Digging Too Deep By Jill Amadio: Review/Guest Post/Giveaway

Apr 5, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Jill Amadio

This week we have a review of Digging Too Deep, a mystery novel by Jill Amadio. We also have a fun guest post by Jill about Promoting Your Books Through Improbable Publicity Outlets. At the end of this post are details on how to win a copy of Digging Too Deep. If you click on the link after the review to purchase the book a portion goes to help KRL keep bringing you great articles & reviews.

Digging Too Deep: a Tosca Trevant Mystery By Jill Amadio

Review by Cynthia Chow

Tosca Trevant is renown in Britain for her “Tiara Tittle-Tattle” gossip column in the London Daily Post exposing the exploits of Royals. Rather unfortunately for Tosca though, it is her talent for ferreting out secrets that gets her booted to America by her editor while awaiting the results of a civil lawsuit filed against her by those same Royals. Never one to sit idle, she decides that while staying with her NASCAR-driving American daughter in California, Tosca will build up her résumé and hopefully a position as a crime reporter. To that end, Tosca’s discovery in a neighboring garden of hand bones lodged inside a rock is just the ticket to both a juicy column and a new career.

Tosca’s daughter and the local police mostly roll their eyes at the Brit’s accusations of murder, but Tosca finds an ally in Thatch MacAulay, a retired Secret Service agent and the father of one of the responding officers. Tosca’s skills at coaxing out secrets from royal servants and palace workers help her even in the Colonies, but it is her relentless footwork and refusal to submit to obstacles that allow her to succeed.

This debut mystery is less of a cozy than a mix of amateur detecting and police procedural. While Tosca interviews neighbors and actually researches articles in libraries (no Googling here!) Thatch utilizes his law enforcement contacts to support and match her investigative pace.

What is so refreshing is that as narratives change between the murderer, Tosca and the police, they are all shown to be realistically intelligent and pragmatic. Tosca is ambitious, but she isn’t stupid or reckless, and she never comes close to M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin levels of abrasiveness. The attractive not-quite-fifty Cornish gossip columnist may occasionally feel like a fish out of water in the youth and beauty obsessed sunny Southern California, but she is more than capable of matching wits with a disturbed music professor or homicide detectives.

In this short novel, Amadio crafts an immensely compelling mystery with multiple threads and a likable, if unbending, heroine. Tosca may believe that she is stranded on the California coast of Isabel Island, but readers will hope that the Queen doesn’t see to pardoning her any time soon.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Promoting Your Books Through Improbable Publicity Outlets

By Jill Amadio

Are mystery fans finding your books easily? While I did my best to publicize my debut mystery to the usual local print and online media, libraries, bookstores and reviewers, I realized there are many publicity outlets worth approaching that are considered out-of-the-box.

“Yes, indeed,” I wrote to a gentleman on the East Coast. “I believe I am definitely qualified to join your organization. My parents lived in Cornwall for many years and were an active part of the community. My brother was born there and I took up residence as a week-old baby.”

This email conversation with the Cornish-American Heritage Society based in Virginia came about after my book, Digging Too Deep: A Tosca Trevant Mystery, was published recently. I had endowed my amateur sleuth with a vocabulary of mild Cornish cusswords and a penchant for brewing tongue-curdling medieval mead from the land of the piskies (Cornish pixies).

Jill Amadio

My initial reason for seeking out that particular Heritage Society was to get back in touch with my roots. The organization issues a quarterly newsletter that reports on various goings-on in Cornwall and on ex-pats here which I thought would be fun to include in some way in my next book in the series. One item that caught my eye was the fact that the Duchy of Cornwall, located in the south-west of the British Isles, is contemplating opening up an embassy in London! Also, I wanted to ask the members if they had ever seen a real pisky in their garden. Lo and behold, when I noted that the newsletter ran book reviews, well, icing on the cake. I was pleased to learn that the society’s events are held all over the U.S., providing potential book-signing opportunities I hadn’t thought of.

I also sent a copy of the book to my local Archive in Cornwall, which maintains an online site as well as a gift shop along with its documents, photos (my mum!) and public records from as far back as 1312, when the local pub, the Sloop Inn, opened. It still operates.

Another avenue for publicity came at the suggestion of friend in New York who is a leading classical music critic. He writes an internationally-syndicated column for ConcertoNet which is distributed in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the island of Karguella, for all I know. He had helped me with researching the music in Digging Too Deep and last week surprised me with a stunning review.

After his review appeared in the Bangkok Post, Thailand I heard from a reporter there I used to work with. She had ordered the book. I discovered she now owns a specialty museum that I am going to include in a future book–again, grist for the mill!

The list of potential outlets for book reviews has been growing for years, especially with custom blogs for just about every subject on the planet looking for content. If you write wine, gourmet cheese or other food cozies, are you sending your review copies to bakers’ and grocery organizations for their newsletters? To legal societies? How about sending a review copy to quilting magazines, fashion publications, and women farmers associations? Your public library probably has a copy of the huge directory of national organizations you can consult and tap into. Ask at the Information Desk. The Internet, too, is chock full of hobby newsletters that at least one of your characters enjoys.

Go back and take another look at the platform you told agents and publishers about in your query. What are your areas of expertise? Alumni publications in your field welcome notices of new books and might even invite you to give a talk or write on their blog.

Author Jeri Westerson lectures on medieval mysteries, brandishing a fake sword to dramatize her talk; Sheila Lowe, author of handwriting analysis mysteries, demonstrates how handwriting can reveal character during her talks, Aileen Baron shows slides of the actual archeological sites she writes about in her mysteries, and other writers give cooking lessons before signing and selling their books. Platforms such as these provide ideas for finding new and unusual opportunities for promoting your book. Turn over that stone!

To enter to win a copy of Digging Too Deep, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Digging,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 12, 2014. U.S. residents only.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Jill Amadio is the author of a new mystery series. The debut book, Digging Too Deep: A Tosca Trevant Mystery, is set in Newport Beach CA and St. Ives, Cornwall, Amadio’s childhood home. Amadio worked for the Sunday Dispatch, London; Bangkok Post, Thailand, and several U.S. newspapers and magazines. She lives in Dana Point where Tosca, her fictional amateur sleuth, cusses in Cornish and brews tongue-curling mead.


  1. Tosca sounds like a bright person who is not only a fact finder – but a puzzle solver. Just what we want in a mystery.

    • Annette, thanks for taking the time to comment. Tosca’s puzzle-solving takes some strange twists and turns.

  2. Sounds like it would be a great spring read! Thanks for all the information!

    • Lynn,
      Fun read for spring, summer, fall and winter! Thank you for writing.

  3. i had the privilege of reading this book in its infancy, a chapter at a time. I adored Tosca! I still do.

    • Yes, Lorna, and I got inspiration from both your classes and your own books.

  4. Interesting info about the narratives

    • bn100
      Lots of research went into the book, hope you find them interesting. Thank you for writing.

  5. this sounds like a lovely fun read and I would love to do so.

    • It is fast-paced, too, Saran. Thanks for writing.

  6. The line in the review about Tosca not being stupid or reckless caught my eye. I do tire of protagonists do incredibly dumb things!

    • Shrewd is Tosca’s hidden name although she can be a tad impulsive – not as foolish as reckless! Thanks for your comment

  7. Love to read local authors and I have a thing for Cornwall although I’ve only been in the area briefly. Love to read about the place! Thanks for the giveaway.

    • Please go immediately to St. Ives, Cornwall, Tosca’s birthplace, a fishing village and an art colony. My birthplace, too.

  8. Hi, Jill — Terrific article. Thank you for the tips. Hopefully someday I’ll have a book out that I can publicize using your tips.
    Wishing you lots of success with Tosca.

    • Grace, my fellow Guppy – thanks for your comments. Hoping to broaden Tosca’s horizons at some meaderies soon.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.