Series: Cait Morgan #2
Published by TouchWood Editions on February 26th, 2013
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, The Corpse with the Garnet Face
Also by this author: The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, The Case of the Dotty Dowager, The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer, The Corpse with the Garnet Face
The second book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries brings overindulgent foodie and criminologist Cait Morgan to the vineyards of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.
A world-famous vintner is dead. And when a heartfelt plea to look into the matter is paired with an exclusive gourmet event in BC’s stunning wine country, Cait Morgan cannot resist. She is sure the owner of the family-run vineyard was murdered. But her companion, Bud Anderson, is convinced that the woman took her own life. That is, until death strikes once again. Uncovering obsessions and murderous thoughts among the victim’s wacky neighbours is a start. But, as Cait unravels the clues, she realizes that more lives are at stake. Can she think, and act, fast enough to prevent another death?
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Interview with the Author
CA: I adore BC’s wine country and, for a foodie like Cait Morgan, I knew it would be a super setting for one of her mysteries. The death of a vintner, famous for her award-winning nose, seemed to be a good fit…so Cait jumped into the truck and off she went! The fact that the area has a well-established community, and a lot of newer arrivals, also interested me . . . I enjoy the interplay of local/visitor, and Cait gets to meet some quirky characters in this book.
CA: Winter writing is all done in my study, in the summer I try to do at least some writing on the deck, but there are so many distractions that, if I’m honest, I must admit that I find my study to be more productive. Even though there can be a little disorder on my “filing” desk (ie it’s covered with papers that will, one day, be filed away) the rest of the room is very calming . . . to me. Its eau de nil walls comfort and soothe me, I’m surrounded by my books – my oldest friends – and a lot of art on the walls that I brought to Canada from the UK. My biggest indulgence when I decorated the room, which is very art deco in style, was a black carpet – with two chocolate Labradors it’s very rarely pure black…but, when it is, it gives me an unreasonable amount of joy!
L: When you are writing a mystery story or novel, are you a “plotter” or a “panster”?
CA: PLOTTER! Some might say I’m obsessive about preparing before I begin to write, but I can’t help it – I’m very process orientated. I make pages and pages of notes about my characters before I begin . . . not just their physical attributes, but their entire backstory too, even if that doesn’t end up on the page of the book. My plots are classic whodunit, traditional mysteries, so clues, red herrings, false possibilities and the detailed recounting of all of the above in the denouement are critical – so poor planning cannot be an option.
L: Your biography mentions Agatha Christie as one of your early influences. What are your favorite Christie tales, and why?
CA: Christie herself was most satisfied by the work she did in the book that is now called And Then there Were None, and it is true that it is a mold-breaking masterpiece with a wonderful sense of isolation and terror growing through the text. That said, for me, I prefer some of her more sweeping books, where location is totally interwoven with plot. The Murder on the Orient Express could only have taken place on a train and Death on the Nileis a plot that works because of the boat. By The Pricking of My Thumbs is, I feel, Christie’s best Tommy & Tuppence novel (I love those characters, especially in their later years), Nemesis is my favorite Miss Marple and, when it comes to Poirot (other than the two I have listed already) I’ll plump for The Mystery of the Blue Train, which involves death and a missing necklace, in the south of France . . . three elements I featured in my first Cait Morgan Mystery, THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE.
L: Besides Christie, what do you read for fun?
- Favorite beverage? Coffee or champagne — they’re both breakfast drinks, right??
- Favorite color? Blue is my gut reaction, though I know I wear black more than anything else.
- Favorite TV show? REALLY tough one. Doctor Who and Columbo.
- Favorite non-reading activity? Cooking. Oh, who am I kidding? Eating!
- Favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate sundaes at Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour in Swansea, Wales.
- Pencil, pen, or computer? Computer
L: Thank you, Cathy! It’s been lovely to have a chance to get to know you. Best of luck with THE CORPSE WITH THE GOLDEN NOSE!
CA: Thanks very much for having me to visit — it’s been fun!
I really enjoyed The Corpse with the Golden Nose. Cait Morgan narrates the book. She has a distinctive voice: practical, very confident professionally, but a bit insecure personally and emotionally. Her training in criminal psychology and her work as a victim profiler give her a much better background for investigation than the typical cozy’s amateur sleuth; she has a real talent for extrapolating from what she observes. In addition, Cait possesses an eidetic memory, a highly useful attribute for any detective. It’s fascinating to “watch and hear” her replay scenes in her head, focusing on minute details and drawing conclusions from them. Cait’s eidetic memory also provides insight into the ghosts in her own past: an abusive ex-husband and her parents’ death.
Cait’s “sidekick” is her former colleague and current boyfriend Bud Anderson. As a retired policeman, But is no stranger to investigations, and in fact, he instigates this one on behalf of his online “grief buddy” Ellen, who is convinced her sister’s suicide was no such thing. Bud is clearly devoted to Cait; equally clearly, she’s not quite sure of him yet — or rather, she’s very unsure of her own attractions.
Cathy Ace cites Agatha Christie as one of her formative influences, and it shows. The mystery is tightly plotted and exhibits Christie-style misdirection with all the clues available to the reader, who is nonetheless led down the garden path. A number of quirky secondary characters add to the Christie-like feel, yet this is very much a contemporary mystery, not a pseudo-Golden Age novel.
I found very little to dislike in The Corpse with the Golden Nose. I did feel that at times Bud took more of a backseat than he should, given his background and expertise. The exposition of the mystery held together pretty well, with one exception: the explanation of the suicide note didn’t ring quite true for me. (I can’t go into details without giving away spoilers.) Still, the mystery was so well-crafted over all that those are very minor quibbles.
I heartily recommend The Corpse with the Golden Nose to fans of Golden Age mysteries as well as cozies. I plan to read the first book, and I’ll definitely be watching for the next installment!
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