Thank you for the mention - it's true - as foreign as they come - others might say the essence of America - I am honored to play the beloved classic american character Lennie in Steinbeck's Of Mice and men. However, nothing has tickled me more then the anticipation of a novel set in Zambia. Thank you Audrey!
as much as i appreciate paulo's and all of your comments, i have to set him straight on this one. my next-to-be-published book, the third in the eloquent murder mystery series, is The Eloquent Tattoo, not i'm afraid set in zambia, but rather in the fictive town of midfield, ohio, where our heroine mary beth is a professor and sometime detective. the africa connection is through a charming zambian student celeste nkolola-wasumelo, who is at midfield college campus (mc college) on a scholarship.
the impressive anaphora literary press of pennsylvania is interested in publishing the book. more later.
today i am dealing with two mysteries that are part of two long-running series and that leave me cold. i'm not sure why.
susan wittig albert's mourning gloria is the nineteenth in her series of cozy mysteries starring herbalist and sometime detective china bayles. i mentioned in a previous blog that this novel is a step above the usual cozy. it is. each chapter starts with information about a different herb plus the occasional info on farmer's markets. all are interesting. china and her pals, though, are only fairly interesting. it might be that they are not quite stimulating enough to sustain nineteen novels about them. how much would you want to read about scarlet and rhett? or any of 'the bridesmaids'?
wittig albert does bring in a new character, an intern reporter, who uncovers too much. jessica nelson disappears while investigating a case that china is also investigating a ( burned alive) murder in a trailer. soon china has the murder and the disappearance to solve. this is followed by twists and turns that i, for one, didn't care about. who is the mysterious neighbor? c'mon, everyone has one.
everyone, except the murdered woman g.g., (she is the 'gloria' of the clever mourning gloria title) is happy at the end. it's a quick read. if you look at these people as old friends, you will probably be willing to give them a pass on a bad day.
the book is published by berkley prime crime and is 291 pages, not counting those recipes. do they really help sell books? i guess i should try!
the other long-running series is the decker/lazarus mystery group of novels. the author faye kellerman has written twenty-seven novels; twenty of them of the decker/lazarus persuasion. again, maybe that's one or two more than her public needs. plus in hangman's last five or six chapters, too many clues are released in regarding the whys and wheres of characters we know longer care about..
this is a series that i used to really, really like. in hangman the family dynamics are still there, as are the religious dynamics, but all without tension. peter decker and rita lazarus are, perhaps, too settled. ms. kellerman might realize she is slowing down and needs a strong new character. she gives us gabe, a piano genius with a slightly psychotic father who is suspect in chief. at the end gabe easily resolves problems related to previous brutality.
literary weight is given to odd facts. what a character wears certainly helps the reader understand that character's psyche. in hangman the clothing descriptions do not illuminate, they read as if kellerman is trying to add more words for her publisher. again, let's hope that this is only one 'off' book from a good writer.
william morrow is the publisher of this 422 page novel.