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 (alice@aliceduncan.net). 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.


  1. Hi, Alice,

    I love your novels. I have a feeling there are more starred reviews in your future. FALLEN ANGELS definitely sounds like another winner.


  2. "It's here! It's here! That shocking time of year!"
    Shoot - You started it,Alice (Not only do I remember the durn show, I had to choreograph a Maypole dance to Lusty Month of May ages ago.)

    Fallen Angels sounds way too fun. Can't wait to grab a copy and dive in. Hope it hits best seller status immediately!

    (Meantime, yes, I WILL go pat my doggie - who is not a dachsund - sorry - but IS a rescue and is currently whining to go outside and chase squirrels she has no hope of catching)

  3. Rebecca PaisleyMay 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    There are others in this series I need to read first, Alice?

    Oh and "thanks so much" for putting that Merry Month of May Camelot song into my head. I can't stop singing it now!

    -- Beckie

  4. You guys crack me up!

    Thank you very much, Jacquie!

    I've been humming that song for days, too, Flo and Beckie. It's nice to have company :-)

    Thank you for patting your doggie, Flo, and I'm glad she's a rescue. Doesn't have to be a dachshund. I have dachshunds because I seem to attract them, kinda like steel shavings to a magnet.

    How kind of you to ask, Beckie! The first two books are Lost Among the Angels and Angel's Flight.

    Oh, and it's Be Kind to Animals Week (according to my daughter). Guess I'd better quit kicking the wiener dogs around, huh?

  5. LOL, Alice, your blog - heck, even your comments - cracked me up. Seriously, Fallen Angels sound amazing! As another commenter said, there are lots more starred reviews in your future!

    Hugs on the aging doggie. Been there, bought the custom-built orthotic brace. Okay, I'm off to pet Chloe, my big, dumb rottie/lab X.

  6. Alice, you always make me smile! Fallen Angels sounds wonderful! Love Mercy. She's my kind of gal. Sorry to hear about Daisy. Aging sucks. why can't dogs live as long as noisy, irritating parrots, like my DH's parrot that always says "FU" to me when I say, "Good morning?" Bonnie

  7. Thanks, Norah and Bonnie. I'm really sad about Daisy. She's almost completely blind now, and she has a hard time getting around. Sniffle.

  8. Alice, I love your books - all of them :-) Mercy in the PI business reminds me a lot of ME in the publishing business (don't know enough to ask duh-intelligent questions LOL.
    I share your sorrow too, our Penny, (apple Chihuahua) is in her old age too and has to take medicine ( fortunately my daughter is an RN) When her 'time comes' we will definitely give one from a shelter a home. Bless you for your loving care and help to your animals.
    Jackie Griffey

  9. Loved hearing the good news, Alice - it's definitely your turn to shine! Enjoy May and your favorable reviews for FALLEN ANGELS ~

  10. I love the name of your character, Mercy, for some reason. Glad you got good reviews, and glad you got reviews. I think just knowing they know you are out there would be satisfying! :)

  11. Thanks, Jackie and Lynne and Susie!

    I'm sorry about Penny, Jackie. I'm really afraid Daisy's not going to be with me too much longer. Sigh.

  12. Angels, animals. Hey, a great combination!

  13. Looks like I have three books to obtain - what a shame, LOL. These look wonderful, can't wait to read them. Reviews are good, but the proof is the replies you get telling you how much people love the books, Mercy, etc.

    Healing energies and hugs to Daisy and just gave my old boy, Sterling B, AKA Doodlebee Schmoodle, the cat a nice big hug as suggested, although I do it many times during the day anyway - what's one more? Just good.

  14. Angels and animals are a great combination, Roberta!

    Thanks, Witch of Stitches. And yes, hug them while you have them! Love his name, by the way :-)

  15. Alice,
    I am reading the book now and love it!


  16. Alice, I've had that song stuck in my head all week. Loved the music. Your new release sounds terrific. I love your books, love the time period, and love you. Win, win. Best of luck with megasales.

  17. Singing the song now too, Alice. Nice post. And--beautiful cover.

  18. Thank you very much, Carolyn and Jenny!


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