by C. L. Shore
& Lorie Lewis Ham
Lorie Ham interviews Australian mystery author and KRL writer Diana Hockley about her new book The Celibate Mouse and her love of pet rats, and C.L. Shore reviews the book which is the second one in her series. At the end of this article is a chance to win a copy.
The Celibate Mouse
Review by C.L. Shore
Readers will sympathize with Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott as she tries to avoid stress after losing a constable on the force to violence. Her attempt to find peace in a small village is shattered when a man is murdered at a sheepdog championship. Soon after, an elderly woman is killed and several others in town, including Susan herself, find themselves victims of violent attacks. Like it or not, Susan finds herself helping the relatives of the first victims to find the attacker.
In addition to her professional challenges, Susan’s second husband leaves her and one of her twin daughters is estranged. Her first husband, – and father of her twins, resurfaces in her life, and moves in to guard Susan and daughter Marli from the actions of someone who has a mission to do away with anyone who will expose him. The bruises on Susan’s neck attest to the unknown assailant’s determination. However, David’s status with the local police reinforces his ability to protect.
In The Celibate Mouse, Diana Hockley has provided the reader with multiple points of view that enrich the plot. Once into the story, you won’t want to put it down. The path to exposing the murderer and the sexual tension between Susan and David will keep you turning pages. Mystery lovers will want to add this book to their list.
You can read a review of C.L. first book, Seeker of Truth, right here in KRL.
Behind the Book Interview with Diana Hockley
Lorie: How did you go about picking the setting for this book?
Diana: The actual setting for the plot is our small rural southeast Queensland town, but the idea came from somewhere totally different!
My husband, Andrew and I went to Tasmania on holiday in 2008. We are members of the Queensland Working Sheepdog Association so we timed our visit to coincide with the Australian Sheepdog Association’s Tasman Cup championship.
The Tasmanian committee had spent a lot of money on publicity for the event, so instead of dog handlers and their rellies comprising the only audience, there were actually around 2,500 people sitting in the stands on the final day.
Andrew and I were in the front row and as the final competitor was standing out in the middle of the arena with his dog, closing the gate to the last pen on the sheep, the thought popped into my head that anyone could pick him off with a rifle. Hence the opening line The Celibate Mouse:
“There is no mistaking the crack of a high-powered rifle.”
Lorie: What kind of research did you have to do?
Diana: I called on a rather bewildered Senior Constable at our local police station and he told me how the town cops operate, shift work and patrolling. Further into the novel, I asked a young Detective Senior Constable friend of mine for more details about how the police hierarchy operated and what the procedure would be for a Detective Inspector to bring a team to a country town to investigate a murder.
Lorie: What is the meaning of the title?
Diana: Just after we came back from Tasmania, Andrew and I were trying – rather ineffectually – to store items in a cupboard in the apartment under our house. We had recently come through a mouse plague and found the chipboard underside of a chest of drawers had been gnawed. Andrew snarled that mice had been in there, and I said “I think it’s only one though.” (Duuh!)
Andrew snapped back, “There’s no such thing as a celibate mouse!” I had been searching for a title and without giving any spoilers, this fit very well indeed!
Lorie: I know you try to fit pet rats into your books, how do they fit into this one?
Diana: Readers of my work will know that I always try to fit rats into any of my writing, so the main character, Detective Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott – from The Naked Room – has twin daughters, one of whom has pet rats!
Lorie: Any special challenges you faced in writing this one?
Diana: Getting it started and keeping it going. I was re-writing and editing The Naked Room at the same time. I actually wrote The Celibate Mouse as a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. I only reached 20k words, but at least it was on its way!
Lorie: How long did it take you to finish it?
Diana: Once I actually got into my stride, from start to finish, around 6 months, then another year or so for re-writing and editing.
Lorie: Do you know what’s up next in your series?
Diana: Yes, I am writing After Ariel, and using Pamela Miller, the flautist in The Naked Room as my main character. I am working on the research, making notes and intend to register with NaNoWriMo this year to try and reach the commitment of 50k words.
Again, DSS Susan Prescott will be presiding over the investigations, but I intend to use two of the cast from The Naked Room, one or two from The Celibate Mouse, plus some new characters this time.
Briefly, the plot begins with a totally normal, everyday happening as the train arrives at Cardiff Central from London, but things go downhill from there…
An excerpt from the end of the first chapter:
She smiled. Tonight dinner and who knew what would be next? Caught up in the excitement of her unexpected date, her parents’ request to stay in that night had flown from her mind.
‘No, I’ll come down there. Seven in the lounge bar.’
He gestured to the bag. ‘Do you want me to carry this in for you?’
She thought quickly. What if they ended up back there? The houses would be a tip; she had two hours to get it sorted. ‘No thanks, I’m good.’
She watched as the cab turned the corner. A little thrill shivered down her spine. Australians, everyone said, were great fun but not to be taken seriously. And they’d be in a pub, surrounded by the Friday night crowd.
What could possibly go wrong?
To enter to win a copy of The Celibate Mouse, simply email KRL at email@example.com with the subject line “Mouse”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 29, 2011.
Read a more in depth interview with Diana and a review of her first book, right here at KRL.
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime:
Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.