Saturday, November 12, 2011

"The Lost Women of Lost Lake"

Ellen Hart, “a top novelist in the cultishly popular gay mystery genre” (Entertainment Weekly), is also a Lambda and Minnesota Book Award winner.

She applied the Page 69 Test to The Lost Women of Lost Lake, her 19th mystery featuring Jane Lawless, and reported the following:
I’ve heard about this “test,” but never actually performed it on one of my books. Here’s a bit of background to what I found:

The Lost Women of Lost Lake, the newest Jane Lawless Mystery, takes us to a small town in northern Minnesota, where two of Jane’s old friends, Tessa Cornell and Jill Ivorsen, life partners for over twenty years and co-owners of a premier resort, Thunderhook Lodge, are in trouble. Jane is a part-time sleuth who lives in Minneapolis, where she owns a couple of restaurants. Along with her on the trip is her theatrical friend, Cordelia Thorn. They arrive at the resort ready to offer what help they can, but are stopped in their tracks when a woman in town, a good friend of Tessa’s, dies suddenly and suspiciously. Was it an accident? A suicide? Murder? More importantly, was Tessa somehow involved, as her partner suspects?

On page 69 we are introduced to two characters: Jonah and his aunt, Tessa. All we know is that Tessa has asked him to run into her study and unlock a cedar chest. She tells him to bring her a rusted metal box he’ll find inside. Jonah does as she asks, but instead of simply taking the box, he pilfers one of her journals, one that’s labeled “1968.” He runs upstairs to a loft and hides it under a couch, then returns downstairs to deliver the box. The end of the page leaves us with a big question--a zinger for a mystery novel:
“Now,” said Tessa, smiling up at him, “if you don’t mind, this would be a perfect time to make coffee.”

“Happy to.” What he really wanted was to stay and get a firsthand look at the gun.
Learn more about the book and author at Ellen Hart's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue