I received an electronic version of the book to facilitate a fair and honest review. No compensation was received.
The Eggstone Murders by Herbert L. Smith
A Starfire Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: July 13, 2013
Number of Pages: 218
A thick-headed sheriff, a young, unsure, wannabe detective, and a savvy older criminal-turned- investigator, are only the beginning of the cast of characters included in this story of small-town life in southwestern Iowa, set in 1953. Meet them on the streets of Hillville, at the town square, or at a big-business farm nearby. They all have a story to tell, and some of them have a few things to hide. Others have quite a few.
Enjoy the storms, the intrigues, and the mid-western hospitality –including the wonderful food – of Hillville, Iowa, as its down-to-earth folk work their way through the dailyness of their quiet lives.
There are the murders, of course, which cause dismay, but the con-man turned detective, Guy, is able to resolve them, after a few hard bumps, and the guilty are punished – or, as is sometimes Guy’s choice, forgiven.
As a whole, it’s a pleasant outing on an Iowa summer’s day.
The Eggstone Murders by Herbert L. Smith is a a wonderfully quirky cozy. I’ll admit…when it first began, I was a little skeptical about whether I would like it or not. But I did end up really enjoying it! I felt that the characters and the mystery pulled together well. The setting was incredibly descriptive and made Hillville, Iowa feel real to me, as if I’d been there. Herb has a unique writing ability and I had fun reading my first Starfire Mystery.
Welcome, Herb! I’m delighted to host you here at Brooke Blogs. Thank you for answering my interview questions. 🙂
1. How long did it take you to write The Eggstone Murders?
It took only a short time to write The Eggstone Murders, compared to the time it took to write some of the other books I have worked on in the past ten years.
I worked on ‘Eggstone’ for about three months, writing most of it in the first two. It was a short, intense time of writing, but I loved doing it all. I was amazed with the number of new ideas that developed during the writing days, and found that the book was actually cohesive at the end of the writing. After those three months I stared editing, which normally takes a longer time. That lasted another three months. Only then was it ready to go to my editor, who returned it to me with lots of red marks all over the pages. So it was back to the computer to enter the changes I wanted to make. (My editor is sometimes frustrated because I won’t change some of the things she thinks I need to!)
What you read in the book today is the product of all that activity.
2. Describe your favorite place to write.
A place to write. My desk is actually a large dining table in an alcove of my bedroom. It’s surrounded by overflowing bookshelves, and my entire computer – with a printer – sits on top of the ‘desk.’ There are file boxes and some items of long-term residence under the table. I can’t get down there anymore. (An accident several years ago has limited my ability to reach the floor.) It needs attention, I know, but who and how and when is a problem. Anyway, I try to keep the desk fairly clear on top – but it never is. And it’s dusty around the edges and I don’t apologize for that!
3. How much time do you spend writing?
Writing time. I like to write late at night. The house is quiet and I can think! I do research during the day, and practice the piano, and read, and go places and do errands. I spend about three hours on an average writing – from about 10 pm until 1 or 2 am. Then I sleep if I can, but often I don’t sleep well until after 5 in the morning. My physical difficulties are greatest then, I guess, and my digestion as well as chronic painful bones keeps me awake. Not to complain! I do nap a little in the late afternoon, and my wife and I enjoy a daily game of Scrabble after dinner. (We’re very evenly matched!)
4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I think I’ve covered it pretty well above, except to say that I do take a few weeks off between books and let the next project jell in my head until it wants – begs – to be written down. And I have other things to do as well. I tutor a student or two – education has been my life-long work, and I work on the piano (as does Guy, my character) and I volunteer as a musician at a local hospital once a week. There’s a fine grand piano in the lobby, which I love to play.
5. Describe your favorite meal, from appetizer through dessert.
My favorite meal. Hmmmmm – two answers. The best thing I ever tasted was in a tiny hole in the wall café in Doha, Qatar. As far as I know, the place had no name, but it served the best chicken korma I’ve ever eaten! When I lived there I’d go once or twice a week.
The other meal would have to be at home. My wife ‘cooks up a storm’ and makes the finest and tastiest things on a regular basis. Her soups are probably my favorite – clam chowder and other seafood – chicken stew – and so many others I can’t begin to recall. Tonight for dinner she made chicken cordon bleu ( baked chicken breast wrapped around some cheese and a little garlic with a small slice of deli ham) and served it with cheesy potatoes – like escalloped only not as rich – and a zucchini and tomato dish. And a yogurt cake with caramelized apples for dessert. It’s no wonder I write about food!
6. Do you have any pets?
Pets. I must write a little about Katsu. She came to me while lived in California, a thin little waif of a manx cat who hid in the bushes around our front garden until I started feeding her.
She had her own personality and idiosyncratic ways, like swatting at me whenever I got too close at first. We finally bonded and she came into the house and was an indoor – outdoor cat who loved to climb up to the roof and come leaping from the edge onto the patio wall and on down to the floor when I came home from school every day.
She moved with us to Oregon in 2004, after she’d adopted us three years before that. She wasn’t young – about seven the vet said – but made the trip very well. She enjoyed her life in Oregon although she was a house cat from that time on. The streets around us were too busy to let het our on her own.
After four years she got old and weak and eventually had to be put to sleep. For a very long time after that I would go into a room and think I saw her just scooting around a corner. I still miss her.
We took her ashes – yes, she was cremated – and spread them along the banks of the river in a county park. Whenever I go there, I look for her to come bounding across the meadow.
About the Author
Herb Smith was born and raised in ‘Hillville,’ Iowa, a town situated close to Omaha, across the mighty Missouri River and a few miles south. He lived there until he was a young adult, and gradually made his way out into the rest of the world from that unique beginning.
He has lived and worked on four continents and many different countries, and has crisscrossed the Atlantic more times than he wants to remember. (The trip was fun for the first few times. After that it was more painful.)
His books include: Cairo, The Mother Of The World, Crossing Borders, The Great Sphinx Of Amun-Ra, Songs Of Saints And Angels, The Names Of The Days – A Novel Of Egypt’s 2011 Revolution, and other, as-yet-unpublished, Starfire Mystery stories.
He is a musician and composer, teacher, and reader. All those things add up to a lifetime of books, music, and looking into a computer screen.
He and his wife, Glenda, live in Eugene, Oregon, where they retired several years ago.
Herb has generously offered an ebook of The Eggstone Murders to one lucky Brooke Blogs reader! Just fill out the Giveaway Tools widget below for your chance to win. The first entry is easy! 😉