A Cover Reveal and a #giveaway

by Barb, out of book jail at last!

Here’s the cover for the second Jane Darrowfield Mystery due out October 27th. To celebrate the cover reveal, I’m giving away a copy of the first book in the series, Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody, to one lucky commenter on the blog.

The title of the new book is Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door.

Here’s the blurb.

Jane Darrowfield is using her retirement years to work as a professional busybody, with most of her business coming from her West Cambridge, Massachusetts, community. This time her client is right next door…

Megan, who’s purchased the house next to Jane’s, needs some help from her snooping neighbor. Megan’s been having blackouts, hearing voices—and feeling like someone’s following her. Are these symptoms of an illness—or signs that she’s in danger?

Considering the extensive security system in Megan’s house, it seems like she should be safe—yet she soon vanishes into thin air. Some think she’s run away, but would this ambitious young lawyer on the partner track really miss a meeting with an important client? And where’s Megan’s cat?

The mystery is about to deepen when the cat is finally located in a hidden panic room—and as Jane and the police look into Megan’s friends, family, and past, it may be time to sound the alarm…


My editor warned me that the title was a long one. At the time, he was worried about the design of the cover and fitting all those words on it. In one way, Darrowfield is a terrific surname for Jane, because apparently it isn’t really a name. Which makes it highly Googleable if someone is looking for the books. On the other hand, it is l-o-o-n-n-ng.

I really wanted the title and I prevailed. I didn’t think about how, by the end of this fall, I would be so tired of typing it and so tired of trying to remember if madwoman was one word and next door was two, or if it was the other way around.

Like Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody, JDMND (see how I did that) is a Barnes and Noble exclusive for one year. That means it is only in print, not electronic, and only available at barnesandnoble.com or if you go to an actual Barnes & Noble (assuming that is even possible in the end of October, 2020.)

Meanwhile, Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody goes into wide distribution on June 30th, in print, ebook, and audiobook formats in all English-language markets. The ebook is up on Netgalley right now for those of you who are reviewers and there is a 100 ebook giveaway running on Goodreads.

P.S. On Thursday evening, Edith and I will be reading at a Noir at the Bar New England online event. Here’s the link for more information and to register if you wish. We’d love to see you there!

Readers: What do you think of the cover, title and blurb for Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door? Too long? Cozy/not cozy? Can’t wait/can wait? Don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings. It’s done and dusted. And one lucky commenter will receive a mass market paperback of Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody.

Buy links

Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody

94 Thoughts

  1. Congrats on getting out of book jail! I don’t think the title is too long, but I’m not the one who has to type it either. It’s an intriguing title that makes me want to read more.

  2. Love cover, title, and blurb. The title length is just right. I’ll assume it is a cozy unless I read it and find it is not. So far, I don’t think I have any books scheduled to review in October (hint, hint)…

    1. I love the title and the cover. I’m looking forward to the book…Book 1 was so good!

  3. I love the title, Barb. So funny about the one-word, two-word thing! One does get tired of typing long titles (I’ve a few). I didn’t realize nobody else had the name Darrowfield.

    “See” you Thursday night!

  4. Love the cover the title and especially the cat. I am not cozy reader but this series intrigues me because I am a professional busybody!

    1. I love that you are a professional busybody. The cat is actually the right colors–ie the same as in the book, which doesn’t always happen with covers.

  5. Personally, I love the title and the cover. Glad you got to keep the title. Enjoyed reading the blurb which had me putting “Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door” on my TBR list. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read it.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody”!

    Have a great week! Please be safe, stay healthy and have a little adventure along the way.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. I love it all! I can see how that title could get tiring to type, but I think it’s marvelous.

  7. I love the title, Barbara! The cover is great, too. I like the continuation from the cover of Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody – The hand opening the door in the new book and the hand pulling back a curtain in the first book. I also like the surprised cat on the counter and from the blurb it’s clear that there is a cat in the story, so it’s not random. It looks like a win to me!

  8. Enjoyed the blurb. Not too long and can’t wait. That cat’s face is the meow.

    I am chomping at the bit to start reading your Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busy Body, and now you tell me that you have another available soon after!? I seriously can’t wait!!
    I think the new cover is just as enticing as the first one, I don’t think it’s too long of a title at all, it really works. That cat is so cute. I can’t wait to cozy down with these books!!

  10. I love the cover and I’m so excited that Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody if out now in multiple formats so I can read electronically or listen to it.

  11. I like it all and love cozy mysteries, so looking forward to trying this series!

  12. This is a new series for me, but I love your books and know if Barbara Ross wrote it, it’s bound to be good! I’d be thrilled to win a copy. Thank you for the chance.

  13. Jane Darrowfield is such a great character in a wonderful new series. I can’t wait to read ‘Madwoman Next Door!’ 🙂

  14. I don’t mind longer titles, and the madwoman intrigues me.

  15. The title makes me curious which makes me want to read it. I’m going to be retiring in the next couple of years, maybe that will be my next career!

  16. I love the cover and the title! A catchy title usually captures my attention. It fits perfectly into the cozy genre, in my opinion. Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Great cover and title, Barb! Love the way the hand reveals the scene on both covers!

  18. I like the cover and the title, and it fits the descriptions. It sounds like a cozy with a scary, creepy edge and I like that! I should have planned my retirement better – I think I would have enjoyed being a professional busybody. Hopefully by the time of the October release things will be a little less weird than now.

  19. I love the title! It’s memorable, attention getting, makes me want to pick up the book. I definitely have to know who the “madwoman next door” is and why/how they got that description. And as someone who lives in a town full of “professional busybodies”, I think this is very funny.

    1. I’m so glad you have that reaction to “professional busybody.” Some people feel it has a negative connotation, but I think when you had “professional” to it, most people get the joke.

  20. I’m fascinated to learn just what a professional busybody is. Hoping to win the book so I can learn. Love the opening door and the look on the cat’s face. No problem with the length of the title since it isn’t something I would be typing often.

    I love your writing, Barb, and look forward to reading this new series.

  21. Barbara,

    Congrats on your release from book jail!

    The title may be a bit long for those of us that have become accustomed to one or two word titles but given what I know of the series, the title does seem to fit quite nicely.

    Plus if you compare it to that Fiona Apple album that was about 90 words long, your book title is surprisingly judicious in word count.

    I am ashamed to admit that I have yet to read the first book in the series even though it is on my to buy list. I am looking forward to it, but I just haven’t found the time as yet to read everything I want to put my eyes to.

    1. Hi Jay. Don’t worry about not having read the book. As I tell all my friends and relatives, “There will never be a quiz.”

  22. A professional busybody; how Agatha Christie-ish. I can’t wait to add it beside my Maine Clambake collection. It should be a great read.

  23. I love the title! The cover is great, but when Megan goes missing, the blurb says her cat is also missing, so why is the cat on the cover (other than awesomeness?) – there must be an incident prior to their disappearances, right? My fingers want to rearrange bits of the blurb, but I love how tantalizing the content is… 🙂

    1. There was definitely a conversation about this during the cover development process. You’re right that the discovery of the cat figures in a later scene, though the cover is not a literal representation.

      1. I’m glad I won’t have to explain the cat to a certain math nerd of mine… 😉
        I have pre-ordered the first book from Amazon! Cannot wait!

  24. The cover is good, the title is a little long but ok, and I do like the description. If you have the cat on all your other covers it should be on this one. I would love to win and give an honest review of the actual book. Thank you for a chance. Keep up the writing we need good cozy books!

  25. The title catches my attention it’s not too long. The cover is cozy makes me want to read it.❤

  26. I love your work and can’t wait to read this new series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  27. I actually love the title. I love that in each of the titles, there is a word that is a bit anachronistic and matches the fact that Jane is retired. But this may be my OCD pickiness, but why are the ring and bracelet on one hand on one cover and on the other hand on the other cover. And frankly, I would have liked to have seen a hand that doesn’t look like it belongs to a hand model, but the idea of the hand opening something in both cases does draw the reader in.

    1. I’m so glad you like the title. Funny thing about the hand. When asked for my input, before there was a first cover, I said that Jane was a sensible New Englander, who wouldn’t have jewelry or a fancy manicure. Obviously, they went a different way!

  28. Hi Barb,
    I think the book cover and name of the book is very inviting and makes me want to read it!!
    Congratulations on the
    beginning of a new series!!!

  29. First of all, congratulations on your upcoming October release. I love all my cozies about New England and especially the towns and areas of towns and cities of BOSTON with interesting history such as West Cambridge -“Area 10” I believe it is/was called. I can’t wait to read as I’m retired and love characters that are close to my age or are baby boomers. So much knowledge in these white and grey heads of hair (or no hair too!!)

    The cover is eye catching but sorry to say that sure doesn’t look like a retiree’s hand to me but maybe I’m just envious of no brown “liver” spots.

    Your writing history of fabulous stories is well-known so I’m sure this is going to be a giant hit. I’d love to be one of the lucky recipients of JDPB to share with another “seasoned senior” PB like me!!! Thanks so much!

  30. I love the title, it makes me want to really read the book! I Love the cover, the cover and the title make it more interesting and a Want to Read book! Thank you for sharing about it. have a Great week.

  31. Sounds like a good one and the look on that cats face cracks me up!

  32. Congratulations Barbara!!! I love it!! Not too long, it’s cozy & I can not wait!!

  33. Hi Barbara! Congratulations on the second book in the series. I love your title! I have been wanting to read your series ever sense you announced the first Jane Darrowfield. (I’m still waiting for that one on Kindle.) I think the term “professional busybody” is delightful. I am tiring of short, generic titles. Alexander McCall Smith also has longer titles and is quite successful. As for the blurb length, it feels to me like the movie preview where they show the bulk of the movie in one shot. But does that stop me from watching those movies? Only if the movie isn’t appealing after seeing that preview. Your cover art has a lot for the eyes to enjoy–I feel a 50’s nostalgic but with a modern aesthetic. Wishing you much success with this series.

    1. Thank you so much, Karen. I am huge Alexander McCall Smith fan, so maybe that was part of the inspiration for the longer title. It is true the description tells more of the story than I would wish, but this is one area where I have learned to trust the marketing expertise at my publisher.

  34. Like the cover, the blurb and the excerpt. Busybody makes me giggle and think of nosy neighbors who always know what’s going on in the neighborhood. Being a professional elevates the role and I can just see her going around digging in to other people’s business; after all it’s her “job'”

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