I'm happy to welcome Terrie Farley Moran back to the blog. Terrie writes the Read 'Em and Eat Mystery series. Caught Read-Handed, the second book in the series, was released this past week.
Kathy: In Caught Read-Handed a new library volunteer has earned the name "Tanya Trouble". Have you ever had to deal with a Tanya Trouble?
TFM: Tanya Trouble. Oh my! We’ve all dealt with a Tanya Trouble. Bossy. Opinionated. Gives orders like a general, particularly when she’s not in charge. Yep. I guess I’ve met her a time or two. And you probably have, too.
Kathy: Library sales can be such fun. Do you attend local library fundraisers and events?
TFM: For city kids, the public library is like a second home. I was fortunate enough to spend my childhood within walking distance of the Bronx regional center of the New York Public Library. I spent many an afternoon or evening there. Libraries keep kids out of trouble. As an adult I have attended fundraisers with fabulous guest speakers. (James Patterson comes to mind.) I’ve also attended countless lectures, concerts and plays at the library as well as classes in things like Yoga and Chinese brush painting. I am a huge supporter of libraries and I guess it shows.
Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?
TFM: I was inspired to write Caught Read-Handed by the old “what if?” About a decade ago I was getting out of my car in a library parking lot near my daughter’s house and a car door slammed and startled me. I looked around. A man was walking into the library. I assumed he was the door slammer. And I began “what if”ing. What if a story character was in a parking lot and someone slammed a door, and when the character looked over, she thought she recognized the man but on closer inspection he wasn’t who she thought he was. That was the seed. When I was putting the proposal together for the Read ’Em and Eat cozies, I expanded that seed into a plant and now, grown at last, Caught Read-Handed is a full and flowering garden.
Kathy: You won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel at Malice Domestic this year for Well Read, then Dead, the first book in your series. Congratulations! Has winning that award changed anything about your writing? Or your life?
TFM: Thanks so much. Winning the Agatha Award for Best First Novel was a grand and glorious event for me. It hasn’t changed my writing because my goal has always been to write an entertaining book, one that mystery readers will love. I struggle to reach that goal with every book and short story I write. As to changing my life, well, the Agatha teapot sits on the breakfront in my dining room. If anyone walks near it, I find myself saying, “Be careful. Watch the teapot.” I guess the message is: “If you are going to fall, knock into a piece of furniture and break your neck, please do so in the living room.”
Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Sassy and Bridgy?
TFM: I am delighted that in the third book, tentatively titled Read Sky in Mourning readers will have a chance to meet “the moms”. Sassy’s and Bridgy’s mothers come for a visit. Let’s just say Sassy’s mom adds to the mix of quirky characters, while having Bridgy’s mom around presents quite a challenge for Aunt Ophie. They are sisters after all!
Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
TFM: Well, with Caught Read-Handed released this month, I suspect the third Read ’Em and Eat mystery will be released sometime in the summer of 2016.
I do have exciting news. I recently co-wrote Parchment and Old Lace with the magnificent Laura Childs. It is the thirteenth book in her scrapbooking series and will be released in October 2015. I always have a great time reading Laura’s books so it was a real joy for me to join in writing one.
Agatha Award recipient Terrie Farley Moran is the author of the beachside Read 'Em and Eat cozy mystery series including Well Read, Then Dead and Caught Read-Handed. Her short mystery fiction has been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and numerous anthologies. She has been short-listed twice for Best American Mystery Stories. Terrie’s web address is www.terriefarleymoran.com She blogs at www.womenofmystery.net and can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/terriefarleymoran
Caught Read-Handed by Terrie Farley Moran
The Second Read 'Em and Eat Mystery
While dropping off a book donation at the local library Sassy sees a
familiar face, but a closer look reveals it's not the man she thought it
was, her former boss. Before she can continue into the library itself
she hears a caterwauling, and the man rushes out of the library he had
just entered. The carrying on came from a trouble making volunteer, who
seems to be there only to placate her rich husband and give headaches to
the librarian and patrons. However, when Tonya "Trouble" is found
murdered the deputies zoom in on this homeless veteran who so recently
had an altercation with her as a person of interest. Sassy can't believe
this man, who looked haunted, not predatory, could possibly murder
anyone, and when she discovers his name, she realizes he must be the
brother of her former boss. With the real murderer still on the loose
and a lawyer who seems more slimy than the giant anaconda threatening
Bow and the small animals of Fort Meyers, Sassy and the gang at the Read
'Em and Eat Cafe delve into the thick of things once again!
The importance of friends, family, and community is at the heart of Caught Read-Handed. Joining together, despite differences, for the betterment of all can be seen not only with Sassy, Bridgy, and Aunt Ophie, but with Alan and his family, the group of veterans, and the whole of Fort Myers Beach. While delivering an entertaining mystery, Moran also touches on an important societal issue, military veterans suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
The subject of homeless veterans and PTSD is treated with respect. There is however, one error that I must mention. In a later part of the book we hear about the family visiting their relative, who is currently in a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, while he is in restraints. A patient would never be allowed to have visitors while in restraints, at least according to the mental hygiene laws in my state. I have to believe that the laws must be similar in this regard in Florida.
Although distracting for me, the above mentioned issue did not effect the story which presented as a well structured mystery filled with fun characters in an inviting location. The relationship between Miguel and Bow is wonderful and I look forward to reading what the future holds for everyone in Fort Myers Beach, Florida!
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