Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fiona Quinn is back with her latest mystery, Waves of Murder, by C. S. McDonald!

Hi Fiona, Let's start with a few fun questions that popped into my mind as I read...So here's the literary question to start...is a cozy mystery still in the cozy genre if the lead character; that is, you, Fiona Quinn, in this case, not only doesn't actually solve the mystery, but even hinders it a little??? Any comment?

Well, I pondered that just a few seconds, then decided I really didn't care--I was having too much fun reading Waves of Murder, the third book in the Fiona Quinn Mysteries series...

Then, I also had another small struggle--can the lead character, you, Fiona Quinn, really have a slight inferior complex about your being a teacher of kindergarten? Or are you just letting everybody know that you're looking to advance your career by maybe applying for the role of teaching second graders? 

I guess my main question to satisfy myself was whether the author had purposely created a somewhat ditzy blond who doesn't think anything about starting to talk about her personal career ambitions, right in the middle of a discussion on a police investigation. You know, after all, being a blond myself, I'm always thinking of how that stereotype has been thrown around for ages... But since our author is also a blond who shows no signs of being ditzy, I'm thinking there was a reason why she sees you, Fiona like that... If you want, we can talk later... Maybe, you've been spoiled all your life since you're so beautiful??? You can tell her later, it's a little spoof from me...

Wish I knew why... so I just thought I'd mention to you during your visit that this is a point I'm be watching in future books, because there is no doubt that my very personal question also does not detract from the fun I, and other readers will have reading McDonald's latest cozy! 

...At this point, she would give anything--anything at all for an honest distraction from the manuscript she was editing for best-selling romance author, Wyla Parkes.
The manuscript was the first book of a four-book anthology. The books would follow Abigail Wentworth, then her daughters and granddaughters through their volatile relationships from the Civil War to WWII, and maybe farther. Wyla hadn't decided yet.
Pushng to her feet, Fiona stretched her back. She went into the bedroom and opened the nightstand drawer to retrieve a candy bar from her stash. Letting out yet another apathetic sigh, she unwrapped the Three Musketeers bar. Hey, she deserved the chocolate rush--Lord knew she needed it. Over the past six and a half hours, she'd been pouring over the manuscript, reading words like, alas, hence, and fraught. Seriously? Who would use the word fraught? Evidently, Wyla Parkes and her heroine Abigail Wentworth used those words. Fiona wasn't a big fan of romance books--she preferred edgy suspense thrillers. When the calendar drew near to Halloween, she was always up for a little Stephen King. On a cold winter's night, an Agatha Christie mystery would suit her fancy while she sat wrapped in a cozy blanket, sipping hot chocolate.

Usually, Fiona's mother would edit Wyla's manuscripts--Nancy Quinn was the author's trusted long-time friend. Fiona's mother and Wyla had gone to high school together and were college roommates as well. Nancy, who had a degree in
literature, would travel to Presque Isle every summer and spend at least six weeks editing Wyla's latest work. Only over the next six weeks, she was having cataract surgery in both eyes, making the trip and the editing impossible. Wyla was disappointed. Fiona's mom volunteered her for the job.
Fiona wasn't happy about the arrangement. She was a kindergarten teacher in Pittsburgh and she had been looking forward to summer recess. She wanted to get a jump on some much-needed painting in her house. There was always plenty of yardwork, and she was looking forward to spending extra time with her boyfriend, Nathan Landry, who was a detective for the Pittsburgh police, homicide division.
"You can't pass up this opportunity, Fiona Nicole. Wyla will pay you a boatload of money, and the accommodations are
beautiful," her mother said when she called to tell her that she'd offered up Fiona's services--and time.
"I have other plans for my summer, Mom."
"I already told her that you were coming. You can't turn down this kind of money--you'll need it for when you and Nathan get married."
Fiona sighed so loudly that she was certain her mother could feel the roll of her eyes across the phone connection. "Seriously, I don't understand why I actually need to go to her beach house. It's the twenty first century for crying out loud. If all the editing is being done on a computer and then emailed to her, why can't I do it from here?"
"Not Wyla's style. She prefers her editor to be right there, on hand so she can discuss changes in the manuscript with you personally. It's just the way she is--you know how creative people can be...very...eccentric. Believe me, Wyla Parker could probably teach a class on eccentricity."
Thusly (one of those words Fiona couldn't imagine anyone in the twenty-first century using) she was obligated for the next six weeks to edit at least two, but hopefully, three of the books from the anthology that had been titled, Waves of Romance.
Waves of Murder:
A Fiona Quinn Mystery

By C. S. McDonald

Maybe it's because I love books so much, but I get a special taste of pleasure when a book also talks about something to do with books! In this case, Fiona's mother is an editor for a top romance author, but is having cataract surgery this summer, when she normally worked for Wyla Parkes. Without contacting Fiona, she volunteers her to handle the job for her!
Fiona was not happy. Especially when she realized that she would have to spend the time on the estate of the author, rather than at home doing the things she needed to do while free from her teaching responsibilities... And of course spending time with Nathan!

But you guessed it...Fiona allowed her mother's wishes to control her decision. She was in her first week of working on book 1 of a planned trilogy...and was not happy fumbling over the now archaic words of historical times that somehow needed to be brought back for a proper setting, you know... I can empathize with Fiona's misery...

But, neither she nor I would have guessed that at the end of that first week, Wyla Parkes would be dead! Essentially the end of her editing job, but...well...Fiona realized that she had been privy to several conversations that got her thinking about who would have decided to murder the popular author...

There was her present publisher, who had just been told by Wyla, that she was going Indie with her upcoming trilogy. Then there was the man who was to be co-author... And those were just the business issues that could have led to sufficient anger to kill... But what about her personal life? Were there those who resented the author in some way...

Fiona had remembered most of what she'd accidentally heard of conversations between Wyla and several men. She would normally have immediately shared everything with Nathan, the man with whom she was involved, who was also a homicide detective... But he was back in Pittsburgh!

Then an interesting little twist developed when Nathan came to visit, and discovered that the local officer in charge of the case, was someone with whom he'd been in the academy... Almost immediately Fiona watched as they placed a bet (dinner) on who would figure out the whodunit for Wyla's murder... That's a guy thing, right? Because Fiona soon realized that Nathan was trying to send her home, to get her away from the potential danger...but also, so he could devote his time to winning the bet... And, oh yes, solving the crime...

Only thing was that Wyla's was only the first murder...

Yes, we have a multiple murder situation, so the question has to be whether we have just one killer or more... This is a complicated mystery--I had some inklings if that counts but McDonald will, I think, keep you guessing from the beginning of the book to the end. With, of course, some great scenes and subplots about potential affairs, and even a motive for the local police officer!

But, I don't know, the ending totally hit me, the character had been drawn so perfectly that I found I was sympathetic--even though I was pretty close to the right selection...and even the next murder didn't surprise me. Maybe it was too close to a real outcome for  today's world... At the same time, there is such a light tone of underlying humor in this series that readers just can't get too deep into heavy drama.What a cool book! And, yes, it's highly recommended and quite suitable for teens as well...


C.S. McDonald taught dance and choreographed shows for twenty-six years. Nowadays, she resides with her husband and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister, on their Thoroughbred farm, Fly-by-Night Stables, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George the Pony is a real pony who lives among the tall Thoroughbreds on their farm.

Most recently Ms. McDonald decided to write a cozy mystery series. The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are quick clean reads for everyone! You'll love Fiona and the quirky but oh so charming, Detective Landry. Fiona is a kindergarten teacher and an unlikely sleuth from Pittsburgh. If you've never been to Pittsburgh, welcome to this wonderful city! Ms. McDonald has even sprinkled a little Pittsburghese into her stories just for fun. Yinz will love it!

To learn more about C.S. McDonald, George, and her cozy mystery series, Fiona Quinn Mysteries, please visit her website at: www.csmcdonaldbooks.com

Hey! Book #3 Fiona Quinn Mysteries, WAVES OF MURDER, is now available! Watch for book #4, TASTES LIKE MURDER, coming this fall! WOOT! MURDER ON POINTE is now available on Audible! WAVES OF MURDER will be soon!

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