Tuesday, May 3, 2011
guest Blogger - Alice Duncan
It’s May! It’s May! The merry month of May! Cue “Camelot” music here. If anybody besides me even remembers “Camelot.” Shoot, I’m old. Oh, well…
Not only is May a merry month, but it’s also the month FALLEN ANGELS will be published. This is the third book in my cozy historical mystery series featuring Mercedes Louise “Mercy” Allcutt, who left her Boston ivory tower to move to the wild and woolly west, where she got a job working for private detective Ernest Templeton. Both of these actions (moving West and getting a job) are deplored by Mercy’s mother. On the other hand, Mercy’s mother pretty much deplores everything Mercy does, so Mercy’s [almost] used to it.
Here’s a little blurb about FALLEN ANGELS:
Transplanted Boston Brahmin, Mercy Allcutt, has had some very exciting times as secretary to private investigator, Ernie Templeton. While it’s true she’s been in what she considers a wee bit of trouble (and Ernie considers out-and-out danger) a time or two, she’s determined to continue learning the ways of the “real” world.
However, when she sets out to find her wandering boss, Ernie, one hot September afternoon, she not only discovers a corpse, but she also finds Ernie, bound and gagged. Worse, when the police arrive to investigate the crime, they peg Ernie as the killer.
Well, Mercy isn’t about to let them get away with that, no matter how many times Ernie tells her to butt out of the police inquiry. The only question is whether she’ll survive her investigatorial efforts once again, or if she’ll become one more “Fallen Angel.”
As you can see, Mercy’s up to her knickers in the soup again, but that’s okay. She knows how to swim.
In this book I fashioned a church for Mercy to attend (in the hunt for clues). I wanted it to be representative of the Foursquare Church of God, founded by Aimee Semple McPherson, but I didn’t want to use those names, mainly because my publisher would never let me get away with it. Also, I have absolutely nothing against the Foursquare Church of God and think Ms. McPherson is a fascinating character in her own right. So I had Mercy attend the fictional Angelica Gospel Hall and meet its charismatic leader, Adelaide Burkhard Emmanuel. She gets to meet lots of other folks in her search to clear Ernie’s good name (what’s left of it), too.
The reviews have been pretty nice so far, by the way. Even Kirkus (which isn’t known for its soft heart), kind of liked it: “A young Boston Brahmin finds a fulfilling new life among the private eyes and criminals of Los Angeles. [bunch of words I cut out here, but it’s only plot stuff] Mercy's third appearance combines a nice feeling for life in 1920s Los Angeles.”
Publisher’s Weekly was not so kind: “Upper-crust Bostonian Mercy Allcutt, who works as a secretary for policeman-turned-PI Ernest Templeton, walks a fine line between endearing naïveté and annoying simplemindedness in Duncan's by-the-numbers third cozy set in 1920s Los Angeles.”
You can’t win ‘em all. However, other people have enjoyed it. Read on:
“The suspense is top-notch in the latest Mercy Allcutt book, and the humor between Mercy and her snooty Boston mother is hysterical. The theatrical world of L.A. is extremely fun and the feelings of love growing between Mercy and Ernie are getting stronger with each book. A great cozy mystery,” Romantic Times Book Reviews
Take that, PW! And then there’s this one:
“FIVE STARS! I love how the author writes this series. Each case is told from the rich/privileged secretary's point-of-view. [cut, cut, cut] If you are looking for a classic-style mystery to test your wits on, look no further. Alice Duncan's stories simply burst with flavor. Excellent!” Huntress Book Reviews
So that’s nice, too. I understand Booklist will review the book favorably, too, which makes me happy. No word yet on Library Journal. It blows me away, however, that these prestigious review mags are all of a sudden reviewing MY books. Go figure. Maybe it’s because they’re coming out in hardback. I have absolutely no idea, but I like it. Even when they trash my books, I can’t help but giggle a little. THESE snooty magazines are reviewing MY books! Wowzers.
Anyhow, I know I’ve said this before, but Mercy Allcutt was more or less a consolation prize for me when I thought my “Spirits” books, featuring Daisy Gumm Majesty, were lost to me. However, I’ve come to enjoy Mercy in her own right, and I hope others do to.
During my May contest, I’ll be giving away three copies of FALLEN ANGELS, so if you’re interested in having your name thrown in to Daisy, the winner-picking wiener dog’s, special contest doggie dish, just e-mail me your name and home address (email@example.com). And if you want to read the first chapter of the book, feel free to go here: http://aliceduncan.net/page6.html .
By the way, Daisy (the dachshund) is feeling her age, and is now almost completely blind. I feel very bad about this. Not that I suffer from a paucity of wiener dogs, but I love Daisy dearly and hate it that she’s probably approaching the end of her life. Sniffle. It hurts to know that I’ll have to train another member of my herd to be the winner-picking wiener one of these days. Give your dog (if you have one) an extra pat for Daisy, please. And if you don’t have a dog, pet your cat. And if you don’t have a dog or a cat, go to the nearest shelter and adopt one, for Pete’s sake! I have an almost-totally depressing story about a rescued dachshund I took in during April, but I’ll spare you her story. If you’re a Facebook friend of mine, you can read all about Mocha’s travails, but I thought I’d try to make May’s blog a happy one.
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