A Mid-Century Murder: Elizabeth Buhmann’s Blue Lake

 

“Rural Virginia, 1945. The Second World War had just ended when Alice Hannon found the lifeless body of her five-year-old daughter, Eugenie, floating in Blue Lake. The tragedy of the little girl’s death destroyed the Hannon family.

“More than twenty years later, Alice’s youngest daughter, Regina, returns home after a long estrangement because her father is dying. She is shocked to discover, quite by accident, that her sister’s drowning was briefly investigated as a murder at the time.

“For as long as she can remember, Regina has lived in the shadow of her family’s grief. She becomes convinced that if she can discover the truth about Eugenie’s death, she can mend the central rift in her life. With little to go on but old newspapers and letters, the dead girl’s hairpin, and her own earliest memories, Regina teases out a family history of cascading tragedy that turns her world upside down.” 

When I began Elizabeth Buhmann’s BLUE LAKE, I was–I’m ashamed to say–afraid I would be disappointed. Her first novel, LAY DEATH AT HER DOOR, was so well constructed, clues so obviously placed, that I should have been able to predict the ending–but so deftly woven into the plot that the last chapter was a complete surprise. More than a surprise–a shock. That novel was so good, I knew BLUE LAKE couldn’t match it.

I was wrong. BLUE LAKE is different from its predecessor, of course, but just as well written and just as suspenseful.  And when I reached the end, I said, “I should have known.”

BLUE LAKE does not disappoint.

Buhmann hides things in plain sight–the mark of a good mystery writer, and the delight of every mystery reader.

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Tomorrow I’ll post an interview with Elizabeth Buhmann.

Read the book: https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Lake-Mystery-Elizabeth-Buhmann-ebook/dp/B07SKJ1CF4/

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FTC Disclaimer: Elizabeth Buhmann is a friend and fellow writer. When we were both members of Austin Mystery Writers, I read the first chapters of BLUE LAKE in draft form and then waited impatiently for it to reach publication. The synopsis above is quoted from Amazon. The rest is mine. Nobody told me what to think or to say, and I posted because I wanted to. I bought the ebook with my very own money. No reviewers were bribed in the writing of this review.

                                                                                                                                                               

 

How Much Money Do Writers Make?

Question: I’ve written a novel. Should I quit my day job now or wait till I’m published?

In A Broom of One’s Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning and Life, author Nancy Peacock answers that question with a story:

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Two women are walking down the road and pass a frog sitting in the grass. “Hey,” says the frog.

“Wow. It’s a talking frog,” says one of the women. She picks the frog up and holds it in her hand.

The frog says, “Listen, I’m not really a frog. Actually, I’m a critically acclaimed writer. A spell was cast on me and I was turned into a frog. But if you kiss me I’ll turn back into a critically acclaimed writer.”

“Well, I’ll be damned,” says the woman, and puts the frog in her pocket.

Her friend asks, “Aren’t you going to kiss it?”

And she answers, “Hell, no. I’ll make a lot more money with a talking frog.”

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Read my review of A Broom of One’s Own here. You may have already read the review–it’s been around for a while–but the book is so good, I can’t help mentioning it again. After you’ve read the review, read the book.

[P. S. Did you know that when you buy a used book, the author doesn’t receive any money from the sale?]

Nancy Peacock, A Broom of One’s Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning and Life
Harper Perennial (2008)
ISBN-10: 0061357871
ISBN-13: 978-0061357879

Kaye George’s CHOKE Nominated for Agatha Award

I am pleased—but not surprised—to announce that Kaye George’s CHOKE: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

The Agathas, which honor the “traditional mystery” (“loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence”), are awarded annually at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland.

A review of Choke appeared here last June. After almost nine months of deliberation, I still agree with what I wrote then. So instead repeating myself, I’ll provide a link.

I will add, however, that although Choke contains no explicit sex, would-be PI Immy Duckworthy wouldn’t mind if it did contain just a bit. She runs across some awfully good-looking guys in the unlicensed private detective business. Both Saltlick, Texas and Wymee Falls have more than their fair share.

Some of them don’t even turn out to be criminals.

Review (again): A Broom of One’s Own

I wrote the following post two years ago to answer a “challenge.” I intended to post it at the end of September 2009. I got all tangled up in words and couldn’t write a thing. I intended to post it at the end of October. I still couldn’t write it. I think I managed to write it after the October deadline.

In the middle of the “process,” I considered posting the following review: “I like Nancy Peacock’s A Broom of One’s Own very very very very very much.”

But the challenge specified a four-sentence review, and I had hardly one, and I didn’t want to repeat it three times.

So there’s the background.

I must also add this disclaimer: I bought my copy of A Broom of One’s Own myself, with my own money. No one told, asked, or paid me to write this review. No one told, asked, or paid me to say I like the book. No one told, asked, or paid me to like it. No one offered me tickets to Rio or a week’s lodging in Venice, more’s the pity. I decided to read the book, to like it, and to write this review all by myself, at the invitation of Story Circle Book Review Challenge. Nobody paid them either. Amen.

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I like Nancy Peacock’s A Broom of One’s Own: Words About Writing, Housecleaning & Life so much that it’s taken me over two months and two missed deadlines to untangle my thoughts and write this four-sentence review, an irony Peacock, author of two critically acclaimed novels, would no doubt address were I in one of her writing classes.

She would probably tell me that there is no perfect writing life; that her job as a part-time house cleaner, begun when full-time writing wouldn’t pay the bills, afforded time, solitude, and the “foundation of regular work” she needed;  that engaging in physical labor allowed her unconscious mind to “kick into gear,” so she became not the writer but the “receiver” of her stories.

She’d probably say that writing is hard; that sitting at a desk doesn’t automatically bring brilliance; that writers have to work with what they have; that “if I don’t have the pages I hate I will never have the pages I love”; that there are a million “saner” things to do and a “million good reasons to quit” and that the only good reason to continue is, “This is what I want.”

So, having composed at least two dozen subordinated, coordinated, appositived, participial-phrase-stuffed first sentences and discarded them before completion; having practically memorized the text searching for the perfect quotation to end with; and having once again stayed awake into the night, racing another deadline well past the due date, I am completing this review—because I value Nancy Peacock’s advice; and because I love A Broom of One’s Own; and because I consider it the equal of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird; and because I want other readers to know about it; and because this is what I want.

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