Monday, September 24, 2018

Meet Calamity Barnstable - A Guest Post and Review

I'm pleased to welcome Calamity Barnstable to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Callie on the pages of the Marketville Mystery series by Judy Penz Sheluk. PAST AND PRESENT is the second book in the series and was released last week.

Martha “Calamity Jane” Canary: This Cabinet Photo with Letter of Transmittal from the Wyoming Photographer sold for $26,290 at Heritage Auctions in May 2011. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Hey there, 
My name is Calamity Doris Barnstable, but if you have any common sense at all, you’ll call me Callie, mostly because that’s the only name I’ll answer to. I mean, seriously, who names their kid Calamity? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way, since my parents, Abigail Osgoode Barnstable and James (Jimmy) Barnstable named me after Calamity Jane, the Wild West legend…not the manly looking Calamity Jane you might find in nineteenth-century cabinet cards and the like. No, my mother’s Calamity Jane was much more like the romanticized Doris Day version in the 1953 movie of the same name, which is how I ended up with the middle name of Doris. In fact, if you are looking for a belly laugh, you absolutely must watch this YouTube video clip from the movie, Doris riding sidesaddle and singing Secret Love along the way.

                                                     Calamity Jane movie poster, 1953.

Anyway, my life in Toronto was going along pretty well. Sure my call center job in the fraud unit of a major bank was pretty dull, but it paid the bills and my life was uneventful. Maybe uneventful isn’t what a 36-year-old single woman is looking for, but I was done with meeting two-timing men. Can you believe one of them dumped me on Valentine’s Day?

Then, one day, my quiet life turned upside down. My father was killed in an occupational accident and he left me a house in Marketville. MARKETVILLE. The sort of commuter town better suited to a couple with two kids, a cat and a collie. Even worse, I was expected to find out who murdered my mother thirty years before—a woman I had no recollection of, who my father never spoke about, and in a house I hadn’t known existed. What can I say? I moved to Marketville.

That was my first “case,” if I can call it that, though in my files I refer to it as Skeletons in the Attic. The mystery of my mother solved, thanks to some fine investigative work on my part (she said, humbly), I decided it was time to form my own company using the knowledge I’d gained in the previous months: Past & Present Investigations. Surely there were other people with old, cold cases the authorities not longer cared about?

My first case involved a woman looking into her grandmother, Anneliese Prei’s, murder in 1956. It sounded perfect. I had a team: my business partner, Chantelle Marchand, who specializes in genealogy, a self-proclaimed psychic with a knowledge of tarot, and a retired research librarian. We had it covered.

Here’s the thing—Anneliese Prei’s past had a way of winding into my present, and not in a way anyone, least of all me, could have predicted.












PAST & PRESENT by Judy Penz Sheluk
The Second Marketville Mystery

Although the conditions of her father's will have been fulfilled, Callie Barnstable is unwilling to go back to a 9-5 job. Taking what she's learned from investigating her mother's disappearance, Callie has opened up Past and Present Investigations. While not a private investigator, Callie and her friends create a team to investigate missing persons from the past-cold cases no one else is interested in pursuing, aside from the client. A referral from a team member gives Past and Present it's first case. Although it's a new beginning, Callie can not get rid of the skeletons in her own attic as her past and the client's intertwine. Will Callie discover more than she wanted to know? 

PAST & PRESENT is a fascinating mystery with more intertwining appendages than an octopus trying to juggle!

What I find particularly intriguing are the various methods Callie and the team employ to conduct their research. The author must have spend so much time herself, studying these minute details, but details that are intrinsic to the plot and bring such verisimilitude to the story.

I love that the characters have faults and show them. Callie can be snarky, especially when she feels others are slighting her. Friends answer back in kind. Callie worries about the Barnstable curse when it comes to relationships, yet she tries to make a go of it with Royce. These characters are real and their deep characterizations make it easy for readers to become emotionally involved. I was seething as much as Callie at some of Corbin's actions.

I enjoy the subtle paranormal influence here. The use of tarot cards...and the results the postings achieve as well as the skeptical use of psychometry

PAST & PRESENT illustrates how the past is never truly behind us, rather it colors our present and future. This second Marketville Mystery is an intricately plotted intriguing story that is rich in detail with an ending that left me pleasantly surprised and eager for the next installment.


  1. Thanks for the fabulous review and the interview. You are right, there was a ton of research, and lots didn't make it in the book! Never fear, it may well make in into the next!