by Cynthia Chow
This week we have a review of Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece by Rose Pressey, and an interesting interview with Rose. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece. We also have a link to order it from Amazon and from an indie bookstore.
Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece: A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery by Rose Pressey
Review by Cynthia Chow
Before she begins traveling across the country selling her art wherever she can, Celeste Cabot has parked her trailer in front of her family’s home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. She and her adorable Chihuahua Van Gogh may be the most normal members of the Cabot family, that includes overbearing big brothers, a stubborn father, and a giftwrap-loving mother who does her best to keep them all in line. Celeste is thrilled to be starting her new career with the four-day annual Summer Arts and Craft Fair, where she plans to sell her painted portraits. She could never have expected that one of her paintings would returned by an infuriated buyer, especially when the woman accuses it of being haunted. Even Celeste can’t ignore the appearances of skulls that seem to be in every one of her oil paintings, especially when she has no memory of ever placing them there in the first place. Further casting shade over Celeste’s hope for a successful fair are a series of burglaries at the booths, all topped off by the murder of the event’s extremely organizer.
An undeniably talented portrait artist, Celeste quickly discovers that her inspirations may come from more than just her imagination. For reasons she cannot explain Celeste was compelled to paint the image of a beautiful Victorian woman, and that very same woman is now appearing in a decidedly ghostly form. Claiming to have been born in 1852, Elizabeth Mallory declares that Celeste has essentially painted her into “life” and becomes Celeste’s Watson as they investigate the murder. The challenge will be not just in dodging her own meddling family members as they question suspects, but in avoiding their protective interference as Celeste begins dating a handsome wood artist with his own mysterious past. Clues given by a ghost and psychic are not evidence that can credibly be taken to the police, so it’s up to Celeste and her best friend Sammie to deliver the hard proof that will convince the handsome detective to take them seriously.
This first in a new series takes a decidedly light-hearted approach to murder, with the tone never becoming too dark or dour. The lively writing will appeal to younger readers as well, although they may not be able to take advantage of the Travel Trailer Tips given at the start of each chapter. Practical (don’t park next to convenient snack bars if you want to sleep at night), as well as wryly funny (Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case you are accident-prone), these advisories play out on multiple levels, often as metaphors to following chapter. A Lavender Blueberry Peach Pie recipe, immature siblings, and a helpful ghost ensure that this romp of novel will appeal to a wide array of cozy mystery fans.
Interview with Rose Pressey:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Rose: I started attempting to write in 2004, but I had no idea what I was doing.
KRL: When did your first novel come out? Can you tell us a little about it?
Rose: Me and My Ghoulfriends originally came out in 2007 by Lyrical Press. It’s still available.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not, what else have you written?
Rose: I’ve tried a bit of romance, but my heart is with mysteries/suspense.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?
Rose: My editor suggested a craft fair setting. I’ve always loved the Great Smoky Mountains.
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Rose: I write to entertain. I want readers to enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Rose: I have a fairly strict schedule. Mornings and evenings, afternoon is for chores.
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?
Rose: I outline, however, a lot is changed in the writing process.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Rose: Mornings are when my thoughts are clearer.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Rose: Yes. I received a lot of rejection. I refused to give up.
KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Rose: My first rejection was from my current publisher. The editor was polite and complimented me even though there wasn’t much to compliment. I truly appreciated that.
KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?
Rose: I had a book signing in December a few years ago. Everyone thought I was the gift wrapper!
KRL: Future writing goals?
Rose: I’m writing a psychological thriller. I hope to find a publisher for that book soon.
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Rose: I really like to see a place in person. Or talk with someone with real life experience in whatever subject I’m writing.
KRL: What do you read?
Rose: Mysteries, thrillers, true crime.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Rose: True crime, paranormal shows, classic sitcoms.
KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Rose: Probably the same things they’ve heard from other writers. Read a lot and write.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Rose: I’d just like to thank everyone for reading my books. Sharing my stories with others makes me happy.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Rose: I worked for a private investigator. That gave me experience for books.
KRL: How fun! Website? Twitter? Facebook?
To enter to win a copy of Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Masterpiece,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 28, 2019. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories (including more Halloween ones) 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. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. The last 2 episodes are Christmas mystery short stories!
You can use this link to purchase the book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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