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#SpecialGuest – P.A. De Voe – Author of No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery – Great Escapes Book Tour @PamelaADeVoe

No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery
by P.A. De Voe


I am pleased to welcome P.A. De Voe to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Hi P.A.,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an anthropologist and Asian specialist. I write contemporary cozy mysteries, as well as historical mysteries and crime stories immersed in the life and times of Imperial China. I am a Silver Falchion award winner and an Agatha and Silver Falchion award finalist. I am a member of Sisters in Crime National and Guppy Chapter, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Saturday Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and Mystery Writers of America/MWA Midwest.

I live in the Midwest with my husband and a feral cat that came in from the cold. Although I spend most of my time writing, I also enjoy spinning yarn, knitting, and making bears from vintage furs.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. That I spin my own wool, alpaca, and angora yarn on a beautiful wheel made just for me.
  2. That I make bears from vintage furs I find in antique shops. I only use vintage furs that are torn and not readily wearable anymore.
  3. That I love to bake, especially to make breads from heritage grains, whole wheat and rye flours.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Nancy Drew. My Dad bought a book for me when I was home sick. I also read the Cherry Aims books.

What are you reading now?

I’m rereading Tony Hillerman’s books.

What books have most inspired you?

It’s hard for me to say what books have most inspired me, however, I do remember the impact Ernest Hemingway’s style of writing had on me. He used a clean, simple style to tell wonderful stories.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I like reading mysteries. For a long time, however, I didn’t think I could actually write a mystery. Eventually, I decided to give it a try and find it a constant challenge, which I enjoy.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I have an office in my home. I am surrounded by my books. It’s a happy place.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

My Chinese historical fiction comes from reading court cases from Imperial China. I also read broadly covering a wide range of topics, such as letter writing, popular fiction, medicine, law… All of this helps fill in information on how people lived at that time.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

For me, doing research for a story easily is the most fun. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult for me to put my books aside and start writing an outline for the next novel or short story.

What do you think makes a good story?

First, a story has to be entertaining. Second, the readers have to be able to relate to the characters at some visceral level.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

None, really. Quite frankly, I’m not interesting enough to carry a whole story. Plus, I am too American to be anything like my Chinese characters. J

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

No Way to Die is an amateur sleuth/cozy mystery set in a different time and place from most cozies. Rather than a contemporary setting, No Way to Die’s story takes place in the 14th century. And, whereas most cozy mysteries take place in the US or England, No Way to Die’s story is set in Southern China.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I am currently putting together a collection of my Judge Lu short stories. At this time, they are spread out over various anthologies and an e-magazine. I hope to have the collection out within the next several weeks.

I am also working on the third novel in the Ming Dynasty Mystery series. This novel will come out next year.


About No Way To Die  

No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Drum Tower Press, LLC (April 18, 2019)
Paperback: 210 pages
ISBN-10: 1942667116
ISBN-13: 978-1942667117
Digital ASIN: B07PWJ715D

Through mystery and intrigue, No Way To Die transports the reader into the complex and engaging world of early Ming China.

When a peddler finds a partially mutilated body of a stranger, the unlikely duo of a young scholar and a local women’s doctor once more join forces to discover who killed him and why. In probing the highly gendered world of early Ming China, unanticipated questions surface, complicating their investigation.

As their case rapidly transitions into the unexpected, they find all roads leading away from the victim, forcing them to consider alternate routes. Was the death the result of inexorable bad karma and beyond their purview, or merely the result of mortal foul play? Was the murdered man the intended victim? If not, who was and why? The investigation leads to a growing list of potential suspects: a lustful herbalist, an unscrupulous neighbor, a vengeful farmer, a jealous husband, a scorned wife, and a band of thieves. Who is innocent and who is the culprit? To solve the murder and bring peace to the victim’s spirit, the duo must untangle the truth and do it before the murderer strikes again.

Praise for No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery
by P.A. De Voe

If you love Historical Cozy mysteries and the Judge Dee stories then this is the series for you!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

I loved the mystery and was able to follow the clues, though there are certainly quite a few red herrings thrown in to throw us off! The historical accuracy in No Way to Die enthralled me . . .
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

More About P.A. De Voe


P.A. De Voe is an anthropologist with a PhD in Asian studies and a specialty in China. She has authored several stories featuring the early Ming Dynasty: The Mei-hua Trilogy: Hidden, Warned, and Trapped; the A Ming Dynasty Mystery series with Deadly Relations and No Way to Die; Lotus Shoes, a Mei-hua short story; and a collection of short stories: Judge Lu’s Case Files, stories of Crime & Mystery in Imperial China. Warned won a Silver Falchion Award for Best International Mystery; Trapped was a finalist for an Agatha Award and for a Silver Falchion Award. Her short story, The Immortality Mushroom, (a Judge Lu story) was in the Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks edited by Art Taylor.

Author Links – Website  – FacebookTwitterGoodReads

Purchase Link – Amazon

Find more by this author here.
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
December 9 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 9 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
December 10 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
December 10 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
December 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – GUEST POST
December 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
December 12 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 13 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 14 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

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Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2014

Review – Shadow Catcher by James R. Hannibal

I recently received Shadow Maker (Nick Baron Series), the second book in this series for review. I emailed the publicist and told him I prefer to read series in order if possible and he was wonderful and sent me this book to review too!

shadow catcherShadow Catcher: A Novel
(Nick Baron Series)

First Book In Series
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 1, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425266878


Over ten years ago, Air Force major Nick Baron was part of a failed special ops mission that left a B-2 stealth bomber at the bottom of the Persian Gulf. Now, leading his men—the Triple Seven Chase team—Baron must find the bomber and dispose of it for good before any unfriendly nation can steal the onboard technology for its own purposes. But as the team embarks on its mission, there are greater dangers waiting.

When the CIA intercepts a call signal from an operative in China long thought dead, the Triple Seven Chase team is given the perilous task of retrieving the lone soldier from deep within the Chinese wilderness. There is only one plane for such a dangerous mission: the Shadow Catcher, a plane with capabilities beyond anything that has ever flown.

What Baron and his men don’t know is that the enemy is already among them—and that the Shadow Catcher itself may be the ultimate prize.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have Mr. James R. Hannibal to thank for a heck of a book hangover. I started reading this book and couldn’t put it down.

James R. Hannibal is a veteran combat pilot with Top Secret clearance from the U.S. government and he writes what he knows and he does it really well. The thing I really appreciated was this story is written for people like me and the military jargon was kept to a minimum. My husband enjoys Tom Clancy but his stories sometimes read like a military handbook and fail to keep my interest. That is not the case at all with Shadow Catcher. The author had me from page one and held on tight to the very last word.

The book starts out with a prologue from 1988 and then goes into the story in 2013 so you know these things are going to connect and with some very clever twists that is exactly what happens.

Hannibal has created some very engaging characters. Their back stories are meshed into the plot effortlessly. This reader came to care about them very quickly.

The story moves at a breakneck speed so don’t pick it up thinking you are going to read just a chapter or two at a time. It just won’t happen.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

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To find out more about James R. Hannibal and his books visit his webpage here.

I will be reviewing Shadow Maker next week!!


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.”

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Review: Midnight In Peking by Paul French


Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
Penguin Books
Published by The Penguin Group

Paul French, a historian and an expert on China, takes us back to Peking in 1937. The Japanese are surrounding the city. Superstitions are running high. The Chinese believe in things like the “dreaded fox spirits”.

Paula Werner was just a school girl, a bit headstrong and free thinking, living with her father in Peking unless she was away at boarding school. Her father was a scholar and a retired British Consul. She had gone out to spend time with friends but never returns home.

Then a body was found murdered, mutilated, organs removed, it even appeared the killer tried to cut her arm completely off and her face is almost unrecognizable.  The body is later identified as Paula Werner.

Because of her father’s British connection the investigation became quite a circus. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Dennis is brought in from Tientsin to assist the Chinese detectives but both governments really tie their hands to where, who and how they can investigate. With the suspect list growing and few actual clues, will the crime be solved before the Japanese invade and Peking as they know it is gone forever.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a very well researched story. It is a time in history that is pretty unknown in general history of the world taught in school in the U.S.  French presents the information methodically but I almost felt overloaded by all of it. The lengthy descriptions of buildings, streets and alleys.  The history of the time set forth in paragraph and after paragraph of dates and events and their effect on the nation. While all very interesting I felt the story of Pamela Werner got a bit lost at times. The roadblocks met by the detectives were immense and removed the expected drama of searching out the killer. Her father’s continued dedication to getting  justice for his daughter was unwavering. His need to employ private detectives to find the truth, but never enough evidence to arrest or convict was heartbreaking.

I know the author had to follow the facts and this is a true telling. It took a great effort for me to finish this book.  History enthusiasts will appreciate all the detail but everyday readers of true crime and mystery will find themselves like me skimming over the pages to get to a solution that never really comes because of the restrictions/corruption by both the Chinese and British governments.  French probably did identify the real killer but because of the obstacles in place at the time of the crime and the lack of crucial information the murder is still unresolved.  The outcome is not the authors fault as he cannot rewrite history.

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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.”