Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am pleased to welcome Delia James to Escape With Dollycas today!
Hello. My name is Delia James, and I write mysteries. Specifically, I write mysteries with magic and cats with plenty of attitude. This is no surprise to anybody who knows me.
I grew up on mysteries. Summers at my grandmother’s in the country, I discovered her Agatha Christie books and was immediately fascinated by Hercule Poirot. TV was filled with mysteries and we never missed them, Colombo, MacMillan & Wife, McCloud, The Rockford Files, Quincy…and of course I was in love with the Hardy Boys as played by Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson (for the record, I was a Parker Girl, all the way). Of course I could quote Sherlock Holmes, chapter and verse. In college, I got introduced to, and fell in love all over again with, Lord Peter Whimsey.
Despite this, when I started writing, mysteries were not my first choice. I was (confession time) also a major science fiction nerd and it was science fiction I gravitated to first. I don’t regret it at all. Science fiction is fun, and it teaches you a lot about how to build a fictional world along with the characters that fit into it, or don’t. This can be valuable training for a mystery writer who has to construct solid, interesting puzzles the size of small towns, or big bad cities. And of course, along with science fiction, I was also a fan of its sister genre, fantasy, with its elves and hobbits, and witches, and plenty of magic. I learned to read from The Wizard of Oz and had Alice in Wonderland practically memorized.
With all this swirling around in the background, when I got the chance to write a story featuring a witch and a magical cat in New England, you know I jumped at it. And I am having an absolute blast.
First of all, it’s given me an excuse to spend more time in New England, which is one of my very favorite places. I love the landscape, the coast and the rivers. I even love the weather, especially the autumn. I love the old cities and towns and all the history tucked up in their streets and odd (some of them very odd) corners. Of course there are mysteries here. Lots of them, some of them old, some of them brand new.
Cats were another natural for me. I’ve been owned by one cat or another since I was born. From our grumpy old indoor-outdoor tortoiseshell Buttercup, to Isis the Siamese, to our current long-haired gray Buffy the Vermin Slayer, they all at one time or another shared my home, sat on my lap, or curled up on my shoulders, or gotten in between me and…whatever I was doing at the moment. I swear, some of them have in fact been able to vanish and reappear at will, just like Alistair in A Familiar Tail. Of course they couldn’t be kept out of anyplace they really wanted to get into, including the bedroom, the closet, and once, much to everybody’s surprise and embarrassment, the fridge. Again, just like Alistair.
So, like I said at the beginning, I’m Delia James. Welcome to my world!
Thank you Delia for dropping by today!
A Familiar Tail:
A Witch’s Cat Mystery
Brand New Cozy Mystery Series
Setting – New Hampshire
An Obsidian Mystery (February 2, 2016)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00X593A46
Magic and meows meet in the first enchanting Witch’s Cat mystery!
Unlucky-in-love artist Annabelle Britton decides that a visit to the seaside town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the perfect way to get over her problems. But when she stumbles upon a smoky gray cat named Alastair, and follows him into a charming cottage, Annabelle finds herself in a whole spell-book full of trouble.
Suddenly saddled with a witch’s wand and a furry familiar, Annabelle soon meets a friendly group of women who use their spells, charms, and potions to keep the people of Portsmouth safe. But despite their gifts, the witches can’t prevent every wicked deed in town….
Soon, the mystery surrounding Alistair’s former owner, who died under unusual circumstances, grows when another local turns up dead. Armed with magic, friends, and the charmed cat who adopted her more than the other way around, Annabelle sets out to paw through the evidence and uncover a killer.
Annabelle Amelia Blessingsound Britton comes to Portsmouth to visit her friend Martine Devereux. Martine is the chef at the Pale Ale Inn. But a weekend trip turns into a much longer stay as she realizes her family has many more ties to the town than she knew. Of course, meeting a certain cat named Alastair had a bit to do with her sticking around too. This cat is a mystery and how his former person died is a mystery too. Another death makes Annabelle start to stick her nose in other people’s business and that can be pawsitively dangerous.
Annabelle is an artist and a free spirit. From a very early age she would get a “vibe” from her surroundings. Good “vibes”, bad “vibes”, sometimes no “vibes”. She never understood why this happened to her but the picture becomes much clearer now that she is in New Hampshire and meets a very interesting group of woman. Since the synopsis on the back of the book tells you this already, yes, they are witches. A very eclectic group of witches. Yes, we know this before even starting the book but Annabelle didn’t. I really enjoyed her making this discovery and trying to wrap her head about how her life takes a very dramatic turn. I also enjoyed getting to know the supporting cast. I feel we have barely scratched the surface of their depth.
This entire story is very well written with snappy dialogue and curly Q twists. I absolutely fell in love with Alistair as every cat lover will.
Now as for the setting and I don’t mean Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I mean that beautiful cottage shown on the cover. Glorious inside and out, gardens galore and a true home. I would pack my bags and move there in an instant, witches or no witches, I would adapt 🙂
Delia James has given a strong woman protagonist who is comfortable with herself and has an open mind. She is also a pretty good sleuth. The story is told in first person and I like when we read her thoughts or when she is talking to herself. It makes her more real and believable to me.
This was a fine debut and shows much promise for what I hope will be a long running series.
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
You can Like Delia James on Facebook here.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.
This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas
Leave a comment for Delia for 5 Bonus Entries.
Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.
If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
Contest Will End March 2, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
*Guest Post received from publisher.
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.”