Thursday, August 9, 2018

ROCCO welcomes guest poster Elaine Faber and Mrs. Oddbody

What makes a mystery book a  S.U.C.C.E.S.S? 
     Elaine Faber

When is a novel a SUCCESS? Is it when an edited manuscript  is submitted to a publisher? A writer certainly feels a measure of success at that milestone.

Or must the book be published and delivered in four cardboard boxes to the writer’s front porch? That would absolutely be the definition of success.

Better still. Must it be an Amazon best-seller to a considered a complete and total “success”? Let’s analyze my latest novel, Mrs. Odboddy- And then there was a Tiger! Will it be a success?

What makes a book a Success?
S IS FOR SECRETS. There must be a secret yet to be discovered-that is key to the plot. The reader must be willing to accompany our heroine as she discovers the compelling secret. Without a secret, there is no reason to keep turning pages. Who would address a rat-filled shoebox and leave it on Mrs. Odboddy’s porch, and then break into her house? That sounds like a compelling secret worth following.

U IS FOR AN ‘UNKNOWN’ VILLAIN   An unknown antagonist is vital to the plot. Without a villain, life would be smooth sailing, and a cozy mystery can’t have that. Someone has framed Mrs. Odboddy for the Wilkey’s Market burglary. With her reputation in tatters, Mrs. O set out to find the culprit. Surely, the villain  who would do that is a scoundrel, indeed.

C. IS FOR COMPANION OR-CONSPIRACY The heroine must have a sidekick or companion to share the mystery. And a good conspiracy never hurts. Mrs. Odboddy and her friend, Mildred Higgenbottom, host a pumpkin carving booth at the Harvest Festival. But Mrs. O stumbles onto a terrible crime that sets tongues wagging. Who would do such a thing in The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light?

C. IS FOR CLUES..Clues are often sprinkled throughout a good plot along with red herrings to complicate and confuse the reader. Seeking resolution to a seemingly insurmountable problem, Mrs. Odboddy sets out alone to follow a clue and subsequently becomes the victim in an even larger insurmountable problem.

E. IS FOR EXCITEMENT. Without a fair amount of drama and excitement, the reader may lose interest in a book and pick up the Wall Street Journal instead. No problem with And Then There was a Tiger. With the introduction of a carnival tiger and Mrs. Odboddy’s bizarre and wacky decisions, there is plenty of excitement to hold the reader’s attention.

S. IS FOR STRATEGY –How the protagonist in a novel uses strategy to solve the mystery is as important as the clues she finds and follows. As a home front warrior and self-appointed scourge of the underworld, Mrs. Odboddy believes her ingenuity, resourcefulness and the silver chopsticks she wears in her hair will save her from any challenging circumstance.

S. IS FOR SUSPICIONS   Plenty of suspicions, sometimes correct, more often incorrect make a good book even better. And Then There was a Tiger is certainly no exception. Mrs. O follows her head and her heart. Only by good luck and the grace of God does she survive some of the nonsense she backs herself into.

About Mrs. Odboddy -And Then There was a Tiger:
While the ‘tiger of war’ rages across the Pacific during WWII, eccentric, elderly Agnes Odboddy, ‘fights the war from the home front’. Her patriotic duties are interrupted when she becomes a suspect in the Wilkey’s Market burglary.
A traveling carnival with a live tiger joins the parishioners’ Harvest Fair at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. Counterfeit bills are discovered at the carnival and when the war bond money goes missing, Agnes is determined to restore her reputation and locate the money. Her attempts lead her into harm’s way when she stumbles onto a friend’s betrayal and learns even more about carnival life than she bargained for.

Elaine’s Bio:  Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and four feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking on author panels, sharing her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies. All her books are available at Amazon for $3.99 in e-book         Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier        Mrs. Odboddy -Hometown Patriot      Mrs. Odboddy–And Then There was a Tiger     All Things Cat        Black Cat’s Legacy       Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer     Black Cat and the Accidental Angel


Elaine will give away a $10 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter!
To enter, leave  your name and email address in the comments section!  Winner will be selected at random using on August 16!

Friday, August 3, 2018


Meow, everyone!

It's that time of month again! time for my cozy mystery reviews!
Let's start off with
A Writer's Apprentice Mystery
Julia Buckley
Berkley Prime Crime
July 31, 2018
four and a half stars

This series is written in the style of the old fashioned gothic mystery/romance novels.  Lena London has settled into her job as assistant to a famous novelist n the town of Blue Lake Indiana, and things have settled down considerably since she and her employer cleared her boyfriend, the  mysterious Sam West, of suspicion in the disappearnce of his ex-wife.  Now she finds Sam in trouble again when he's accused of the murder of her mail carrier!  Is someone deliberately framing Sam?  Lena thinks so, and she's out to prove it.    I love the grit and determination of the main character, and the way the author weaves in homages to the gothic mysteries of days past is charming. And, of course, there is a cat! Four and a half paws!

A Tale of Two Kitties
A Magical Cats Mystery
Sofie Kelly
August 7, 2018 (Paperback reprint)
Berkley Prime Crime
Four and a half Paws

Who doesn't love this charming series?  The main character, Kathleen, is as sharp as Nancy Drew when it comes to ferreting out clues, and her two kitties, Owen and Hercules, are no slouches themseves.  Of course, it helps that Owen and Herc have - ahem - magical powers unlike your normal, everyday house cat that come in handy for mystery solving.   This time out Kathleen is trying to find out who killed Leo Janes.  The poor guy was tryng to reconcile with his brother Victor, who had an affair with his wife who was later killed in a car accident.  Kathleen wonders just how much amenable Victor was to a reconciliation with his brother, and sets out to investigate.  Watching Kathleen talk to the cats every step of the way as she investigates the case is half the fun of reading these books!  Definite four and a half paws!

Death in the Stacks
Library Lover Mystery
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Prime Crime (paperback reprint)
July 31, 2018
four Stars

Lindsey Norris is back, getting into trouble as usual.  This time it's a fundraiser, where the new president of the library board Olive Davidson, seems determined to make Lindsay's life hell.  Lindsay is positive Olive is trying to get her to quit, and is certain of it at the fundraiser when Olive tries to get Lindsay's assistant fired.  You can see where this s going:  Lindsay and Olive have a heated confrontation in front of half the town, then Olive turns up dead, so now Lindsay has to find the real killer to clear her name!  Fans of this series will enjoy watching Lindsey track down clues to expose a killer before she's the one behind bars!  Four stars!

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding
Rhys Bowen
  • Berkley
  • August 7, 2018
  • Four Stars

Lady Georgiana is back, this time planning her wedding.  and as usual, it's Murphy's Law time.  Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong...including murder.  It all starts out when Georgiana begins hunting for a place for her and Darcy to live.   The grounds are in dissarray, and a gas leak smells like an attempt on her life to Georgie. Who would want to kill her.  Before any wedding bells can ring, that's what she's got to find out.

Like the other books in this series, Four Funerals is great fun and intriguing.  If you haven't tried one of these books I urge you to do so!  Four Paws!

Died in the Wood
Peggy Ehrhart
A Knit and NIbble Mystery
August 27, 2018
four Paws

Meet Pamela Patterson, avid knitter and amateur sleuth!  This time out Pamela finds a dead body at a High School charity event where she's selling stuffed aardvarks!  the victim is a very unpopular History teacher, so Pamela now finds herself back at school to track down a killer.  Very cute series. I enjoyed the first one, Murder She Knit, and the second was just as entertaining.  four paws, only becasue I guessed the killer early on - but you'll have fun piecing the clues together along with Pamela.

Win one of ROCCO's review copies?
ROCCO will choose one of the following for one lucky commenter: DEATH IN THE STACKS, FOUR FUNERALS AND MAYBE A WEDDING, OR A DARK AND TWISTED PATH!  Leave a comment to guess which one he'll pick and you could win his review copy!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
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* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
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Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!  Contest ends midnight, August 10!