Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway ~ Miranda James - Classified Murder

I blame Nancy Drew for my life of crime. Reading it and writing it.

I was ten when I borrowed The Secret of Shadow Ranch from a cousin. It was the first mystery I ever read, and I was hooked. Then, to my delight, I discovered this was only one of a long series of adventures in which Nancy solved mystery after mystery. Just as exciting, I soon found other amateur mystery-solvers: the Hardy Boys, the Dana Girls, Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, and many more. By the time I began reading adult mysteries, my love of the amateur detective was completely entrenched.

When I decided I wanted to write a mystery myself, I knew my main character would be an amateur. After all, I’m not a policeman, or a lawyer, or a private detective. But I do have a healthy dose of curiosity about the world around me and the people in it. Charlie Harris, the sleuth in my new “Cat in the Stacks” series, is just like me in that respect. He’s also about my age (fiftyish, if you must know), he’s a librarian, he grew up in Mississippi, and he has a Maine coon cat. That’s as far as it goes, however. (I have two cats, by the way, neither of which is a Maine coon.)

While my life is pretty predictable, Charlie’s is far more interesting. He finds himself involved in the occasional murder in his hometown of Athena, Mississippi. He also lives in a big old Southern house and has enough money so that he really doesn’t have to work in the library for a living; he just does it because he likes to stay busy. Plus he gets to take his cat, Diesel, with him everywhere he goes. (I can imagine how well that would go over if I took one of my cats to work with me. Diesel is so much better behaved than either of my two.)

But all this is part of the fun of having an amateur detective. I know a lot of mystery readers don’t think amateur detective stories are very realistic, but I’ll let you in on a big secret. I’m not writing realism – I’m writing escapism. I don’t know about you, but I read to get away from the “real” world. I have a lot more fun tagging along with an amateur than I would shadowing a homicide cop trailing a grisly serial killer.

I also have a lot of fun writing stories about amateur detectives, and I hope my readers will enjoy themselves as they tag along with Charlie and Diesel in Murder Past Due and their new adventure, Classified as Murder. The fun part about writing – and reading -- a series is finding out what’s going on with old friends every time a new book comes out. I know I feel like the characters in my favorite series are friends, and I hope my readers will feel that way about Charlie and Diesel, too.

About the author ~

Miranda James s is a mystery author who has lived in Houston, Texas for over twenty-five years, has two cats and thousands of books, and plays bridge as often as possible. He is the Manager of Murder by the Book in Houston, one of the nation's oldest and largest mystery bookstores. He has co-authored a number of works of mystery non-fiction and has won the Agatha and Macavity Awards and been twice nominated for the Edgar Award.  Though born and reared in Mississippi, he has lived in Texas for over half his life. He holds a Ph. D. in medieval history from Rice University.

He also writes under the name Honor Hartman, Dean James & Jimmie Ruth Evans.

The latest book ~ 

Classified as Murder (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)

Aging eccentric James Delacorte asks Charlie the librarian to do an inventory of his rare book collection-but the job goes from tedious to terrifying when James turns up dead. Relying on his cat Diesel to paw around for clues, Charlie has to catch the killer before another victim checks out.

Thanks to the publicist, I have one (1) copy of Classified as Murder (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) to give away.

GIVEAWAY Rules for entering:

* This contest is open to residents of USA only.
* Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
* One entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
* The contest will end on June 2nd at 11:59PM EST; 1 winner will be selected and contacted thereafter.
* Once the winners are contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen (make sure to check your spam filters!).
* Book will be shipped directly from the publisher.

Other books by the author ~ 

TRAILER PARK MYSTERY Series ~ written as Jimmie Ruth Evans

Main Character: Wanda Nell Culpepper, Single Mother, Mississippi
  1. Flamingo Fatale (A Trailer Park Mystery #1)   '05
  2. Murder Over Easy (A Trailer Park Mystery #2)  '06
  3. Best Served Cold (A Trailer Park Mystery #3)  '07
  4. Bring Your Own Poison (A Trailer Park Mystery #4)   '08
  5. Leftover Dead (Trailer Park Mysteries (Berkley))    '09

 CAT IN THE STACKS MYSTERY Series ~ written as Miranda James

Main Character: Charlie Harris, Librarian, & Diesel, Well-Behaved Cat, Mississippi
  1. Murder Past Due (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)     '10
  2. Classified as Murder (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)    '11

BRIDGE CLUB MYSTERY Series ~ written as Honor Hartman

Main character: Emma Diamond, Novice Bridge Player, Widow, Houston
  1. On The Slam (A Bridge Club Mystery #1)   '07
  2. The Unkindest Cut: A Bridge Club Mystery (Wheeler Large Print Cozy Mystery)  '08
SIMON KIRBY-JONES MYSTERY Series ~ written as Dean James

Main Character: Simon Kirby-Jones, Writer, Vampire, American, Gay, Snupperton Mumsley, England
  1. Posted To Death: A Simon Kirby-Jones Mystery (Simon Kirby-Jones Mystery '02
  2. Faked To Death: A Simon Kirby-Jones Mystery (James, Dean, Simon Kirby-Jones Mystery.)  '03
  3. Decorated To Death: A Simon Kirby-Jones Mystery   '04
  4. Baked To Death (Simon Kirby-Jones Mysteries)  '05