Tag Archives: E. E. Kennedy

Top 10 Tuesday — Unusual Crime-Solving Professions

1 Aug

IYears ago I read G.K. Chesterton’s collection of short stories entitled The Club of Queer Trades. It was fun reading. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

(For Amazon) British writers have long enjoyed inventing preposterous clubs with eccentric members, unusual qualifications for membership and zany rules of behavior. The brilliant and gifted G. K. Chesterton was no exception, and the entertaining short stories in this volume revolve around just such an institution. In The Club of Queer Trades, candidates qualify for admission by creating a thoroughly original profession and proving they can make a living from it.

Six marvelously funny episodes with improbable plots are made especially pleasurable through Chesterton’s vivid descriptions of late Victorian London, sly pokes at the legal system, and a characteristic gift for delicious nonsense. In each story, a bizarre crime — such as kidnapping of a respected clergyman in “The Awful Reason of the Vicar’s Visit” — seems in the process of being committed. Actually, the events are all frenzied activities traceable to club members or would-be members. Here are intriguing tales of a little old lady imprisoned in a gloomy private dungeon; of prim and proper matrons bent on committing evil deeds; of a former British army officer and his extremely unusual residence; and a host of other incredible characters and situations.

This book got me thinking of all the mystery and suspense I read, and the many jobs the main characters have. There are plenty of FBI agents, US Marshals, and other law enforcement types, plus doctors, lawyers, PIs, bodyguards, etc., who get in on the action. But what about the unassuming amateurs or even the little known professionals that solve crimes, at least fictional crimes? So for this Top Ten Tuesday I’ve compiled a list of my own queer trades.

Top Crime-Solving Professions

 

Advice Columnist — Josephine Tulip (Mindy Starns Clark)

Josephine Tulip is definitely a smart chick, a twenty-first century female MacGyver who writes a helpful hints column and solves mysteries in her spare time. Her best friend, Danny, is a talented photographer who longs to succeed in his career…perhaps a cover photo on National Geographic?

When Jo’s next-door neighbor is accused of murder, Jo realizes the police have the wrong suspect. As she and Danny analyze clues, follow up on leads, and fall in and out of trouble, she recovers from a broken heart and he discovers that he has feelings for her. Will Danny have the courage to reveal them, or will he continue to hide them behind a façade of friendship?

Bailiff — Hugh de Singleton (Mel Starr)

Some valuable books have been stolen from Master John Wyclif, the well known scholar and Bible translator. He calls upon his friend and former pupil, Hugh de Singleton, to investigate. Hugh’s investigation leads him to Oxford where he again encounters Kate, the only woman who has tempted him to leave bachelor life behind, but Kate has another serious suitor. As Hugh’s pursuit of Kate becomes more successful, mysterious accidents begin to occur. Are these accidents tied to the missing books, or to his pursuit of Kate?

One of the stolen books turns up alongside the drowned body of a poor Oxford scholar. Another accident? Hugh certainly doesn’t think so, but it will take all of his surgeon’s skills to prove.

Church Secretary — Cindy Preston (Debbie Viguie)

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

Crime Scene Cleaner — Gabby St. Claire (Christy Barritt)

Gabby St. Claire dropped out of school on her way to completing a degree in forensic science. Instead, she did the next best thing: she started her own crime scene cleaning business. When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet. With the help of her neighbor, Riley Thomas, Gabby plays detective. But can Riley help her before another murder occurs?

 

 

English Teacher — Amelia Prentice (E. E. Kennedy)

Amelia Prentice, a forty-something high school English teacher comfortable in her predictable routine, regains consciousness after tripping over the corpse of a former student in the safest of places, the public library. Returning to the classroom, she tries to pretend nothing happened. But when it becomes obvious that the victim’s death wasn’t an accident and she is now a murder suspect, she realizes that her cozy small-town life in New York’s Adirondack region will never be the same.
 
Crazy things begin to happen: The victim’s mother disappears. Amelia’s friend Lily is thrown overboard from the Lake Champlain ferryboat. A mysterious millionaire from Montreal seems determined to buy Amelia’s house. The school nurse is viciously attacked by a student. Amelia’s old beau Gil suddenly seems determined to rekindle their romance. Amelia is carjacked, and of course, there’s the Lake Champlain Monster . . . 
 
It will take all Amelia’s wisdom, humor, and faith to figure out what’s going on and embrace the new life that lies ahead. If she survives.

Forensic Artist — Gwen Marcy (Carrie Stuart Parks)

In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered, including unarmed men, women, and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains controversial to this day–but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims.
When renowned forensic artist Gwen Marcey is recruited to reconstruct the faces of recently unearthed victims at Mountain Meadows, she isn’t expecting more than an interesting gig . . . and a break from her own hectic life.

But when Gwen stumbles on the ritualized murder of a young college student, her work on the massacre takes on a terrifying new aspect, and research quickly becomes a race against modern-day fundamentalist terror.
As evidence of a cover-up mounts–a cover-up spanning the entire history of the Mormon church–Gwen finds herself in the crosshairs of a secret society bent on fulfilling prophecy and revenging old wrongs.

Can a forensic artist reconstruct two centuries of suppressed history . . . before it repeats itself?

In A Cry from the Dust, Carrie Stuart Parks utilizes her own background as a celebrated, FBI-trained forensic artist to blend fact and fiction into a stunning mystery.

Housewife — Tess Spenser (Heather Day Gilbert)

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her. But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox — a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting — Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself. Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

Limo Driver — Andi McConnell (Lorena McCourtney)

Downsized from her job.
Dumped by her boyfriend.
Depressed about that upcoming 6-0 birthday.
Not a good week for Andi McConnell.

But now there’s good news: She’s just inherited a limousine, a long, sleek, black limousine, from an eccentric uncle.

There’s also bad news: The dead body that soon turns up in the trunk. And Andi is the top suspect in the murder.

Enter Keegan “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, former TV detective, very interested in the case – and in Andi. As they work together to solve the crime, a big question looms: when the bullets start flying, are the windows in Andi’s limo really bullet proof?

Night Watchman — Ray Quinn (Mark Mynhier)

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case — to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth — at any cost.

Nun — Sister Evangeline Devine (Lynne Hinton)

Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder.

Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She’s seen her fair share of crime―and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries.

But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case.

A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he’s been running around with isn’t talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine’s case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve’s crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace.

Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood?

Recovery Specialist — Landry Parker and Nickolai Baptiste (Robin Caroll)

Former Army MP Landry Parker fell into the recovery specialist role quite by accident — to help her ailing father. Now that she’s on her own, she is determined to prove herself and honor her family legacy.

After being shot in the line of duty, former police officer Nickolai Baptiste became a recovery specialist, and he’s good at his job — maybe even the best.
           
A potential client pits Landry and Nickolai against one another to find the Dutchman’s Lost Gold Mine map that was stolen from her murdered husband, and the potential payday is too enticing to pass up. The trail takes them from New Orleans to Weaver’s Needle in Arizona where legend claims the mine is hidden. Landry and Nickolai are no strangers to adventure, but the unlikely partners quickly discover there’s someone after the treasure and there are those who want to ensure the lost mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain stays lost forever.

Can Landry and Nickolai work together despite their distrust of each other to save the legend before more innocent lives are lost? Will they find the real treasure isn’t the gold, but something more valuable . . . true love and understanding?

What do you do?

Could you solve mysteries too?

 

 

 

Book Review: Murder in The Past Tense

31 Aug

5189GuGNaxL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_It’s summer, and Amelia is a lady in waiting. When she happens on a familiar face in a tabloid newspaper, she and Gil reminisce about another summer, long, long ago when they were teens, working with a summer stock company. There was drama that summer, along with romance. And danger. Though much has changed over the years, the danger still lurks.

Who killed Danny? Did they also kill Janey? What does it all have to do with an Adirondack hermit? And will Amelia uncover the killer’s identity before she finds herself playing a death scene?

 

 

ellen-kennedy-300x240(From Goodreads) As a teen, E.E. Kennedy nursed the dream of being a Broadway star, but since she couldn’t stand rejection, she chose being a writer instead. (Who knew?) Life has been kind to E.E. She’s married to an inventor who understands the creative process. She’s the grandmother of 5 children whose cuteness really cuts into her writing time!

She decided to start writing when she ran out of Agatha Christies and couldn’t find anything else she wanted to read. “Okay,” she said, “I’ll write something I’d want to read.” And she did. On alternate days, she thinks her work is brilliant and miserable, but she keeps at it and is grateful for her gracious publisher, Sheaf House, who seems happy to publish her mysteries. Her mission statement is a hokey one: “wholesome entertainment”.

 

My Impressions:

Amelia Prentice Dickensen is back in her 3rd whodunit in Murder in The Past Tense. Still newlyweds, Amelia and Gil are expecting their baby in a few weeks. A tabloid article of a murdered theatrical agent leads them down memory lane as they relive the summer Amelia got a taste of the bright lights of Broadway. But long-buried secrets, missing persons and a murderer still at large gets the sleuthing Amelia involved despite her new mother status.

Murder in The Past Tense is a classic cozy — small town setting, a nosy and intuitive amateur sleuth and a mystery that keeps the reader guessing. Amelia is a fun character. A grammar Nazi English teacher with a penchant for proper manners, she is by nature curious. She often stumbles onto the solutions to the mysteries she encounters, but she is  determined and ingenious when she gets into trouble. I liked that we see a 15 year old Amelia for parts of the book. A bit insecure and naive, she is still Amelia through and through, sticking her nose in where it does not belong. Amelia is also a believer, and God brings her through while Scripture sustains her. Recurring characters add to the small town feel and the Lake Champlain monster also makes a brief appearance.

If you like cozy mysteries, you can’t go wrong with Miss Prentice. Murder in The Past Tense is book 3 in the series, but can be read as a standalone. But I recommend starting at the beginning.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Death Dangles A Participle

3 Nov

364382When the reckless teenaged Rousseau brothers, J.T. and Dustin, attempt to cross a frozen Lake Champlain in their ancient VW, what they find plunges them into hot water, not cold. Their guilt in a brutal murder is obvious to everyone except English teacher Amelia Prentice Dickensen, freshly returned from her honeymoon with new husband Gil, who is determined to find the clue that will prove them innocent: a single bullet.

Despite a falling out with best friend Lily, parents irate over a low grade, a missing cat, and a strange illness that strikes when least expected, Amelia is determined to find the truth. Unless she is frozen out by an equally determined murderer . . .

 

ellen-kennedy-300x240(From Goodreads) As a teen, E.E. Kennedy nursed the dream of being a Broadway star, but since she couldn’t stand rejection, she chose being a writer instead. (Who knew?) Life has been kind to E.E. She’s married to an inventor who understands the creative process. She’s the grandmother of 5 children whose cuteness really cuts into her writing time!

She decided to start writing when she ran out of Agatha Christies and couldn’t find anything else she wanted to read. “Okay,” she said, “I’ll write something I’d want to read.” And she did. On alternate days, she thinks her work is brilliant and miserable, but she keeps at it and is grateful for her gracious publisher, Sheaf House, who seems happy to publish her mysteries. Her mission statement is a hokey one: “wholesome entertainment”.

 

My Impressions:

Death Dangles A Participle has everything I could want in a cozy mystery — quaint small town setting, fun characters, a puzzling mystery and a determined sleuth. It is also a clean read with a faith message subtly woven through. An added bonus is that the amateur detective is an English teacher who silently (at least sometimes) corrects the grammar of everyone with whom she comes in contact. This is fun, quick escape fiction at its best!

Miss Amelia Prentice is now Mrs. Dickensen, something of which she has to continually remind people. Married life suits her, but there are a number of adjustments to old relationships and habits. But when two of her students are accused of murder, the old Amelia decides to do some investigating.

I really enjoyed E.E. Kennedy’s second book in the Miss Prentice Mystery series. Like her first book, Irregardless of Murder (you can read my review HERE), the ever observant Amelia begins investigating when she thinks the authorities are dragging their heels. Quick-witted and shrewd, she nevertheless gets into trouble when the bad guys discover what she’s up to. Although the novel can be read as a standalone, I recommend you begin at the beginning. I’m sure Miss Prentice, er Mrs. Dickensen would approve! All three books in the series are available and are only $2.99 each on Kindle!

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase the books in this series, click on the images below.

Book Review: Irregardless of Murder

24 Apr

438181Amelia Prentice, a forty-something high school English teacher comfortable in her predictable routine, regains consciousness after tripping over the corpse of a former student in the safest of places, the public library. Returning to the classroom, she tries to pretend nothing happened. But when it becomes obvious that the victim’s death wasn’t an accident and she is now a murder suspect, she realizes that her cozy small-town life in New York’s Adirondack region will never be the same.

Crazy things begin to happen: The victim’s mother disappears. Amelia’s friend Lily is thrown overboard from the Lake Champlain ferryboat. A mysterious millionaire from Montreal seems determined to buy Amelia’s house. The school nurse is viciously attacked by a student. Amelia’s old beau Gil suddenly seems determined to rekindle their romance. Amelia is carjacked, and of course, there’s the Lake Champlain Monster . . .

It will take all Amelia’s wisdom, humor, and faith to figure out what’s going on and embrace the new life that lies ahead. If she survives.

 

ellen-kennedy-300x240(From Goodreads) As a teen, E.E. Kennedy nursed the dream of being a Broadway star, but since she couldn’t stand rejection, she chose being a writer instead. (Who knew?) Life has been kind to E.E. She’s married to an inventor who understands the creative process. She’s the grandmother of 5 children whose cuteness really cuts into her writing time!

She decided to start writing when she ran out of Agatha Christies and couldn’t find anything else she wanted to read. “Okay,” she said, “I’ll write something I’d want to read.” And she did. On alternate days, she thinks her work is brilliant and miserable, but she keeps at it and is grateful for her gracious publisher, Sheaf House, who seems happy to publish her mysteries. Her mission statement is a hokey one: “wholesome entertainment.”

 

My Impressions:

Being a grammar nerd, the title of E. E. Kennedy’s first cozy mystery, Irregardless of Murder, piqued my interest. Who could resist a book with a main character and amateur sleuth who is a high school English teacher!? 😉 What I found was a fun and twisting ride through a small New England town filled with real folks. If you like cozy mysteries, be sure to check out Irregardless of Murder.

Amelia Prentice, known to townspeople of all ages as Miss Prentice, is a 40-something, single teacher. Having devoted herself to family, she finds herself the unwilling owner of a cat and living alone in a big, historic house. When had she become the town’s old maid? Yet as she literally stumbles upon a dead body in the library, she becomes first the main suspect and then the target of the real killer. With the help of Vern, a taxi driver/reporter and old flame Gil, owner/editor of the newspaper, Amelia gets to the bottom of the mysterious goings on.

Irregardless of Murder has all the traits of a cozy mystery — small town setting, charming and intelligent amateur sleuth, quirky townspeople and a puzzling mystery. It also includes the hope of love and second chances, and a lake monster! A natural faith message is woven throughout; subtle and never preachy. I had my suspicions about the true murderer, but did not guess the motive. Kennedy’s novel is perfect for weekend or vacation reading or when you just want a little light and entertaining read.

Recommended.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.