Murder’s No Votive Confidence
(Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher
I am pleased to welcome Christin Brecher to Escape With Dollycas Today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a stay-at-home mom who is about to send her kids off to college over the next couple of years. I’m excited for them, they’re ready to fly the coop. On the other hand, a friend said she’s going to start a wine-fueled support group for those of us saying good-bye, and I plan to be the first to join.
Murder’s No Votive Confidence, the first of the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, is my debut novel.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
- I conquered my fear of heights by learning how to belay down a cliff with a good friend from college during a spontaneous trip we took to Maine.
- Years later, I had a relapse atop Mont St-Michel in France, and my kids had to walk me down from the medieval town’s peak. Both experiences were quite humbling.
- I’m allergic to cats, but I do have a spunky dog named Bandit.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The first book that caused me to lose myself entirely to another world was Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. I was about ten or eleven, and I vividly remember feeling heartbroken when I realized I only had fifty pages to go before I’d have to say good-bye to the characters. I actually cried when I finished the book.
What are you reading now?
The Nantucket Book Festival, in mid-June, was filled with many fantastic authors and panels. My favorite was a mystery panel featuring Nantucket authors Blue Balliett, Steven Axelrod, and Cherie Burns – hosted by Nancy Thayer. They were all so interesting and I enjoyed speaking with them briefly afterward. I walked home with these four author’s latest books, which I’m enjoying immensely.
What books have most inspired you?
- Agatha Christie’s Curtain – because of the plot twist
- Rex Stout’s Fer-de-lance – because of the voice
- Carolyn Keene’s The Hidden Staircase – because it was so liberating
- Goscinny Sempe’s Nicolas – because of its subtle but spot-on wit
- Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – because I made four friends
- Dante’s Inferno – because it left me with ideas I’d never had before
- Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice – because I was seventeen and fell in love with Mr. Darcy
- Shakespeare’s As You Like It – because I saw it performed in Stratford-Upon-Avon and my understanding of words changed forever.
Oh, boy. This is an unfair question. This list is a betrayal of so many others which have inspired me, each for different reasons and at different points of my life.
What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?
From the moment I put pen to paper, I was writing a mystery, without really thinking about it consciously. I think it might be because I love puzzles, and puzzling out motives, psychology, secrets. There’s also something very satisfying about seeing the world put back to order at the end of a mystery.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
I’m in Nantucket right now, and I have a couple of favorite places to write when I’m here. One, of course, is the island’s library, the Athenaeum. There’s a quiet room on the second floor with tables and a nice view of the garden below. I also frequent the Corner Table down the street from the library. They are very generous about allowing people to work in their space, which is really great when I need to be around the energy of others.
Where do the ideas from your books come from?
They can come from anywhere. The other day, for example, a friend told me about candle clocks. I knew nothing about these ancient devices, which were candles with spaced markings to indicate timed intervals. The moment I learned about them, however, I’ve been hell-bent on figuring out a way to use one in my Nantucket Candle Maker series.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Chapter One! There’s always so much I want to say. And, at the same time, I’ve started a journey that I know will take me in directions I haven’t yet imagined. It’s both a daunting and exciting moment.
What do you think makes a good story?
I’m really drawn to characters. When I cried over Little Women, it was because I felt I had come to know Meg, Joe, Beth, and Amy as real people. Each reached some part of me.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
This is a fun question. I suppose there’s a little of me in all of my characters, but none of them is really “me.” As for my heroine, Stella, I relate to someone who has both a business and artistic brain since I worked for years in the corporate world before raising my kids and starting to write. I connect with her appreciation of being a local girl, since I’ve lived in the same neighborhood in NYC for most of my life, and have always come back to Nantucket. Like Stella, many of my friends have been in my life for decades, and I am close to and value family.
Unlike Stella, however, I like a map. I need to make to-do lists to get through the day, rather than throw myself into the unknown and worry about the plan after. I certainly don’t have her stamina, either. That girl does more in a day than I sometimes do in a week! I also envy her ability to eat so much cheese.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
The Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries supply all of the fun of a cozy mystery: An amateur sleuth, a small town, a clever cat, and a cast of supporting characters with whom it’s fun to spend time. Plus, of course, a puzzle to solve at its core. Somewhat different from others, however, the books are about a candle-maker and the many ways she’s developed her trade as a craftsman, business owner, and teacher. The books also embrace the history of Nantucket, which is rich and vibrant and comes with many of its own mysteries.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I’ve been collecting ideas for new characters. Whether they will end up in Stella’s adventures or as stars of their own stories, I have yet to figure out. We’re still at the “nice to meet you” stage.
Thank you, Christin, for stopping by today!
Keep reading for my thoughts on Murder’s No Votive Confidence.
Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .
Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptials promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot-tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.
When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be canceling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.
Stella Wright owns Wick & Flame and has become the go-to person for wedding unity candles. She has created a two-foot-tall unity candle for Jessica Sterling and Joe Handler’s wedding, along with candles for the church, reception, and for the guests to take home all with an original scent approved by the bride. The family and bridal party have checked into the hotel including Simon Sterling, the bride’s uncle who has been asked to walk her down the aisle. New plans must be made when Simon body is found next to the broken unity candle.
A visiting police captain known for quickly solving cases makes a fast arrest. A bartender Stella has known for years. Also, brides are tying her to the murder and starting to cancel their orders. Deciding the only way to catch the real killer is by doing her own investigation. She is soon burning the candle at both ends when she searches out a murderer and works to replace the broken candle. She just needs to do it all without becoming the killer’s next target.
I love the candlemaking theme of this series and am in awe of Stella Wright’s talent. Setting it on Nantucket is a wonderful bonus!
The author introduces us to a wonderful group of core characters. Stella, candlemaker extraordinaire, her female best friend wedding planner and very pregnant Emily, Nantucket Police Officer Andy, male best friend, which may turn into something more. . . or not, and Peter, a journalist who has come to town to report on the wedding. He could also be interested in Stella and wants to help her solve the murder, especially if he gets the scoop. The author does an excellent job developing these characters, making them real and engaging. There is still much to learn but for the first book in a series, it was very well done.
Ms. Brecher also introduces a vast number of suspects, some with more motive than others and many with opportunity. The victim’s cat, Tinker also played a major role.
This cozy mystery is full of twists, turns, and surprises. I read this entire book in one day. I could not put it down. The pages just kept turning, raising new questions, bringing different suspects to the forefront. I enjoyed the way the story was laid out and the author’s clear descriptions. A romance is hinted at but the relationships are complicated. The mystery came to a very satisfying conclusion. A wedding has its own kind of drama, a dead body takes things to a whole new level.
The first book in a new cozy mystery series is hard to write. The author needs to find a balance between introducing the characters and giving readers an entertaining mystery. Christin Brecher excelled at both. She also left me wanting more. I can’t wait for my next trip to Nantucket and Wick & Flame. Murder Makes Scents is scheduled to release on February 25, 2020.
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More About Christin Brecher
was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence
is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com
Coming February 25, 2020
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.”