Monday, March 1, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - Related By Murder: A McLaren Mystery by Jo A. Hiestand

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Related By Murder by Jo A. Hiestand. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a very interesting guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Related By Murder: A McLaren Mystery
Author: Jo A. Hiestand
Publication Date: February 19th 2021
Print Length: 366 pages
Genre: British Mystery
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From the moment ex-police detective Michael McLaren arrives at his friend’s house, he’s plunged into a nightmare of a case. Two men, hanged a year apart, each killed on a Good Friday. A barrister. A solicitor. Related careers. Related by murder. Related motives?

Pottery shards, a torn newspaper article, and biscuits are found in each man’s pocket. What do they signify? And the blackmail letters Melanie receives… Are they related to the murders, or are they separate, terrifying in their own way?

Professions, calendar date, McLaren’s attack. Could it all be entwined? Or is the motive for murder something else, something so secret that keeping it is worth attempting a third one?

**The eBook is on sale for only $0.99!**

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EXCERPT:
“I’ve an idea. Would you like to come visit? Would that settle you? I would’ve asked sooner, but I thought perhaps you were investigating another cold case.”

“Nothing’s reared its ugly head, thank God, but the day’s young.”

Melanie laughed, and McLaren envisioned her dark blonde hair falling over her shoulder. “Well, then, I’m elected to nudge you out of your… I forgot what you call your bad mood.”

“My sister calls it my growlings. And I’m not in a bad mood. I just can’t focus on anything.”

“You’re still keyed up about your recent case. Just a second. I have to put the phone down.” During the conversational break, he could hear metal sliding along something hard, like a baking sheet skimming across a granite kitchen worktop. Little scrapes, like an aluminum spatula scooting biscuits or scones off the sheet, convinced him he’d interrupted her work and he needed to let her get on with her day. He had just persuaded himself to tell her goodbye when her voice was back at his ear. “You need a break, Mike. Something different from your usual schedule. Why don’t you drive up here? May is shining in its colorful glory at the moment. My housekeeping’s not too shabby, either.” She seemed to add the last sentence as a joke, for her voice rose in an air of teasing.

“I didn’t ring you up to wheedle a trip, Melanie. I thought a chat would do me good.” And I wanted to hear your voice, he nearly added, but didn’t.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I grew up reading Dumas, Twain, duMaurier, Dickens and the Brontes. I loved the atmosphere of those books. Add the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce movies and the moods of 1940s/50s movies like Brief Encounter, Night Must Fall, and The Thirty-Nine Steps, and I knew I wanted to write mysteries, and the books had to be set in Britain. That was a must even though I knew only what I’d seen in the movies and read in the novels. But the British pull was tenacious. Three years ago I discovered that I have literally centuries and centuries of English, Scottish and Welsh ancestry. Do genes mean anything?

My first visit to England was during my college years and that cemented my joy of Things British. Since then, I’ve been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there for a year during my professional folksinging stint.

What do I write? Well, at the moment, I write two British mystery series: the McLaren Mysteries and the Peak District Mysteries. The McLaren novels feature ex-police detective Michael McLaren, who investigates cold case murders on his own. The Peak District books feature a different British custom/tradition that is the backbone of each book’s plot. These are a combo cozy/police procedural, and members of the Derbyshire Constabulary CID Murder team work these cases.

I combined my love of writing, mysteries, music, and board games by co-inventing a mystery-solving treasure-hunting game, P.I.R.A.T.E.S.

I founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the international mystery writers/readers organization Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president.

In 2001, I graduated from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. I live in the St. Louis, MO area with my cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts.
 
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GUEST POST:
- If you could solve any true life mystery, which would you pick and why?

This is an interesting topic to me. I have several that I’d like solved, but I’ll choose one of my top two favorites: the Shakespeare Authorship question.

William Shakspere (that’s one spelling of the Stratford-upon-Avon man’s surname), the Warwickshire person who history has declared wrote the Shakespeare works, never went to school, as did other similarly-aged boys in his village. At least, there is no record of his attendance. Ever. He was never admitted to Elizabeth I’s court, he never was a lawyer or studied law, he didn’t speak any language other than English, he never went to sea or visited a foreign country. Yet his plays are filled with the ‘behind the curtains’ events of court and its intrigue. Many plays take place in Italy, with distances so accurate only a person traveling those routes would know. Law terms are found quite often in his writings, as well. How does an uneducated man who never went to university, let alone grammar school, know all this?

Possible identity of the true author of ‘Shakespeare’ writings have been put forward for hundreds of years. Queen Elizabeth I, Cervantes, Daniel Defoe, Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Hathaway, Mary Queen of Scots, and a group of Jesuits are among the nearly one hundred candidates.

Ben Jonson (English playwright and poet, 1572-1637) is usually regarded as the second most important dramatist in England, and best known for his humor and satirical plays. Francis Bacon (Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England) was touted as a likely Shakespeare. As was Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, (1561 – 1642) was an English nobleman and politician. Even Mary Sydney (Countess of Pembroke, 1561-1621) has been suggested since she would know about court, and many of the works have a woman’s viewpoint or at least show the emotional depth of women—a rarity in the sixteenth century for a ‘male’ author. Could any of these people be Shakespeare?

Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford, 1550-1604) holds my vote for writing the plays and sonnets. He was educated at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, was of the nobility and attended Elizabeth I’s court. He traveled extensively in Europe, especially Italy, which figures into several Shakespeare plays. He was a royal ward on the death of his father and was reared in the household of William Cecily (Lord Burghley, adviser to Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign). As such, de Vere would learn not only about court but also the workings of Renaissance statecraft, diplomacy and politics—again, all of which feature in the plays. Cecil’s advice to his son is echoed by the character Polonius in the play Hamlet. De Vere could certainly have known Cecil’s dictates and could have added them to the scene.

So why, apart from the problems listed in the first paragraph, is William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon an unlikely author? He owned no books that anyone has ever mentioned or seen. Of his three known extant autographs, he spelled his surname three different ways and the handwriting is different in each one. In his will, there is no mention of bequeathing books or plays or shares in his acting company to anyone. His wife and daughter were illiterate—wouldn’t a famous author make sure his child could read and write? On his bust in the Stratford-upon-Avon church, where he is buried, there is no mention of him being a playwright or poet or author. When he died there was no nationwide outpouring of grief on the passing of a great author, although there was for Ben Jonson, who was largely regarded as a lesser playwright than Shakespeare. Nothing was mentioned in Stratford-upon-Avon of Shakspere‘s playwright occupation, despite him supposedly being a celebrity. He just returned from London (where he was an actor) with no hoopla or acknowledgement.

Why is there a controversy in the first place? We know the plays that Ben Jonson wrote; we know what Christopher Marlowe wrote. Didn’t Shakespeare sign his work? Well, no, he didn’t. Which adds weight to the theory that the author was of the nobility. You have to remember that playwriting was considered something a gentleman (or gentlewoman) wouldn’t do. Think of some occupation or hobby today that has social taboos on it and you’ll understand the sixteenth century mindset. Writers either published/produced their work under a pen name or assigned it to Anonymous. If Shakspere had written the plays and kept them within a small, private circle of friends, he might have signed his work. And his friends would surely know he was the author. But the plays were performed in public. A nobleman didn’t acknowledge authorship of such things.

Which brings up the other point. Several playwrights of the time were either jailed, tortured or fined due to things they’d written criticizing the monarchy. Yet, Edward de Vere was never hauled into jail, never fined, never threatened (ex: the play Richard II). I believe this was because Elizabeth I knew de Vere was the author and didn’t want him exposed to public shame. It would hurt the nobility and, in turn, her crown.

I find this entire Shakspere/Shakespeare authorship question interesting and I’d like to know who produced the work. I think it’s important to know the truth about history, who did things and what happened. It’s important not only for our understanding but also because the genius who wrote “Shakespeare” should get recognition for his/her magnificent works. A simple case of fairness. I doubt if it will ever be irrefutably solved: there are no witnesses to question, no diary entry that states ‘Today I finished writing Hamlet and celebrated with a glass of wine and a custard tart.’ But logic—at least to me—solves this true life mystery. Education and life experience speak from the tomes and give a wink to Edward de Vere.
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GIVEAWAY:
Jo A. Hiestand will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

71 comments:

  1. Good morning! Thank you for hosting my book today -- I appreciate it!

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    1. Hi Jo! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great week. <3

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  2. Congratulations on the book. Sounds very good.

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    1. Hi, Peg42. Thanks for stopping by and good luck on the raffle.

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  3. congrats on the release, this sounds really interesting

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    1. Wendy, thanks so much for your nice comment. I appreciate it!

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    1. Hi, Rita. Thank you! Hope you like it if you read it!

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  5. I like the cover. It has very nice artwork.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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    1. Glad you like the cover, Ann. This is actually the third one I had...although the book is just release a week ago. I chose a bluish forest scene with a prominent tree, then changed my mind and chose small framed photos on a wall. But the photos weren't the right time period, they didn't match the story and I thought it might be confusing. So this is the cover now. I think it'll stay this way! ;-)

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    2. I hadn't thought of that before - I mean, how do you know if it's THE one?

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  6. Sounds like a great book. I like mysteries.

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    1. Hi, Susan. I hope you like my mystery if you read it. Thanks for commenting.

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  7. This sounds like a great page-turner. Congrats!

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    1. Debbie, thanks for your kind comment. Good luck with the raffle!

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  8. This sounds like a very good book.

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    1. Hi, Sherry. Thank you! I hope you like it if you read it!

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  9. The book sounds very intriguing. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate you stopping by and good luck with the raffle drawing!

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  10. This sounds like a book that would be a wonderful and enjoyable read!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  11. Hi, Nancy. Thanks a lot. If you read it, I hope you like it!

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  12. A good British mystery - wonderful!
    And I love the cover.
    Thank you for sharing the review.

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    1. Barbara, thanks for commenting. I like the cover too!

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  13. Hi, Victoria. Glad you stopped by. Good luck with the raffle drawing.

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    1. Thank you, Rajeeva. And thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

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  15. this looks like a great read

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  16. Molli, thanks so much for stopping by today. Good luck with the raffle drawing.

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  17. I'll sign off now. Thanks to everyone who visited All the Ups and Downs blog today and left a comment, and thank you to my host for spotlighting my book. I appreciate it!

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  18. Do you listen to music when you write?
    Thanks for the contest.

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  19. Really neat book, loved learning about it.

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  20. David HollingsworthMarch 2, 2021 at 2:04 AM

    This seems like a very interesting, and dark read.

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  21. I love a good mystery. This one seems there may be a serial killer or something else tying these together. Looking forward to reading.

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  22. I just ordered the book sounds like my type of read

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  23. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  24. Very interesting, though sounds difficult to relate the two unsolved murders.

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  25. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  26. You have Welsh ancestry? My Mum was Welsh (she didn't learn English till she was 10). A bit late but Happy St. David's Day!

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  27. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  28. Nothing like a Good Old Who-Done-it book!

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  29. Hope everyone's getting through the week without too much hassle!

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  30. Hello, Sounds like a very intriguing read! Thank you for the giveaway, and best of luck with the book.

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  31. I love a good mystery and this book sounds great to read.

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  32. This sounds like an exciting book that would really be a page turner!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  33. looks like a fun one

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  34. Good luck on the book, it looks great!

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  35. What gives you your book ideas?

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  36. LAST DAY
    Thanks for the contest.

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  37. Sounds like an interesting book. I would love to read this.

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  38. Congratulations on the book! Sounds great!

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  39. Looking forward to reading this

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  40. The book sounds fantastic and would love to read!

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  41. At last it's Saturday (in Ireland). Have a good weekend everyone!

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