the wars, The Golden Age of Murder, was warmly reviewed around the world, and won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards. His The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books won the Macavity and was nominated for four other awards.

Martin has written eight novels about lawyer Harry Devlin, the first of which, All the Lonely People, was short-listed for the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger for the best first crime novel of the year, The early Devlin books are now enjoying a fresh life as ebooks, with new introductions by leading authors such as Val McDermid and Frances Fyfield, as well as other new material.

In addition Martin has written a stand-alone novel of psychological suspense, Take My Breath Away, and a much acclaimed novel featuring Dr Crippen, Dancing for the Hangman. The latest Devlin novel, Waterloo Sunset, appeared in 2008. He completed Bill Knox’s last book, The Lazarus Widow. He has published many short stories, including the ebooks The New Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes and Acknowledgments and other stories. ‘Test Drive’ was short-listed for the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2006, while ‘The Bookbinder’s Apprentice’ won the same Dagger in 2008.

A well-known commentator on crime fiction, he has edited 40 anthologies and published diverse non-fiction books, including a study of homicide investigation, Urge to Kill.An expert on crime fiction history, he is archivist of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the Detection Club. He was elected eighth President of the Detection Club in 2015, spent two years as Chair of the CWA, and posts regularly to his blog, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’

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Blog Tours

Guest Post: Lucie Whitehouse, author of Critical Incidents

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Today I’m excited to share something a little different: my first guest post. Critical Incidents, Lucie Whitehoue’s latest novel, was released on December 26th, 2019. As part of the blog tour, Ms Whitehouse talks today about what it is that stands out to her when reading crime fiction and how it influenced her when writing this novel. Reading it has made me even more excited about reading Critical Incidents, which was my first book purchase of 2020.

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For Emma’s Biblio Treasures                                                                 January 2020

Lucie Whitehouse

With my favourite crime series, it’s the characters I remember, rarely the plots. I come back to a writer not for devilish twists or shocking endings (I like those, too) but because I want to spend more time with a protagonist and their regular crew, to see what mess they’re in now or how certain relationships will develop. I read Ian Rankin not just because he’s a great writer but because I’ve got a bit of a crush on Rebus, frankly, and I love his dynamic with Siobhan. Having seen Susie Steiner’s hilarious Manon Bradshaw pushing forty and ‘staring down the barrel of childlessness’ in Missing, Presumed, I had to see where she went next. I want to be Chief Inspector Gill Murray of Scott & Bailey.

So when I came to creating DCI Robin Lyons, the protagonist of Critical Incidents, my new novel and the first in a series, she had to be someone worth following. She needed a rich, three-dimensional personality, a big sense of humour, chutzpah. And of course, she also needed a deep backstory, issues of her own beyond the cases she solves.

When we meet her in Critical Incidents, she’s 35 and just fired from Homicide Command at the Met. Broke (she’s never been a saver) and newly single, she has to crawl back to her parents’ house in Birmingham, which she fled at nineteen. She’s going to share bunkbeds with her teenage daughter Lennie, whom she’s brought up as a single mother, and work for her mum’s friend Maggie, a middle-aged goth PI who investigates benefit fraudsters. How the mighty have fallen, sneers her brother, Luke, delighted by it all.

Robin thinks she’s hit rock-bottom but within twenty-four hours, her best friend Corinna, the person she trusts most in the world, is found dead in her burned-out house, her husband, Josh, wanted for the murder. Of course Robin can’t stay out of it but getting involved means coming face-to-face with Samir Jafferi, Head of Homicide at West Midlands Police – and the boyfriend who loved her then dumped her savagely at nineteen, casting a shadow over her life ever since.

How Robin deals with her new situation and whether or not she can reconcile her past with her future and find a way forward is the backbone of what I think of as my Second City series. I hope readers will enjoy finding out how she gets on as much as I am.

CRITICAL INCIDENTS by Lucie Whitehouse is published by 4th Estate (PB | £7.99)

Thank you to Lucie Whitehouse for the guest post and to Midas PR for the invitation to take part in the blog tour. 

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