A Curiously Embellished Casket (Book 1)

ladyselenameadeTwo hundred years is a long time to hold a grudge, but on Lanark Island the past refuses to go away quietly. Antique dealer Kate Hamilton returns to the Lake Champlain island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s historic inn. The islanders gather for the Tartan Ball, eager to celebrate a banner season. A recently published novel about the death of Flora Arnott, child bride of the island’s first settler, has brought hordes of tourists to the tiny Scottish-heritage resort community. Kate has hardly unpacked her toothbrush when her sister-in-law is murdered under circumstances eerily similar to the infamous murder described in the novel. Kate is devastated, but when the gentle, cognitively disabled man who tried to save her husband’s life becomes the prime suspect, Kate teams up with Tom Mallory, a visiting Detective Inspector from Suffolk, England, to find a killer working from a playbook hidden for more than two centuries.

This portrait of Lady Selena Meade  by the English artist Thomas Lawrence (1769 – 1830) is my idea of what Flora Arnott would have looked like–the perfect Regency heroine. Just look at those eyes!

The Curse of Finchley Hall (Book 2, in progress)

Antique dealer Kate Hamilton finds herself in the tiny hamlet of Long Barston, Suffolk, England, where her tempestous daughter, Christine, has a summer internship in the family archives of Lady Diana Finchley-fforde. Finchley Hall is famous for three things: its thirteenth-century roots, a fabulous treasure trove discovered on the property in 1881, and murder. The superstitious villagers believe Finchley Hall is cursed, and when a body is discovered in Finchley Hall’s famous pond, Kate can’t disagree. Her daughter Christine is one of the suspects. This time Kate must deal with Tom Mallory, the Detective Inspector she met on Lanark Island. Long Barston is on his patch. Will he be friend or foe? And will their friendship be rekindled or fall victim to the curse of Finchley Hall?

The Chinese Vases (Book .5 in progress)

Recent widow Kate Hamilton owns Antiques At The Falls, a shop specializing in fine antiques of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. As she and her employee Charlotte prepare for the prestigious Western Reserve Antique Show, a wealthy recluse  offers to consign a pair of very old and valuable Chinese vases, hinting that she may allow them to dispose of her late husband’s entire antiques collection. Kate and Charlotte are thrilled. This is what the shop needs–a source of high-quality stock without the financial investment they can’t yet afford. But when the vase is stolen and the body of the recluse in found murdered in the stock room, the shop’s reputation is at serious risk. And that isn’t Kate’s only concern. Her daughter, the impetuous Christine, home for the summer from Oxford University, has lost her heart again–this time to the disreputable son of a local auctioneer. Facing personal heartbreak and professional ruin, Kate fights to protect her daughter while tracking down a ruthless killer.

Murder at Fouroaks (Book 3, proposed)

Kate Hamilton has been invited to spend Christmas at Fouroaks, the family home of Detective Inspector Tom Mallory’s eccentric uncle, Nigel Hartley, an eighty-year-old bachelor with a penchant for fast cars, French wine, and anything in a skirt. The estate is entailed on Tom’s cousin, an indolent ne’er-do-well. When the body of the nephew is found hanging on the Christmas tree, Kate finds herself swept into the investigation. This time her friend Tom Mallory can’t help. He’s the prime suspect.


19 thoughts on “Books

  1. Have you posted the first ten pages somewhere on your blog? Just checking – I don’t want to miss it (and how will you publish- trad or self? and…. will it be available on kindle?) soooo many questions. Sorry!

  2. Susan, I’ve been at a trade show all week (got home last night). So today is catch up. I’ll be posting the pages later today. The plan is to finish the revision in a couple of months and then begin the agent query process. The publication business, to paraphrase the famous quote by L. P. Hartley, is a foreign country.

  3. I love it! Great figures – I love female protagonists. Now, onto a question – I see you switched points of view (and separated them with a space) – so, who is the main protagonist? Kate? or Elenor? the one piece of feedback I received from a potential agent last summer (yes, I’ve begun to walk the foreign land, as well) is that she didn’t like my pov switches. I realized right away what she meant and cleaned it up. If Kate is the protagonist, then you, like me my dear friend, have opened with a prologue of sorts. I always open with a prologue and then regret it. Seems as though the general consensus is to NOT use one. So… I’ve been working on my openings again and again – as I’m sure you have.
    I liked this story and am very intrigued. I would definitely read more!
    Great job and keep going!

  4. Oh, I always do this – say to much and then regret it after! Please take only that which is helpful, Connie, and ditch the rest. Ultimately, I hope you know that I did enjoy the story and want to read more. Keep going!!!

  5. You definitely didn’t say too much, Susan. Feedback is so needed and helpful. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts and experience. To answer your question, my protagonist is Kate. Elenor is the murder-worthy victim. So the first scene in Ch 1 is a prologue of sorts. Of course, everything is changeable until published! Thank you for the encouraging words!

  6. You know, I love prologues… I just don’t see why the general publishing world doesn’t. As to this book though, seeing as it’s a murder mystery of sorts – seems like it needs a prologue. Don’t they always start that way? I don’t read many mysteries – I’m more of a historical romance type, so don’t take my word for it.
    I enjoyed your story and hope to read more. Keep going – you have a lovely voice!

  7. Mysteries are intoxicating. Would love to read through to the end of the trilogy! Knowing there’s more to come puts your novel a ‘step up’ in my estimation. I adore anticipation!
    My best wishes on publication !
    Paula Starr

  8. Good morning Connie! I’ve been sitting here reading your story while eating my breakfast. The only problem I have is that I want to know what happens next! I have checked and rechecked your blog to make sure that I have read ALL 10 pages! I like how you handle the character Elenoe. When I first began reading, I was thinking Elenoe was a “nice” person, down on her luck, but about to break free from all her problems. I quickly realized that I had made a wrong assumption….Elenoe is NOT a nice person at all. I could feel Agnes hesitation at calling Elenoe about the party and then see her wince at Elenoe’s words and tones. (Perhaps Agnes is on the top 10 list of suspects?? lol) We also find out quickly how Elenoe uses people (men in particular) to get ahead in the world. She is very self-centered, selfish and egotiscal…which I believe will lead to her downfall.

    I love the character of Kate. She reminds me of someone who irregardless of how she feels, will always make the choice “to do the right thing.” The last thing she wants to do is attend this party, but Elenoe IS her sister-in-law….(which brings up other questions….is Elenoe currently with Kate’s brother or is he one of her “throw aways?” I’d be willing to bet that Kate didn’t like Elenoe from the beginning, and that has not changed! On a side note, I loved the reference to the Newark airport. My husband is originally from Jersey, and I have never, ever heard that flying into/out of Newark is a good idea! Nothing good ever comes out of that airport! (named one of the worst in the US).

    I would love to read this book…how is Elenoe murdered? I assume it will happen at the party. Will Kate be a suspect? Who will find Elenoes pictures? Who is writing the threatening letters? Perhaps the murderer, but they could have also been written by someone who just wants to “scare” her. What happened to Kate’s husband? I want to read more about her shop and co-workers. Was there something about Elenoes chest that Kate (as an antique dealer) would immediately recognize, that Elenoe had missed? Or, did Elenoe (Miss Know It All) figure it out on her own?

    As you can tell from my questions, I am NOT ready to put this book down yet! Keep writing and let me know when it is published!!!

    • Thank you for your interesting comments, Linda. This summer I will finish the revision and begin querying agents. I hope one of them, like you, wants to find out what happens! I appreciate your taking the time to read.

  9. As I read thru my comments again, I hope you understand the questions I mentioned are of my own musings as I am being drawn into your story….they are not meant to be critical. I really enjoyed what I have read so far. If your book was finished, I ‘d take it to Hawaii with me to read the rest of the story!

  10. I just read your excerpt and it is quite good. I am not an author, but I am an avid reader and I can tell you are gifted. The excerpt left me wanting to snuggle in my chair, with a cup of tea, and the next chapter.
    Elenor Spurgeon, obviously not named after Charles Spurgeon, although I loved the irony, made me laugh. I thought that perhaps she would be the main character. Your description of her is fantastic.
    I want to get to know Kate and find out more about her life.
    Keep writing! Thank you for sharing a small bit with us.

    • Hello, Barbara! The book should be available in about a year (I know–publishing is a slow process). I should have specific information from the publisher soon, and I’ll let you know. I’m so glad to be part of the book club and looking forward to the next meeting.

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