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Everyone’s favorite amateur sleuth, Philomela Nightingale, and her husband, Brent Lark, plan to move to the seaside town of Saltaire. Realtors show them many houses, trying to find one that suits their tastes, needs, and budget.

Occasionally, Philomela works in her sister’s ladies’ wear shop, and Procne appreciates the help, especially after two of her acquaintances are found strangled.

Brent does his utmost to keep Philomela from prying into the two murders, but when work requires him to go to Saskatchewan, she becomes entangled in saving the life of a potential third victim. Will she succeed or will she become a victim herself?

The Big Thrill sat down with author Benni Chisholm to learn more about her career as an author and her latest cozy mystery, SALTAIRE STRANGLER:

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Many books have influenced me, especially three mystery writers:

Agatha Christie, and the way she usually kept the bad stuff off the page.

Louise Penny, with her likeable chief inspector and his interesting friends in the Quebec town of Three Pines.

Gail Bowen, because she writes good stories located in a prairie city with which I was familiar.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

Yes. I was surprised at how important Procne and Selene were to this novel. They prove the view that cozies involve not only murder, but also family and friends.

Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?

I did not intentionally try to upend any genre convections.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

Gaining information on death by strangulation and dealings regarding the real estate business were minor challenges.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

A few hours of reading enjoyment that include matching wits with the author in discovering who-dun-it. If a reader gleans new items of interest that would be a bonus.

Do you write about murder because you have a dark side?

Probably, though I think it is very small. However, I do try to understand why a person commits a seemingly cruel and senseless murder. Even when I come up with an answer it is not always satisfactory.


Benni Chisholm grew up on the Canadian prairies, and, while a student earning a BSN, started writing light verse. She worked as a public health nurse, helped four wonderful children raise themselves, and saw the publication of a few poems, a biography, an anniversary booklet, a newsletter (eight years as editor), and several articles and short stories. Chisholm’s fondness for travel is apparent in her previous cozy mystery novels: Stained Sand, Odd Odyssey, and Showman or Shaman. She lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.


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