Sunday, August 25, 2019

First in a Series: The Corpse with the Silver Tongue by Cathy Ace

The Fabulous Cathy Ace joins us today for a special Drinks with Reads: the inaugural entry in our First in a Series profiles. This is where we introduce the first book in a series so you can keep reading and reading through the great adventures of one set of characters. Cathy was one of our first guests on Mystery Playground when we started way back in 2012, so we thought we'd start her off here too with the first book in her Cait Morgan series, The Corpse with a Silver Tongue. And the series is on flash sale this week electronically...

It’s such a thrill to be invited to participate in Mystery Playground’s Friday Drinks with Reads. I’ve been able to celebrate the launch of most of my books here – but I’ll admit I didn’t know of the site’s existence when my debut novel was launched, which is why you won’t find an entry for the very first Cait Morgan Mystery, THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE, in the archives. 

It’s almost impossible to remember a time when Cait Morgan wasn’t part of my life…some who know me might say this is because she’s very much like me (I couldn’t possibly comment!) but it’s also true that she was “born” in a short story back in 2007, and has been with me constantly since then; there are now eight novels in the series.

I always wanted Cait to travel the world solving traditional – as opposed to specifically cozy – mysteries, of the type Agatha Christie used to give us. I always loved the Poirot and Marple books set in “exotic” locations, and I wanted Cait’s adventures to take her to places where the history, art, architecture, food and drink are fascinating. I’ve been a bit of a nomad throughout my life, so she gets to visit a different country in each book – each being somewhere I have either lived, worked, or have spent at least several months, if not years, in total. 

So, why did I choose Nice, in the south of France, for her first novel? Honestly, I love it, and I miss it. I used to spend three or four months a year there and was delighted that friends of mine allowed me to “use” their home as the setting for the sudden death (OK…you guessed it…it’s a murder!) at a birthday party which sits at the core of the book. Writing it allowed me to “be there” again, though, sadly, without the unique light of the Cote d’Azur illuminating my laptop. (If you want to know why there’s a cast iron snail in the photo, you’ll have to read the book!)

What makes this appearance here today even more special is that it gives me the chance to share some exciting news: I have just reacquired all the publishing rights for my Cait Morgan books (except the English print rights), which means I can now control their digital availability and pricing. So – drum roll please – I can tell you that the prices for ALL the digital Cait Morgan Mysteries have been dropped to $4.99 USD (or equivalent). 

While you’re reading THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE, you can enjoy Cait Morgan’s favourite tipple. It’s not fancy, but it is quite specific. She adores Bombay Sapphire gin…yes, specifically Bombay Sapphire. Now I know there are a good many gins out there these days, and – of course – you might have your own gin-of-choice, but with a good tonic (something “plain and normal” like Schweppes, as opposed to one of the myriad available with added flavours) and a good quality lemon – one that feels heavy, so is likely to be really juicy (roll the lemon before cutting into it to get those juices moving!) there’s nothing quite like a straightforward Bombay Sapphire and tonic! This is how Cait enjoys hers:

Fill a large glass with ice
Squeeze a thick slice of lemon that you’ve cut into two over the ice and drop it in
Pour over ONE part Bombay Sapphire gin, then THREE parts tonic water
Stir slowly for a moment or two, allowing the ice to chill the drink
Enjoy! Cheers, folks!

(NB: yes, some gin was drunk during the shooting of this photograph!)

Here are links to more of Cathy's wonderful Drinks with Reads posts:

To find out more about The Cait Morgan Mysteries, and Cathy Ace:

Twitter: @AceCathy
Sign up for Cathy’s newsletter at her website.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Hunting Party and a Rusty Nail

It's been a hot summer, so I thought I'd try and cool off with a snowy thriller by Lucy Foley.

In The Hunting Party, group of friends spends New Years in a remote hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands. They've been getting together for years and many of their relationships go back to their days at Oxford, where they met as students.

Emotions run high, old resentments resurface, and one of the friends does not live through to the New Year. It's clear that someone at the lodge is the murderer, but which one?

The Hunting Party is a great closed universe thriller where the characters are stranded in a remote place (much like And Then There Were None) and it's clear that one of them is the killer. 

If you're an audio book fan, you can't go wrong with the audio version of this book. It's read by 5 different people, each playing a character whose point of view we experience in the book. The accents are wonderful and the actors really portray the essence of each character. 

I chose a Rusty Nail to go with The Hunting Party for two reasons. First, I needed something to sip on to keep me warm while I read about the snowy countryside, and second, with a book set in the remotest area of the Scottish Highlands, it just had to contain Scotch.

The Rusty Nail
2 ounces of Scotch
3/4 ounce Drambuie

Add Scotch and Drambuie to a cocktail mixer filled with ice. Stir to chill and then pour into a rocks glass and enjoy.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Review: Too Close by Natalie Daniels

Natalie Daniels just published a new novel and Kerry Hammond is here with her review.

Too Close by Natalie Daniels was published on July 30, in Trade Paperback, by Harper Paperbacks. The book is described as a haunting psychological thriller about a woman who is accused of a crime and a psychiatrist who is trying to unravel the truth. I was intrigued.

Emma is a psychiatrist who has been tasked with trying to get through to Connie, who is being held in a psychiatric hospital after attempting to end her own life. Emma gains Connie's trust and begins to unravel the events that led up to the fateful day, but the story is way more complicated than she initially expects. Connie may not remember what happened, but she is more astute that Emma expects; she sees that Emma hides her own feelings of inadequacy behind the facade of her profession.

I often start a book, thinking it's a mystery, only to find out later that it's not. There are no dead bodies, no murder investigation, and no criminals are unmasked. It can be quite disappointing when you are expecting all of those elements and you get none of them. I started this book thinking it might be a mystery, but by the time I realized it wasn't, I didn't even care. I was drawn in by the characters, mesmerized by the writing, and captivated by the story.

I liked Daniels' writing style and her keen observations about human nature are all too real. Her portrayal of her characters' inner thoughts, fears, and inadequacies are raw and disturbingly accurate. I look forward to what the author will come up with next.