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Death on Bull Path By Carrie Doyle: Review/Giveaway/Interview

IN THE April 10 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andCynthia Chow,
andMysteryrat's Maze
SECTIONS

by Cynthia Chow

This week we have a review of Death on Bull Path by Carrie Doyle along with an interesting interview with Carrie. Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and links to order the book from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

Death on Bull Path: A Hamptons Mystery By Carrie Doyle
Review by Cynthia Chow

While the Labor Day tourist season is slowing down in East Hampton, New York, Windmill Inn owner Antonia Bingham still has a lot on her plate. After fleeing an abusive marriage in California, she is starting over as an innkeeper pursuing her love of cooking and catering to her wealthy guests. That’s what makes the discovery of two Wall Street bad boys murdered so troubling, as Shane Boskin and Gary DiAngelo had recently been drinking at her bar the night before. Completely incapable of minding her own business, Antonia’s inner snoop is ignited, and she begins looking into the lives of these playboy financiers. Propelling her on is arrogant East Hampton Star crime reporter Larry Lipper, whose brashness may get them a foot in the door but also gets that door slammed in their faces. Antonia is not exactly a nuanced interrogator herself, as when time is short she falls back on the reliable method of outright asking suspects if they’re a murderer. She is far subtler when meeting the suspicious ladyfriend of her favorite senior Joseph Fowler, a widower and longtime resident whom she adores and who often provides paternal and practical advice. Antonia may be a bit biased and a tiny bit jealous, but her protective instincts go on alert when someone new is taking up the famous author’s time.

Antonia has a justifiable suspicion of official law enforcement, her ex-husband was once one of them and used the Blue Line to prevent his fellow officers from investigating her complaints of domestic abuse. Although she was able to flee his violence, Antonia fears that Phillip is back to his old ways and once again intent on intimidating and destroying the life she’s rebuilding. Especially since it’s a life full of promising romance, with movie star Nick Darrow not shy about his intent to make her a part of his life. The unexpected arrival of his glamorous almost-ex-wife Melanie Wells makes that a bit problematic, with Antonia doing her best to cut off her emotions and her feelings of attraction for the charming actor.

This fourth in the series showcases a lead character who is growing stronger, more confident, and independent. She certainly isn’t hesitant about hurtling herself into yet another murder investigation, but it’s Antonia’s interest in other people and their stories that makes her feel a part of their world. The author balances a delicate line with its fun, humor-filled mystery and the empathetic handling of Antonia’s abuse at the ends of her ex-husband. Understandably still skittish about relationships and traumatized by his manipulations, Antonia fears that the stalking may have resumed in even more intrusive ways. This at least has the benefit for readers of luxuriating in descriptions of Antonia’s therapeutic cooking, as her safe place has always been when she is creating in her kitchen. An unexpected confrontation delivers a hilarious conclusion that library lovers will especially appreciate, with all readers looking forward to the next step Antonia takes as she rebuilds her life.

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).

Interview with Carrie Doyle:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Carrie: When I was in elementary school, I used to keep a stack of thin blue spiral notebooks where I would write stories and poems. The first story I wrote was when I was in about second grade and it was called, Me and the Lucky Rusty Roller Skates – I plagiarized the first line from a story that my older sister had written! I decided I would go out roller-skating. I could, because our road was so deserted you could lie on it for practically an hour and no car would come…

My first job out of college was assisting an editor in the features department of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine and after a year I moved to Moscow to help launch the Russian edition of Harper’s Bazaar. Shortly after I arrived, I was appointed the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire Magazine.

I was able to do a lot of great stories when I was there, particularly travel pieces. Russia was just opening up and Russians had a ton of money, so the high-end hotels and resorts were after their business. I was able to travel for free to Kenya, Thailand, Italy, France, Monaco, and Tunisia and stay in five-star hotels and spas, go on safaris, float in hot air balloons, and write articles about my travels. It was pretty incredible!

Carrie Doyle

After three years in Moscow, my New York-based friend, Jill Kargman, and I quit our magazine jobs and wrote a screenplay about an intern in a fashion magazine. This was way before The Devil Wears Prada. The movie (Intern) was sold, premiered at Sundance and starred Joan Rivers, Peggy Lipton and Kathy Griffin. After that we sold scripts to Paramount, Oxygen, Showtime and other producers, but when they were not getting made, we started flipping our scripts into books. Our first book was The Right Address, and Jill and I co-wrote four other books together.

KRL: How interesting! When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Carrie: The Right Address (co-written with Jill Kargman) was published in 2004. It is about a fancy apartment building on Park Avenue and the stories of several of the people who live there. The New York Times called it ‘gossip lit’ and it did quite well, making several bestseller lists. Having grown up in an apartment building in Manhattan, I had always been fascinated with the fact that I essentially lived under the same roof with 50 other families, and while our lives overlapped, we were in many ways strangers on completely different life journeys.

KRL: Other than your mysteries, what else have you written?

Carrie: I have published two adult and three young adult books (co-written with Jill Kargman) that were called ‘gossip lit’ or ‘chick lit.’ They all took place in the rarefied upper-class world in Manhattan, although our last YA book, Jet Set, was set in Europe. Most of the movies that Jill and I wrote were set in that world as well, and we loved ‘peeling off the layers’ and exposing the catfights and hypocrisy of the very privileged. It was all done with love, though!

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?

Carrie: The Hamptons Murder Mystery Series is set in East Hampton where I have had a home my entire life. It is my favorite place on earth. I am really surprised there are not more books or movies that are set here, because it is so versatile and the people here are diverse. We have woods, we have the ocean, the bays and farmland. We have the locals or ‘Bonackers’ as they are called who have been here for generations, as well as the celebrities, the new money, the middle class and the average day tripper.

I based the protagonist Antonia Bingham loosely on Ina Garten, because I had worked at the Barefoot Contessa store when I was in college. Ina was an excellent boss, kind and supportive of her staff, as well as supremely talented. Although Antonia runs an inn and restaurant and not a store, her temperament is similar to Ina’s.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?

Carrie: I write to entertain. My prose is not lofty, I am more of a storyteller than a skilled author. I want people to gobble up my books and rip through them.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?

Carrie: I work whenever I can. I used to write during the mornings, but I can’t be precious about it. Luckily, I was able to complete two books during the pandemic, because there was not much else to do! Because both of my sons were doing on-line classes and my husband and sister-in-law were working remotely at my house, I had a hot desk and had to move around from room to room depending on who was in session.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

Carrie: I used to be a strictly morning person but now my creative juices get flowing in the afternoon. I really need to have worked out before I write. I usually spin or play paddle tennis or regular tennis, depending on weather, in the morning.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Carrie: I used to outline when I wrote with Jill and that was so helpful. I try and “outline” but it always goes off the rails when I do! I think it would be really useful if I did. Usually, I do an outline of the chapters after I have written them to keep track. I always have a loose idea of plot in my head and do a small paragraph on each of the main characters.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Carrie: I was lucky in that, no, it wasn’t difficult in the beginning. I think I was very naïve. Jill Kargman and I received a two-book deal from Broadway Books and then HarperCollins came to us and asked us to write three YA books for them. After Jill and I decided to write books on our own – it was very amicable, and she went on to star in Bravo’s hit series Odd Mom Out and is now on the Drew Barrymore Show – I wrote one other book called The Infidelity Pact by myself. That came out in 2007.

Then it all came to a screeching halt!

There was the 2008 financial crash and then it took me forever to get published. I switched agents and then my agent died, and it was very tough. I spent those years doing celebrity profiles for Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Women’s Health and also became a contributing editor of Hamptons Magazine. But I could not get a book deal, despite having had two bestsellers.

My sister, Elizabeth Doyle Carey, is also an author. She has published 43 middle grade books (she has written most of the acclaimed Cupcake Diaries series under the name Coco Simon) and she was also frustrated by the pace of publishing. So, in 2016, with our friend Tiffany Palmer, we started our own publishing company called Dunemere Books. Dunemere first published The Hamptons Murder Mystery Series as well as Junior Lifeguards Series by my sister Liz. We had other authors as well. In 2019 Dunemere Books was becoming successful and our books were winning awards and it was getting a little too big for us, so we decided to sell to Sourcebooks. It was a relief for me, because then I could fully recommit to writing and didn’t have to worry about the minutia of publishing.

One valuable lesson I learned from running my own publishing house is that even if you are with an indie publisher or a massive publisher, an author still has to garner his or her own press and publicity. While you may have a publicist assigned to you, they can be overwhelmed by all of their authors, so it is important to seek out blogs, Facebook groups, bookstore and library events by yourself.

Sourcebooks has rereleased my Hamptons Murder Mystery series in mass-market paperbacks. I have a new series that will be published by Sourcebooks Poisoned Pen Press, titled The Trouble in Paradise series. The first book, It Takes Two to Mango will be released in June. Additionally, Sourcebooks Fire is publishing my YA book, The Murder Game, in early April.

KRL: What a fun career so far! Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Carrie: When Jill Kargman and I were writing scripts, we went on dozens if not hundreds of pitch meetings with producers in New York as well as all the major film studios in Los Angeles. One of my favorite books as a tween was Me and the Weirdos by Jane Sutton. Jill and I tracked down the author and bought the rights. We flew to Hollywood to pitch it. We had a meeting with an executive named Peter at Fox studios. After we pitched it, he looked at us and said emphatically, ‘That is the best pitch I have ever heard.” We left the meeting euphoric, and high-fived each other in the Fox parking lot.

A week later we got a postcard from Peter that said: We will work together in 2000!
Our agent reached out to him to follow up and…crickets. He didn’t return her calls. A month later she finally got Peter on the phone and said Jill and I were coming to town again and could we meet, and he said he was out of town, sorry, and rushed off the phone.

Jill and I had another meeting on the Fox lot that week and after we finished, we walked over to the bungalow where Peter’s office was located. Sure, enough we could see him through the window at his desk, so we knocked on the window. He stared at us in horror. We just smiled and then left. We never heard from him again, he never called our agent back or even said why he had a change of heart. It was so odd.

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Carrie: I don’t have really any interesting book signing stories, but I can say that I have been lucky to do signings in various locales and not just bookstores. Saks Fifth Avenue and Chanel hosted book events for me and Jill Kargman, and I did a book signing at a clothing store in Chicago and a vineyard in Napa. It’s nice to mix it up.

KRL: What are your future writing goals?

Carrie: I would like to step away from writing series and write some one-off books for a while. I like the idea of writing a book like The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. Or perhaps something like Lucy Foley writes. I mean, dare to dream, right?

KRL: Who are your writing heroes?

Carrie: I absolutely love Vladimir Nabokov as his playful use of language astonishes me. I was a Russian language and literature major at Barnard, and I did my thesis on Nabokov, which was if he could be considered an American author or a Russian author because most of his masterpieces were written in English when he lived in the U.S.

His niece Marina Ledkovsky was my thesis advisor and used to regale me with anecdotes about her Uncle “Valod.” What amazes me about him is that not only was he an incredible writer he was also a professor at Cornell, he taught tennis, he was a chess champion who created many Chess moves and he was a lepidopterist who discovered various butterflies. Talk about being multi-talented! I am also a huge fan of Tolstoy.

As for living authors, I have read every single book by Michael Connelly and Curtis Sittenfeld and I also adore the Strike series by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling.) Those three authors are so talented.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Carrie: I watched a ton of cooking shows about restaurants for the Hamptons Murder Mystery Series because Antonia Bingham, the protagonist, has a restaurant. I also did some research on inns so I could learn how they were run. I also met with a Sergeant at the East Hampton Police Department. For, The Murder Game, I had to do research on wildlife and the Appalachian Mountains for the backstory of the main character, Luke Chase. Although I had attended boarding school that was a long time ago, so I surveyed my friends’ children who were currently at school to get an idea of what it was like in this day and age.

KRL: What do you like to read?

Carrie: I prefer to read mysteries. I like to listen to ‘cozy mysteries’ on Audible and have lately been bingeing M.C. Beaton’s Hamish MacBeth series as well as Rhys Bowen and Alice Boatwright’s cozy series.’ The narrators are excellent! I am currently plowing through Agatha Raisins, as well as reading a book by Eve Karlin – City of Liars and Thieves – about Manhattan’s first great murder mystery.

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

Carrie: It’s a joke in my house that I could watch The Bourne Identity every day! It’s my favorite movie. I watch 30 Rock, Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory, The Office and Search Party over and over again. I also really enjoyed Bosch, The Bodyguard and Unbelievable.

I do a lot of jigsaw puzzles, I like Charles Wysocki’s 1000-piece puzzles and I usually complete about 30 a year, so I like to listen to things when I do it. I either re-watch the comedies above or listen to Audible. It’s multi-tasking at its most pleasurable!

KRL: Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Carrie: I think it is important to do an entire draft of a manuscript before you solicit feedback. There can be too many fingers in the pot if you show people your work too early. That can cause an aspiring writer to lose their way or become discouraged, even if the initial feedback is positive. Write the book you want to write and then ask for critiques.

So much of being a writer now depends on marketing, so make sure you are totally involved in at least one social media platform: Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. If possible, write articles about a topic related to your book, even if it is a small free online publication. Publishing houses look to see if you have a track record. Also make sure you become buddies with your local bookstore. They will be crucial to your sales if you are published.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Carrie: Not sure what people would be surprised to know so please take your pick:
When I was growing up O.J. Simpson used to go jogging with my upstairs neighbor and we would see him in the lobby. My doorman used to make him wait for the neighbor downstairs because he didn’t like him. He said that it was because he saw O.J. beat up his wife Nicole outside our building. Years later when I was watching the O.J. Simpson documentary Made in America they showed entries from Nicole’s diary where she wrote that the first time he hit her was outside my building! Very sad.

Other things…I speak fluent Russian. I worked on an event in Russia where the two men I was working each thought the other was trying to kill him. Six weeks after the party one was assassinated.

For the 100th anniversary party of Marie Claire Magazine I was flown in a helicopter from Nice to Monaco to meet with Prince Albert at his palace. I worked for Ina Garten at The Barefoot Contessa store in college. I was an avid golfer until I won the big ladies golf championship at my club with my friend and then as soon as they put my name on the plaque I quit!

KRL: Wow exciting stuff! Pets?

Carrie: I have two Coton de Tulears, Scruff and Boo who are uncle and nephew. They are as cute as stuffed animals but incredibly spoiled, and the hard truth is poorly trained. We got them for my sons, but they are really my dogs, especially Boo. I always say no one has ever looked at me with so much love on his face as Boo. He is currently nestled on my lap as I write this.

KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?

Carrie: Carriedoyleauthor.com
@carriedoylek on Twitter and Instagram.
Carrie Doyle on Facebook

To enter to win a copy of Death on Bull Path, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “path,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 17, 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.

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.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy April 10, 2021 at 12:46pm

Death on Bull Path sounds like a fun and engrossing mystery that I would love to read!

Reply

2 Glen Davis April 10, 2021 at 12:56pm

Good interview! Count me in!

Reply

3 Sue Stoner
Twitter: @Sue
April 10, 2021 at 2:17pm

WOW! You have had a very interesting life. With all that you’ve done, is there anything on your bucket list?

Reply

4 carrie
Twitter: @carriedoylek
April 11, 2021 at 10:31am

HI Sue,
Yes! So much. I want to do a total career switch when I turn 50 but I am still figuring out what that will be! Maybe something with local politics…we will see.

Reply

5 Lily-Ann Gill April 14, 2021 at 4:32am

This sounds like a series I need to read. Thank you for the chance.
lilyanngill56(at)gmail(dot)com

Reply

6 Sue Stoner
Twitter: @Sue
April 16, 2021 at 3:31am

You plan to stop writing when you turn 50?

Reply

7 Sherry Brown April 10, 2021 at 5:46pm

I love the answer and questions! Your book look and sound very very good!! Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful book!!!

Reply

8 Teresa Warner April 11, 2021 at 10:35am

Enjoyed the post, sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

Reply

9 Alicia April 11, 2021 at 11:16am

This is a new series to me, but it sure sounds interesting. I love mysteries with a culinary theme and now I’m all curious about the conclusion with a library connection.

Reply

10 Dianne Casey April 11, 2021 at 11:49am

A new author and series to me. Sounds like a great book. Looking forward to reading.

Reply

11 Mary Holshouser April 12, 2021 at 9:47am

Sounds interesting.
thanks
txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

Reply

12 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
April 19, 2021 at 10:59am

We have a winner!

Reply

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