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Manhattan in Miniature by Margaret GraceBy Selena Robins

Gerry Porter provides magical experiences for his granddaughter Maddie when a SuperKrafts manager takes them to New York City for a huge crafts fair.

Gerry and his granddaughter get to work on both making miniatures and solving crimes, the detecting duo’s favorite pastimes. All this, plus Rockefeller Center and Radio City, too.

But a crafty murderer wants to make sure they don’t make it safely home again to California.

What draws you to the mystery genre?

The darkness. Even the coziest mystery has an element of the darker side of life. I write light, but I read dark. I can’t stay in the light too long.

Your book cover has a snow globe on it, which attracted me right away as I collect snow globes. Tell us the significance of the snow globe with relation to the plot and/or characters.

I love snow globes, also. Maddie, Gerry Porter’s eleven-year-old granddaughter, is obsessed with souvenirs of New York City. She’s given this special one by an NYPD detective.

That would be such a special gift for a child who loves the whimsical elements of a snow globe and especially one, portraying a magical city like New York.

What do you think readers will enjoy about the protagonist Gerry Porter?

Gerry is a miniaturist, specializing not in museum-quality pieces, but in “found objects”— turning toothpaste tube caps into lampshades, for example. Every book in the series has tips at the end for making minis.

I’m sure the reader will feel more connected to the characters and storyline because of the time you took to provide tips for making minis. For those who are not familiar with the world of craft fairs, what is a SuperKraft manager?

SuperKrafts is a fictional chain crafts store; Gerry’s friend Bebe manages the one in her town, and is thus invited to a big NYC show.

What did you most enjoy when creating Maddie, Gerry Porter’s granddaughter?

I gave her the childhood I never had— what fun is that?

That sounds like a lot of fun, living through a child’s eyes and experiences, providing an enriching experience for all readers so they too can escape into a childhood different from their own.

What is the most interesting tidbit you can share, regarding research for your books?

Recently, a male reader alerted me to the fact that I never have men miniaturists in the books. I’m fixing that in Book 9 (fall 2016), Matrimony in Miniature, in which a guy joins Gerry’s crafts group.

What is the hardest part when writing a mystery? Planting red herrings? Ensuring the reader doesn’t guess who the villain is?

Yes, all of that. To make things easier, I belong to several critique groups and have many beta readers—I count on them to keep me honest. In a cozy especially, convincing the reader that, yes, the lady who hems your skirts or runs the cupcake shop, will always rush to solve a murder.

That’s what I think make cozy mysteries so unique and fun to read. Placing ordinary people in extraordinary situations and watching them pull from their unique strengths and capabilities, and sleuthing to solve a crime.

What do you hope readers will come away with after reading MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE?

A greater appreciation of New York, my favorite city, a good time with people who are smart and interesting, and the satisfaction of justice served.

New York is one of my favorite places to visit as well, and it sounds like your offering in MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE will sweep readers into a world filled with an imaginative plot, interesting characters and twists and turns for a mystery, I’m sure readers will enjoy trying to solve.

Thank you for taking time for sharing your thoughts on writing MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE and sharing a few snippets from your novel.


margaretCamille Minichino (aka Margaret Grace and Jean Flowers) has written more than 20 mystery novels. A retired physicist, she’s married to her webmaster, loves writing, but misses her He-Ne laser.

To learn more about Camille, please visit her website.




Selena Robins
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