My review of Judy Penz Sheluk’s Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery
By E. Michael Helms
Thirteen months after inheriting her father’s home with the strange caveat that she solve her mother’s thirty year old cold-case murder, Calamity “Callie” Barnstable has decided to put down roots in Marketville. Case finally solved, Callie’s quit her banking job in Toronto, leased her cozy condo to a former co-worker, hired her hunky new next door neighbor to renovate her unkempt inherited domicile, and—spurred on by the success of her first case—she’s opened her own PI business: Past & Present Investigations. As the name suggests, P&P’s specialty will be solving not only present-day cases, but also cold cases from the past that have been shelved and largely forgotten.
With plans to sell her refurbished inherited house, Callie sets up shop in a Victorian home/office located in a posh Marketville neighborhood. Chantelle Marchand, Callie’s best friend and avid genealogist, signs on as partner in P&P Investigations. To round out the team, two other friends, a psychic and an antique shopkeeper come aboard as consultants.
As luck (or fate?) would have it, P&P’s first case is eerily similar to the personal one Callie has recently solved. A woman is seeking clues to find out who might have murdered her great-grandmother—and why. Callie digs in, honing the newly acquired investigative skills she learned while revealing her mother’s murderer. Meanwhile, Chantelle scours passenger lists from ships of the early twentieth century, as well as newspaper accounts of the time and other documents that hold promise in uncovering needed evidence. The discovery of a couple of old faded photographs might also hold the key to help unlock this decades’ old mystery.
There are plenty of feints, dead-ends, and red herrings throughout to keep the reader guessing while turning pages. Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery is a delightful blend of the cerebral, the psychic, and good old down-to-earth sleuthing. The interesting cast of characters and satisfying conclusion will leave the reader wanting to revisit Marketville time and again.
5 out of 5 stars!
Let’s play 20 Questions (okay, 3 or 4):
Michael: Judy, thanks for joining us at my humble blog.
Judy: My pleasure, Michael. Thank you for featuring my latest book.
Michael: I understand the publication date of September 21 has a special meaning to you. Can you elaborate?
Judy: Thanks for asking. September 21 marks the second anniversary of death of my mother, Anneliese Penz, but it’s more than that. So much of this book is inspired by documents I found inside a train case she had tucked away at the back of her closet. Things like immigration papers, photographs, postcards…I’d never seen any of them, and when I began to trace her journey, I started writing the book. It was as if she was with me every step of the way.
Michael: Tarot plays a part in the first book in this series (Skeletons in the Attic) and again in Past & Present. Do you do tarot readings?
Judy: I own tarot cards…and a book on tarot…and I’ve done a ton of research, but it takes years to master. There’s another part of me that doesn’t necessarily want to know what’s going to happen. So I don’t actually read tarot, though when I’m writing and stuck, I might pick out a card and see if the message resonates.
Michael: I love the book cover for Past & Present. Did you design it?
Judy: Thank you, and no, although I worked collaboratively with Hunter Martin, who is a very talented graphic artist. I gave him a very rough sketch and he just took it from there. There was a lot of back and forth on colors, mood etc. At one time the cover was gold vs. blue-gray, and even though it looked good, it just didn’t feel right to me, and so we just kept trying different tones. I’m very happy with how it turned out.
And now, a bit about Past & Present: (Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…)
It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?
Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.
It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.
About the author: An Amazon International Bestselling Author, Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series, was published in July 2015, and is also available in audiobook. The sequel, A Hole In One, was published March 2018, with audiobook to follow Fall 2018.
Skeletons in the Attic, Judy’s second novel, and the first in her Marketville Mystery series, was first published in August 2016 and re-released in December 2017. It is also available in audiobook format. The sequel, Past & Present, will be released September 2018. Judy’s short crime and literary fiction appears in several collections.
Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors as a representative for Toronto/Southwestern Ontario.
Find out more about Judy at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com
Find Judy at other Social Media:
Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery #2
By Judy Penz Sheluk
Release Date: September 21, 2018 Print and Kindle
Pre-order Kindle on Amazon for special introductory price of $2.99 (reg. $5.99)
Buy link: http://authl.it/afj