Today I get to welcome back one of my favorite guests. It is always a treat when he or one of his alter egos stops by for a visit. Today he is sharing some surprising information about this wonderful series. The life of an author is never dull. I will let him tell you all about it.
Talking about A Grid for Murder by Casey Mayes (aka Tim Myers)
It might interest you to know that A Grid for Murder( along with its predecessors, A Deadly Row and A Killer Column, in the puzzle mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime) began life as a very different thing entirely. The series itself was originally based on a brand new popular puzzle-making technique, with my plots woven directly into my own puzzles and their included solutions, structured in a very specific way to mesh puzzle with mystery.
And then, out of nowhere, a mere handful of months before the first book in the series was set to be released, my publisher received a letter from the puzzle’s creator, demanding that we ‘cease and desist’ from publishing the entire mystery series! I was understandably troubled by the news, since I’d even learned how to create the puzzles myself, and had included several in each book.
There was no time for disappointment, though. I had to come up with an entirely new theme for the series, create new puzzles of my very own, and restructure three novels that had already been written, all in a very limited amount of time!
After much toil at the computer and more than a few sleepless nights, I finally had something I was proud of to replace my former submissions. It was interesting to me, in retrospect, that the reworking of the stories gave me new opportunities to choose other directions for the novels to take than I had picked before, and I did my best to restructure them in a way that seemed fresh and alive. They were accepted, each in their own right, and published right on schedule. Looking back now, the roadblock wasn’t quite as dire as I’d originally believed, and I feel the books are , in their own way, stronger than they were before.
There are a few interesting things about this book in particular. I chose Asheville as a setting for this novel in order to revisit a city I love that’s close enough to be an easy drive from where I currently live. It didn’t hurt that I had family nearby as well. The site of the murder occurs in a restaurant near Pack Square downtown, and the obelisk shown in the background of the cover is a monument dedicated to former NC Governor Zebulon Vance.
This series itself offered several firsts for me. It was the first time I chose real places for my books (Charlotte, Raleigh, and Asheville NC) which was quite a challenge, and I blended cozy with police procedural, with Savannah creating her puzzles, and her husband, Zach, a former cop, solving crime right alongside her. I also added several subplots to each of the books to add some depth, and tried to make each ending a bit more suspenseful than is my norm. I hope my readers have enjoyed this foray into a different style of storytelling. I know I have!
Finally, I added a succinct section at the end of each of Savannah’s puzzles called snippets. They offer a brief glimpse of how she views the world, and they were some of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever written.
It is so interesting to know the stories behind the stories. This series has been quite an adventure for the author and wonderful escapes for the readers. Casey/Tim you know the door id always open! I hope you will come back again soon!!!
p.s. Savannah’s snippet in this edition touched my heart. Unbelievable how perfect it was for something my family is struggling with right now.
About This Author
Tim Myers has been writing mysteries since 1992. He is the Agatha Award nominated author of over 30 novels with Penguin/Berkley/Prime Crime, Penguin/NAL/Signet, St Martin’s Press/Minotaur, and Kensington. He is a New York Times bestselling author under one of his pseudonyms, and ten of his novels have been IMBA National Bestsellers, landing as high as #2. Tim has written under his own name, as well as Elizabeth Bright, Chris Cavender, Casey Mayes, and others.
His first story, My Late Aunt Hattie, was an 800 word short-short that combined elements of comedy, mystery, and the supernatural. It was published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and went on to be included in The Haunted Hour anthology. The author has also had stories included in the Mystery Writers of America Anthology A Hot and Sultry Night for Crime, as well as the hardcover anthology Murder Most Crafty. He is also the author of over 80 short stories, and has been nominated three times for the Derringer Award for Excellence is short mystery fiction.
For more information on Tim, please visit www.timmyers.net
A Grid for Murder
(A Mystery by the Numbers)
3rd Book in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 2, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Cover Illustration by Sawsan Chalabi
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Savannah Stone makes her living creating puzzles for logic lovers but her life hardly follows a logical course. Who could have dreamed that Joanne Clayton would get a job for a local newspapers creating puzzles? A newspaper that has repeatedly turned down Savannah’s work. Joanna Clayton knows nothing about making puzzles, all she knows how to do is spread gossip. There is no way this makes any sense but Savannah heard it directly from Joanne herself. Right there at the Cafe Noir. Savannah just wanted to have a little lunch alone, by herself, but Joanne barreled right up and sat right down at her table and took complete joy in telling Savannah her news. Thankfully a phone call from her husband Zach allowed her to make a hasty but graceful exit.
The real bad news arrived later when Zach calls Savannah to tell her Joanne is dead. She had been poisoned. Retired police chief Zach has been asked to assist in the investigation. Will the police think “puzzle envy” is a strong enough motive for murder? Savannah decides to do a little assisting in the investigation herself to find out which of Joanne’s many enemies may have wanted to get rid of the prospective puzzle maker permanently.
I love the dynamic duo of Zach and Savannah. Think cozy mystery with a bit of police procedural added to the mix. While Zach follows the clues with Captain North, Savannah tries to logically sort through the facts and rumor. Together they seem to come to the correct solution albeit just not at the time. Savannah is a woman who will follow the lead, put herself in danger and scare her husband to death. These two even add to my gray hair and I love it.
This third Mystery By The Numbers has the twists and the turns, a little southern charm and humor, fantastic characters in a beautiful setting, but it may have you rethinking that tea you love to drink.
Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”