Several towns in southwestern Pennsylvania inspired the fictional town of Port Quincy. I wrote the novel while living in the sunny climes of Tallahassee, and though I fell in love with Florida and its charms, I first envisioned my mystery while living and working in Pennsylvania before I moved to the Sunshine State.
I worked in the town of Washington, Pennsylvania, as a law librarian. During lunch breaks, I took meandering walks through the streets that were lined with historical buildings, some dating back to the eighteenth century and the Whiskey Rebellion. Maybe it was the regular courthouse gossip that set me on my writing path, but even more so the town itself provided a source of intrigue for my imagination that I drew upon while writing the book in the sunny humidity of Florida’s capital city.
At the time I worked in Washington, PA, the town and the region around it were caught up in a fraught but lucrative frenzy of natural gas drilling through fracking. A method of extracting natural gas from the earth, fracking or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling with high water pressure and chemicals to release gas trapped in rocks. It’s a highly controversial form of retrieving natural gas since some claim the environmental and safety risks involved in freeing the gas are not worth the effort. Others, eager for the chance to profit from the goldmine in their backyards, made peace with the fracking companies and sold their land rights quickly. It seemed that everyone had something to say in Washington about fracking and the companies headquartered in Texas.
This perfect storm of opinions provided the perfect backdrop for a mystery novel set in a similar fictional town, one that was laden with the same kind of history and debate I encountered at my job at the courthouse.
"Had me in its spell from page one. Readers will love this." --Leslie Meier
All appears peaceful in sleepy Port Quincy, Pennsylvania--but in this small town, old grudges die hard. . .
After dumping her cheating fiancé and cancelling the wedding, Mallory Shepard can't bear another disaster. So when the former bride-to-be unexpectedly inherits Thistle Park, a ramshackle mansion in her ex's hometown of Port Quincy, it's a problem she can't afford--literally. Abound with stray cats, peeling wallpaper, and nosy neighbors, Mallory is dying to sell it off--once she finally fixes up both the place and her messy life. . .
Turns out, Thistle Park has its charms. But the honeymoon phase is abruptly cut short when an unwanted visitor is found dead on the front lawn. Enlisting the help of her sister Rachel, Mallory vows to unveil the killer before she herself becomes married to the suspect list. . .
"I had great fun reading the adventures of nouveau sleuth Mallory Shepard as she wrangles corpses, kittens, and a cheating fiancé in this charming debut mystery." --Laura Levine, author of Death by Tiara