Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Maple Mayhem (A Sugar Grove Mystery #2) by Jessie Crockett

In Sugar Grove, New Hampshire, people are serious about their maple syrup—especially Dani Greene, whose family owns the Greener Pastures sugarhouse.  But when murder disrupts the small-town sweetness, Dani pores over clues to draw out a killer...

Despite being a fourth-generation syrup maker, Dani isn’t stuck in the past. She’s starting a new agricultural cooperative that reduces costs for every syrup producer who joins. Everyone considers it a sweet deal except the die-hard curmudgeon Frank Lemieux—and when a saboteur starts targeting supporters, everyone suspects Frank.

But it turns out they’re barking up the wrong tree when Dani finds Frank murdered in his own sugarhouse. As the sabotage continues, she realizes that Frank was framed. With the help of her family, and a handsome official from the Fish and Game Department, Dani must catch the killer before another syrup maker kicks the bucket.

Recipes Included!

When I go to author talks and book signings some of the questions I am often asked are why I write mysteries (because I love them) or where I get my ideas (the grocer).  People want to know about my work habits (erratic) or the process of getting published (grueling).  I've even been asked about the sorts of snacks I eat while working away on a tight deadline (baby carrots).  

Something I have never been asked is why I set my books in tiny towns in New Hampshire.  Granted, since most of my events are held in New England, the people attending the talk have no reason to ask such a question.  They know why New Hampshire is a great setting for a mystery series.  

People who live here know New Hampsire might be worth choosing just on account of the natural beauty of the mountains, lakes and coastline.   There are also the man-made features like charming villages filled with historic buildings, the stone walls zig-zagging through the woods and the delightful surprise of covered bridges.  

The weather in here also supports mysterious doings as anyone who has ever survived a winter in New England can tell you.  After months on end of being cooped up with the family it is easy to imagine old arguments becoming dangerous.  Treacherously icy roads provide ample opportunity to fake fatal accidents.  Even mud season and black flies can push upstanding citizens over the edge.  After al, with so many acres of underdeveloped land there are plenty of places to hide a body, at least once the ground thaws out.  

New Hampshire is full of people who inspire great characters too.  It's easy to imagine all that independent spirit and stoicism along with a heaping helping of forthrightness and cantankerousness giving rise to all sorts of criminal possibilities.  

There's also the fact that the past is always present in New Hampshire.  A walk in the woods is likely to reveal a tumbled down sugarhouse or cellar hole.  A leisurely drive on a sunny afternoon might easily take you past an overgrown cemetery hidden beneath a stand of maples.  But along with all the nostalgia and charm there is also the darker side of the past.  Behind the front door of any antique cape long memories, old grudges, family secrets and unforgiven debts might just be lurking.  The contrast between the white picket fences and skeletons in the closets make for fertile soil for mystery writers as well as readers.  

If you have the opportunity to visit New Hampshire in person or as an armchair traveler, I think you'll agree it is the perfect spot for sightseeing, antiquing and even the occasional mystery.  

A nearly life-long resident of the Granite State, Jessie naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing frosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. When not working on her next murderous adventure she enthusiastically combs the beach, designs bento lunches and throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools.

Her debut mystery, Live Free or Die, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery. Jessie lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small most other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Hearing from readers makes the winter seem shorter so please drop her a line.

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of Maple Mayhem by Jessie Crockett to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways! 

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