Death by Intermission By Alexis Morgan: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Feb 20, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Alexis Morgan

This week we have a review of Death by Intermission by Alexis Morgan, and a fun guest post by Alexis about a night at the movies. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an autographed copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

Death by Intermission: An Abby McCree Mystery by Alexis Morgan
Review by Sandra Murphy

Abby McCree got bamboozled into being on another committee. This time she’s helping with the summer outdoor movies. The two people in charge have been called out of town and Abby’s on the hook for the last one of the season, an animated children’s film.

Things are going smoothly except for one thing—Abby’s mother, Phoebe, is in town, supposedly to visit Abby but really to visit Owen, a barbeque restaurant owner/food truck vendor, who Phoebe met on a recent visit. Abby is not pleased to see the pair cuddling during the movie. After all, what does her mother, or anyone for that matter, really know about Owen? Abby’s guesthouse tenant/boyfriend, Tripp, finds the whole thing funny.

After the movie, Abby, Phoebe, Tripp, and Owen help with cleanup. In Abby’s final section, there’s a man in a lawn chair, surrounded by empty beer cans, forbidden at the event. Unable to wake him, Abby and Phoebe discover why—he’s dead, stabbed to death. With one of Owen’s chef’s knives. Phoebe goes into full protective (and obnoxious) mode when Owen is suspected of killing the man, the new insurance agent in town. Owen refuses to tell details of his whereabouts and seems to be protecting someone, but who? The plot thickens as a burglary, vandalism, a stalker, and Owen’s mysterious past collide.

Abby and her mother get along at a distance but visiting, Phoebe embarrasses Abby and expresses her disappointment in Abby’s lifestyle, yet bristles when Abby turns the tables and asks about Owen.

Humorous, suspenseful, with a good mystery besides, this is an enjoyable series. Abby takes risks, but they’re impulsive rather than dangerous. Tripp’s a delight in the way he treats her. Zeke, her 95-pound mastiff mix steals every scene he’s in and thankfully, that’s a lot of them.

This is book four in the series. Readers can start anywhere but will want to go back to the beginning to see how it all started. Death by Auction, book three, was reviewed here.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

A Night at the Movies
By Alexis Morgan

Speaking with my author hat on, I admit that I often know more details about a particular scene in the story than I actually share with the reader. I’m not trying to keep things secret, but there is a limit to how much I can fit within the confines of the story. Rather than risk cluttering up the landscape of a scene, I try to pick and choose those details that either reveal mood or character, or drive the plot forward. Better yet, I really like it when a particular detail does all three at once.

Death by Intermission begins at a movie-in-the-park night in Snowberry Creek. My amateur sleuth, Abby McCree, has once again found herself in charge of another event in town. As the scene played out in my head, I tried to see it all through Abby’s eyes since she’s the focal point of the story. While I know what she’s wearing—jeans and a blouse—it’s not crucial to the plot for the reader to know if that top is red, blue, or covered in polka dots. As a result, I just left it up to the reader to decide for herself what Abby was wearing.

Alexis Morgan

On the other hand, the fact that her mother is sitting close by, sharing a blanket with her new boyfriend is important. Abby makes it clear that she doesn’t exactly approve of Owen, a man with a mysterious past. His presence at the movie and his relationship with Phoebe has a direct impact on Abby’s mood and sets the tone for future interactions between Abby and her mother.

Finally, I decided the kind of movie that was being shown was important enough to at least mention. The town intended for the movie-in-the-park program to be a chance for local citizens of all ages to enjoy a night out together. With that in mind, it was only logical Abby would choose a favorite animated film as the night’s feature.

However, that wasn’t the only reason I wanted to have everyone watching what is essentially a children’s movie. Cozy mysteries often balance the dark subject of murder with a few lighthearted moments. Tripp Blackston, Abby’s friend and tenant, is her date for the night. She and I both found it amusing to have the former special forces soldier sitting on the hillside watching the antics of a bunch of cartoon penguins on the big screen. The same goes for several of Tripp’s friends, including the local police chief, all of whom are former soldiers. Finally, Abby’s choice in movies also provided a stark contrast to the deadly events after the show ended.

So the next time you read a book, make note of the specific details the author thought important enough to share with her readers. As she picks and chooses among all the possibilities, see how they draw you into the world she’s creating and the story they tell.

To enter to win a copy of Death by Intermission, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “intermission,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 27, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

14 Comments

  1. I used to go to outdoor movies, when they were allowed. Count me in!

    Reply
  2. Sounds really interesting! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Reply
  3. I have the first book in this series, it’s in my TBR pile. I think I’m going to enjoy it very much.

    Reply
  4. Great interview. Sounds like another good book.

    Reply
  5. What a unique setting for the murder! Details are one of the best parts of a cozy mystery!

    Reply
  6. Having been on a committee
    and then finding out it’s your
    problem, I can relate. Keeping
    an eye on mom is a different
    problem Sounds good.
    txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Reply
  7. Sounds like a great book. Looking forward to reading it.

    Reply
  8. I miss going to drive ins! Sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

    Reply
  9. This is a great series, looking forward to reading this new one!

    Reply
  10. Sounds really good!!! Love the book cover too! Thank you for the chance to win!!!

    Reply
  11. Yes please, I like the author and I’m sure I’ll love the book. Please enter me in the giveaway.

    Reply
  12. It is always interesting to discover authors and mystery series that are new to me.

    Reply
  13. Interesting and fun watching a movie outside. The cover is inviting and draws me in. Thank you for the chance. The book sounds interesting and fun to read!

    Reply
  14. We have a winner

    Reply

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