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The Reluctant Detective

Rima Ray Author Interview

Ruby Roy and the Murder in the Falls follows a woman professor who finds her boss dead and must discover who is behind the murder before more people die. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The protagonist, Ruby Roy, and the story is loosely based on me and my background as an Indian American assistant professor in a university in upstate New York located near the Falls. However, I must note here that Ruby is a more exaggerated and far more exciting version of me. And of course I should clarify that thankfully there have been no such macabre deaths at my university! There are a few other similarities between me and the protagonist. My dad is a diplomat like Ruby’s. I’m married to a French-Canadian man like Cleo in the novel. And just like Ruby, I have two beautiful cats, Million and Nobel

Dr. Ruby Roy is a fun and energetic character with a strong personality. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I would pitch Ruby Roy in the following way: if Miss Marple were younger, plus-size, clumsier, and risk-averse, she would be Dr. Ruby Roy, the reluctant detective of my novel. Ruby is intelligent, kind, and cheerful, yet goofy, absent-minded, and cowardly, and often finds herself in hilarious situations quite accidentally. I wanted to make Ruby relatable to most individuals who dream of being an armchair detective from the comfort of their homes but often fear the dangers associated with the actual job. She represents an imperfect individual, an educated, young adult of mixed race, struggling with her weight and anxieties, her doubts and fears, as she struggles with her own weaknesses while trying to do the right thing.

It is worth noting that over the years, there have been very few fictional female detectives—especially women of color—in the mystery genre who have been celebrated and given as much love as a Holmes or a Poirot. It is also rare to find a female sleuth who makes you laugh, not because she lacks the mental prowess to solve cases akin to a Clouseau, but due to the odd and humorous situations she finds herself in.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted this novel to be inclusive and honest with the underlying themes of love, kindness, and empathy for all. And I believe this is at the core of what makes this story relatable for people from all walks of life. It was also important for me that this book brings joy and happiness to readers, especially after the struggles we have all seen and faced during the pandemic.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently working on the second book in the Ruby Roy mystery series titled “Ruby Roy and the Hawaiian Mystery” which should be ready for release sometime next year. I also have an idea ready for the third book which is tentatively titled “Ruby Roy and the Fishy Affair in Kolkata.” So, for those who have enjoyed the first Ruby Roy mystery, there’s a lot more on the way.

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AMAZON BESTSELLER • Bridget Jones meets Miss Marple • A hilarious comedy wrapped up in a mystery with an amateur female sleuth of color you’re bound to fall in love with!

Dr. Ruby Roy is a twenty-nine-year-old, goofy, warm, and absent-minded professor in her third year at Baron University, located a few miles from the Falls. A plus-size woman of mixed Indian and Canadian roots, and cursed with an overactive imagination stemming from watching too many Bollywood and Disney films, Ruby is struggling to make her mark and stay out of trouble. It doesn’t help matters that she keeps stumbling into a series of embarrassing incidents, even as she desperately tries to keep her superiors in the College happy. Unfortunately for Ruby, things take a turn for the worse when she discovers her Chair’s dead body in his office. But who could have killed him? And why? Suddenly all the Poirot, Marple, Sherlock Holmes, and Father Brown books she loves reading seem to have come to life as she finds herself in the middle of a real-life murder mystery. And with the murderer on the loose, no one is safe. With the help of her husband, Cleo, her very own Watson, Ruby tries to solve the mystery before she is next on the killer’s list!

Weaving History Into My Story

Ellen Read Author Interview

The Feathered Nest follows Alexandra as she’s wrapped up in a murder mystery involving bird smuggling. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Norfolk Island itself was my initial inspiration for The Feathered Nest, and because the Green Parrot is endemic to the island, it seemed obvious to revolve the story around the parrot. Also Norfolk Island is the home of the descendants of the HMS Bounty.

Without using the names of Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers, and by imagining a couple of extra seamen, I was able to weave the history of the island into my story. Preceding the arrivals of the Bounty descendants, Norfolk Island was a penal settlement for Australia early days. For a small island, it possesses a huge history.

Alexandra Archer is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

In the first book of the series, and all are standalone with a new murder mystery in each, Alexandra had just finished a season in Melbourne’s society. However, she tired of endless lunches, dinner parties and other functions, and wanted to work in her family’s antique business. Set in the 1920s, Alexandra is nevertheless a modern woman.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

In The Feathered Nest, Alexandra is made the expedition’s official photographer as they head off to Norfolk Island. I wanted to explore women’s roles in the late 1920s and I did this through fashion innovations and roles in society. Alexandra is always looking at new fashions that offer freedom of movement and style. She has clothes designed for her trip that include culottes and men’s style of boots for walking through the rainforest. I also wanted to highlight bird smuggling, which still happens today with exotic birds such as parrots. I also mention whaling, which in the 1920s was still practised on Norfolk Island. Alexandra is at first appalled until it’s explained to her that whaling was only undertaken by seamen in small boats with a harpoon. No whaling on a huge commercial scale that we know today was carried out on Norfolk Island.

What can readers expect in book 5 of your The Thornton Mysteries series?

Book 5 is set at Thornton Park where a conference is being held. Experts from around the world are going to speak about their myths and philosophies concerning immortality. No one, least of all Alexandra, expects it to become a deadly search for the secrets to eternal life. Alexandra is pregnant. Caught up in a miasma of myths and dark tales, she comes to believe that for her baby to live, she must die.

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Murder comes to Norfolk Island, but is the killer after Alexandra Archer’s Tahitian black pearl or a lost illustration of the rare green parrot?
The Thorntons mount an expedition to Norfolk Island, a small island in the South Pacific, to study the green parrot and set up research programmes to help protect it and other endangered birds. As a birthday surprise, Alexandra’s father tells her she is to be their official photographer. He also gives her a black pearl brooch that Alexandra’s great-grandfather had bought off a merchant in Hong Kong in the 1850s. The pearls are Tahitian black pearls.
Before they depart Melbourne, they learn that Norfolk Island has had its first murder. It sends ripples of unease through Alexandra. She hoped she could escape murder on this small island paradise.
Alexandra is astonished to learn that the main inhabitants of Norfolk Island are descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives. Once on the island, she wonders if this is why her Tahitian black pearl brooch causes such interest.
A chain of events is set in motion, commencing with a threat on the life of one of their expedition members, followed by intrigue surrounding bird smuggling and a lost illustration of the green parrot. Then two of their team are murdered.
Alexandra is determined to find the answers and nearly loses her life in the process.

The Feathered Nest 

Alexandra Thornton goes on an expedition with her family to Norfolk Island to research the island’s birds with a particular focus on the green parrot. Little does she know what she has walked into, a web of a puzzling mystery that has to be unraveled before it threatens her.

The Feathered Nest by Ellen Read gives readers a captivating look into the mystery of Norfolk Island and its inhabitants. The story gains momentum as an intriguing chain of events unfold which endangers members of the expedition. As the story progresses readers get to unveil the motive behind the multitudes of murders.

Ellen Read is the quintessential historical mystery romance author who effortlessly blends elements of novelistic fiction with curious bits of history. The author creates characters with surprising depth and realistic emotions, which reminds me of how Agatha Christie creates her characters. Moreover, Ellen has strategically placed humor, wit, and alluring intimacy to mitigate the simmering tension of the reader. Readers will find themselves yearning to turn the page to decipher the fate of the characters. By the end of the novel, all the dilemmas that pique the reader are seamlessly resolved.

The Feathered Nest by Ellen Read is a cozy mystery novel that has a similar atmosphere as one of a period drama. With its descriptive prose, it delivers outstanding soulfulness with unmatched intricacy. Holistically, this mystery thriller prescribes hints throughout but is better comprehended as all the elements gradually fit into place. Overall, this book would appeal to readers that seek a compelling mystery with a touch of tender romance.

Pages: 374 | ASIN: B09T3T1CJQ

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I Love the Element of Surprise

R. J. Corgan Author Interview

Mammoth Drop follows a scientist to the Black Hills where she finds herself knee-deep in mammoth bones and a murder mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The Black Hills, and South Dakota in general, is heaven for geologists. In fact, most geologists have to do a field season out West as part of our degrees. I studied in South Dakota and Wyoming in the early 90’s and was blown away by the beauty of the landscape. I’ve also worked with paleontologists who have spent their lives studying mammoths and they’re just as marvelous as the animals they study. I wrote Mammoth Drop to celebrate both their legacy and to share the breathtaking scenery of the region with readers.

Kea Wright is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Kea is smart, kind, and terrible with people. Like many scientists that work in the field for months at a time, Kea suffers from broken relationships, a low self esteem, and bouts of depression. I wanted to create a heroine where those attributes, both good and bad, are superpowers: they’re external to the group, often forced to think differently, and wind up in places they shouldn’t be. While a reluctant heroine, I love Kea and I hope that readers will as well.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book (and what can readers expect in Book 4)?

Each book in the Kea Wright series has a unique theme. Cold Flood examines how being put under intense pressure can and release something inside ourselves that we never knew existed. The Meerkat Murders examines the concept of altruism, Mammoth Drop explores extinction, while Murder on Masaya examines sacrifice. Each book also has a different tone. Mammoth Drop is absolutely a camp romp full of drinking and dancing to celebrate a scientist and his life’s work. In contrast, the final story, Murder on Masaya,(released in 2021) is a much darker story about the hazards that scientists undertake to gather data and the sacrifices people make for their family. These changes in tone are deliberate because, growing up, my favorite television show was Doctor Who – you never knew where the next story would take you, it could be the distant past or the far future, or be a comedy or a tragedy. I loved that element of surprise. These books are very much in the same vein and I hope readers enjoy the variety.

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During Kea’s visit to the Black Hills, one of the scientists in Mammoth Drop Caverns is brutally murdered. Determined to unmask the killer, Kea takes up residence in nearby Woolly Hole, a gay campground filled with boozing drag queens and bottomless mimosas. Knee-deep in mammoth bones and potential suspects, Kea soon finds herself in the killer’s sights . . .

I Wanted To Write About A “Real” Heroine

Author Interview Kate Darroch

Death in Paris follows a school teacher that sets off for a new job in Istanbul and while on the way gets entangled in a murder mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This is a Cozy, which follows all the Cozy conventions and the complex 15-point Cozy plotline.

Many Cozies feature women who unexpectedly become business owners or have exotic jobs.

I wanted to write about a “real” heroine who had a normal job. I wanted her to be a salt-of-the-earth type that anyone could relate to.

To use talents that she really had in order to solve crazy mysteries in a real way. Not to always know better than the police or to stumble on answers. To be a real sleuth, because she needed to be. “Cometh the hour, cometh the (wo)man.”

I wanted her to be a person, someone that people could feel for, and feel with.

The most relatable place and time for me is Glasgow in the 1970s. It was a time and place full of real-life heroines.

I wanted the reader to meet the women Màiri loves and understand why she loves them, maybe even to love them too.

Màiri Maguire struggles at the start of the novel with her situation and becomes a strong character as the novel progresses. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Màiri is a real person to me. She wrote herself. She is a strong person with a strong voice but she is also soft and gentle, loving and caring, kind and compassionate. And she’s nobody’s fool, despite always seeing the best in people to the point, sometimes, of seeming gullibility.

Put a person like that into a situation like the one in Death in Paris and she cannot help but become even stronger.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The massive global change in attitudes that began in the 1970s. In Britain, the 1970s were a period when almost all thinking people thought that almost all the world’s problems could be solved by education. Give the working classes a university education, a degree, and they’ll become just like us, thought the upper class intelligentsia. Get the upper classes down the mines for a day, and they’ll soon learn what it means to be a worker, thought the thinking workers.

And everyone loved The Beatles and Carnaby Street; and we really truly believed that we ourselves could be agents of massive global change for the common good.

The meeting of polar opposites on common ground and finding friendship inspired the introduction of Major Peverel, who has been a popular character.

The courage under fire of the Brits living through what was effectively an undeclared war, their everyday lives a battlefield.

I myself lived in frequently-bombed London, I was within seconds of gory death twice. Once if I had arrived at the tubestation 20 seconds earlier. Once if I had walked down The Strand 30 seconds later.

Many people did die. Many were horribly maimed. But we still lived our everyday lives in an everyday way and had a lot of fun.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Death on the Istanbul Express

Book 2 in the series. It will be available at the end of May 2022.

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Màiri Maguire teaches in top schools all over the world, but on days like today she wishes she had never left Glasgow!

8:10 a.m. on 15th August 1970. They’ve been in Paris only 12 hours. Lianna, Màiri’s closest friend, is locked up in jail, charged with murder. Màiri is being hunted by murderous criminals. She never dreamt that travelling outside Scotland would be so dangerous. Will Màiri ever again see her comfy home in Merrylea, her loving sisters Morag and Katriona, her schoolboy nephew Niall?

Major Ellis Peverel seldom leaves Màiri’s side. Respected by the Paris police, shrouded in secrets, who is this man? Is he a true friend to Màiri, or does he have an agenda of his own?

Who really killed the corrupt taxman for whose death Lianna has been framed? Màiri has only 6 days to find the murderer. Can she free Lianna in time? Or must she choose between her friend’s freedom and her own livelihood… if she’s still alive.

Mammoth Drop: Murder, Mammoths, and Mimosas

Mammoth Drop – A paleontological site that is home to an abundance of ancient Mammoth fossils. Upon the request of her old friend Harry, Kea Wright embarks on a trip to the treasured site for sightseeing. But Kea’s visit soon takes an unfortunate turn as she finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery. Unable to fathom who could be culpable for such an atrocious crime she extends her visit to expose the killer. Kea realizes that just like the depth of the entities of the Drop, this murderer will only be exposed by digging deep into the past.

Mammoth Drop by R.J. Corgan explores the concepts of extinction with Kea Wright a geologist determined to excavate the secrets buried in this archeological site. On this journey, she attempts to narrow down the murder suspects but endangers herself by being right in the killer’s sights.

Award-winning author R.J. Corgan delivers vivid details with brilliance; the characters are well articulated and authentically reflect raw emotions. The idea of experiencing a mystery in an unfamiliar but fascinating locale stimulates the interest of the reader from inception. The author is adept at merging historic facts with creative fiction elements to present an enthralling narrative. Similar to how paleontologists strive to build connections while extracting fossils, Corgan’s novel give readers an exciting opportunity to connect dots and unmask the mystery.

This book takes readers on a riveting scientific expedition. A perfectly encapsulated read for cozy murder mystery genre enthusiasts who like playing detective in a story that will leave you with an adrenaline rush. Corgan often places his readers in extraordinary sites that exude adventure. I would highly recommend Mammoth Drop to readers looking for a paleo history fiction novel that reflects on the meaning of life.

Pages: 235 | ASIN: B09TRNTPCF

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Bringing Dark History Into the Light

Steve Zimcosky Author Interview

Hanging Cloud follows a PI that tries to find a missing man and ends up uncovering a multigenerational conspiracy that leads to threats on his own life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

In the past I had read about the government’s attempt at assimilating Native Americans into a lot of the urban areas in the United States. When I did the research I found out what their real intent was and felt that it needed to be shared, so I created a way to use it as part of the plot in the story. Many people have no idea that this even took place back in the 1950s. As it states in the book the whole intent was to get the Native Americans off their reservations so they could sell the land and also the hope of having them intermarry so they could just eliminate all Native Americans. It’s a part of our history that is kind of kept in the dark.

Tom Sipowicz is a great detective that captures the interest of readers. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted someone who had grown up with adversity in school but had a wonderful family life. He found his calling by being a Military Policeman and later a Cleveland Police Officer and then a detective. His martial arts training keeps him in shape and the character building that comes along with that training is invaluable to him both as a police detective and a private investigator. He’s the type of person that would give you the shirt off his back but not someone you would want to cross.

How did you decide on using the Native American Community as a focus for your novel?

A while back I had read an article about a man who grew up in a very loving family, had a great education and career. He later found out that he was adopted and that he was a Native American. For some reason, the article had popped into my head when I was looking to start another book and I thought that would be a great plot for a story.

What kind of research did you have to do to make sure you were accurately portraying the Native American culture?

My research involved checking out various websites and double-checking everything that I found to make sure it was as accurate as possible. A few years back I had met some Native Americans through another person and learned quite a bit from them as well. That helped me in writing the book and trying to keep it as close to reality as possible. The Native American Community has a lot to offer if people would just listen to them when they speak about their lives and what goes on in their communities. Their way of looking at the world makes sense.

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When the father of a local sports legend disappears the Polish Dragon P. I. and his partner Suzie are hired to find him. What they discover is the father’s true identity on his birth certificate and they also uncover a heinous crime that was perpetrated against the Native American Community.

Death in Paris

Death in Paris by Kate Darroch, (Màiri Maguire Cozy Murder Mysteries Book One) follows a school teacher, Màiri Maguire. She starts the summer holiday with her boyfriend of twelve years, breaking up with her when he returns to Glasgow with a new girlfriend he met while working overseas. Màiri takes a job as the Head of English Studies at the Nautical High School in Istanbul to escape the embarrassment and convinces her friend Lianna to travel with her to work as her assistant. During the train trip across Europe, they book a City Break (a package holiday tour) in Paris. When Lianna becomes the chief suspect in a murder, the school teacher turned amateur detective begins her own investigation to clear her friend’s name.

This book starts slowly, methodically introducing the characters and the background to why Màiri is traveling to Istanbul. However, the story picks up the pace once Màiri and Lianna set off on their journey. I especially enjoyed it once the intrigue element was introduced after they arrived in Paris.

With so many characters making an appearance on the train to Paris, it might have been difficult for readers to keep them all straight. However, the author included portions of Màiri’s notebook as she worked on figuring out the clues; which helps readers remember all the details and keep track of who is who. It also makes readers feel like part of the story, working to solve the mystery alongside Màiri.

There were a lot of threads connecting various characters, and I enjoyed trying to figure out how everything fits together. I had an idea of who I thought was the killer, but the story gives so many red herrings that I was not certain, and it kept me guessing until the end of the story. There were a few unexpected surprises revealed when the mystery was finally solved. I liked that the story ended with a new mystery to solve, leading to the next book of the Màiri Maguire Cozy Murder Mysteries series, Death on the Istanbul Express.

Death in Paris is the first in a new cozy murder series that will put mystery readers on the hunt for a killer. This international crime story is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s novels and is filled with details about Paris that will allow readers to fully immerse themselves in the mystery.

Pages: 189 | ASIN : B09PMP4J6Y

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