I’m delighted to feature Death By Library today, the 4th in the Pismawallops PTA Mysteries by Rebecca M. Douglass. This is part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours running between December 2 – 13, so I reckon I made it on time!
Although it’s part of a series, it can certainly be read as a standalone, although you’ll miss the nuances of the people involved. But I’m interviewing one of the most important and influential below, police chief Ron Karlson, so head on down for that.
Then there’s a Giveaway at the end. And for more chances to enter the Giveaway, skip round the rest of the tour posts.
Death By Library (Pismawallops PTA Mysteries)
4th in Series
Independently Published (December 6, 2019)
Number of Pages — ~280
GoodReads Link Coming Soon!
The library can save your life… can it kill you, too?
JJ has a new job at the library, which ought to make her happy. But with all those books to shelve, the PTA to run, and a 16-year-old son to raise, there’s never enough time to spend with her sweetheart, police chief Ron Karlson. That’s especially true with Thanksgiving on the horizon and her mother coming to visit, not to mention the PTA’s Holiday Bazaar looming ahead.
When things turn deadly in the library stacks, JJ needs some answers fast, before she loses her job—or her life. She’s determined to learn everything about the victim, and for once the library doesn’t hold all the answers. JJ and Kitty may have to face the ultimate peril: a visit to Mrs. Halsey, the oldest—and crankiest—person on the island.
I have to confess I’ve read this book a number of times, and each time I’ve seen improvements – tweaking the plot, turning a phrase here and there to heighten the tension and the anticipation. Yes, I’ve been a beta reader, although Rebecca has given me editor status. But I wouldn’t have done this unless I’d enjoyed the book, and my review is as fair as it would be with any book.
First off, if you can’t imagine life cut off from most big town or city amenity, you may struggle with some aspect of life on Pismawallops Island. It’s a close community, where some secrets are hidden deep in the archives of people’s minds. Others are to be found in the cafe owner’s gossip, or the PTA chair’s imagination. What I like about Rebecca’s cosy mysteries, is that the amateur sleuth (JJ) doesn’t trample over all the evidence and get in the way of the police. I hope police chief Ron agrees with me when you get to the interview below, but JJ is pretty level headed for a redhead, and she’s more likely to lose that head over a police visit than a bit of blood. Well, as long as it’s Ron doing the visiting. In fact, with the level of policing on the island, they can use all the reliable help they can get.
The writing is both easy reading and smart, the plot has been cleverly worked out. Red herrings abound, but no leaps of faith are needed. I didn’t see any of the twists coming, in fact some bits still surprised me when I read the final version. It’ll keep you entertained and you’ll want to come back for more. And I’m pretty sure there’s more to come!
A great book for your Christmas stocking – because you probably won’t want to give it away!
Oh, and I really love the book cover by Danielle English!
'JJ's more likely to lose her head over a police visit than a bit of blood - as long as it's Ron doing the visiting.' DEATH BY LIBRARY by Rebecca M. Douglass #cosymystery #ebook #booklaunch Click To Tweet
About Rebecca M. Douglass
After a lifetime of reading, and a decade or more of slinging books at the library and herding cats with the PTA, Rebecca began to turn her experiences into books of her own, publishing her first in 2012. That failed to quiet the voices in her head, but seemed to entertain a number of readers, so she wrote some more, which generated still more voices. Despite the unlimited distractions provided by raising sons to the point of leaving home (and preparing to move without forwarding address if necessary to retain that empty nest), not to mention the mountains that keep calling (very hard to resist the urging of something the size of the Sierra Nevada), she has managed to pen a total of 9 books so far.
For those who enjoy murder and mayhem with a sense of humor, Rebecca’s Pismawallops PTA mysteries (Death By Ice Cream and Death By Trombone, Death By Adverb, and Death By Library) provide insights into what PTA moms are really like. If you prefer tall tales and even less of a grip on reality, visit Skunk Corners in The Ninja Librarian and the sequels Return to Skunk Corners and The Problem of Peggy. For those who’ve always thought that fantasy was a bit too high-minded, a stumble through rescues and escapes with Halitor the Hero, possibly the most hapless hero to ever run in fear from any and all fair maidens, should set you straight.
Why does Rebecca write so many different kinds of books (there’s even an alphabet picture book in the mix!)? We could argue that it’s because she has a rich lifetime of experience that requires expression in—squirrel!
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-M-Douglass/e/B0078SLT2A/
Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NinjaLibrarian
Buy Death by Library
Purchase Link – Amazon
Interview with the police chief – Ron Karlson
Thank you for doing the interview today. We’ll just start with a few basics to give my readers a view of you.
You’re the top police operative on Pismawallops Island, aren’t you? What’s your official rank and how many officers and staff do you have?
[Ron settles himself and accepts a cup of tea. He is wearing clean blue jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, a little wrinkled.]
Thanks for inviting me, Jemima. I do like a good cup of tea as a change from coffee.
Now, let’s see. I appreciate you starting with the easy questions. I’m the Chief of Police for Orcaville, otherwise known as Pismawallops Island. Pismawallops has me, Deputy Homer Roller, and a dispatcher/office manager as full-time peace-keepers. The county is supposed to provide half our policing, so they send over another officer as needed. And no, the math doesn’t work out. We’re working on getting Karla Milton assigned to us full time. That would be a huge help, as currently I’m always on call.
Just to give my readers an idea – how would you describe yourself in looks?
Now you’re playing hardball! Let’s see…I’m pretty much average everything—middle height, middle coloring, middle age… hair brown and gray, eyes blue-gray, and I have to keep pretty fit to pass the annual physical, but no one’s going to mistake me for Paul Newman or an Olympic athlete.
(hesitates, but lets it go) What did you do before you were posted to PI?
I served in the Seattle Police Department, and I was pretty surprised to land this post fifteen years ago. It was a bit above my experience level, but they had trouble finding someone who was willing to move to the island and stay.
So was it a promotion or… something else?
I consider it the best move I ever made. The stress level is nothing compared to big-city policing, old Mrs. Halsey and her delusions notwithstanding. I do community policing here—get to know people, be seen, and prevent problems before they start.
What were your first thoughts on arriving on the island?
I don’t mind telling you I was terrified. Not of the work, though it was a change from the detective unit—but of living in such a small place. My wife—you know I’m a widower, right?—Ellen was all for it, loved boats and the shore, but I had no idea how to live in a small town, and the island is a 45-minute ferry ride from anything. I’d wanted quiet, needed to get away from the city, but this was going to extremes.
So you’ve been here fifteen years now. How has your view of the place changed?
It doesn’t feel isolated anymore. More like secluded, I guess, if you see what I mean. I’ve been here 15 years, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. The people are mostly great and crime is pretty low, so I really do get to do the kind of policing that works. And the Have-A-Bite Bakery makes the best lemon-poppyseed muffins anywhere. But there’s one thing. When I came, I liked boats, or at least the idea of boats, and Ellen loved them. But— [he hesitates, takes a gulp of his tea, starts over.]
Ellen drowned in a boating accident ten years ago, and I’ve been kind of uncomfortable around water ever since. That’s a problem for an islander. I admit I thought about leaving for a little while after that. But the people here helped me through it, and I’m glad I stuck it out. Still hate small boats, though. Riding the ferry is okay, except when it’s rough.
I see. How many murders a year were there on the island before you came?
I’d guess there weren’t more than ten murders since the place was settled in the 1800s, until our recent bit of bad luck. I’m not sure why we’ve had such an outbreak of homicidal urges lately, but I’m sure we’ll go back to normal soon, so I can concentrate on what’s really important: keeping the islanders safe. You know, speeding tickets, enforcing age restrictions for drinking, that sort of thing.
Why do you think it changed?
Like I say, I don’t think there’s been a real change, just one of those clusters of things that happen. Though since the Chamber of Commerce decided to try to boost business with festivals and special events, and the summer home community down at Sun Beach opened up, we do get a lot more outsiders. Good for the merchants, more work for me.
How do you feel about well-intentioned locals traipsing over the evidence?
[Rolls his eyes] I assume you mean JJ MacGregor and her side-kick Kitty Padgett, though Kitty mostly just goes along with JJ. Don’t get me started. I can’t deny they turn up some interesting things, but it does muck up the chain of evidence, and if JJ doesn’t stop interfering in my cases, she’s going to drive me mad. More than she does anyway, I mean [Blushes]. I’m always terrified she’s going to get hurt. [mutters this last so Jemima can barely hear it]
Do you see this trend for violence continuing – as part of our troubled society or something else?
I sincerely hope not. I’m still working on the theory that it’s an anomaly. But a place like Pismawallops does tend to have problems with drinking and drugs, and their side-effects, domestic violence, accidents, and fist-fights. It’s hard for folks to find work except by commuting to the mainland, which puts a whole other load of stresses on them. And what with us being just short of the 49th Parallel and in the rain belt, people get depressed in winter. Then they get a little crazy when the rain won’t stop in the spring. But that’s been true forever. I’ll bet the Native Americans felt the same way. Probably worse. They didn’t have central heat and electric lights.
Given your success at solving serious crime on PI, are you hoping for promotion back to the mainland, something a little more mainstream, perhaps – glamorous even?
Nope, no, and never. There’s nothing glamorous about police work in the city, and Pismawallops is my home. I wouldn’t take another job if it was offered.
Ms JJ has been giving you the run-around for quite a while now. What do you see in her?
[Laughs] I guess I like a challenge. Seriously, though, I fell in love with her laugh and her feistiness pretty much the first time I met her. Impressive vocabulary, too [chuckles at some memory he’s not sharing]. She was married then, so I tried to ignore what I was feeling. But, well, you know. [Shrugs, blushes, and drinks tea for a while]. Anyway, she’s coming around. We’ve been going steady for a while now, and she’s a lot of fun. Smart, too, which is worrisome when she gets it into her head to investigate crimes for me, but it does make her good company. [Laughs a bit self-consciously] Heck, how does anyone explain falling in love? Is it supposed to make sense?
I suppose not. Which other ladies on the island fancy their chances with you?
[Blushes really red] I couldn’t say, ma’am.
A few final questions from the readers, then…
Roscoe (who’s at Pismawallops High) asks whether football is essential for a career in the police and what advice would you give to a young person who hates ball sports.
Well, Roscoe I never played football, so I don’t think it’s at all essential. You want to be fit, not get your head bashed in—you need your brains! I think the running and throwing you learn doing track and field might be the best for someone who wants to be an officer.
Bertie (Middle School) wants to know your favourite foods for a special dinner, and for a picnic.
Hmm… I’m not a fantastic cook, so I get pretty excited about any meal I don’t have to fix for myself. But I can grill a pretty good salmon, and that’s hard to beat.I can’t remember the last time I was on a picnic, but I usually have PB&J for lunch, and a diet Dr. Pepper. Does that count?
And I’d like to know what your favourite movie is
and whether you’re free on Tuesday evening.
Please don’t tell JJ, but I’m really a fan of old John Wayne movies. And science fiction. I never watch police dramas. And while I think you are absolutely charming, Jemima, I’m taken.
Of course. Well, thank you very much.
It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for the tea.
(here’s my private number, call me anytime)
DEATH BY LIBRARY TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
December 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 6 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 9 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 10 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 10 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Jemima Pett, Author – REVIEW & INTERVIEW
December 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
December 13 – This Is My Truth Now – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW