Nov 292013
 

quotientThe Quotient of Murder
(Professor Sophie Knowles)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (November 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Art by Lisa French
Cover Design Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262702
E-Book File Size: 2602 KB
ASIN: B00BC255W8
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Dr. Sophie Knowles loves using puzzles to make math fun for students. But when winter seizes Henley College, she must thaw out a cold case to track down a killer—her most difficult puzzle yet . . .

Henley College has decided to offer a Winter Intersession over the holiday break, 4 weeks of classes, 3 credits each, 31 days braving the cold winter weather on campus. Dr. Sophie Knowles in teaching 2 classes, something she could deal with but then she learns the heating system in Benjamin Franklin Hall is not working and she also has to park way across campus as construction crews continue to work restoring the college’s bell tower and carillon, the huge instrument that consists of huge bells and the keyboard that  play beautiful melodies. While she is looking forward to the bell tower reopening she is not happy about the cold windy walk only to enter the cold drafty building.

The bell tower has been closed for 25 years and Sophie is shocked to learn why—a student apparently leapt from it to her death but there seems to be so many secrets about the case, Sophie wonders if it really was a suicide.

Then one of Sophie’s favorite students, Jenn Marshall, is attacked in broad daylight on campus. The fact that she is one of the students that will be  playing the carillon when the tower reopens just like the girl 25 years before seems just a little too coincidental to math professor Sophie.  It seems like a perfect puzzle for her to figure out before someone else gets hurt.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
How come there were no professors like Dr. Sophie Knowles when I was in college? I absolutely hated math and the classes were so boring.

Sophie is a great amateur sleuth with her analytical mind. Her emergency helicopter boyfriend, Bruce, is a thrill seeker, who goes on hikes up icy mountains. He prefers Sophie stay out of these investigations but when their friend Detective Virgil Mitchell asks for her help all he can do is try to keep her safe. These three characters are all fantastic and I enjoy their interplay so much.

Madison really drew me in to this story with the mystery surrounding the carillon. My children all played in the bell choir of our church and understanding this on this much larger scale was very interesting. I love hearing music from the bell towers but never knew the mechanics behind it.

The way the cold case and the new case are written and how they may be connected is masterful. There is a lot of information and misdirection that keeps us readers on our toes. I thought I had this one figured out but I was wrong.

This entire series is very entertaining and this 4th installment is the best one yet!! The author also includes some brain teasers  and puzzles at the back of the book. Maybe a few brain exercises will give me a better chance at solving the next mystery she tests us with.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Camille Minichino, a retired physicist turned writer, has published 17 mysteries in three series: The Periodic Table Mysteries, The Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace) and The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries  (as Ada Madison). Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series. She’s also written short stories and articles for popular magazines and teaches writing and science in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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.”

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Jan 092013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to welcome Ada Madison (Camille Minichino) to Escape With Dollycas today!!

slideruleLG

I love Dollycas’s idea of ESCAPE! So many meanings, so many twists to discuss.

Last time I visited here, I talked about 2 things that keep me from escaping into a book: when authors give Wikipedia-type descriptions of places, signaling that they’ve never been to the location; and when they name characters after their relatives or friends, taking the reader out of the story to note, “How cute, she’s giving a nod to her cousin Chucky.”

For me as an author, the best way to escape is to break the rules. I’m such a wimp, an utter rule-keeper in real life, that writing a character who breaks the rules is true escape. Here are a couple of real-life instances that have inspired me to have my characters break a rule or two, including Sophie Knowles in A Function of Murder.

Case #1. Trespass!

One time I showed up to teach a writing class that was to be held on the property of a county park. The class was scheduled for ten o’clock. I showed up about 15 minutes early and found a couple of students waiting outside an impressive fence with a chain, a serious padlock, and a large, forbidding No Trespassing sign.notrespass

No problem; we were early. We chatted on; more students came. Minutes passed. No one showed up to let us in. A couple of delivery people came by in trucks and left when they realized there was no entry. We made a few calls with our cells—first to my contact at the school, who suggested I call the park police, who suggested I call the city police, who suggested I call my contact at the school, and so on.

The boring part of the story is that eventually someone came to let us in.

The interesting part happened while we were waiting.

A young woman pulled up in a low red sports car. She got out and addressed us. “I have to get in there,” she said. “I was at a wedding in the park last night and I left my purse.”

We shrugged and explained that there was nothing we could do until someone came with a key for the padlock.

She grunted, and thought a minute. The next thing we knew, she was scaling the fence, her long hair flying in the breeze. She plopped down on the other side and walked into the park. About 5 minutes later, she approached the fence again, from the inside, and climbed out.

In her hands were a purse, a pair of glittery sling backs, and a bra.

She gave us a wink, got in her car and drove off.

My writing students and I got a lot of mileage of the incident, creating many colorful back stories. We all agreed, however, that the most impressive thing was the young woman’s willingness to disregard the No Trespassing sign and its warning of a heavy fine.

For me, the physical difficulty of scaling a fence pales in comparison to the mental and psychological difficulty of disobeying a sign.

Maybe that’s why I write fiction—to break laws vicariously!

Would you have climbed that fence?

Case #2. Disregard This Announcement!Function of Murder

Waiting for a train in an underground San Francisco transit station, I sat next to two 20-something women slurping cold coffee drinks from a Starbucks cup. Between them was a bag of Mrs. Field’s cookie bites. They were happy snackers, chatting away, in English (you’ll see why that’s important in a minute).

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say there were first-timers on BART and didn’t know the rules: NO food or drink allowed in BART stations or on trains.

Then it’s a good thing there are signs with the information repeated in a scrolling message overhead.

Let’s give them another chance and say they didn’t lift their heads to read the message.

Then it’s a good thing a loud warning announcement came over the PA system, every 2 minutes or so, interrupting their conversation: Eating or drinking in a BART station can result in a fine of up to $250.

Wow! $250. I started to get nervous for the girls. I looked over and one caught my eye and gave me a friendly, relaxed smile. In other words, fully aware of the rules they were breaking, what the girls weren’t breaking was a sweat.

I scooted away from them, lest the BART police think I was with these lawbreakers.

I’ll jump ahead to the end of the story: Nothing bad happened to the young women, who carried their food and drink onto a train. As far as I know they reached their destination, escaping any punishment.

I’m not sure how hungry or thirsty I’d have to be to take food or drink down to the BART station. Starving? Dehydrated? Even at an age when I could easily claim exigent senior citizen circumstances, I couldn’t do it.

I’m envious. It’s not about the BART rule, or the No Trespassing rule in Case #1; it’s about any rule. I just can’t break them. (Note that I’m holding a slide RULE in the photo.)

Criticism is levied against cozy mysteries because their amateur sleuths often do foolish things, unlawful even, while investigating murders.

But isn’t that what fiction is for? Someone has to live an exciting rule-breaking life for us.

Do you follow even the smallest rule, or would you make a good amateur sleuth?

Excellent post! I am just like you! Thank you so much for visiting today!!

 

About This Author

Camille Minichino, a retired physicist turned writer, has published 17 mysteries in three series: The Periodic Table Mysteries, The Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace) and The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries  (as Ada Madison). Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series. She’s also written short stories and articles for popular magazines and teaches writing and science in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Function of Murder

A Function of Murder
(Professor Sophie Knowles Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 31, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251751
E-Book File Size: 613 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMIEM
Cover Illustration by Lisa French
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell

A Function of Murder

Math Professor Sophie Knowles is looking forward to some time off as this year’s class graduates, but things do not go as planned. The graduates are complaining about the mayor who gave the commencement address, one student is upset about her grade and vents on social media, and just when she is about to escape all of the drama to take a stroll with her helicopter pilot boyfriend things go horribly wrong.  They are interrupted by the mayor himself as he falls into the fountain with a knife in his back.  Sophie is shocked to find out the mayor was seeking her out for help before he was killed. Solving this murder in’t going to be easy but Sophie is ready to show her work as she tries delve into all the scandal and corruption that seems to connect to the mayor and find out how she fits into this criminal equation.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sophie is such a fun protagonist. She really doesn’t want to get all wrapped up in a murder investigation but she just can’t help herself.  Her boyfriend does his best to keep her safe but they can’t be together 24/7. Thankfully she has a great relationship with Detective Virgil Mitchell. The killer really surprised me. I figured it out at the same time Sophie did.  It was a puzzler with quite a suspenseful ending.

The subplot of the student that is unhappy with her grades was wonderful. I am sure teachers near and far deal with this problem. With social media the student can take their issue to the masses making resolution difficult especially when “friends” take the problem to a whole new level. 

Ada Madison has written three marvelous main characters, surrounded them with a group of very interesting individuals in a setting ripe for mystery. Add it all together and A Function of Murder equals an absolutely impressive whodunit. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Camille has made the giveaway today SPECTACULAR!!

In addition to the 2 books I am giving away
thanks to the wonderful people at Berkley Prime Crime – 

She is giving away 3 additional copies with bookmarks and rulers!!!

THAT’S A TOTAL OF 5 COPIES!!!

U.S. AND CANADA ONLY

To enter you must leave a comment below
answering Camille’s question:

Do you follow even the smallest rule, or would you make a good amateur sleuth?

Plus fill out the entry form found here!

Winners will be chosen by Random.org
Winners will be notified by email and
will be posted in the sidebar of this blog.
Entries without a comment will be disqualified!
Contest Will End January 23 at 11:59 p.m. CST

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.”

85941Cruisin 20132013where are you readingreadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0

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Mar 142012
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! I found out last year Ada Madison was a pseudonym for Camille Minichino and we connected on Facebook very quickly. What did we do before Facebook and the internet? We would never have gotten to know our favorite authors and the only way we were able to tell them we loved their work was to send them a letter through the publisher. I am so happy to be able to send them messages, email them with questions, or just tweet to the world that we love their books. I am so glad I was able to connect with Camille and find out what a truly special woman she is and I am so happy she could take time to visit here today.

Welcome Camille!

I am happy to be here!!

Escape with Camille

 

The title of the new Dollycas site got me thinking – what does it take for me to escape into a good book?

I’ve come up with two criteria for starters:

1. The setting must hold my interest. The author has to take me to the city, domestic or international, in a way that convinces me she’s been there. If I come across phrases that have been ripped from tour guides and brochures, such as “San Francisco has extraordinary vistas and innovative sightseeing buses,” I’ll toss the book aside.

Even if the setting is fictional, it must have characteristics that make it unique and appropriate for the story, whether it’s a boardwalk or a monument to Machiavelli.

I’ve tried to make my fictional town of Lincoln Point  (The Miniature Mysteries by Margaret Grace) memorable for its devotion to Old Abe, with Lincoln quotes etched into public buildings, streets named after him and his friends, a reenactment of a Lincoln-Douglas debate every year, and even a Mary Todd Lincoln Ball on her birthday in December. (Not all in the same book!)

A small New England college is the setting for my newest series (The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries by Ada Madison). College events, like reunions and graduations provide the background for the stories. In the latest, “The Probability of Murder” the stacks in the campus library are the site of murder and mayhem.

2. Character names. Those of us who write mysteries and hang around with mystery writers form a kind of inner circle of connections. Not only do we all know more or less the same booksellers, agents, and editors, we know each others’ families. If I find an author’s cousin in a work of fiction, I pull back, taken out of the story. Oh, right, I think, this is a nod to XX’s family. So much for escaping.

The worst  case of this: Recently, I was reading a novel with a reporter as amateur sleuth. On the back flap, I learned that the author lives in New York with his wife, the poet—let’s call her Penelope Jones.

About one third of the way into this very well written novel, the protagonist meets a woman in a bar. The woman is reading a book of poetry by—wait for it—Penelope Jones. They read a few lines aloud and have a conversation about how great Jones’s poetry is.

What? A commercial in the middle of my escape fiction?

I’m sure the author made points with his wife and his in-laws for his humorous little plug, but, for me, it simply took me out of the fictional world and into the real life of the author. I closed the book and never opened it again. I guessed that by end of the book, the murder might be solved, but not before Penelope Jones received the Robert Frost Prize for her poetry.

What takes you out of a story? Would you have continued to read the reporter-and-wife’s story?

Let me know here and be eligible for a math-related prize!

~Camille

What a perfect post for my blog!! I would hate the little plug too, but I really believe the setting is key to escaping into a book, whether it be an island, small town or even a prison, if the author reveals the setting correctly the escape is magical and easy. Thank you so much Camille!!

Camille is offering 3 math prizes so be sure to leave a comment to answer her questions. Check out the book giveaway after my review of Ada’s latest!

 About This  Author

Camille Minichino is a retired physicist turned writer.

As Camille Minichino, she’s the author of the Periodic Table Mysteries. As Margaret Grace, she writes the Miniature Mysteries, based on her lifelong hobby. “Mix-up in Miniature” will be released April 2. As Ada Madison, she writes the academic mysteries featuring Professor Sophie Knowles, college math teacher. “The Probability of Murder” was released March 6. Check out her blog!

Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series. 
**********************

The Probability of Murder
(Professor Sophie Knowles)

Second in the Series

Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Lisa French
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell

Dr. Sophie Knowles is a rare college professor who has a way of making the most complex math problems fun for her students. She hosts weekly parties celebrating famous scientists and mathematicians. They are quite popular with the students.

The fun quickly ends when Charlotte Crocker, Sophie’s friend and college librarian, is found dead in the stacks. Everyone loved Charlotte until it was learned that her entire life was just a web of lies. Sophie can’t believe the woman she knew had such a checkered past. So instead of grabbing a couple of days away with her boyfriend Bruce, she needs to do her own homework and formulate a plan to catch the killer before there are any more deductions of students or staff. She is on her own as Bruce takes off on a ice mountain climb, so she has to worry about him too!!

Dollycas Thoughts
College campuses are full of big, old buildings full of mystery. They are also full of plenty of suspects. Sophie is very distracted in this story by events involving her boyfriend but it doesn’t stop her from working her way through the clues to solve the problems doing her best to catch the culprit. The author combines both situations is a very exciting and entertaining way.

If math was not your favorite or best subject there is no need to be afraid of this series. Being a mathematics professor you may think Sophie takes a very analytical approach to solving the crime, but she is more of an emotional solver when it comes to finding this murderer. She is also very open to having pizza with the Bruce’s friend, Detective Virgil Mitchell to pump him for information.

This is a fun, captivating cozy to escape into today!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 


Thanks to the folks at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies of this book to give away!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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.

Leave a comment for Ada (Camille) for 5 Bonus Entries and
enter her special giveaway.

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 21, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

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.”

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