A Mind To Murder by Daniella Bernett
Journalist Emmeline Kirby and her jewel thief/insurance investigator husband Gregory Longdon can’t even enjoy a night at the theater. The evening’s peace is shattered when the ceiling collapses in the Upper Circle. In the ensuing chaos, Emmeline and Gregory discover tabloid reporter Verena Penrose, notorious for blackmail and salacious exposés, dead in her box. Verena leaves behind a cryptic message about the Raven, an assassin with ties to the Russians and ETA, the Basque separatist group.
But the layer upon layer of lies touch too close to home when Emmeline’s brother is implicated in the Raven’s schemes to infiltrate the London Diamond Bourse and to murder a prominent British official. To restore the family honor, Emmeline and Gregory race to Madrid only to walk into the Raven’s trap.
“Daniella Bernett combines the sophistication of James Bond, the romantic chemistry of the Thomas Crown Affair, and, with a villain who could give Moriarty a run for his money, the cunning of Sherlock Holmes… Nothing and no one is ever what they seem…The pacing is fast, with constant twists and an unraveling of clues that kept me turning pages.” -Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries
“Packed with suspense, action and drama…[these] books grab you from the first page and never let go until the last sentence on the last page. Daniella Bernett is a brilliant storyteller who seamlessly combines a thrilling and unpredictable plot, with humour and fabulous characters… Bernett never disappoints with her books, they seem to go from strength to strength.” -Bookliterati Book Reviews
“The story races along like a ride in a convertible on the cliffs near Monte Carlo—full of hairpin turns and shocking revelations.” -Tracy Grant, author of The Westminster Intrigue
“Danger, political machinations, murders…Ms. Bernett is an author whose storytelling draws you in… There is a depth to the characters… [With] shocks and revelations to the end, [her] books [leave] me wanting more. If you like international mysteries that transport you to various locations, give her books a try.” -Novels Alive
Daniella Bernett recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, A MIND TO MURDER.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
A story would be a gauzy wisp of cloud without the character. However, in all my books, setting plays a critical role in helping to propel the plot. It’s a delicate melding because my characters yearn for action, and a change of scene is the perfect way to keep things interesting. A place that has made an impression on me is a source of temptation since my imagination is perpetually seeking to unleash myriad perils. In a purely literary sense, of course.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
For me, thrillers and mysteries have always been about the puzzle. I want to know why the crime was committed and enjoy following the trail of clues (and red herrings) that the author has left behind. It’s human nature to yearn for an escape from the humdrum pattern that our everyday lives can fall into at some stage. I’ll share a secret with you. With the exception of a handful of occasions, I always figure out who is the murderer.
Secrets, lies, espionage, revenge, and betrayal are the themes that I return to again and again. I greedily sink my teeth into these motives because the possibilities can take the story down so many labyrinthine paths.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
All my books have many layers because I enjoy weaving several twists to entertain my readers. My biggest challenge in this book was ensuring that the disparate threads, i.e. an attempt to subvert London Diamond Bourse, Russian spies, and ETA, the Basque separatist group, blended into a cohesive story. At the same time, these issues yielded an opportunity to stretch my range as an author to find new ways to enhance the cocoon of intrigue and suspense.
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 wanted to explore how jealousy could distort one’s perception of right and wrong, thus justifying murder as a ruthless means of gaining power and money.
In terms of the transformation of crime fiction from hardboiled and noir, which came first: the changes on the page, or the changes in the writers behind the work?
In my opinion, the changes in the genre were an outgrowth of the writers spinning the tales. I think women, by nature, tend to listen. This makes them more sensitive to nuances. Listening is a tremendously important skill that can provide a great deal of insight into the human psyche. When one sits back and listens, one notices the minute details. An author, particularly one who writes crime fiction, must be observant to be able to leave a trail of clues mingled with a healthy smattering of red herrings to heighten the web of deception in the story.
Daniella Bernett is a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Mystery Writers of America. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me into Danger, Deadly Legacy, From Beyond the Grave, A Checkered Past, When Blood Runs Cold, Old Sins Never Die, and Viper’s Nest of Lies are the books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural, and construction management firm. Bernett is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure.
To learn more about the author, please visit her website.
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