To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the seventeenth, is of historical mystery novelist and forthcoming interviewee (no.183) Marilyn ‘M.E.’ Kemp. You can read the others here.
M. E. Kemp’s roots go back to Salem, 1636, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Not long by British standards but unusual by American standards. Her father’s love of American history influenced Kemp’s belief that American history is just as bloody and colorful as medieval Great Britain, so it seemed natural to feature two nosy Boston Puritans as detectives in her historical mysteries. Boston still retains a 17th century feel with its narrow streets, its back alleys and its open Common land. Kemp lives in a Victorian cottage in Saratoga Springs, NY where she takes the famous waters and frequents the even more famous racetrack. Her new book, Death of a Cape Cod Cavalier, is due out soon.
And now from the author herself:
I write a historical mystery series with two nosy ‘detectives’. Hetty Henry is a widow with connections to high and low society. Increase “Creasy” Cotton, a young minister, is trained to ferret out guilty secrets of the human soul. As Puritans they have a right to be nosy, to make sure their neighbors are acting in a Godly manner, although they are requested by community leaders to undertake these investigations into murder.
DEATH OF A CAPE COD CAVALIER – when the popular Charlie Pierce, who escorts women to parties while the husbands are out fishing, is found floating in the Bay with a knife in his back, Hetty is requested to solve the murder. The generous Charlie helps fishermen in need, so they are not jealous; the women insist Charlie was a gentleman at all times. Hetty suspects a local merchant but he has an alibi. While Creasy is used as bait in a trap that backfires, Hetty finds herself drawn to her best friend’s fiance, whom she has rescued from a terrible death devised by the killer. Hetty herself stumbles across the killer and is threatened with a watery grave.
DEATH OF A DANCING MASTER – when Boston’s dancing master is found with a fencing foil through his gut there are many suspects: magistrates who harassed him with fines, ministers who preached against him, angry husbands and jealous women who are conquests of the amorous dance master. With Creasy susceptible to a pretty face, which lady ends up dead, Hetty questions the wives herself and finally traps the killer in a cemetery at midnight by posing as a black-mailer.
DEATH OF A BAWDY BELLE – when an extra body is found upon the Salem Gallows where the witches are being hung, Hetty and Creasy are sent to discover more about the dead lady, the ex-mistress of the colony’s Royal Secretary, which knowledge puts Hetty in hot water in more ways than one. First she is anonymously accused of being a witch, a serious charge in 1692 Salem, second she is tied to a wharf with incoming tides. She is saved by two youngsters with quick minds, whom she recruited as junior spies.
DEATH OF A DUTCH UNCLE – Hetty and Creasy make a trip to the Albany colony when the Albany Patroon’s nephew drops dead on Boston Common. No-one in Boston knows the man. Hetty and Creasy discover that the Dutch have curious customs in food, dress and drink, one of which includes the use of poison in a bottle of brandy. Which of the friendly Dutch people is capable of such a deed? Hetty is further confused by land fraud and by a handsome Mohawk who rescues her from kidnapping.
MURDER, MATHER AND MAYHEM – Young minister Creasy Cotton meets wealthy widow Hetty Henry, who pushes her way into the investigation of the deaths of five Bay Colony ministers. Four are from natural causes but the fifth is murder. Voodoo, attempted rape and charges of witchcraft against an old woman prove to be blocks on the path to uncovering a killer, who meets a gruesome death in the marshes as punishment for his crime.
You can find more about Marilyn and her work via…
Her website www.mekempmysteries.com where she has a ‘webmaster’ who helped her design it and who runs it for her and, Marilyn says, “she’s worth every penny”.
I hadn’t realised you’d written so many books, thank you Marilyn.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with children’s fantasy novelist Peter Flynn – the one hundred and forty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks here.