NEW RELEASE and GUEST POST
by Susan Breen
Maggie Dove by Susan Breen is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Susan Breen introduces a charming new series heroine in this poignant and absorbing cozy mystery with a bite. Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.
When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree - the one he demanded she cut down - she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.
Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves - even if it kills her.
Click below to read an excerpt.
Praise for the Book
"Follow Maggie on this funny crazy journey to find the killer!! The story is heart breaking, hilarious and teaches you so much!! I figured out who the killer was but had to wait and see if I was right. I loved every moment of this book, try and see if you can figure out who dun it or just enjoy the ups, down s and a little adrenaline rush. I absolutely live Maggie Dove!!! She is so real!!! You absolutely relate to the things that she thinks and feels!! Give her a chance you won’t regret it!!!" ~ Christine Troche
"This cozy is a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed the storyline and characters in the small town of West Chester, NY. Loved the undertones of hope and friendship above all else throughout the book. I also really enjoyed the Christian based themes that were cleverly placed in this story." ~ Penny S Marks
"I loved this book. It pulled me in from the first page took me on a roller coaster ride until the last page. The characters are well developed and some are complex. Many are flawed, but all the characters with the exception of one are ones I enjoyed getting to know and look forward to reading about in future Maggie Dove novels." ~ Judith Taylor
"This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author." ~ Laura Collins
"This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author." ~Vulnadia
Guest Post by the Author
Maggie Dove, Woman of Courage
I’m a great fan of Game of Thrones. One of my favorite moments comes early on, when young Bran asks his father, the great Ned Stark:
“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
Now I grant you there are not many obvious similarities between the protagonist of my mystery novel, Maggie Dove, and the Lord of Winterfell. Maggie Dove is a 62-year-old Sunday School teacher and Ned Stark is Ned Stark, and yet, the two are more alike than you would think. They both live their life by a code, they’re both loyal friends and devoted parents, and, they both value courage. In some ways, they are both defined by courage.
I knew, when I started to write Maggie Dove, that I wanted her to be brave. I’m intrigued by people who exhibit courage, maybe because I wish I had more of it myself. I suspected Maggie was not going to exhibit the flashier versions of courage. No sword-wielding for her, although she does have a scene in which she rides on a dirt bike. Having ridden - once - on a dirt bike myself, I can testify that it takes a tremendous amount of courage.
But there are quiet forms of courage that can be just as powerful as the more overt types. Maybe even more powerful because they’re less recognized. So in addition to drawing on Ned Stark when I created Maggie Dove, I also drew on memories of my father, who was the bravest person I ever knew.
My father had a tough life. When he was only in his 30s, he contracted a form of Multiple Sclerosis so virulent that he was left paralyzed for the remainder of his life. Not only could he not walk; he could barely sit, and had to spend much of his time lying in bed. This sounds depressing, but in fact, my father was a lot of fun. He was an avid Yankee fan, he knew all the lyrics to Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and sang them during dinner. He also taught me to love really bad jokes:
A horse goes into a bar. He wants to apply for a job.
The bartender says, "Maybe you’d do better at a circus."
The horse says, "Why would a circus want to hire a bartender?"
You see what I mean?
What my father taught me was that small acts of courage can build up to a life as heroic, in its own way, as Ned Stark’s. These were the influences that were running through my mind when I began thinking about Maggie Dove.
When the novel starts, Maggie Dove’s in a bad place. Her only daughter, Juliet, died twenty years ago and Maggie’s never been able to heal. She lives in a small village that she loves for many reasons, one of them being that it feels safe to her. She loves the people, loves the traditions, loves her church. So when her neighbor is murdered, and she finds his body on her lawn, Maggie’s world is shattered in a number of ways. She’s having enough trouble dealing with her life without losing her underpinnings. But then Peter Nelson is suspected of being the murderer. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students, a troubled boy who grew up to be a troubled man. But he was also her daughter’s fiancé. He was devoted to Juliet and in the years since her death, he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie. She will do anything to defend him, even if that means overcoming her fears and investigating a murder.
I don’t think I’m giving away secrets if I say that, in the end, Maggie Dove winds up being quite courageous. Ned Stark would be proud.
About the Author
Susan Breen is the author of The Fiction Class, her debut novel that won the Washington Irving Book Award. Her stories and articles have appeared in many magazines, among them The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Compose, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. She teaches at Gotham Writers in Manhattan; is on the faculty of the New York Pitch Conference, South Carolina Writers Workshop, and the Women’s National Book Association; and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Breen lives in a small village on the Hudson River with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. Her three children are flourishing elsewhere.