Today Allison Brook is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Death on the Shelf, her latest novel in the Haunted Library Mystery series.
Welcome, Allison. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
DEATH ON THE SHELF is the fifth book in my Haunted Library series set in a small town in Connecticut called Clover Ridge. Much of the action takes place in the library where my sleuth, Carrie Singleton, works as head of programs and events. Carrie often solves murders with the help of the library ghost, Evelyn Havers, who can only be seen by Carrie and Carrie’s little cousin.
In DEATH ON THE SHELF, Carrie’s best friend, Angela, who also works in the library, gets married. Angela is worried that her antagonistic brother will do something awful and ruin her wedding. And why is her newly-divorced cousin Roxy clinging to Aiden, her cousin Donna’s husband? Angela’s fears are realized when someone falls down dead at the wedding and Carrie must find out who is behind this dastardly deed.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
This grew out of the previous book when Angela got engaged. The new characters, many of whom are Angela’s relatives, appeared and the story took on a life of its own.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
The theme of DEATH ON THE SHELF is love and marriage. There’s Angela’s wedding, Carrie’s father’s upcoming wedding, and Carrie’s own engagement. In contrast are the marriages of Angela’s cousins.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
My characters simply come to me. I do have some favourite ones–like Evelyn Havers, the library ghost. Evelyn often helps Carrie solve mysteries. She lived in Clover Ridge for many years and knows many of the residents. Also, being older—forever in her mid-sixties–she occasionally offers Carrie advice. Yet, Evelyn is often mysterious, refusing to tell Carrie about her life when she’s not at the library. Or holding back information when one of her relatives just might be the murderer.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
While the library and the town of Clover Ridge are inventions of my mind, I have specific places in mind when I write about them.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
I find I’m always doing research, be it on wedding protocol, selecting a menu for an event or learning about various criminal activities. I do most of my research online. If I’m dealing with a profession I don’t know too much about, I will seek out a person in that field to learn about it.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
The scene where Carrie spies on the murderer is a fun scene, and the final scene is rather touching. While each book in the Haunted Library series can be read as a standalone, readers who start with DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, will see how much Carrie has grown and changed over the course of the five books.
Thank you for answering my questions, Allison, and good luck with Death on the Shelf, your latest novel in the Haunted Library Mystery series.
The book is available on at the following retailers:
About Allison Brook: Allison Brook is a penname of Marilyn Levinson. Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.
Her juvenile novel, Rufus and Magic Run Amok, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. And Don’t Bring Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards.
Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.