Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: The Wolfe Widow (A Book Collector Mystery #3) by Victoria Abbott

As Thanksgiving approaches, Jordan Bingham is grateful for her job researching rare books for Vera Van Alst, the infamous curmudgeon of Harrison Falls, New York. But when an uninvited guest makes an appearance, much more than dinner is disrupted—and Jordan is thankful just to be alive…

Vera Van Alst doesn’t normally receive visitors without appointment, but she agrees to see the imperious Muriel Delgado upon arrival. Shortly thereafter, Jordan is told that her position is being terminated. Evicted from the Van Alst House, Jordan is determined to find out what hold Muriel has over her erstwhile employer.

It seems Muriel has designs on Vera’s money and property—not to mention a particular interest in her collection of Nero Wolfe first editions. When Jordan discovers a deadly connection between Muriel and the Van Alst family, it’s up to her to put the house in order and stop a killer from going back to press.

The best part of this job

There are so many great aspects about writing mysteries that sometimes it's hard to figure out what's the best part.  But today it's easy.  Today is a beautiful day, warm, but not too warm, sunny with a light breeze, perfect for reading in a lounger with a cool drink by your side.  However, it's also a 'work day'.  

Hmm.  Part of our job writing the book collector mysteries means diving into the wonderful mysteries of the Golden Age of Detection, books by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Rex Stout and others who have captivated readers for decades.  

Our fictional sleuth, the young researcher, Jordan Bingham has to learn about the fine first editions she tracks down for her book collector boss, the reclusive and grouchy Vera Van Alst.  She often falls in love with the characters in the books.  We know all about that!  The characters in these classic mysteries, their situations and their approaches to sleuthing all make a difference to her.  For each book we've re-read the works of the author in the title.  That has meant a fabulous banquet of Christie books, Sayers novels, and now the Nero Wolfe books for The Wolfe Widow, third in the book collector series.   

For The Wolfe Widow we revisited about twenty of the Nero Wolfe mysteries and found that they continued to be witty, entertaining puzzles full of characters we could care about.  Of course, those were the main characters: Nero Wolfe was as large, egotistical and difficult as ever.  He was also able to convincingly unravel the most diabolical plots.  Archie Goodwin, his live-in assistant - part-secretary, part-bodyguard - won us over with his upbeat energy, his mischievousness and his wit.  He's easy on the eyes too as we imagine him.  And there was Fritz, the chef.  Who wouldn't love a live-in chef?  

So when as spent many lovely days, reacquainting ourselves with Nero, Archie and Fritz, we were struck by how much they resembled our own characters in the book collector mysteries.  

We've often said that Vera Van Alst, the curmudgeonly book collector and the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, is like Nero Wolfe without the charm.  It gets a laugh, but let's just say, she's not easy to live with and she has her own obsessions.  

Then there's Jordan, her young assistant.  Like Archie she's intensely loyal, stylish (although Jordan's on a shoe-string), and witty.  Like Archie she loves her meals.  And, although she's the first person in her family to go straight ad that's important to her, like Archie, when desperate measures are called for, she is prepared to bend the rules.  

Let's not forget those chefs.  Fritz is a world class chef.  Our Signora Panetone is a traditional Italian cook who serves mountains of fragrant food.  Like the meals in Nero Wolfe's brownstone in New York City, breakfast and dinner at Van Alst House comes with ceremony and rules.  

No wonder we had such a good time writing The Wolfe Widow.  We loved the inspiration books and we still feel great affection for the characters.  Although the book collector mysteries are contemporary and quite different from the books of the 'Golden Age', Jordan used imaginary advice from the characters in each of the series we've looked at, including her latest hero and heart throb, Archie Goodwin, to help guide her in those darkest moments.  

We think that should Archie and Jordan ever meet up in some hangout for fictional characters, that they'd hit it off.  

Do you have a favorite series from the "Golden Age of Detection?"  Are there characters who seem very real and relevant to you even though they're from a different era?  

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I love the classics.  And the Book Collector series puts them front and center as a key ingredient to these delightful mysteries.  In The Wolfe Widow, it's the works of Nero Wolfe.  How exciting is that?!  And my favorite part?  They are an integral part of the story.

The characters are so much like those in the classics.  Jordan is my favorite - her tenacity is awesome. The mystery itself is absolutely thrilling and the writing... is excellent.  And while you could read this book as a stand alone, I'd strongly recommend you pick up the first two in the series.  They're very much worth the read!  

Rating:  5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own.  

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of The Wolfe Widow by Victoria Abbott 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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Unknown said...

I like Agatha Christie's Poirot.

holdenj said...

Oh, Agatha Christie for sure. I started with Miss Marple--and I'm sure St. Mary Mead started my love of cozies. But as I read, I came to enjoy all of her detectives for multiple reasons. Many of my favorites adorn my bookshelf!

Anonymous said...

Agatha Christie...Miss Marple

patucker54 at aol dot com

Carol N Wong said...

I loved Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's books. She always seemed to make me feel at home with her!


Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard said...

It's very hard for me to choose a single favorite among the Golden Age mystery series, but my top loves are Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn, and the indomitable Miss Marple.

Robin Driscoll said...

I would have to say Agatha Christie both Miss Marple and Poirot characters are fantastic.

Meg C. said...

Agatha Christie's Poirot is my favorite.

Karen B said...

Miss Marple from Agatha Christie.

Ellie Wright said...

I love the Miss Silver mysteries by Patricia Wentworth.

Sue said...

Lord Peter Wimsey has always been a favorite of mine.

Unknown said...

Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie, nero Wolfe by Rex Stout, and Asey Mayo by Phoebe Atwood Taylor.

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