if you were court-ordered to be part of a book club? Sounds nice,
doesn't it? But what if the other members were the very women you were
always bickering with? That's what happened to four very different
small-town woman. Fortunately, not only do they manage to bond over
books but they band together to solve local murders.
"It was the best of thymes, it was the worst of thymes."—A Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan (Penguin USA / Berkley Prime Crime, 2014, p. 1)
I was mid-munch, a shrimp dripping cocktail sauce on its way to mouth, and I needed one second to grab a napkin to keep the spicy sauce from landing on my new yellow T-shirt. While I was at it, I focused my eyes from the bunch of gloriously green herbs that had just been thrust in front of my nose to the other bunch of dried-out herbs next to it, and beyond to the ear-to-ear grin of Chandra Morrisey.
Normally on a Tuesday, I'd share my "Quick Facts," which give you a snapshot view of my current read or a book I recently finished. I lucked out this week because author Kylie Logan is going to do the honors herself! Before we get to her guest post, I want to give you a short introduction.
A Tale of Two Biddies is Kylie's seventh cozy mystery, although it is only the second one featuring the League of Literary Ladies. If you like characters you can warm up to and you want your cozies mixed with a fun sense of humor, then Kylie Logan's books are for you. If her name sounds familiar, it might be because I've already featured two of her novels Chili con Carnage and Hot Button on my blog.
Now let's find out more about Kylie Logan's love of books and the premise of A Tale of Two Biddies.
Back in the day (and I do mean back!) our local grocery store ran a promotion that, these days, sounds pretty odd.
For every purchase you made, you could choose a framed print of an art masterpiece.
I don’t know how many of the pictures my mother ended up with, but I do clearly remember one of them, A Young Girl Reading, painted by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a French artist, in 1776. Aside from the fact that it’s a pleasant picture, that the colors are warm and easy on the eyes and that the girl looks so content and so downright comfortable, there is a reason this particular picture stays in my mind—my mother always said it reminded her of me.
Nose in book.
When I was a kid, I always had my nose in a book.
At the time, I wasn’t much for contemporary authors. Maybe that’s because back then (there’s that phrase again!) there weren’t many authors who catered to the young adult market. That left me at my favorite place—the library—with a whole host of possibilities, most of them classics of literature.
I read Lorna Doone (I don’t recommend it) and Scaramouche (all because of the movie, of course, and the crush I had on Stewart Granger). I devoured Prisoner of Zenda (see the last comment) and The Scarlet Pimpernel and all of Jane Austen and Conan Doyle and Dumas (pere and fils). When I went to college, I majored in English. How else could I justify my nose constantly being in one of those books?
All that being said, I guess it’s only natural that when I was looking for a hook for a new mystery series, the idea of classical literature popped into my head. Books . . . ah, there was something I was comfortable with, something I knew readers loved to learn more about, something that would surely get my creative juices flowing.
It worked! From that idea grew the concept for the League of Literary Ladies mysteries. The League is based on South Bass Island off the Ohio mainland in Lake Erie and consists of four members: Bea Cartwright is new to the island and owns a B&B. Chandra Morrisey is the island kook, a tarot and crystal reader. Kate Wilder is all business; because she owns the island’s biggest winery, it’s no wonder. Elderly Luella Zak has taken over her late-husband’s fishing charter business. She’s as tough as any Great Lakes skipper ever was.
Four different women, with four different tastes. Brought together by one thing—books.
Well, that and the fact that they’re always feuding and the judge gets so tired of them taking each other to court, he orders them to get to know each other better by sentencing them to become a book discussion group.
The results are anything but predictable, especially when in the first installment of the series, Mayhem at the Orient Express, the ladies discover a body and must use the Christie classic they’re reading as a blueprint for finding the killer.
This month, the League of Literary Ladies is back in action with A Tale of Two Biddies. It’s summer, and the islanders are marking Bastille Day with a week-long celebration. What better choice for reading than Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, with its French Revolution background and its story of secrets, lies, and people who might—or might not—be what they seem.
In the confusion, somebody’s bound to lose their head!
To indulge my inner book geek I also added a Charles Dickens lookalike and trivia contest. It’s only natural; this time, the league must turn to Dickens as a guide to solving the murder of the island nobody, who might not be as much of a nobody as everyone thought.
I don’t know about where you are, but here in Ohio, it’s gray, gloomy, and cold. I can’t promise summer weather to go along with my summer story, but I can say an adventure with the League of Literary Ladies is bound to be a Dickens of a good time!
Thanks so much, Kylie. The Literary Ladies seem like an interesting quartet and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble they get into over the latest murder. I also absolutely love that these books are set in Put-in-Bay. It's a place I know well. I've sailed there from the western reaches of the lake, and I've taken the ferry over from the southern shores. It's a wonderful spot to spend some time eating, drinking, fishing, shopping, and—of course—reading.
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