Series: Family Fortune Mystery #3
Published by Berkley on 4/07/15
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: Be Careful What You Witch For, An Unhappy Medium
Also by this author: Be Careful What You Witch For, An Unhappy Medium
From the author of Be Careful What You Witch For, here is the newest Family Fortune Mystery, starring former cop Clyde Fortune, who—snowbound with her kooky family in a creepy castle—is climbing the walls and combing the halls, looking for a cold-blooded killer…
After their flight to Mexico is cancelled, Clyde and her detective boyfriend, Mac, end up snowed in with their families at a supposedly haunted hotel. Clyde’s tarot card reading mother, Rose, is making dire predictions for the weekend, and self-proclaimed pet psychic Aunt Vi is enchanted by the legend of the hotel’s ghost—until the power goes out and a body turns up.
With a hotel full of stranded suspects, Clyde will have to draw on all her skills—both the police ones she’d rather forget and the psychic ones she’d rather ignore—to solve the bone-chilling mystery before someone else gets iced…
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Guest Post: Knitting a Novel
by Dawn Eastman
Knitting keeps me sane and calm. I get cranky if I don’t have a project going. I’ve never analyzed my knitting addiction beyond recognizing that I’m a “process” knitter more than a “product” knitter. Certainly, a cute sweater or beautiful beaded scarf will turn my head, but I don’t really care that much about what I’m making. It’s all about the act of knitting.
I used to write that way as well. When I wrote just for myself, I could go off on tangents or start something new whenever I felt like it. Unlike my knitting, my writing doesn’t benefit from this free-form attitude. When I began writing for publication, I realized that I had to become a product writer or I would never finish anything.
There are similarities between finishing a large knitting project like a lace shawl or a sweater and a large writing project like a novel. The writing comes easier for me if I remember to apply my knitting rules to my writing project.
Rule 1: A little bit every day adds up. I love to knit; so every day I spend some time working on whatever is on my needles. I don’t even think about it, it’s just something I do. Every. Day. When I get frustrated that my writing isn’t moving forward at lightning speed, I remind myself of this important fact. Usually, I knit a few rounds while I consider my options.
Rule 2: Practice makes you better. New knitters are sometimes frustrated that their knitting is uneven, or stitches get dropped, or that it takes a long time to make a simple scarf. Knitting looks easy, especially when the piece is finished, but there is a learning curve. Writing also looks easy, particularly when you are fully engaged in reading the story. In fact, I was initially surprised at just how hard it is. Crafting a piece of writing that appeals to others is a bit like moving from scarves to sweaters. A scarf will fit anyone and is fairly easy to finish. A sweater requires more consideration of the wearer, and an attention to details like shaping and size. But the more you practice the easier it gets.
Rule 3: Sometimes the only way to fix a problem is to rip back. My mind wanders, or I misread the instructions and repeat the mistake for many rows, or I realize I prefer a technique that is different from the one in the pattern. I don’t mind ripping out work that isn’t up to my standards. I like to knit and if I have to re-knit a sleeve, that just means I get to enjoy knitting that sweater for a little while longer. I am working on bringing this attitude to my writing. Sometimes many words need to be cut. I know that it will make the story stronger, but I haven’t yet developed the friendly relationship to the delete key that I have to re-winding a ball of yarn.
I had so much fun writing A Fright to the Death, which is the third book in the Family Fortune Mystery Series. My protagonist is not a knitter, but she finds herself stuck in a haunted castle with a group of knitters. They attempt to teach her to knit, they have a yarn-bombing contest, and when a murder occurs, they turn to knitting to keep their worries at bay.
I’d love to hear about your craft or hobby of choice in the comments below!
Lark: Knitting is one of the things that keeps me sane, too! Especially when my daughter was hospitalized for a month, about 9 years ago. I don’t know how I would have coped without it!
A Fright to the Death has a lot going for it! Besides the psychic aspect of the series, which is always a lot of fun, this book takes place in a Victorian “castle” hotel of the sort I’ve always wanted to stay in – and there’s a knitter’s conference going on at the same time. That hits four of my interests right there – knitting, mystery, Victorian architecture, and a touch of the paranormal. Small wonder that I jumped on the chance to do this tour!
When Clyde and Mac’s beach vacation is derailed by a storm and a cancelled flight, they detour to Carlisle Castle, the aforementioned hotel. By the time they get there, the snow is bad enough that they’re stuck – even when they discover that Clyde’s eccentric (and psychic) mother and aunt and Mac’s mother are there for a knitting workshop. Some romantic vactation, huh? Matters get worse when one of the inn’s owners is found dead. With the hotel completely snowed in and the power and phones out due to the storm, Mac (a police detective) and Clyde (also a policewoman but currently on leave) are forced to investigate on their own.
Clyde (short for Clytemnestra, and who can blame her for insisting on the nickname?!) is the main character and first-person narrator. I really like the character development across the series, as Clyde slowly comes to terms with her over-the-top family and her own psychic gifts. The fact that she was a policewoman before going on long-term leave means that she has both the nose and the skills to investigate crimes, something that is not always true of cozy heroines. I also love the growing romance between Clyde and Mac, Crystal Haven’s official homicide detective. Mac doesn’t like having Clyde involved as (technically) a civilian, but he also appreciates her background and skills. He’s pretty opposed to the psychic stuff in the beginning, but by this book he seems to be softening a little.
The snowstorm gives the mystery a Christie-esque “locked room” quality, limiting the suspects and placing them under pressure at the same time. The plot unfolds well; there are several suspects, each with a motive, and as Clyde and Mac dig deeper, more motives and suspects keep coming to light. Having their family members in the hotel only complicates matters, especially since Aunt Vi is determined to take an active part in the investigation – pendulum divining and all! Meanwhile, the knitters are increasingly nervous about being stuck in a hotel with a murderer. I particularly enjoyed all the knitting references – especially the ongoing yarn bombing. I’ve always wanted to attend a several-day-long knitting workshop, so this added an extra fillip of fun to my reading pleasure!
A Fright to the Death is the third book in the Family Fortune series, but if you’re new to the series, I don’t think you’ll have much trouble jumping in here. On the other hand, if you prefer to read them in order, it shouldn’t take you long to catch up – they’re quick, fun reads that will keep you turning the pages. I recommend them to all cozy mystery lovers.
Thanks to the publisher, I have a paperback copy to give away! (Sorry – the publisher says US addresses only!)
- April 6 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – Review, Giveaway
- April 7 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview
- April 8 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
- April 9 – Musings and Ramblings – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
- April 10 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Review, Giveaway
- April 11 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
- April 12 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review, Giveaway
- April 13 – Book-n-Kisses – Review, Giveaway
- April 14 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review, Giveaway
- April 15 – deal sharing aunt – Review, Interview, Giveaway
- April 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post
- April 17 – fuonlyknew – Review, Giveaway
- April 18 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
- April 19 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2015