It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.
When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed.
Vicky Delany recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest cozy mystery, DEADLY SUMMER NIGHTS:
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge was COVID! I wasn’t able to go to the Catskills to have a look around. I hope I managed to bluff my way out. The biggest opportunity was the historical research. What fascinating stuff.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
It’s just intended to be a fun cozy mystery.
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
Nope. This is a fairly traditional cozy, in a slightly unusual setting.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
I had to bluff most of my way through descriptions of the location and the scenery. I have driven through the Catskills but never stopped and looked around. I planned to visit and take copious photographs and notes, but COVID put an end to that.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Cozy writers such as Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinley for introducing me to fun, and funny, mysteries.
What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general? And, please answer the question too!
Q: What’s the best part of the writers’ life?
A: The friends I’ve made and the people I’ve met. And that’s the hardest part of this pandemic. Not getting out there on the road to talk about books.
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the US. She has written more than forty books—clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Catskill Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.
Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.