Thursday, May 23, 2019

Why Murder Mysteries Are Like Pizza - A Guest Post

I'm happy to turn the blog over to Leslie Nagel today. Leslie writes the Oakwood Mystery series. The Codebook Murders is the fourth book in the series and was released earlier this week.

Top 10 Reasons Why Murder Mysteries Are Like Pizza
by Leslie Nagel

10. It’s complicated. You’ve got layers, you’ve got toppings, you’ve got suspects galore. Or . . .

9. It’s simple. Sometimes you’re served a basic cheese pie, simple and straightforward, and the butler did it! Both options are equally yummy.

8. Each and every piece is important. Otherwise, you just don’t have a complete pie. Sometimes, if it’s a simple case, you can pull all the pieces apart and put them back together and still have a recognizable trail to follow. But what if you’ve got something more complex going on? Maybe you’re facing a half pepperoni/half veggie situation? In that case, a competent sleuth needs to proceed with caution to avoid missing an important clue and confusing her fellow “diners.”

Which brings us to . . .

7. It’s a group effort. We’ve all been there, ordering pizza over the phone, with everyone shouting instructions and requests in the background. And when the doorbell finally rings? Prepare yourself for a stampede of eager participants. Everyone knows a good detective needs her posse to help her crack the case—and maybe escape certain death. The group thing is also why mysteries make the very best book club reads!

6. Things can get a little scary. Ever think you were biting in to a mushroom and discovered it was an ANCHOVY?!? Something every mystery lover knows is that, once the killer has taken that first life, the second one is so much easier. Catching a murderer is not for the faint of heart.

5. You can go hot and spicy, or keep it sweet and savory. Personally, I like my mysteries with some kick: give me a little romance, maybe a car chase or a fist fight, definitely some crime scene details. Luckily, there are plenty of stories out there that fall all along the spectrum. If you want kittens and recipes in your cozy mysteries, it’s on the menu.

4. Everyone has their own way of digging in. The knife and fork approach works well, but so does the classic “foldover” method of consumption. My sleuth, Charley Carpenter, likes to list clues and suspects on a white board before she heads into the field to question suspects. However, the Miss Marples and Hercule Poirots of the world do most of their detecting from the comfort of an armchair, putting their little grey cells to work on the current thorny problem. And still others seem to stumble from one clue to the next, almost by accident, literally falling over a dead body and headlong into the investigation. Which works best? Each reader must decide for themselves.

3. Ever hear the expression: Revenge is a dish best served cold? So is leftover pizza. In college, we called it the “breakfast of champions.” Sometimes you just have to sleep on a good mystery before you dig back in and figure out “Who Dun It.”

2. Regional favorites are different and distinctive. Chicago has their deep dish; New Yorkers love their wide, thin, crispy slices. Mysteries come in regional flavors, too. Southern fried mysteries often involve sordid family secrets. Big city mysteries deliver plenty of gritty atmosphere and sleek, stylish villains. And who doesn’t love a handsome, rugged Western detective?

1. A good one is oh, so satisfying. When you devour that final solution and push back from the table, replete with the thrill of discovery? I think that’s just about the best feeling in the world.


The Codebook Murders: The Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series by Leslie Nagel

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 4th in Series  
Alibi (May 21, 2019) 
Print Length: 250 pages 
Amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter discovers a coded journal that could crack her small town’s most infamous cold case wide open in this charming cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders.
As the owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, Charley Carpenter supplies retro apparel to the residents of Oakwood, Ohio, but she’s been known to set business aside to play detective when a mystery rears its head. And there’s no bigger mystery in Oakwood than the murder of Regan Fletcher—a case that’s haunted the town for decades.
Regan’s boyfriend, Carter, did time for the crime—until another man’s confession freed him. But did the “real killer” really do it? Or did Carter walk away with blood on his hands? When Charley stumbles on an old journal written in code, it only complicates the case by revealing a blackmail scheme that targeted dozens of Oakwood’s citizens, giving them all a motive for murder.
Now, with a spate of new suspects to pursue, plus a fresh murder and the abduction of her sleuthing partner, Charley must dig deeper still into the past—even as she risks being buried by her shadowy prey. Joining forces with Detective Marcus Trenault and the newly formed Oakwood Mystery Book Club, Charley turns to a classic whodunit for clues on catching a killer—before more lives are lost, and the truth dies with them.
Leslie Nagel’s delightful Oakwood Mystery novels can be enjoyed together or separately: THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS • THE ANTIQUE HOUSE MURDERS • THE ADVICE COLUMN MURDERS • THE CODEBOOK MURDERS

About the Author

About The Author

Leslie Nagel is a writer and teacher of writing at a local community college. Her debut novel, “The Book Club Murders”, is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. Leslie lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son, and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order. 

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