A Fright to the Death
Family Fortune, #3
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Crime
Date of Publication: April 7, 2015
Number of pages: 304
Cover Artist: Daniel Craig
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…
Ideas come from everywhere. The key is choosing the ones that can be shaped into a usable situation or character. I meet with my writing group once a month. We share personal news and business news and funny stories. Almost always after someone tells a story or uses a phrase, one of us will say, “Hey, can I use that?” Some ideas just need to be recognized.
My Family Fortune Mystery series began with the idea of a young woman being pressured into joining the family business. That was it. Then I started thinking of what kind of a family business it might be. When I decided it would be a psychic business, I imagined a town that was populated by psychics. The psychics were quirky, the family was a little nutty and Crystal Haven was formed.
Before I started on the second book, I saw a small house completely overgrown with vines. It looked like the vegetation was swallowing it whole. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Who would live in such a house? A recluse, certainly. Why was she reclusive? Answering these questions gave me the character of Neila Whittle, the rumored witch with an unfortunate talent. Since I had just acquired a witch, I decided to set the story around Halloween and I played with all of the things I love about that season and that holiday. There were witches and bonfires and scary woods. There was a Fall Festival and family secrets. All from the glimpse of a house in the woods.
The idea for my most recent book, A Fright to the Death, came when I saw a billboard advertising a B and B in a Victorian castle. My mind latched onto this nugget. I’ve always loved the idea of castles with secret passageways and ancient ghosts. But my books are set in Michigan, not Scotland. After some research I discovered 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. What could be better than a haunted castle? However, 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.
In A Fright to the Death, I stranded the gang in a haunted castle, in a blizzard, with no electricity or phones. I added some exuberant knitters. Not surprisingly, a murder occurred.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about chimpanzees. And zip-lining. Who knows where it will lead?
What is your favorite setting for a murder mystery? Do you ever create stories from a small detail? Would you read a story about chimpanzees who go zip-lining? I’d love to read about it in the comments below
I was so excited to see this book tour come out. I read the first book, Pall in the Family, for Great Escapes Book Tours and gave it 5 stars. Last year, when Be Careful What You Witch For came out, I managed to win a copy to read and enjoy.
Clyde and Mac are trying to sneak away for a week's vacation in Mexico. Sun, Sand and No Psychics. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has other ideas. When their flight is grounded due to snow, Mac suggests a nearby castle hotel to wait out the storm. Clyde doesn't really care where they go, as long as they can have some alone time. It's only to find Clyde's mom and aunt as well as Mac's mother all there for a knitting conference. And since they arrived just ahead of the storm, they have no other option but to stay... in rooms with their respective moms. But that's not the worst that happens. When the power goes out, and one of the owners is found murdered, it's up to Clyde and Mac to put their law enforcement experience to work and find a killer.
This story was very much a play on a locked room mystery. Everyone trapped due to the raging storm; the murderer has to be one of the people at the hotel. I enjoyed seeing Clyde and Mac work together instead of at cross purposes. Clyde was also actively working to understand and control her psychic gifts and so she was integrating them into the investigative process, too. Clyde and Mac's relationship had some nice forward momentum. Plus it looks like there might be some resolution on her employment situation that comes about.
The characters continue to make me smile. Mac's mom added some normality to help balance out all of Clyde's family wackiness. This was a nice addition to the series. I am giving A Fright to Death, 5 stars. As an added bonus, I just love the covers!
Thanks to Great Escapes and Berkley for the opportunity to read and review the book.
1 Print Copy of A Fright to Death - US only
When I was ten years old, my two favorite things were climbing trees and reading. As a bonus, I discovered if I combined the two, I could hide from my mother when she wanted me to clean my room. Nancy Drew and I spent many afternoons solving crimes and avoiding chores. Eventually, I moved on to Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and Stephanie Plum. I improved my housework-dodging ploys.
After many years in Michigan, I now live in Iowa with my husband, son and daughter. When I’m not writing or chauffeuring kids, I keep busy catering to the whims of a bossy bichon-shih tzu mix who wants to rule the world.
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