Who better to be investigating death in a small village than the woman who writes the obituaries?
Clare Chase has written two cozy mystery series, as well as several other books. Today we're talking about her Eve Mallow series featuring the transplanted American writer. Clare and I discuss the inspiration for this unique character and why we think mystery novels appeal to readers.
In the introduction, I mention that It's a Mystery podcast was named one of the Top 10 Crime Fiction podcasts to follow in 2020. Very exciting!
This week's mystery author
Clare Chase writes traditional mysteries; her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations. Her debut novel made the shortlist for Novelicious's Undiscovered Award, and Murder on the Marshes (the first in her Tara Thorpe series) was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.
Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as a local Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people's books!
To learn more about Clare Chase and her books visit ClareChase.com
Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher, Android, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, and Spotify.
You can also click here to listen to the interview on YouTube.
Excerpt from Mystery at Apple Tree Cottage
Any local looking at the woodland between the village of Saxford St Peter and the heath that led down to the coast would know the season. Beneath the evergreen Scots pines, bluebells formed a glorious dark-cobalt carpet, peppered here and there by white-petalled wood anemones, their centres decorated with yellow anthers. Leaf-burst for the oaks was still a month or so off, but beneath the gnarled old trees, wood sorrel grew from the moss clinging to fallen logs and branches. Its purple-veined white flowers dangled from the slenderest of stems, marking the progress of spring.
From a distance, the scene looked reassuringly familiar.
In the deepest part of the wood, a figure crouched next to a fine silver birch with plump catkins hanging from its branches. The forest floor was teeming with life. But at his feet, amongst the flowers that promised the return of warmth and hope, lay death – brutal and simple.
Ashton Foley had been shot through the head.
In the countryside, the sound of a gun firing wasn’t so unusual. The shot hadn’t brought anyone running, and Ashton’s corpse lay a good way from the nearest house. All the same, the man kneeling by the body was on high alert, pulse racing, leg muscles trembling. It was early, but dog walkers would be about. With a quick glance over his shoulder, he leaned forward and investigated each of Foley’s pockets in turn. The leather jacket was easy, but the jeans were tight, and it was a challenge to check inside. He rolled the dead man awkwardly up onto one hip, and then the other, looking in his back pockets now. Aha. There was the wallet. But it was almost empty – just some cards and loose change.
He wiped the leather with a clean tissue, replaced it, then paused a moment. None of the pockets contained a door key. That was odd…
Four Weeks Earlier
Eve Mallow arrived at Monty’s teashop, with its bay windows and colourful bunting, looking forward to her shift. Working with her friend Viv, who owned the place, complemented her real profession perfectly. As a freelance obituary writer, she interviewed the living to unearth the secrets of the dead, but also spent hours researching her subjects. Wanting to understand people was hardwired in her. Regular shifts in Monty’s ensured she stayed solvent, but the work was also sociable, and an additional people-watching opportunity.