Happy Release Day Jessie & Barb and a Giveaway!

Congratulations Margie! You are the winner for the giveaway. Jessie will contact you via email to arrange to send you your prize!

Barb: I was thrilled when I discovered Jessie and I would have the same pub day for our next releases. Jessie brings us the fourth book in her Beryl and Edwina Mysteries series, Murder Comes to Call. I’m releasing the second book in my Jane Darrowfield series, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door. I’m a huge fan of Beryl and Edwina, so I’m excited to have this new book.

Jessie: I was delighted to have the same pub date too! I don’t think we have had books released so closely together since our very first were each in August of 2010! I am eager to get to chat with you about what you have in store with your latest!

Barb: That is so funny. I remember that first release week. Pat Remick was President of Sisters in Crime New England and she ran from one launch to the other. I remember her raving about your giveaway matchboxes.

One thing we noticed about our current books, our characters have taken on sleuthing as a business, though in very different times and places. Beryl and Edwina run a private inquiry agency in post World War I (they don’t know it’s I) England. Jane works as a hired “professional busybody” in contemporary Cambridge, MA. Jessie, how do Beryl and Edwina go about attracting clients?

Jessie: Since they are private investigators they really sort of fell into the first case they solved. As the series has gone on that has changed. By book 2 they are hired by the local vicar and in this new release, they are actually approached by a government official to lend a discreet hand. How does Jane go about building her business?

Barb: Wow! That makes me even more eager to read Murder Comes to Call. Jane gets most of her business from referrals from satisfied clients. Her business is hard to understand so people who’ve experienced it are the best people to send new clients along. She also has a discreet sign at the end of her garden walk that reads, “Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody. Office hours M-W-F 8:00 A.M. to Noon. No job too small.”

What are some of Beryl and Edwina’s proven sleuthing techniques?

Jessie: One of the things that serves them best is their sort of two-pronged approach to the task. Beryl is all for breezily striding ahead and poking her nose in where it doesn’t belong. She generally gets away with it, in part because she is a celebrity and folks are awed by her presence. Edwina, on the other hand, is someone who understands village politics, alliances and gossip. She able to put clues together through a lifetime of keen observation and local knowledge. I think of your Jane as somewhere in between these ladies in terms of her personality and approach. How does she get to the bottom of her own cases?

Barb: Of course Jane has technology available that Beryl and Edwina can only dream of and she does spend time gleaning information from the internet. But Jane’s best approach is her ability to take the bull by the horns and have difficult conversations with people. She finds that very often her clients’ inability to speak up and speak frankly spirals into misunderstandings and hard feelings that can be easily sorted when they are discussed.

Tell me about the case Beryl and Edwina pursuing in the new book.

Jessie: This one was particularly fun! I love it when my research turns up historical tidbits that really resonate with me and this book was no exception. I was dead chuffed when I discovered that the 1921 UK census was taken at just the time I wanted to set the story. So, I had the opportunity to explore concerns about private information, posterity, the roles and rights of women at the time and prejudice against the Irish. Beryl and Edwina are hired to investigate the theft of a batch of census forms their fellow villagers filled out. They end up pursuing an investigation of murder whilst they are at it!

What is Jane up to in her latest adventure? I am always curious about what she could be investigating when I see your intriguing and delightful covers!

Barb: Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door begins when Jane’s new neighbor approaches her with a plea: “I want you to figure out if I’m crazy.” Jane is hesitant because she’s not in a position to assess anyone’s mental health. But after the woman promises to seek professional help if Jane finds no other cause for her symptoms, Jane takes the case. She’s beginning to make progress when her client disappears. Jane has to work against the clock with her friend Detective Tony Alvarez to find the missing woman.

What aspects of Beryl and Edwina’s characters make them successful sleuths?

Jessie: What a great question, Barb! And one I thought about whilst developing the series idea. Beryl is up for most anything and is always eager to try her hand at something new. But more than that, she has been lonelier than she realized. Her life of adventure has been rather devoid of intimate friendships and she finds that she is surprisingly eager to make the best go of a joint venture with a companion. Her gumption seems like her best weapon but I think really it is is her motivation to make a success of it that she can rely upon the most.

As to Edwina, it is her powers of observation and her reputation as a woman of good breeding and better sense that assist her when following up leads or questioning suspects. She knows when to press, when to back off and when to let Beryl take over. But in the end, I would say her strength is just the same as Beryl’s. She is delighted by the notion of growing her business, and thus her life. She is a surplus woman and as such is already experiencing a journey that was not one she would have been raised to expect. She is shocked to discover how much being an independent businesswomen pleases and challenges her and she is completely dedicated to making a triumph of it.

What about Jane? She has already been a success in her career before retirement. Does she bring the same skills and characteristics to her investigation business? Is she developing new ones?

Barb: Jane is my updated, American Jane Marple. When the series opens with Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody, my Jane has just retired. I always say if Miss Marple learned everything about life by observing the villagers of St. Mary Mead, Jane Darrowfield gained her knowledge of human beings as she climbed the executive ranks at a major telecommunications corporation. But you’re right that running a department of a company is not the same as working as the sole proprietor of a business. Through the series, Jane has had to learn to reach out for help and involve others when she gets in a tough spot.

Readers: What do you think? Would you be a successful sleuth? What aspects of your personality and background would contribute to your success? Leave a comment to be entered in the random selection to win a copy of each of these newly relesed books!

70 Thoughts

  1. Happy release day! I would be a terrible sleuth. I’m pretty sure I would overlook the obvious, and I would much rather avoid anyone suspected of murder than question them. Luckily I can live vicariously through books!

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  2. Yay, you two! What a wonderful conversation. I can’t wait to read both of these.

    I’m enough of a voyeur and nosy enough to be a sleuth, but I’d rather let my fictional ones take on the job.

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  3. Happy Book Release Day!!! I think the only quality I have is that I don’t like to give up. When searching for something I keep on looking until I find whatever I am looking for. It’s not usually dangerous. Thank you for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

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  4. Happy release day! Can’t wait for the opportunity to read both “Murder Comes to Call” and “Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door”. Wish you the best of success not only with these books, but as the series continue as well.

    Personally, I think hubby and I would make an excellent sleuthing team. He never meets a stranger and has learned through his past job to work conversations around to get the information needed without ruffling feathers or concerns in doing so. He is too trusting though at times. I on the other hand, from experiences prior to our becoming a couple made me a bit more cautious and taking things slower while observing things around me in more detail. Together we make a great team in real life and could see us benefiting from our opposites to make a great sleuthing team.

    Thank you for the marvelous opportunity to win a copy of both books! Shared and hoping to be the extremely fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  5. Happy release day! I read and loved, loved, loved Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door, now I’m looking forward to reading Murder Comes to Call.

    Would I make a good sleuth? Probably, I seem adept at making the oddest connections that generally pan out. Like Edith though, I think I’ll leave the sleuthing to my characters. They have too much fun in the chase for me to deprive them.

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  6. Happy Release Day to you both! I would probably be a good sleuth if I had a partner. I am very observant and detail oriented, but I tend to be very shy around people I don’t know. I would need someone to question the suspects.

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  7. I have a very inquisitive mind and I have been told I would have been a very good lawyer. I think I could put pieces of the puzzle together and do a pretty good job of following the evidence where it leads.

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  8. Congrats! No I don’t think I would be a good sleuth. Unfortunately I get distracted by too many things to be able to focus on all clues.

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  9. I just finished reading the first in the Jane Darrowfield series and can’t wait to read the second! I love the sound of Jessie’s series as well. I’m detail-oriented–to a fault–sounds like that’s a trait that would be helpful to an investigator.

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  10. I think I would be a good detective as I am always so aware of my surroundings courtesy of my father’s teachings. He always said, “Look around you. Always know what is going on where you are. Be prepared for anything.” I don’t think he was talking about murder, but…. He was in the AF during WWII and that may have influenced him or it could be the many moves his family made which resulted in him always being the “new boy” in school. For whatever reason, his instructions made an impact on me and I tried to pass the instructions to our children. So happy for both Jessie and Barbara…what great series they are writing. I have talked them up to all my friends and asked our library to buy the books, too!

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  11. I think I would be a terrific sleuth! I question everything ( I do tend to overanalyze) and I don’t take no for an answer – must be one of the reasons I loved working in a library – there’s always a way to find the information! Plus I am very stubborn – to my husband’s chagrin, at times. Not to mention the training I received by reading so many Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys, Dana Girls, Trixie Beldons and even Bobbsey Twins as a kid! I’d love a copy of these books – both series are on my To Read list – I’ve enjoyed your other books so much!

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  12. Happy release day to you both!!!
    I would love to try and be a sleuth. Rather I would be good at it would be a interesting story for sure!
    Thank you for the chance to win this great giveaway!!!

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  13. Happy release day to you both. I completely enjoyed both of these books.

    I would not make a great sleuth. I’m so unobservant, and I’d believe anything someone told me. You’d think all these mysteries I read would make me a better sleuth, wouldn’t you?

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    1. Thanks, Mark! I think there is a real escapist quality to mysteries that may make it less likely that any skill transfer from the pages to your personal world would happen. After all, I feel pretty pleased that few actual small towns have the murder rate one finds in fiction!

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  14. Happy Release Day X 2! I love the collaboration on this post from you both. Since I was a little girl I have always thought about being a detective! I used to listen to the radio show called The Shadow Knows when I was falling asleep. I’d hide the transistor radio under my pillow. And Pippi Longstocking and Harriet the Spy were my favorite role models for detectives. As an adult I love reading different sleuth series – Inspector Gamache comes to mind quickly as does The Cat Who Knew… series and a couple of caterer/detectives. I still approach life as a detective, people-watching and solving everyday mysteries is my M.O.!

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  15. Congratulations to both of you on your Pub Day! I have added both to my TBR which has grown exponentially since I discovered your blog 🙂

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  16. I think I’d be good if it mostly involved online research. My boyfriend would be better because he always wants to know what’s going on in the neighborhood

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  17. Pros: I’m very resourceful and I don’t give up easily.
    Cons: I respect people’s privacy too much to ask nosy questions.

    But I do enjoy learning insider information.

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  18. While sometimes I notice things and make connections, most of the time, I’m in my own world and miss things. So probably not a great sleuth. Love your series and hope to win the books. Stay safe and well.

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  19. Happy release day! I don’t think I would make a good sleuth because I’m not very observant. My sister would make a great sleuth, she always notices things that I miss. I will have to stick to reading about sleuthing.

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  20. Congratulations on your New Releases ladies! I think I would be a successful sleuth, I am pretty observant , and I have taught my 3 grandchildren to always be observant especially when we go out for our walks. The books sound like great reads and I love the covers. Thank you for the chance.

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  21. I think I’d make a good sleuth. I get obsessed with things and can be relentless in pursuing it until the wave passes. Then on to obsessing about something else!

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  22. Congrats to you both !
    I pre-ordered both books and they are now in the delivery race to see which one gets here first. I can hardly wait ! Heaven help me if they arrive on the same day – but, then again, who needs sleep when you can spend your time with such interesting friends….

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  23. Based on experience, I probably would not be a successful sleuth. The discoveries I made after my husband passed? Let’s just say, they were not pleasant.

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  24. Congratulations on the books! They sound great. I would make a terrible sleuth. I wouldn’t notice most of the clues and I’m a little too shy to go around questioning people.

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  25. I would try to be a good sleuth! I would try to think about what my favorite cozy heroines would do!

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  26. I believe I would be successful. I grew up on Murder, She Wrote, Perry Mason, Columbo, Rockford Files, Magnum PI, Matlock and then on to Monk, Psych, Veronica Mars…etc. I am too nosey for my own good. I have actually helped the police on more than one occasion. *Ahem…Not with a murder, but with other things. I wanted to be a PI and should have chased my dream, but here I am happily staring at my 2 youngsters and our many pets. It IS a wonderful life Mr Bailey…oh wait, wrong post. Lol. Stay happy, stay healthy and stay reading, but don’t stay still! <—That's my motto! Thank you for letting us take part in your discussions. We love you guys!!

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  27. I would be a great sleuth. As a nurse, people tell me things they have never shared before. I am tenacious, patient, an active listener and a security officer. Being detail oriented, I notice a lot that others don’t happen to see or hear.

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