Friday, June 10, 2022

"Death By Beach Read"

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than forty-five books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Catskill Summer Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.

Delany is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Delany is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Delany applied the Page 69 Test to Eva Gates's latest Lighthouse Library mystery, Death By Beach Read, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Chapter Six

“Secret passageways. Rumrunners. A lifetime of discarded objects, now useless junk. Someone creeping around in my house at night. Now a dead body. And all I wanted was a nice house to live in.”

“It’s still a nice house,” Ronald said. “All old houses have histories. You just found out more about yours than you wanted to.”

“You got that right,” I said.

“I’d love to have another look at it,” Louise Jane said. “I might be able to make contact with—”

“No,” I said. “There will be no making contact in my house. And that’s final.”

The morning following the discovery of Jimmy Harper and the secret entrance, my colleagues and I were gathered around the display table in the alcove. Connor and I’d spent the night at Ellen and Amos’s beach house, and in the morning we’d been allowed back into our house. The body of James Harper had been removed, I’d been glad to see, and most of the evidence of the police presence along with it. I’d need to buy a new leash for Charles.
The Page 69 Test works perfectly for Death by Beach Read, the 9th Lighthouse Library mystery. It’s the first page of chapter six and our protagonist, Lucy Richardson, is summing up the strange events that have been happening at her new house for her coworkers.

Not only does the initial short paragraph give the reader a brief introduction to the plot, they learn that Lucy has recently moved. In the first eight books of the series she’s lived in the “lighthouse aerie”, as she calls it, a small apartment above the library where she works. Many readers have told me they love Lucy’s apartment, and when time was ready for her to move, I wanted her to have an equally compelling house. What sort of a house, the reader might ask, has secret passageways and rooms full of junk, not to mention why would someone be ‘creeping around’ the house at night.

The book is a cozy mystery and page 69 gets the tone right. E.g. Lucy’s list of strange things (rumrunners?) She is at the library the day after the murder, and the library is the main setting of the books. Which is why it’s the Lighthouse Library series. A couple of her library colleagues are introduced, and the reader will know that fan favourite Charles, the library cat, is still around.

My only concern about page 69 is that it names the dead person. I sometimes like to keep that a secret until it actually happens so the reader can try to guess who that will be.

Page 69 is a perfect introduction to Death by Beach Read.
Follow Eva Gates on Twitter and visit Vicki Delany's website.

--Marshal Zeringue