I’m delighted today to welcome author Fran Stewart to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her latest release, A WEE MURDER IN MY SHOP, the first installment in her new ScotShop Mystery Series from Berkley.
Fran will be joining us to talk about why she writes murder and I’ll share my thoughts on this fun new series. In addition, thanks to Fran and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of A WEE MURDER IN MY SHOP to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details on that.
Now please join me in giving a warm welcome to Fran. Welcome, Fran. Tell us why you write murder.
Years ago, I attended a dinner where people exchange cards and talk about the sort of business referrals they’d like to get. It was all very friendly. Until someone asked what sort of work I did.
“I write murder mysteries.”
She glowered at me. “Humph. You looked like a nice person.” She turned away and refused even to acknowledge my presence for the rest of the evening. Now, why is it dangerous to ignore a mystery writer?
Well, we immediately wonder about your hidden agenda—possibly you’ll end up as an innocent bystander in our next book, but more likely as victim. Or murderer. I’ve held this particular woman in reserve so far, but someone who looks like her experiences a rather sorry fate in one of my upcoming mysteries.
I should have answered better, though, telling her that the mysteries I write don’t dwell on blood and gore. The bad guys lose; the good guys win, although I admit to putting my characters through some difficult situations before they triumph.
You see, I deal with specific social issues in each of my books. In the Biscuit McKee series, my characters grapple with bipolar disorder, suicide, and/or the long-term effects of childhood abuse. In my new ScotShop mysteries, a 14th-century ghost has to learn to deal with the intricacies of today, and his questions about so many things we take for granted will, I hope, help us understand where we are and how we got to this point, to question some of the attitudes we take so for granted.
I should have stressed the importance of community in cozy mysteries. Seldom will you find a “loner” protagonist. No, our characters have friends and family—just like the authors who write them and the people who read them. I try to show the role of community in supporting the victims of crime, although sometimes that support is less than effective.
Just think: What will you do if your neighbor is murdered, a friend slugs someone or is shot in the abdomen, or your entire community loses power during an ice storm?
Will your response be “cozy”?
Fran, thanks for visiting with us and sharing why you write murder. I enjoy the fact that your books deal with specific social issues. It adds another touch of realism to them.
Now for those who aren’t familiar with Fran, here’s a little background on her.
Fran Stewart is the author of the Biscuit McKee Mysteries – GRAY AS ASHES is the seventh book in that series – as well as a standalone mystery – A SLAYING SONG TONIGHT. Her new ScotShop Mystery Series from Berkley Press begins with A WEE MURDER IN MY SHOP.
Fran lives quietly with various rescued cats beside a creek on the other side of Hog Mountain, Georgia.
She sings alto with a community chorus and volunteers at her grandchildren’s school library. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
For more on Fran and her writing, visit her website.
Here’s a brief description of A WEE MURDER IN MY SHOP:
Hamelin, Vermont, isn’t the most likely place for bagpipes and tartan, but at Peggy Winn’s ScotShop, business is booming…
While on a transatlantic hunt for some authentic wares to sell at her shop, Peggy is looking to forget her troubles by digging through the hidden treasures of the Scottish Highlands. With so many enchanting items on sale, Peggy can’t resist buying a beautiful old tartan shawl. But once she wraps it around her shoulders, she discovers that her purchase comes with a hidden fee: the specter of a fourteenth-century Scotsman.
Unsure if her Highland fling was real or a product of an overactive imagination, Peggy returns home to Vermont—only to find the dead body of her ex-boyfriend on the floor of her shop. When the police chief arrests Peggy’s cousin based on some incriminating evidence, Peggy decides to ask her haunting Scottish companion to help figure out who really committed the crime—before anyone else gets kilt…
Now my thoughts on this entertaining new cozy…….
The Scotland setting is magical in itself, but the author enhances the story by having the ghost of a fourteenth-century Scotsman travel to Vermont. Add in a cheating boyfriend that turns up dead, a hunky police officer and numerous friends and family for an all-out entertaining story.
The story flows at a steady pace with only a few minor slow points. The suspense will hold your attention and keep you guessing as the mystery unfolds.
A WEE MURDER IN MY SHOP is an entertaining beginning of what promises to be a delightful new series. Those with Scottish heritage will find the series charming.
A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart, A ScotShop Mystery Book #1, Berkley, @2015, ISBN: 978-0425270318, Paperback, 304 Pages
FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
This giveaway is for one print copy of A WEE MURDER IN MY SHOP. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 12 a.m. on Friday, March 20.
To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Fran Stewart’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).
Thanks so very much for stopping by during Fran’s visit. What would you say if someone told you they wrote murder mysteries? Any thoughts on having a Scottish ghost hanging around you? Isn’t the cover of this book so intriguing?
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a Rafflecopter giveaway