Source: author for blog tour
Grade: 3.3 stars out of 5
India Hayes has been a bridesmaid several times already (but never the bride), but this wedding may be the most exciting yet. The bride—a childhood friend of India’s—Olivia Blocken is killed just before her wedding and the main culprit is her brother who asked Olivia to meet him by the fountain just before her death. All the trails lead up to Mark: ex-boyfriend still pining for Olivia and a rendezvous that led to death, but India is determined that Mark had nothing to do with Olivia’s death.Maid of Murder, while it may sound odd, biggest asset for me was not the murder mystery, but the cats. That’s right: the cats. Not just ‘a’ cat, but two cats: Templeton and Theodore. Two freaking awesome cats that duke it out in the bedroom with claws and biting fur flying everywhere. Before you call PETA on me, I am not into animal cruelty, but this scene was freaking hilarious. Or maybe it was just the dialogue that was funny?
Okay, back to the novel. The mystery aspect as very straight-forward and is a classic mystery—one that I already solved when all the characters were introduced mind you. There is no extremely challenging or “original” I could say to Maid of Murder, but it still provided a light-hearted (as far as a murder mystery can be light-hearted), delightfully fun read.
The characters themselves were caricatures: exaggerated, bigger-than-life, but funny as heck. We have Ina, the landlord for our heroine, so proud of her Irish heritage that her apartment is completely green and her lawn covered her ornaments. The parents: the mother is a Reverend and the father fell down the roof paralyzing his lower half, but they are both huge activists. Picket signs, chaining themselves to trees, chants, the whole shebang. The sister: pregnant with twin girls and very loud. What’s not to love?
In all, Maid to Murder is a well-paced mystery novel that is humorous, but still leaves lingering desires for a sequel.
You can find more information about the tour and the next stops at the author's website.
1. Your novel features two cats that held my undivided attention from the start. Can you tell me a little more about your cats and if they were your inspiration of Theodore and Templeton?
I’ve received so many compliments about my cat characters, and I’m thrilled because they are two of my favorite characters in the book too. Both cats are based on my own cats. Templeton is based on a black cat that I had growing up, and Theodore is based on a Maine Coon cat I’ve had since I was fifteen. He’s now fifteen-years-old himself, and in his prime, he tipped the scale at twenty-seven pounds. He now weighs eighteen due to old age and a strict diet. Unlike Templeton and Theodore, my two cats grew up together and rarely fought. However when they did it was usually an all out war as I described in the novel.
Right now, my favorite crime solving show is Castle on ABC. It’s about a mystery writer who helps the police solve crimes. The characters are quirky, and I love the banter between the main characters. During the opening credits, the main character does a voiceover that says, “There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers.” Every time I hear that I chuckle because it’s true.3. Do you see a little of yourself in India Hayes? After reading your biography I realize that you both are academic librarians for a small college.
It’s true India and I share the same occupation, and I do see some of myself in her. For one, we both share a heartfelt affection for flip-flops. As far as her occupation goes, many things that happen to her in the library have happened to me. We differ the most in our personalities. India’s phlegmatic and takes all of the craziness that happens around her in stride. I wouldn’t be that calm about it. I certainly would never try to solve a real murder. I’d happily let the police do that.
This is a tough question because I’ve been to so many wonderful places all over the U.S. and the world. If I had to pick, I’d say America’s National Parks. I have a National Park passport that I get stamped at every park I visit. I have friends who can attest to the crazy lengths I will go for a National Park stamp. I started visiting the parks because I read Nevada Barr’s mysteries. Her protagonist is a park ranger. Because I enjoyed her books so much, I wanted to see the places she described so beautifully. I’ve been to many of the big parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Arches, but I’ve also visited many of the lesser known ones. This summer, I visited Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I loved it and am ready to go back.5. And a little something odd to keep you on your toes ;) If you were to find yourself killed, would you rather come back as a: ghost; vampire; zombie; werewolf?
A ghost? Naw—too spooky.Thank you for the interview, Yan!
A vampire? Nope—too toothy.
A zombie? Pass—too creepy.
A werewolf? No, thanks—too furry.