Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: A Fright to the Death (Family Fortune #3) by Dawn Eastman

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.

Indulging the Muse

Writers like to amuse themselves. Particularly mystery writers.  That mean grocery clerk? Victim number two in the next novel. Enjoy zip-lining? Write a murder disguised as a zip-lining accident. Like cookies? Set your novel in a bakery. Not every idea can be used, of course. For instance, I love chimpanzees but haven’t figured out how to incorporate them into a murder mystery, yet.

Sometimes an idea strikes and it just won’t let go, even if it seems impossible to fit it into the fictional world you have created. In 2010 I had the great fortune to spend several days in an Irish castle. It was beautiful. Idyllic. Serene. However, my mystery writing brain turns almost any setting into a murder scene. So, I sipped tea in the library while the original owner and his horse glowered at me from the portrait over the fireplace, and happily contemplated a murder mystery set in a secluded castle.

A few years later, I launched The Family Fortune Mystery series. It was set in Western Michigan, in a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan. There were pets, and psychics, and pet psychics. There were quirky characters, a romance or two, and murders. But there wasn’t a castle in sight.

And then I saw it. On the way to my favorite Michigan vacation spot I saw a billboard advertising a castle hotel. In Michigan. Even though I was in the middle of writing the second book in the series, Clyde Fortune and her family immediately began packing.

I delved further into the idea of American castles. It turns out, there are countless castles in the US. They might not be 800 years old, but many are surrounded by myth and legend. And a lot of them are haunted. For anyone who has read the first two books, you can imagine how excited Aunt Vi became at this news. What could be better than a haunted castle?

As the writer of this operation, I had to take control. The Fortune family couldn’t just pack up and go to a haunted castle and wait for a murder to occur. There were things to consider, logistics to arrange. Plus, I also really like knitting. If I was going to move everyone to a castle to indulge a whim, I might as well have some knitting. And just to complicate matters, I threw in a blizzard.

In A Fright to the Death, I stranded the gang in a haunted castle, in a blizzard, with no electricity or phones. And I added some exuberant knitters, just because it amused me. Not surprisingly, a murder occurred. I’m not going to tell you whether there were chimpanzees.

What is your favorite setting for a murder mystery? Do you ever imagine stories while vacationing? Would you read a story about chimpanzees who knit? I’d love to read about it in the comments below.

Oh, my gosh!  A Fright to the Death was fabulous! I absolutely LOVED the haunted castle setting, with the impossible escape scenario.  It made the story so exciting!  I especially loved that all of the hazards of the story played their own roles in making the mystery unfold.  It was cleverly written and made for quite the old-fashioned whodunnit.  LOVE.

I also very much enjoyed the characters, as always.  Clyde, Mac, Vi and the rest of the gang made me laugh and entertained me from start to finish.  I just absolutely ADORE them.  

This series is seriously so much fun. I'm excited to find out what's in store next! 

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. 

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