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As World War II rages in Europe and the Pacific, the small town of Progress is doing its part for the soldiers in the field with a war bond drive at the annual county fair. Town gossip Ava Dempsey rumors that Clark Gable will be among the participating stars. Instead of Gable, the headliner is Freddie Harrison, a B-movie star. When Freddie turns up dead in the dunk tank, Irene Ingram, editor-in-chief of The Progress Herald, starts chasing the real headline.

There are plenty of suspects and little evidence. Ava’s sister Angel, who was married to the dead actor, is the most obvious. The couple had argued about his affair with the young starlet Belinda Fox, and Angel was the last person to see Freddie alive.

Irene discovers there’s more than one person who might have wanted Freddie dead. As Irene draws on her well-honed reporter’s instincts to find the killer—nothing is what it seems in Progress, and now her own deadline could be right around the corner.

The Big Thrill caught up with author Joyce St. Anthony for a quick chat about her latest thriller, DEATH ON A DEADLINE, the second installment of her Homefront News mystery series:

Joyce St. Anthony

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

Actually it was all three! I wanted to write something set during WWII on the homefront. As soon as I started thinking about it, my main character Irene and the town of Progress popped into my head.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

I love mysteries, and I love the WWII era (they really did have the best clothes and music!). It was inevitable I’d combine the two.

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

I thought I knew a lot about the WWII era, but I was constantly surprised by something I turned up in my research. I knew that German U-boats had sunk a lot of ships, but I had no idea that over 200 ships were sunk off our coastline just between January and May of 1942.


Joyce St. Anthony was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. In addition to the Homefront News Mysteries, she is the author of the Brewing Trouble Mysteries and the upcoming Cider House Mysteries written under her own name, Joyce Tremel. She lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.