Retired Navy pilot Angel Warren’s new life awaits in Stonebridge, Pennsylvania, where she’s opening Shop ‘Round the World, her travel-inspired gift and novelty shop. A newly empty nester and longtime widow, she’s looking forward to leaving her flying career and its many life-or-death decisions behind and reconnecting with family and friends. Right now, Angel’s biggest challenge is getting the shop ready for its grand opening just weeks before Christmas.
Until she finds a dead body in the shop murdered with one of her specialty Santa figurines. Even worse, Angel’s fingerprints are on the “weapon,” and she’s a prime suspect. It doesn’t help that the deceased is an old friend who’s collected a long list of enemies as a cut-throat real estate agent. And then there’s the Stonebridge chief of police—and Angel’s high school BFF—who brings her in for questioning.
If Angel wants to clear her name before the Christmas rush, she’s going to need to do some sleuthing on her own—and with the help of her stressed-out parrot, Ralph.
Bestselling author Geri Krotow spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her debut cozy mystery, A SANTA STABBING:
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
The pets are characters, too. Ralph, the yellow nape Amazon parrot, is inspired by my own parrot who is 34 years old. Nate’s dog Mach is inspired by my Shiloh shepherd.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Stephen King because since I read Salem’s Lot in seventh grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and On Writing kept me on the path. Isabel Allende because she writes like a skilled painter. Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird) and Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) because if I don’t do the inside work, the story’s never going to make it on the page. Louise Penny because Three Pines validated my love of a fictional community that faces adversity time and time again.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Angel Warren, my retired Naval aviator, came to me, along with her BFF Stonebridge Police Detective Trinity Colson. Nate Silver, Angel’s love interest, was also one of my first “inklings” of the Shop ‘Round the World series.
Was there anything new you discovered or that surprised you as you wrote this book?
I was stunned at how easy it was to write a murder, and the villain. I’ve written many villains previously, but to have the killer a bonafide member of Angel’s community was startling to me in how personal it felt to all, not only the victim. This is a departure from my stories where military veterans fight a big organization like crime mobs.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
A sense of community, intelligent dialogue, the promise of the murder being solved followed by justice served.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
It’s my first 100% mystery genre book after writing 33 romances (mostly suspense). There’s a love interest, but the focus of the story is solving the murder. Getting the plot and red herrings right proved challenging. The greatest opportunity was writing so many characters that I’d love to have a cup of coffee or tea with.
What do you do when your dream goal—such as retiring back to your hometown and starting a small business—hits a speed bump in the form of a murder victim?
In Angel’s case, as a former Naval officer used to leading sailors into combat, she does the only thing she knows how to do. She dives in to find the killer, no matter the risk to herself.
Geri Krotow is the bestselling author of over 30 novels. A US Naval Academy graduate and Navy veteran, Geri’s strong heroines are reader favorites. A SANTA STABBING, Book 1 in the Shop ‘Round the World series, is Geri’s cozy mystery debut.
To learn more about Geri and her work, please visit her website.