Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to have Dana Dratch stop by for a visit today
as part of her Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour!
Life Lessons from Murder Mysteries
by Dana Dratch
I have to confess a certain weakness for mystery stories.
I blame Nancy Drew. With her cool car, absent but well-heeled father and coterie of willing friends, she was always getting herself in and out of trouble and solving whatever mysteries life threw her way.
Not a bad motto for life.
As I grew up, I added the Sherlock Holmes stories to my bookshelf, along with Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, and Dorothy Sayers. And they were joined by the likes of Gregory Mcdonald, Robert B. Parker, M.C. Beaton, G.K. Chesterton, and Louise Penny.
Turns out, there’s a lot of very valuable information in mystery stories. And I’m not just talking untraceable poisons and where to hide the body. They also contain, in the words of one of my former editors, “news you can use.”
Here are a few life lessons I’ve picked up after years of reading mysteries — and writing a few along the way:
1. Be open and skeptical. Miss Marple was famous for this. Sure, she’d sit there and enjoy whatever tea and scones were placed in front of her. Along with a nice helping of gossip. But she never took any of it at face value. She watched, listened and learned. Then filed it away for later.She’d have made a great reporter.
2. Societal politeness is highly overrated. Golden Age mystery writers were diabolical. They managed to glamorize polite society and manners, while simultaneously roasting them. Why didn’t the Countess spit out the wine when she noticed it tasted off? Too déclassé. How come Harold didn’t call out for help when the murder suspect followed him into the darkened garden? But he wasn’t certain, you see. It wouldn’t have been quite cricket.
Sometimes, it pays to act on instinct. Scream like a girl, Harold.
3,. Stop for a good meal now and then. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser is no stranger to fine dining. And M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth may live in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, but the place is wired for great food.
Once in a while you have to stop, take time out and refuel. The villains can wait.
4. Stick with what you love. How many detectives are warned not to pursue the case? Pretty much all of them. Do they listen? Not on your life.
They just keep following those clues (and the trail of dead bodies), until they finally catch the bad guys. Lucky for us.
Thank you so much for stopping by today, Dana!
Keep reading for my thoughts on Dana’s new book, Seeing Red.
About the Book
Seeing Red (A Red Herring Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington D.C. / Virginia
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Digital ASIN: B07H1VFL64
If it wasn’t for art thieves, spies and killers, Alex Vlodnachek’s life would be bliss.
Her freelance career is catching fire. Her relationship with B&B owner Ian Sterling is flirty and fun. She’s even attending a glittering cocktail party at his sprawling Victorian inn.
But, to this ex-reporter, something seems “off.” And it’s not the canapés. When Ian’s father vanishes, the enigmatic innkeeper asks for her discretion. And her assistance.
Meanwhile, Alex is having the opposite problem at her tiny bungalow: People keep piling in uninvited. Including a mysterious intruder found sleeping in her kitchen. Her grandmother, Baba, who shows up “to help”—with Alex’s own mother hot on her heels.
When the intrepid redhead discovers a body in the B&B’s basement and a “reproduction” Renoir in the library, she begins to suspect that Ian is more than just a simple hotel owner.
With editor pal Trip, brother Nick, and rescue-pup Lucy riding shotgun, Alex scrambles to stay one step ahead of disaster—and some very nasty characters.
Can she find the missing man before it’s too late? Or will Alex be the next one to disappear?
OMG, hold on to your funny bones! Dana Dratch has penned another fantastic mystery filled with humor that you will be unable to put down.
First, Ian’s father goes missing in the middle of a party. Then, unusual discovery is made in Alex’s kitchen, followed by an unusual discovery in the inn’s basement freezer, which quickly goes missing. Then while Alex is trying to find a clue about where the innkeeper’s father may have gone she makes yet another unusual discovery and it doesn’t stop there. She arrives home to find that her brother has brought Baba back to help with the kitchen discovery and it isn’t long before there another visitor camped out in her living room. As if her house is already bursting at the seams her mother arrives starting a rant as soon as she walks in the door.
Needing to get out of the house she calls her friend Trip and they along with her dog Lucy embark on a journey to get a whole list of answers. She hopes to find them all before finding any more bodies or someone finding hers.
These characters are fun and created with depth. Again Baba stole my heart. The woman still can’t cook but she whips Alex’s house and everyone in it into shape within minutes. The rest of the characters I came to love in the first book, Confessions of a Red Herring, all return making me love them even more. Alex is a strong protagonist with a huge heart. Nick, Alex’s brother is getting his new business off the ground and a big help to Alex. Ian is hiding something so Alex starts to waiver in her trust of him, especially with all the dead bodies. Trip is the perfect best friend for Alex especially because she truly has her hands full this time.
Ms. Dratch gives readers a perplexing mystery to try to solve. Twists on top of twists had me spinning. I figured out only one very minuscule part before everything was revealed. The pace is quick and the suspense and humor are blended together in a very entertaining way.
Great characters, laugh out loud moments, and a complex mystery make for a wonderful read. Another Perfect Escape from Dana Dratch.
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, don’t miss any of the fun. Read that one first.
About the Author
Dana Dratch is a personal finance writer and the author of CONFESSIONS OF A RED HERRING and SEEING RED. She’s currently working on the third Alex Vlodnachek mystery adventure, RED HOT. Get updates at ConfessionsofaRedHerring.com.
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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.”