Amateur Sleuth Like A Boss — Guest Debra Sennefelder

We are so excited to welcome back author Debra Sennefelder! Her debut novel The Uninvited Corpse released on March 27th from Kensington Publishing. Debra is giving away a copy to one of our commenters.

Here’s a blurb about the The Uninvited Corpse:

Leaving behind a failed career as a magazine editor and an embarrassing stint on a reality baking show, newly divorced lifestyle entrepreneur Hope Early thought things were finally on the upswing—until she comes face-to-face with a murderer . . .

Hope’s schedule is already jam packed with recipe testing and shameless plugs for her food blog as she rushes off to attend a spring garden tour in the charming town of Jefferson, Connecticut. Unfortunately, it isn’t the perfectly arranged potted plants that grab her attention—it’s the bloody body of reviled real estate agent Peaches McCoy . . .

One of the tour guests committed murder, and all eyes are on Hope’s older sister, Claire Dixon—who, at best, saw Peaches as a professional rival. And suspicions really heat up when another murder occurs the following night. Now, with two messy murders shaking Jefferson and all evidence pointing to Claire, Hope must set aside her burgeoning brand to prove her sister’s innocence. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer intent on making sure her life goes permanently out of style . . .

I’m so thrilled to be here with all of you celebrating the release of my debut novel. I feel like I’ve come full circle here with the Wickeds. I had the honor of sharing how I got my first contract (there’s been a second one for a new series since that post) and the pleasure of sharing my cover reveal here on WCA. While I’ve enjoyed so much sharing all of my exciting news with all of you, I have to admit I’ve truly loved finding a community that shares my passion for cozy mysteries.

There’s a long list of reasons why we love cozies. For me it’s the amateur sleuth. So today in celebration of my release I thought I’d share with you how I view amateur sleuths and what I had to make sure mine, Hope Early, had either honed or needs to work on because she’s new at this sleuthing thing.

We’ve come to equate the terms Boss Lady, Girl Boss and Lady Boss with being strong, determined and in control. This is a shift in attitude from not encouraging women who have these attributes to nurturing those strengths, talents, and gifts. I’ve been reading cozy mysteries for about twenty years now and I’ve come to realize the amateur sleuths in all my favorite cozies are Boss Ladies or more appropriately each one is a Boss Sleuth.

When you think about amateur sleuths they’re just not busy-bodies. They’re women who are willing to risk friendships, family relationships, their jobs, their standing in their communities and quite possibly their lives all in the search of the truth and justice. These are not women who will standby idly while someone is being wrongfully accused or when the victim doesn’t seem worthy of justice being sought.

Not everyone is born an amateur sleuth so here are 9 tips on how to become not only an amateur sleuth but a Boss Sleuth (why be average when you’re chasing down a killer).

Doubt everyone’s alibi

You need to suspect everyone is lying about where they were and what they were doing at the time of the murder. Because someone is lying.

Learn when to say “no”

Throughout the murder investigation you’ll be asked to participate in events that could take you away from your own investigation, interfere in your tracking down of leads so you need to learn how to firmly say “no”.

Learn when to say “yes”

Keep your ears open for any opportunities to hang with a suspect because it’s so much better to interrogate someone under the guise of a community event.

Question everyone’s motives

Everyone has a secret and it’s your job to find out if the secret is motive enough for murder. Be prepared for some uncomfortable conversations because they will happen.

Empathy is your greatest asset

Tapping into your empathy will help you connect better to the people around you and this makes you a more relatable person and people will open up to you and give you information to help with your search for the killer.

Challenge authority figures

You’ll be told time and time again to stay out of the investigation so you’ll need to prepare yourself to stand firm and do what you believe is right. There’s a chance you’ll end up fingerprinted and have a mug shot taken, but it’s a small price to pay to see that justice is served.

Don’t back down to threats or attempts on your life

No good deed goes unpunished but remember you’re doing this for the greater good – justice and keeping an innocent person out of prison. Just keep your wits about you, always be aware of your surroundings and one of those life monitors could come in handy if you’ve…well… if you can’t get up.

Fine-hone your apology skills

You’ve come to realize asking permission to talk to suspects or search a property is usually not given so you’ll need to craft apologizes for when you’re caught doing those things. Remember, you’ll be seeking forgiveness, so make it good.

Improve your baking skills

You don’t need to be a culinary whiz, but a freshly baked batch of muffins goes a long way with empathy to get someone to open up to you. Just be aware you don’t know if you’re having coffee and pie with a murderer, so keep an eye on the knife.

I hope those tips are helpful. They’ve been helpful as I’ve developed Hope Early. I keep in mind that a Boss Sleuth is a multi-faceted woman who is kind and understanding and can kick butt when needed. She’ll fight for what she believes in even when those closest to her think she’s making a mistake. Ultimately, she believes in herself and knows that she’s right.

I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to create my own Boss Sleuth. With Hope and every other amateur sleuth, I think this quote “women are like tea bags – you never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water”, which is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, says it all.

Thank you for joining me today to celebrate my debut release. Readers: I’d love to know who your favorite Boss Sleuth is.

Author Bio:

Debra Sennefelder, author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy. You can find Debra at:












50 Thoughts

  1. Think I’ll just stick to whacking away at the 11,395 emails and the still 37 past-due ARCs (reviewed two books yesterday but two more became over-due).

  2. Debra, thanks for visiting today! I love Miss Marple and especially Tuppence Beresford as Boss Sleuths! They were on the job before society caught up with the notion and they both still are a delight to read about!

  3. Congratulations on the new book! I love cosies and especially ones that include food!

  4. Welcome! What a great list of tips (including baking!). I’d add only one thing: pay attention to details. You never know when one small thing might be important. Favorite sleuth? Too many to choose from. I will say that Miss Marple as Agatha Christie wrote her is far smarter than most of the movies or television versions make her.

  5. Great insight. I have this book already on my library list and now will be looking for the other series.

  6. One of the reasons I love cozies is that the lady sleuths turn what used to be considered negative traits and turn them on their heads to be positive traits. They are not busybodies; they are observant and detail oriented. They are not obsessive; they are determined. They are not scattered; they think outside the box. They are vibrant, interesting, and accomplished people. I’m looking forward to read your new book.

  7. Hi Debra,
    Enjoyed reading about your you and
    your new Novel . Congratulations!!! My granddaughters
    name is Hope also. 😊
    I would have to say my daughter Cindy
    is my favorite boss sleuth. She makes me very proud!
    Thank you for the change to win your
    book! Have a great day!😊

    1. Hi Sherry, The name Hope is a lovely name and I have no doubt your granddaughter is precious. And it sounds like you’ve raised a strong woman. Awesome! Thank you for visiting today.

  8. Well congratulations on your first book. I first found you through an author/publisher event last week. I love the cover of this book,it really pulls you in ! As far as my favorite sleuthing goes I would have to say is my mom.Lol Somehow she always new when I was lying and getting into trouble.,she was an amazing baker as well. I love how you mentioned about strong women and sleuthing,not giving up etc.! Great inspiration for young women. Would love to read and review this fun sounding story.

    1. Hi Rosemary, Thank you. Kensington did a fabulous job with the cover. I love it. Yeah, mom’s are amazing. They know evrything. Thanks for visiting!

  9. I have to go “old school” here and say Kinsey Milhone is my favorite Boss Sleuth. I am also partial to Mel and Angie from the Cupcake Bakery mysteries. Sounds like Hope Early is a Boss Sleuth in Training! Thanks so much for the giveaway and congratulations on your new series!

  10. All time favorite has got to be Miss Marple, but many of the new Boss Sleuths are great, too: Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy and Carolyn Hart’s Annie Darling come to mind. Glad you have added to the pantheon!

    1. Hi Ginny, Goldy was one of the first mysteries I discovered. That series along with Katherine Hall Page’s series I think sent me down the path to writing a culinary cozy. Thanks for visiting today!

  11. All of those sound like good attributes to me. I’ll keep them in mind if I ever feel the need to start investigating a murder.

    This is a fun book. If you haven’t read it yet, get a copy today.

    1. Thank you,Mark! I appreciate the endorsement. 🙂 It’s always good to have a few handy skills tucked away…you never know. Have a great day!

  12. Congrats on your new release! Goldy Schulz. The Goldy Bear Culinary mysteries started my love of cozies.

  13. Happy book birthday, Debra! I can’t wait to read this – The first Boss Lady Sleuths I can think of is Kinsey Milhone – and Nancy Drew, of course!

  14. Uninvited Corpse sounds like a fun book to read. Looking forward to reading. Thank you for the chance to read your book.

  15. Congratulations on the new book, love the title, makes one want to dig in. I am a huge Miss Marple fan, she certainly paid attention to the details.

  16. It kills me when the police or private detectives tell the Lady Boss that they are trained to find the killer. Yes for getting phone records or warrants but the women are mostly talking and listening. Hey, we know how to do that!

    1. Congrats on your new release. The cozies by Diane Mott Davidson started my love cozies. It’s hard to pick a favorite sleuth.

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