Author Guest Post
I love trying to figure out where my characters live. I can’t tell you the hours I’ve spent on real estate sites, going on virtual tours, trying to picture if someone I’m writing about could live there. (I have a horrible feeling there are lots of people hoping that that lady who keeps visiting the site is going to make an offer on their house.) Usually I have an idea in mind. For example, I knew Maggie Dove would live in an old-fashioned house with a porch. But when I was writing Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency, I had a particular problem.
Much of the story is set in Stern Manor, which is a grand and spooky place located in an exclusive part of Darby-on-Hudson, which is where Maggie Dove lives. I had a very clear image in my mind of what Stern Manor would look like, but I needed to find an actual house so that I could get a sense of how the inside was set up. Of course, I could have just made the whole thing up, but I love looking through blueprints, particularly for old houses. Sometimes you find little rooms or passageways that can be very useful in a mystery.
For months, I scanned real estate sites looking for just the right thing. Never have I had such a specific image in mind. I could see the house, I just couldn’t find it.
Then, one day, I was in the library and I came across a book that had blueprints of historic Victorian houses. I flipped through it, and found exactly the house I was looking for. Not only did this book have the blueprints, but it also told me the materials from which the house had been built. It was faced in Greenwich granite. It had a slate roof with copper edging and a tall tower with a secret staircase leading up to it. Fabulous!
Naturally, I was curious to find out what had happened to this house. So I did some more research and discovered that it had been built on Long Island, that it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, that the rear of the house faced on to the Long Island sound. (My own Stern Manor faced on to the Hudson River.) Intrigued, I kept digging, curious to know about the people who had built this house and what I discovered, floored me.
The name of the family who built this house was the Stern family!
Somehow, I had imagined a name that was exactly the same as the name on this house. That gave me a chill. Isn’t it weird how sometimes everything seems to come together and make sense in ways you’ve never anticipated. Maybe it’s not a surprise that Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency is filled with witches and ghosts and other spooky things, because I was certainly spooked when I wrote it.
About The Author
Susan Breen is the author of The Fiction Class, her debut novel that won the Washington Irving Book Award. Her stories and articles have appeared in many magazines, among them The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Compose, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. She teaches at Gotham Writers in Manhattan; is on the faculty of the New York Pitch Conference, South Carolina Writers Workshop, and the Women’s National Book Association; and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters-in-Crime. Breen lives in a small village on the Hudson River with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. Her three children are flourishing elsewhere.
Maggie Dove's Detective Agency by Susan Breen
Book 2: Maggie Dove Mystery Series
Publisher: Alibi / Random House
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Format: e-Book - 235 pages
Kindle - 1320 KB
Nook - 1 MB
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Buy The Book:
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Buy The Series: Maggie Dove Mystery Series
Book 1: Maggie Dove
Book 2: Maggie Dove's Mystery Series
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.
As Susan Breen’s compelling cozy mystery series continues, Maggie Dove’s budding detective agency has given her a new lease on life. Only one thing stands in the way of success: her clients—or lack of them.
After catching the killer who shook her small Hudson River town, former Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove stumbled onto an exciting new career and found a way to take her mind off her own tragic past. Now, despite her best efforts to promote the agency, Maggie can’t seem to land any new cases—until Racine Stern, one of the village’s wealthiest residents, offers her a thousand dollars to convince her “evil” sister, Domino, to stay out of town.
While Maggie’s business partner thinks she’s crazy for turning down a potential client, she doesn’t want her agency to get a reputation for accommodating bizarre requests. However, Maggie is soon caught up in the family drama anyway. Racine may fear for her life—and her inheritance—but it’s Domino who takes the fall when she plunges to her death from a tower at Stern Manor. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Maggie’s investigation will test her faith—and her ability to survive.
My Book Review:
In Maggie Dove's Detective Agency, the second book in the Maggie Dove Mystery Series, author Susan Breen weaves an entertaining and fast-paced cozy mystery set in the small village of Darby-on-Hudson, in Westchester County, NY, that follows the latest investigative adventures of former Sunday School teacher turned private detective Maggie Dove. Maggie is trying to promote her new detective agency, but she's having a hard time securing clients until wealthy resident Racine Stern wants to use Maggie's detective services for complex family matters, and while Maggie is reluctant to get involved in family drama, she ends up investigating the murder of Racine's "evil" sister Domino, after she plunges to her death from a tower at Stern Manor. Maggie is determined to investigate the murder and find the killer, even when danger lurks around the corner.
Maggie Dove's Detective Agency is a well written story that has enough quirky characters, intrigue, suspense, humor, and drama that easily draws the reader into Maggie's latest investigative adventures. This intriguing story will keep the reader interested and guessing the identity of the real killer until the surprising conclusion. You can't help but love Maggie and cheer her on as she tries to promote her new detective agency business. This spunky church lady turned detective, is determined to solve the murder mystery even when mayhem ensues, and she takes the reader along for the ride. I look forward to reading the next installment of Maggie Dove's investigative adventures!
I really enjoyed the author's usage of her hometown to provide the reader with a rich description of the scenic Hudson River Valley setting in Westchester County, NY, it definitely makes me want to visit the area the next time I go to NYC. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed the wonderful description of the Victorian Stern Manor.
Maggie Dove's Detective Agency is a delightfully eccentric whodunit tale that cozy mystery fans will want to add to their reading list!
RATING: 4 STARS
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