I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.A Beeline to Murder on September 29, 2015
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From peacekeeper to beekeeper...
After an injury forced her to leave the police department, Abigail Mackenzie started a second career as a farmer. Raising chickens, harvesting honey from her bee colony, and growing heirloom vegetables on her farmette in the beautiful Bay Area town of Las Flores, Abby has embraced all the benefits of a peaceful life.
But when she attempts to deliver her trademark honey to local pastry chef Jean-Louis Bonheur and finds him dead in his shop, her old investigative instincts kick in. After the coroner rules the death a suicide, the chef’s handsome French-Canadian brother insists on hiring Abby to find out who really killed Jean-Louis.
With the patience of a farmer and the industriousness of a bee, Abby sorts through a swarm of suspects, including the chef’s landlord, his protégé, an eccentric homeless woman, loan sharks, and a brawny biker. But as she closes in on the truth, she’ll need more than her beekeeper suit to protect her from a killer’s sting…
Includes farming tips and delicious recipes!
Hi Meera! Welcome to Brooke Blogs! Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions.
1) What does your writing area look like?
My house is small, with only 1,100 square feet. My writing area is the size of a closet with a built-in desk under a large window that faces out over my rose garden. I gaze on the flowers when my mind is noodling through some conundrum in my story. A built-in floor-to-ceiling bookcase on my left houses my collection of older mystery novels–those by Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Ruth Rendell, and others. A large framed picture of Virginia Woolf in profile hangs above my desk to remind me that one needs a room of one’s own. On another wall is a 24×36-inch poster board of a crime I’m trying to solve for the book I’m currently writing. On that board are names and pictures cut from magazines that resemble my book’s characters. A grid of names along with columns for motive, means, and opportunity is drawn on the board as well as a bubble chart for the victim. It’s the messiest spot in my office but immensely important. My personal computer and large screen are vital to job, but that poster board is something I study throughout the day.
2) What was your inspiration for writing A Beeline to Murder?
Some of my writer friends and I decided to take the challenge of writing a novel in a month. You have to come up with an idea and start writing like crazy. I have family in law enforcement and my daughter worked as CSI in a small town police department. I heard many stories and have a few of my own, having worked as a respiratory therapist on the cardiac arrest team for large county hospital. I started writing about things I knew–my life on the farmette and keeping bees. What emerged was A Beeline to Murder.
3) Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I can sit at the computer all day if I’m “in the flow” as the late Madeleine L’Engle called it. She also noted that inspiration comes during the work not before it. I frequently take five-minute breaks to walk out into my garden where cogitate on some problem in the story, some twist or another, or linkage that might be made. All the while I”m thinking, I’ll snack off my fruit trees or from the strawberry beds.
4) What is your favorite part of being an author? What is your least favorite part?
I know if I bore myself, I bore the reader, so I try very hard not to writing boring material. And the incredible thing about writing a story is the way your creative brain constantly works to make associations, draw upon memory, connect the dots, and even deliver dreams that have relevance to the story. It’s the power of discovery. You may not have consciously conceived it, but those exciting breakthroughs emerge when you keep pushing the story forward; when you keep tapping away at the keys.
My least favorite part of being an author is having to get up and tell the chickens to stop making such a racket when I’m trying to think. If they want a snack (I know I’ve spoiled them), they’ll jump up into my window box and really annoy me. That breaks into my thoughts and can stop my work.
5) What do you like to do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I love walking in my garden, inspecting it, plucking off leaves that are dried, dead, or infected from my plants. I might water a plant or refill the bee fountain–honeybees need a lot of fresh water every day so I make certain the fountain is full. I love watching my bees foraging on the French perfume lavender around my the property. I also love watching the wildlife that comes–foxes, raccoons, and opossums at night; songbirds during the day.
6) What would you be doing if you weren’t an author?
I’d be writing for sure even if I didn’t sell my books. I already keep a blog about the farmette–it has over a half million hits–and another one on my author’s website where I share insights about the writing process. I keep a dream journal, a beekeeping journal, and a note file of ideas for stories I’d like to write.
7) Have you read any good books lately? Please share a recommended book or author.
Yes, I read both fiction and nonfiction. I don’t necessarily read the latest books that are released or those on the best-seller lists. Sometimes, I’ll read a book that I read and loved long ago. That said, I recently read The Orchard, by Theresa Weir. It’s been cast as a memoir. The milieu for the story is the American heartland. I grew up in rural Missouri, so that book about farming and apples really resonated with my experience. I love the cozies of Joanne Fluke and recently read again The Blackberry Pie Murder.
8) What are you working on right now?
I am currently writing the third novel in my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries. It carries forward the farmette milieu and the life of Abigail Mackenzie as she tries to a go of the place that often gets the better of her. The murder involves the scion of a local winery land owner–a man whose uncontrolled passions in the small town of Las Flores may have got him killed.
Any final words for my readers?
A writer’s spirit is buoyed when a reader writes a great review or sends a note saying how much she or he loved the book.Writing is immensely enjoyable but also challenging work. The key word there being “work.” Stories never come perfect. There’s a lot of work involved in rewriting, massaging, polishing, and tweaking the prose until it sings. If you love a particular writer, support her by buying her books, giving them as birthday or holiday gifts, and sharing your enthusiasm for the stories you love. You’ll be contributing the success and staying power of that writer.
Thank you again for allowing me to interview you for Brooke Blogs. Good luck with the release of A Beeline to Murder!
A Beeline to Murder by Meera Lester is the first book in the new Henny Penny Farmette cozy mystery series. I am so happy I had the opportunity to read and review this one. It was a real treat.
Lester gives us a very likable character in Abby. She just seems like the type of girl you would love to have as a friend. Abby is smart, resourceful and determined. As an ex-cop, her ‘amateur’ sleuthing has a better trained eye than some sleuths. The author has set up a great backstory for this series and I loved the setting and the quirky characters. The mystery kept me guessing through the end. A Beeline to Murder by Meera Lester was enjoyable from beginning to end. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.