Guest Post from C S Alleyne – Author of Belle Vue

Hi everyone. The kids are back in school and fall is just now visible in the distance (it can’t get here fast enough for my taste). To me that means cooler weather, pumpkin everything, and spooky books! I admit I’ve been reading more paranormal and horror than cozy mystery lately. I’m pleased to welcome paranormal mystery author C S Alleyne to the blog. Her novel Belle Vue comes out today and she will be sharing her inspiration for the book. I’ll be finishing it and posting my review soon so keep an eye out for that, and check the author links below for a chance to read an excerpt for yourself. (Just a note to my cozy readers – this novel is a far cry from cozy!)

Belle Vue by C S Alleyne

Inspiration – that feeling of enthusiasm and the source for new and creative ideas can strike an author in the oddest place. For me, it was my occasional journey past a block of luxury apartments which was converted from the original Leavesden Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles – a name not to be reckoned with now. As I walked past the main building it stirred my interest and I searched for more information about its history. Finding other pictures of evocative old asylums either in ruins or also converted into residential accommodation, I soon had lots of story ideas and started jotting notes for what would become Belle Vue.

I did a lot of research into Victorian asylums which was a real eye-opener. At the turn of the nineteenth century, England and France combined had only a few hundred individuals in asylums, but by 1900 this number had risen to the hundreds of thousands. This epidemic of madness suddenly gripped Europe and the US too. Records of reasons for admission to an asylum make for fascinating reading – and not a little concern that had any one of us been around then we may just have found ourselves in a new – and unwelcome – address!

These entries have been a source of amusement on the net with such things as ‘novel reading’, ‘tobacco and masturbation’, ‘over study’ and ‘sudden loss of several cows’ listed as causes of mental illness requiring asylum incarceration.

Women in particular were at risk – Maureen Dabbagh‘s 2001 book reveals women were admitted for –

“…laziness, egotism, disappointed love, female disease, mental excitement, cold, snuff, greediness, imaginary female trouble, “gathering in the head,” exposure and quackery, jealousy, religion, asthma, masturbation, and bad habits. Spouses used lunacy laws to rid themselves of their partners and in abducting their children.”

And these were not places you would want to go – local magistrate Godfrey Higgins, who investigated York asylum in 1814 found ‘evidence of wrongdoing on a massive scale: maltreatment of the patients extending to rape and murder; forging of records to hide deaths among the inmates; an extraordinarily widespread use of chains and other forms of mechanical restraint; massive embezzlement of funds; and conditions of utter filth and neglect.’ On one visit he forced his way through a hidden door to expose a tiny room crammed with thirteen elderly ladies, practically naked and covered in their own excrement. Higgins ‘became very sick and could no longer remain in the room.  I vomited.’

So amongst all that, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that a murder had taken place in the Leavesden Aslyum in 1899 albeit by an outsider and reading about it gave me another idea. Mary Ansell was found guilty of poisoning her sister Caroline who was an inmate in the asylum. She was hanged at St. Alban’s Jail (though in this case there was considerable public pressure for a reprieve as she too was believed to lack ‘mental capacity’). But Mary had taken out an insurance policy on her sister’s life…

As I was mulling over other possible plot lines, my ears pricked up (and sure I would not be alone in this lol!) at the mention of satanic orgies. I heard about the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe where such practices had taken place and duly paid a visit. The caves, excavated between 1748 and 1752 for Sir Francis Dashwood, were used as a meeting place for his notorious Hellfire Club.

Members included various politically and socially important 18th century figures such as William Hogarth, John Wilkes, Thomas Potter and John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Though not believed to have been a member, Benjamin Franklin was a close friend of Dashwood who visited the caves on more than one occasion.

img1  Underground Statue at the Hellfire Caves (Scott Wylie)

According to Horace Walpole, the members’ “practice was rigorously pagan: Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they almost publicly sacrificed; and the nymphs and the hogsheads that were laid in against the festivals of this new church, sufficiently informed the neighbourhood of the complexion of those hermits.” Dashwood’s garden at West Wycombe contained numerous statues and shrines to different gods; Daphne and Flora, Priapus and the previously mentioned Venus and Dionysus.

Many rumours of black magic, satanic rituals and orgies were in circulation during the life of the club. Club meetings often included mock rituals, pornographic materials, much drinking, wenching and banqueting. The early 1760s saw the downfall of Dashwood’s exclusive club but its tantalising premise caught my imagination and I decided to incorporate a secret society, orgies and all, into Belle Vue.

So that was my inspiration for the Mephisto Club…

Writers are often advised ‘write what you know’ but given Belle Vue is about murder, satanic orgies and mistreatment in Victorian lunatic asylums I am not putting my hand up to any of these and all down to diligent research of subjects that fascinate me lol!

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Not all asylums were as bad as this – Belle Vue simply reflects the conditions of those that were…

About the Author

author

C S Alleyne grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean she changed tack and completed her MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. She is a management consultant and also lectures in several universities. Belle Vue is her debut novel and in December last year, her novelette, POWEЯ, was published.

LINKS

Excerpt – Read the first 2 chapters here – http://csalleyne.com/excerpt-belle-vue/

Website – http://www.csalleyne.com

Blog – http://csalleyne.com/blog/

Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19806081.C_S_Alleyne

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53318594-belle-vue

Twitter – https://twitter.com/csalleyne

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/csalleyne/

Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/C.S.-Alleyne/e/B082P1H49C%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Amazon Author Page UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1646693116/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Universal purchase link – BELLE VUE – http://getbook.at/BelleVue

Universal purchase link – POWEЯ – http://getbook.at/CSPower

A Sprinkling of Murder by Daryl Wood Gerber – Blog Tour & Giveaway

Synopsis:

Fairy garden store owner Courtney Kelly believes in inviting magic into your life. But when uninvited trouble enters her shop, she’ll need more than a sprinkling of her imagination to solve a murder . . .

Since childhood, Courtney has loved fairies. After her mother died when she was ten, she lost touch with that feeling of magic. A year ago, at age twenty-nine, she rediscovered it when she left her father’s landscaping business to spread her wings and start a fairy garden business and teashop in beautiful Carmel, California. At Open Your Imagination, she teaches garden design and sells everything from fairy figurines to tinkling wind chimes and trickling fountains. Now she’s starting a book club tea.

But the light of the magical world she’s created inside her shop is darkened one night when she discovers neighboring dog-grooming business owner Mick Watkins dead beside a fountain. To make matters worse, the police suspect Courtney of the crime. To clear her name and find the real killer, Courtney will have to wing it. But she’s about to get a little help from an unexpected new friend . . .

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Book Blast & Giveaway – When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano

Book Blast – When It’s Time for Leaving
by Ang Pompano

About When It’s Time For Leaving


When It’s Time for Leaving
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Encircle Publications, LLC (October 1, 2019)
Paperback: 274 pages
ISBN-10: 1948338920
ISBN-13: 978-1948338929
Digital ASIN: B07TYQ8PDL

When his girlfriend dumps him and a dealer nearly rams him off a bridge, Al DeSantis quits the New Haven Police Department. Just as he plans to head for LA, he finds out the father who left when he was a kid has deeded him the Blue PalmettoDetective Agency in Georgia.

Al goes down to Savannah intending to sell fast and go west, but before he can, he discovers a strong, attractive detective named Maxine, a dead body on the dock—and his father, alive, suffering from dementia, and determined to help his “new partner Al” solve the crime. Al has a lot of adjusting to do when his traditional ideas are challenged as he has to act as his father’s caretaker, and finds that Maxine is his superior in the agency that he “owns.” When his father goes missing, Al and Max must team up to save his father–and capture the murderer.

Praise

Ang Pompano’s debut novel, WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING, is a corker. Thoroughly likable former cop, Al DeSantis, wants to get out of the crime business but inherits one that, fortunately for readers, won’t let him go. — Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

In When It’s Time for Leaving, debut mystery author Ang Pompano has created the most unusual and appealing duo of detectives since Holmes and Watson. —Lucy Burdette, national bestselling author of A DEADLY FEAST

Author Ang Pompano serves up the PI for the double 20s. Al DeSantis is a classic, damaged gumshoe but with a youthful energy that pulls you through the pages. —Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and winner 2019 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction

Crime fiction has boasted some famous fathers and sons, from Inspector Richard Queen and his son Ellery to Jim Rockford and his dad Rocky. Add to that list the unforgettable duo of Al DeSantis and Big Al—building on that tradition but with some provocative twists. Ang Pompano’s first novel proves tough-minded and warm-hearted in equal measure. A fine, multi-layered debut.—Art Taylor 2019 Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, Macavity, and Derringer Award winner

When it’s Time for Leaving is a crime thriller that delivers an atmospheric tale packed with action, suspense and some surprising twists. Pompano is a skilled storyteller who offers readers a complex mystery of chases, confrontation and introspection. The tale he weaves is, indeed a well-crafted murder mystery, set in a turbulent sea of emotions and populated with multifaceted characters. ­­­ —James Terry reviewer The Paladin Project

I like mystery/thrillers. This one is heavy on the mystery and very little thriller aspect. It is an enjoyable sometimes snarky read that made me smile. The main characters were so well written I felt like I knew them. The mystery itself was wrapped in mystery as we got to know the individuals and the hidden nuances of small towns. It was almost like watching (albeit reading) a 50/60 movie. I personally wanted the ending to share with everyone who was guilty. Have to leave it there, no spoilers. Thank you for the arc! All thoughts and opinions are my own and were unsolicited. —Cheryl M, Net Galley Reviewer

A really good and surprising mystery. The characters are great and feel like friends. I loved the snarky humor. I will definitely read more by this author. —Leah H, Net Galley Reviewer

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Praise

. . . a compelling detective mystery, with a bit of romance and lots of action and suspense. It is very well written, the plot is well intertwined and the pace is flowing.
~LibriAmoriMiei

This was a good mystery, with rough around edges characters . . . I really enjoyed this mystery . . .
~eBook Addicts

Pompano’s flawed detective is fun to watch. He’s tough with the bad guys, but when dealing with his father and the gal next store, he’s totally lost. There are moments of humor; others of sadness.
~Here’s How It Happened

When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano is a traditional PI mystery that had me intrigued from the first page . . . I enjoyed the mystery and thought it was a good debut novel.
~Brooke Blogs

 

About Ang Pompano

Ang Pompano has been writing mysteries for more than twenty years. His mystery novel, WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING will be published on October 1, 2019, by Encircle Publications. His short stories have been published in many award-winning anthologies, including the 2019 Malice Domestic Anthology, PARNELL HALL PRESENTS MALICE DOMESTIC: MURDER MOST EDIBLE. His newest story, “Stringer” will appear in SEASCAPE: THE BEST NEW ENGLAND CRIME STORIES 2019. In addition, he has written many academic pieces including one on teaching detective fiction. A member of Mystery Writers of America, he is a past recipient of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America Scholarship for a novel in progress. He has been on the New England Crime Bake Planning Committee for fourteen years and is a long-time board member of Sisters in Crime New England. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Annette, an artist, and his two rescue dogs, Quincy and Dexter.

 

Author Links:

Website – http://angpompano.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/A.J.Pompano/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AngPompano
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/angpompano/

Purchase Links

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Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a digital copy of When It’s Time for Leaving

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Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher – Blog Tour & Giveaway

Synopsis: 

Stella Wright loves creating candles at her Nantucket store—and she also has a burning passion for justice. Now, after visiting a perfume conference, she must solve a vial crime . . .

Stella and her globe-trotting mom, Millie, have come home from a perfume industry conference in Paris, where their trip was marred by witnessing the stabbing death of a young man. It’s a relief for Stella to be back on her picturesque island, with the comforting company of her cat, Tinker. But lingering danger may have followed them back across the ocean.

After someone breaks into her candle store, the Wick & Flame, Stella starts feeling spooked. And just as things threaten to ignite, Millie suffers a blow to the head. Stella receives an anonymous note claiming that her mother smuggled a secret formula out of France—and threatening her life if it isn’t returned. Now Stella’s picked up the scent of a cold-hearted criminal and an intriguing puzzle, and things are about to get wicked . . .

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While at a perfume industry conference in Paris with her mother, Stella is witness to a murder. After making it home to her candle shop in Nantucket however, someone tries to break in and she’s worried that it may have something to do with the murder.

Stella is a great character, and as crazy as everything got she managed to keep it all together. There was a lot going on in this story, and I found it hard to put down because I really needed to see how everything was going to turn out. There were interesting characters, fun locations, and lots of suspects – pretty much everything a good cozy needs.

Murder Makes Scents is the second book in the Nantucket Candle Shop series. I hadn’t read the first book but had no trouble keeping up with who was who or what was what, so you can easily jump in here.

About the Author

Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.
Author Links
Purchase LinksAmazonB&NKoboBAMIndieBoundHudson BooksellersGoogle Play

dottedlineEnter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a print copy of Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher (US ONLY)

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

February 24 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

February 24 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

February 25 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 25 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

February 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 26 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW

February 26 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

February 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 27 – eBook addicts – REVIEW

February 27 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 27 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

February 28 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

February 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

February 28 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

February 29 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 29 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

March 1 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW, CANDLE TIPS PAGE

March 1 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

March 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 1 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 2 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW

March 2 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 2 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*

March 3 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 3 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 4 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

March 4 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 4 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

 

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Bookmarked for Murder by V.M. Burns – Blog Tour & Giveaway

Synopsis:

Amateur sleuth Samantha Washington’s shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .

After some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride, it’s a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead in his seat after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver’s seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions . . .

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The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

The Bowery Slugger (Alex Cohen, #1)Synopsis:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

Published in paperback and ebook formats by Sobriety Press on 10th November 2019

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The Garden Club Murder by Amy Patricia Meade Blog Tour & Giveaway


Synopsis:

Literary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon is preparing her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but when she is taken on a tour of some of the top contenders with the garden club’s president, Jim Ainsley, Tish is surprised at how seriously the residents take the awards – and how desperate they are to win.

Wealthy, retired businessman Sloane Shackleford has won the coveted best garden category five years in a row, but he and his Bichon Frise, Biscuit, are universally despised. When Sloane’s bludgeoned body is discovered in his pristine garden, Tish soon learns that he was disliked for reasons that go beyond his green fingers. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a competitive and murderous streak in one of the residents?

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Mulberry Mischief by Sharon Farrow – Blog Tour and Giveaway

 

 

Synopsis: 

Autumn has arrived on the shores of Lake Michigan, but Marlee Jacob, proprietor of The Berry Basket, is feeling a chill for other reasons …

With the Harvest Health Fair in full swing, Marlee makes sure to stock up on elderberry products for cold and flu season. But this year there’s also a run on mulberry when an eccentric customer wants to use the dried berries to ward off evil forces. True, it’s almost Halloween, but something else seems to be spooking Leticia the Lake Lady, Oriole Point’s oddest resident. She believes someone plans to kill her—and the ghost. Only mulberries can protect them. Marlee doesn’t take her fears seriously until a man named Felix Bonaventure arrives in the village, asking questions about a mysterious woman.

The next day, Marlee finds Bonaventure dead on Leticia’s property—shot through the heart with an arrow made of mulberry wood. And Leticia has disappeared. Marlee soon learns the Lake Lady has a deadly past that is connected to the famous Sable family who are in town for the health fair. A bunch of clues start to come together—and figuring out what’s going on puts Marlee in a real jam …

Includes Berry Recipes!

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Who Shot the Serif by Jessa Archer – Blog Tour, Free eBook, and Hand Lettering Practice Sheet!

 

Synopsis:

When Jamie Lang finds one of her hand lettered quotes on the window of her shop, Flourish, with a hole shot through a serif, she knows someone’s trying to drive her business into red ink. Jamie confronts Earleen Culp, the ruthless owner of the local stationery shop, in front of the most popular breakfast spot in the small town of Cedar Valley. Of course, Earleen professes shock and innocence, so when she’s found dead in front of Jamie’s home the next morning, Jamie becomes the prime suspect.

Jamie’s one cross-stroke short of acquittal, and even her best friend has her doubts. But Jamie’s not the only one in town with a motive for wanting Earleen silenced for good. To clear her name, Jamie’s going to need every last drop of ink in her quill.

With the hot police chief Ridge, and her makeup artist friend Nora on her side, she’s prepared to go out with a flourish if that’s what it takes to catch the real murderer. She’s desperate to save her hand lettering business, but will her quest lead her right into a killer’s snare?

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