Ladle to the Grave
When a local woman is poisoned at a pagan ritual in the woods, Lucky Jamieson’s grandfather, Jack, who provided the herbs for the gathering, is suspected of making a terrible mistake. The following day, a dead man is found floating in a creek just outside of town, his face unrecognizable. Is he a stranger or Lucky’s best friend’s estranged brother? Lucky is certain both deaths are murder. Can she find the connection and clear her grandfather’s name before more victims fall prey to a killer?
Crime fiction comes in many different packages – hard-boiled, noir, police procedural, thriller, cozy, even humorous. And fans of crime fiction are truly devoted fans who enjoy nothing else. I include myself in this category. I couldn’t imagine reading a book without one or more bodies. Oh, I admit I occasionally pick up a non-fiction book, but generally it’s crime-related non-fiction.
I’ve been asked a few times if I write anything else. I never know what to say because if that anything else means a story that doesn’t involve suspense, mystery, thrills and dead bodies – the answer is no. I’ve never even given it a thought. But that got me to thinking . . . why is that? Do I (and other crime fiction authors) have darkly suspicious minds that perceive something nefarious in the most innocent of situations? That could be. Yes, I’ll admit to that. Is it the puzzle of unraveling clues that fascinates us? Or the curiosity of following a police investigation and finally watching light dawn (figuratively) in the detective’s eyes. Yes, there’s that too.
Or is it a desire for justice? Possibly. Maybe. Although I have noticed in reading foreign (non-U.S.) authors the same imperative to tie up every story in a nice neat bow doesn’t exist quite as much. Perhaps, I’ve thought, it’s only Americans who want everything nicely nailed down at the end.
Years ago, I read what the Italians call a gialli. So named, because giallo, the word for yellow, is the color publishers use for popular crime fiction. The Thursdays of Senora Giulia (I Giovedi della Senora Julia) is a crime story in which the fictional Senora Giulia disappears. I struggled with the advanced vocabulary but couldn’t wait to finish the story. I reached the final chapters only to discover the murderer was not only not brought to justice, but was not even revealed. I was extremely upset. I asked my teacher WHY???? Why write the book and not solve the crime? He said, “Allora, (I’m translating here) Who do you think killed her?” (I’ll spare you, dear reader, the following discussion about past participles having to agree with the gender of the victim). I was convinced Senora Giulia was killed by her ne’er do well son-in-law, but of course I wasn’t allowed to investigate. And I imagine my teacher’s comment implied that the end result was not as important as the exploration of possibilities. It was very frustrating! So, no, I can’t even say unequivocally that the fascination with crime fiction is a desire for justice or for order in our chaotic andviolent world.
Now, I’m not such a great fan of serial killer stories. I enjoy reading about the investigation, I enjoy the attempt to infiltrate the mind of the killer, but after all, serial killers are just plain bonkers. Maybe there’s a reason for their behavior, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the psychological underpinnings of the average person who is driven to commit that most heinous of crimes. The kind of person who’s spoken of (after the act) by neighbors and friends as “Such a nice man . . . who would have thought?”
What neuronal or emotional pathways have become twisted in the mind of a killer provoking him or her to that final desperate act? And what is the connection between the victim and the killer? As any cop will tell you, an investigation starts with the victim – because therein lies the solution.
So, no, I have to admit. Literary fiction isn’t nearly as interesting — not if there aren’t any bodies when all is said and done. Whether it’s the puzzle of a cozy, the hunt for a serial killer, or a desire for order in a chaotic world, I have no answers. I just know I love to read it and I love to write it.
About This Author
Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.
Ladle to the Grave
(A Soup Lover’s Mystery)
4th in Series
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 3, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Cathy Gendron
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ISBN-13: 978-0425273111
By the Spoonful is Snowflake, Vermont’s most popular soup shop, but owner Lucky Jamieson doesn’t have any time to enjoy her success—she’s too busy trying to keep a lid on false accusations against her loved ones…
It’s almost May, and some of the local ladies have organized a pagan celebration in the woods to welcome spring. But the evening goes terribly wrong when one of the attendees winds up dead, apparently poisoned by an herbal concoction prepared by Lucky’s grandfather, Jack.
Lucky’s sure her grandfather could not have made such a tragic mistake. But before she can clear him of suspicion, her best friend, Sophie, is diverted from planning her wedding to By the Spoonful chef Sage DuBois when she finds a dead man floating in the creek on her property. Now it’s up to Lucky to get both Sophie and Jack out of hot water before a killer stirs up more trouble…
Another tasty mystery from Connie Archer.
Snowflake Vermont is a small town where everyone knows everyone and most likely everybody knows your business too.
First Sage and Sophie are trying to plan a small wedding but the whole town seems to plan on attending, well not everyone, but definitely more than the couple had originally planned. Then we end up with not just one body but two. A group of ladies decide to welcome Spring in a whole new way. The fun quickly comes to a halt when one of the women falls over dead after drinking some special brew. The concoction was enhanced by herbs Lucky’s grandfather, Jack, had gathered, which lands him in the soup. Then the next body is found in some chilly water. Sophie finds a man in a bubbling brook on the property where she grew up. She also learns that property may hold other secrets as the neighboring Ski Resort wants to pay big bucks to buy it.
This was one of those stories that once you started reading you just couldn’t stop. I really felt bad for Jack. He was really questioning himself. Did he make a mistake and pick something that killed someone? I liked the large part Sage and Sophie played in this story. It was great to get to know more about each of them and their relationship. As always I love checking in on the the recurring characters that drop in at By The Spoonful.
Archer has given us two mysteries to solve and she weaves them together throughout the entire story. Readers follow the clues right along with Lucky, a spoonful at a time. The characters remind me so much of the people that used to drop by my mother’s restaurant. I have a picture of each of them in my mind.
Same time, next year, Connie. My next trip to Snowflake is all planned.
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.
Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.
Leave a comment for Connie 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 April 25, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
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.”