Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Take Out by Margaret Maron

Detective Sigrid Harald is investigating the death of two homeless men.  They died from eating take out given to them from a woman living nearby.  It is not obvious who was the intended victim or who was murdered by accident, since they both ate the take out.  A feud by a famous opera singer and a mafia connected woman may play a role.

Margaret Maron is very good at dropping the clues and leading the detective on her investigation.  Very satisfying and nominated for an Agatha.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Elaine's Resume

I needed a good belly laugh Helen proveided with resum.
You know some "Mechanic" get paid under the for oil changes little things like.
Such a good blog1
Pam James

A Dead End Job Fair with Helen Hawthorne

Today - our guest:  Helen Hawthorne is here to share her experiences with Dead End Jobs. 

Here is her Resume:

Would You Hire This Woman for a Dead-End Job?
By Elaine Viets

            Helen Hawthorne, heroine of my Dead-End Job mysteries, has worked a slew of nowhere jobs – and I've worked most of those jobs, too. The first 13 novels are being re-released by JABberwocky Literary Agency as e-books. My agent, Joshua Bilmes, is president of the JABberwocky in New York and he wanted to re-release my backlist. JABberwocky represents award-winning authors including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Toni Kelner and Tanya Huff. Joshua's agency has made books available from two dozen of his clients within the agency's e-book program.
            As I re-read Helen Hawthorne's adventures, I wondered, What would Helen's resume look like?

            Helen is a St. Louis woman who had a high-finance job making six figures a year, a beautiful home— and a good-for-nothing husband she caught in the act with their neighbor. When she divorced the bum, the judge saddled Helen with alimony. Helen refused to pay her ex, tossed her wedding ring in the Mississippi River, and went on the run. She wound up in Fort Lauderdale, working dead-end jobs for cash under the table.

            Here's her resume:

            (1) Shop till You Drop.
            Position: Selling bustiers to bimbos.
            How long did you hold this job? Six months.
            Salary and benefits: To be discussed. (Note: this is true for every job. She can hardly ask for cash under the table in writing.)
            May we contact your manager? No. She wound up in a barrel in Biscayne Bay. Store is closed.    

            (2) Murder Between the Covers
            Position: Bookseller.
             How long did you hold this job? Six months.
            May we contact your manager?
            No, he's dead and the store is closed.

            (3) Dying to Call You
            Position: Telemarketer, selling septic tank cleaner.
            May we contact your manager?
            No, he's in the federal pen and the boiler room is closed.
            Note: There seems to be a pattern here. It was time to change my plots for the fourth Dead-End Job mystery.

            (4) Just Murdered.
            Position: Sales associate, Millicent's Bridal Shop.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, her shop is still thriving, despite one dead mother (of the bride) – and that mother deserved killing.

            (5) Murder Unleashed
            Position: Sales associate at Barker Bros. Pampered Pets, a posh dog grooming salon.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, the shop is doing well, despite a dead customer and a kidnapped canine client.

            (6) Murder with Reservations
             Position: Hotel maid. I cleaned 38 rooms and 17 toilets per day, as well as the Jacuzzi in the honeymoon suite, which often had chocolate and whipped cream in it.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, Sybil's Full Moon Hotel is doing well, despite the killer hotel cleaner, who was terminated with extreme prejudice. Oh, and the murdered maid.

            (7) Clubbed to Death
            Position: Customer care at the Superior country club, where I solved the problems of people who have no problems.
            May we contact your manager? No, she was beaten to death with a golf club.

            (8) Killer Cuts
            Position: Gofer at a high-end hair salon where a color and cut cost more than a car payment. I fetched glasses of water for clients, wrapped in dainty napkins so their fingers wouldn't get cold, and survived pregnant bridezillas.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, Miguel Angel is still a celebrity stylist to the stars, and nobody liked the dead client, not even his wife.

            (9) Half-Price Homicide
            Position: Sales associate at a resale boutique where trophy wives with controlling husbands got their folding money. I learned how to dust a lot of china pineapples. I never learned why anyone would want one of those pricey knickknacks in their home.
            May we contact your manager? Yes. She escaped jail.

            (10) Pumped for Murder
            Position: Front desk staffer for a gym specializing in women's competition body building, where "ripped and stripped" competitors live on three ounces of chicken – a day.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, the gym is still in business, despite clients' fatal roid rage.

            (11) Final Sail
            Position: Stewardess on a 142-foot luxury yacht. Able to serve tea and bullion during a storm at sea and skilled at vacuuming in the tracks. (It's an art.)
            May we contact your manager? Yes, the captain was pleased that I discovered an emerald smuggler. Only one crew member murdered, and the killer is in prison.

            (12) Board Stiff
            Position: Assistant at Sunny Jim's Paddleboard Sales and Rentals. Able to keep the schedule and fend off potential arsonists.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, Sunny Jim is alive and well. The clients, er, not so much.

            (13) Catnapped!
            Position: Able to wash and groom champion show cats, who are so overbred they're unable to clean themselves.
            May we contact your manager? Yes! She now breeds and shows her own cats and is happily married to a veterinarian. No cats were harmed in the making of this book, but I can't say the same for the owners.

            The Dead-End Job novels are being re-issued. Get the whole set or treat yourself to the books you missed. Prices start at $2.99 and go up. Check them out here.

I myself am a big fan of Helen's.  Here is a picture of me with my self-designed hat inspired by some of her jobs that I wore at Malice Domestic some years ago:

The Dead End Sign is Floppy but you get the idea!

So today is a day for you to ask Helen questions about her experiences and suggest jobs she might want to consider in the future!

Let's Play!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Guest blogger - Alice Duncan


It’s March already! How come the older I get, the faster time flies? No need to answer that question. Anyone who’s old knows the feeling, and if you aren’t yet old, you will know it—with luck and survival skills.

Winners of February’s contest, which is whatever book you want as long as I have a copy, are: Alicia Carol, Linda Rorex, Rita Wray and ALICE DUNCAN! Yes! There’s another one! And she lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She also claims to wear a kilt, but I haven’t seen proof of same yet. I’ll send you an e-book of your choice, Alice, since I can’t afford to send a real book. Alicia, Linda and Rita, please let me know which book you’d like, and I’ll send it to you. It may take me a while to do so (unless you want an e-book) I regret to say, because I’ve been a bit dilatory of late.

So. Here’s the fabulous cover of next month’s release, SPIRITS UNEARTHED, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s 12th (actually, it’s her 13th, but let’s not go into that again) adventure. Right below the cover is a link to purchase it for your Amazon Kindle or your B&N Nook:

February was kind of a dopey month. I got edits for SPIRITS UNEARTHED while I was sick, and I fear for the book’s reception and overall worth. I think it stinks, although I do hope I’m wrong. The cover is spectacular. Yes, Spike is a black-and-tan dachshund; red dachshunds show up better on book covers. Therefore, he’s red on the cover (by the way, red is dachshund-speak for brown). But his attitude on the cover is pure Spike, and he’s doing precisely what he does in the book to get the action started. Hope the rest of the book lives up to its cover. If you ever want to understand insecurity, go in for a writing career. Insecurity guaranteed, curse it.

Oh, and everyone else I know was sick in February, too. Basically, February was a sickly, sucky month. Fortunately, the hounds seem to be all right, even Giblett, my problem child, which doesn’t seem quite fair to me but what do I know?

Also, I got an invitation to attend my – this just makes me gasp with appalled-ness – 55th high-school reunion. I swear, I don’t know how I got so old so fast. I wouldn’t mind the aging thing if it didn’t hurt so much, but oh, well. However, I’m going to attend. This is mainly because I’ll get to see Phyllis McKown and Janet Levine Goldberg, with whom I used to play flute in the Eliot Junior High School band in Altadena, California. I don’t think the three of us have been together since Eliot days! Egad. I only recently found out that neither Phyllis nor Janet considered herself a musician, but both merely sort of faked it. And here I thought we were all ardent flautists who practiced all the time (even though by doing so we made our dogs howl). Show’s how much anyone knows about anyone else when s/he’s a kid, huh? Also, it cleared up any doubt I might have had about why I was selected to be first-chair flute. Evidently, I was the only one who could play the instrument!

Anyway, now I’m in the process of writing Daisy’s 13th (or 14th) adventure, SHAKEN SPIRITS, in which Daisy has already been hit by a car and had her left shoulder dislocated. She’s recovering nicely, although she’s in a good deal of pain. The car that hit her was a 1923 Cole Sportster Sedan, quite a classy car. In fact, here it is! It’s not the real culprit. It’s the agent the real culprit used to whack poor Daisy. After he stole it from a grand estate in the San Rafael hills. Then he abandoned it on the Angeles Crest, the bounder:

Daisy’s going to miss choir practice for a couple of weeks, and she won’t be able to use the Ouija board or shuffle tarot cards for a while, but she’ll recover. I’m also relatively certain she and Sam will figure out who did the evil deed, why, and make certain whoever dunnit will never be able to do it again. If that made any sense.

Well, whatever. Let’s see now. What should I give away at the end of March? SPIRITS UNEARTHED comes out in April, so what I think I’ll do is give away one copy each of SPIRITS ONSTAGE (in which Daisy has a marvelous time playing Katisha, the mean old nastypants in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado), UNSETTLED SPIRITS (in which people keep dropping dead during communion service at Daisy’s church), BRUISED SPIRITS (in which Daisy and her friends save the life of a battered woman – this is based on a true story, by the way. The woman lives in Australia), and SPIRITS UNITED, in which a dastardly plot at the California Institute of Technology (or Caltech as it’s affectionately known) is foiled by Daisy and her gang. I think Sam’s Voodoo juju goes a bit wacky in this one, too.

A word about my monthly contests. I love giving my work to people; however, I found out quite by accident a few months ago that sending books to Great Britain, Australia, and other countries outside the United States is beyond my monetary capability. If a resident of a nation other than the United States has an e-reader, I’ll happily supply that person with an e-book. If a person doesn’t have an e-reader and still likes to read book-books, he or she is on his or her own. I’m sorry, but what I laughingly call my writing career hasn’t made me wealthy yet. And it probably won’t, but let’s not get in to that because it always depresses me. So. That’s that.

If you’d like to enter the contest, just send me an email ( and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site ( or email me (you won’t be smothered in e-mails, because I only write one blog a month, and that’s an effort). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at

Thank you!

Alice Duncan

Review: Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell

Maeve Malloy is a lawyer who has had struggles with drinking, done a stint in rehab and trying to prove herself again as a lawyer.  She is...