Friday, April 8, 2016

Guest post: "Childhood Favorites That Still Inspire Me" by Mystery Author Clea Simon

I write cozies filled with cats and other animals, so perhaps it’s no surprise that I return again and again to my favorite childhood books for inspiration. These are five books that continue to enchant and inspire me:

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: Because what girl wouldn’t want to find an entire new world in the back of a cupboard? Especially one with talking animals, ruled over by a benign lion?

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: I think we all start out related to Mole, who is an innocent discovering the world, but these days I also see myself in Toad of Toad Hall. He’s a buffoon (Latin name for toad is Buffo!), but I love his enthusiasm.

The Big Green Book by Robert Graves: When a boy gets his hands on a magic book, he turns the world upside down. And, incidentally, helps out a beleaguered bunny!

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling: What child wouldn’t want to run away from civilization and live with the animals? Only in my fantasy, I would have made friend with Bagheera the panther.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein: The ultimate fantasy, and wonderful for younger readers because it not only treats the reader seriously, with respect, but it focuses on the efforts of smaller individuals. Hobbits aren’t children, but they are easy for children to relate to – and they end up saving Middle Earth.

Genre: Mystery
Author: Clea Simon        
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Winter is hard in Beauville, where the melting snow can reveal much more than last season’s dead leaves. So when a wealthy, obnoxious tourist and his ski bunny girlfriend surface in Pru Marlowe’s little Berkshire town, she knows she should stay out of their way. The bad-girl animal psychic has to focus on more immediate concerns, including a wild rabbit named Henry, supposedly tamed and illegally living with an eighty-four-year-old lady in her home. Henry, who seems to be acting out and hiding, avoids responding to Pru. Yet when Pru discovers the tourist murdered and his girlfriend’s high-maintenance spaniel falls to her care, she gets dragged into a complicated case of crime and punishment that involves some new friends, an old nemesis, and her own shadowed past. A recent museum art heist draws the feds into the investigation along with a courtly gentleman radiating menace, who represents secretive business interests in New York and shows a surprising awareness of Pru. Her on-again, off-again romance with police Detective Creighton doesn’t stop him from warning her to steer clear of the inquiry. The spaniel, however, lures her in. Pru lives in a world where only her crotchety tabby Wallis knows the whole truth about her past, her flight from Manhattan, and her unique gift that surfaced abruptly one day. Fearing the worst, Pru now comes dangerously close to being exposed. With everything in motion, Pru, Wallis, and everyone they hold dear will be lucky to escape…by a hare.

About the Author:

Clea Simon is the author of the Theda Krakow, Dulcie Schwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series, as well as three nonfiction books.   A former journalist, Clea lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta.

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