Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Miranda James | An Antebellum Kind of Murder
Author Guest / October 2, 2017

I’m not entirely certain where my fascination with old houses – mansions, really – began. The house I grew up in was built for my parents and me, and I was about eighteen months old when we moved into it. Our house was small: two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, den, and living room with an attached carport. Nothing antebellum or mansion-like about it, but I loved growing up there. Most likely, the fascination started with Nancy Drew – the same way my love of mysteries did. Nancy’s adventures thrilled me, and several of them take place in old houses, some of them antebellum mansions. The Hidden Staircase, The Sign of the Twisted Candles, and The Secret in the Old Attic feature settings that fit the bill. (Three of my favorite books in the series, by the way!) Every old dwelling has secrets to tell, and Nancy always managed to winkle them out. I imagined what it would be like to live in a house that had multiple stories, features like turrets or secret rooms or hidden passages, and a long connection to the past. (I have always wanted a turret of my own but sadly I don’t think I’ll ever…

Miranda James | Miss Marple Hooked Me
Author Guest / October 14, 2014

I have always had a predilection for female amateur detectives, ever since I first discovered Nancy Drew over forty years ago with The Secret of Shadow Ranch. That was the first mystery I read, and when I graduated to adult mysteries, I discovered Agatha Christie and her spinster sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. I was hooked. As much as I have enjoyed Dame Agatha’s Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple is still my favorite. Perhaps the root of my preference lies in my upbringing. My mother had four sisters, all of whom I knew well growing up. Then there were my paternal grandmother and her sister, my three paternal great aunts, and of course my maternal grandmother. They were all strong Southern women with inquisitive minds, and I learned many an interesting tidbit about human foibles and misdeeds by playing quietly by myself in the corner while these ladies chatted. (Or gossiped, whichever you prefer.) Spinster detectives – or “little old ladies” as they are sometimes called, not necessarily affectionately – have been part of the mystery genre since 1897, when Anna Katherine Green introduced Miss Amelia Butterworth in That Affair Next Door. Miss Amelia established the essentials for the amateur spinster sleuth…