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Friday, 2 March 2018

ℚ♫ A Well-Timed Murder: Agnes Luthi Mysteries [2] - Tracee de Hahn

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about A Well-Timed Murder (, St. Martin’s Press / Minotaur Books, 347 pages), a Mystery, book two in the Agnes Luthi Mysteries series.

"A true page turner...I found the plot fascinating, and de Hahn builds the tension and suspense perfectly to a satisfying conclusion. I was left wanting to read more about Agnes, and I am looking forward to her next adventure!"—Charles Todd on Swiss Vendetta


|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || The Series || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to Tracee de Hahn; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in A Well-Timed Murder, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Here’s what I’m listening to now, a pretty typical mix for each book: Putting Out Fire / David Bowie from the Atomic Blonde soundtrack; I Will Wait / Mumford & Sons; Somebody That I Used to Know / Gotye; We Are Young /Fun; Babel / Mumford & Sons. Hallelujah / Leonard Cohen performed by k.d. lang.

Then there are albums I listen to in entirety: Arcade Fire Funeral, Adele 21 and 25, Amy Winehouse Back to Black, Coldplay Prospekt’s March and Viva la Vida. Soundtracks from the original musical productions of Les Miserables, Camelot, Man of La Mancha, Mamma Mia, and Fiddler on the Roof.

When I have to focus and drown out the world I listen to the soundtrack from King Arthur: Legend of the Sword from the motion picture, or when things get really serious, The Finest Chants of Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos."
What was the inspiration for A Well-Timed Murder?
"Watchmaking in Switzerland is both an influential industry and a secretive one. To me, it represents something quintessentially Swiss – taking raw materials from elsewhere and turning them into something precious and world class. When secrecy, prestige and lots of money come together a dead body can’t be far away."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"My books always reflect my background in architecture. I’m very interested in a sense of place, not a generic idea of a place but well drawn details that hopefully bring it to life and give authenticity.

The books also represent the influence that living for some time in Switzerland (my husband is from there) and elsewhere has had on me. For example, my protagonist Agnes Lüthi was born in Switzerland to American parents. This means that she sits in the tiny crevice between being completely Swiss and seeing the country as an outsider. This impacts her perception of that country and of herself."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for A Well-Timed Murder - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The fabulous folks at St. Martin’s Press / Minotaur Books created the concept for the series covers. I was thrilled with my first peek because the invoked the deep history of Switzerland and the importance of the landscape.

David Baldeosingh Rotstein is responsible for the specific design of both covers and he has done a marvelous job with continuity as well as originality! Pleasing an author who was trained as an architect can’t be easy. "

Why should we read A Well-Timed Murder and the Agnes Luthi Mysteries series? What makes your series unique?
"It is probably the only mystery series set in Switzerland, a fabulous country filled with geographic, cultural and linguistic differences. Also, I hope that readers will appreciate Agnes, a widow in her late 30s with three young children who wants to be a good parent and who also loves her job as a police inspector."
Basel, Switzerland
Can you tell us something quirky about A Well-Timed Murder, its story and characters?
"One of my husband’s childhood friends is Daniel Bardy and I gave his name to Agnes’s boss! So far the fictional Bardy (who is a legend in his field) has only appeared ‘off-screen’. Maybe he’ll show up in person one time and turn out to be a villain!

I’ve borrowed many names, usually swapping out different first and last names. Using the name of someone I know (and like) doesn’t guarantee that they will be on the side of good in the book."
Who would you recommend A Well-Timed Murder to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"A Well-Timed Murder is traditional mystery and readers across the board from cozy to suspense will enjoy it.

Readers who enjoy books set in foreign locals would take a particular liking to the series – as would anyone who has traveled to Switzerland in real life or as an arm chair traveler.

There isn’t any graphic violence or strong language so the appeal is broad."
If you could / wished to turn A Well-Timed Murder and the Agnes Luthi Mysteries series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I used to dread this question, then recently I saw Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane and realized that she would be perfect to play Agnes. Now technically they don’t resemble each other but that’s the role of hair and make-up artists and I think that Ms. Chastain is fantastic at bring a large spectrum of women to life. She could create Agnes’s complexity - a real life complexity – on screen.

For a team – can I have whoever facilitated the TV series Broadchurch?

And the locations would absolutely be shot in Switzerland! They might consider using the chalet at the Institut La Gruyere for the one at my fictional boarding school."

What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"So far I’ve been published as a mystery author, a genre I have a lifelong affinity for as a reader. Perhaps one day I will explore other genres, but I think I’d like to stay with writing series. I like the continuity of character and place.

As a reader, I do love mysteries, and shy away from the most violent thrillers. I also love historical fiction as well as non-fiction (my graduate work was in history). Of course, there are a range of classics that I return to over and over – Jane Austin and Tolstoy among others."
What is your writing process?
"I have a mental list of many places and topics I’d like to pursue in Switzerland. That’s where I start.

Once I make an initial decision – for this book ‘watches’ was the start – then I decide something about the victim. Who is he/she and what would be a method for the murder given the other factors (in this case the setting and the people involved).

From there I do research – visiting Baselworld for this book, and revisiting other places in Switzerland for details.

Afterwards, I have a bunch of ideas for ‘things that happen’ on notecards and I lay them out and play. Details get filled in as I think if that happens what happens next. Characters start to populate the book (does the victim need a spouse or other family? Business associates, best friends?).

The process isn’t a straight path but in the end it results in an outline – with more detail toward the first half – and I start writing.

If I’d had to give a short answer I’d say: Panic, then get to it."
What is in store next?
"I have plans for Agnes to travel to Paris in the next book, on the hunt for the killer of a famous chef."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Our Jack Russell terriers!

Alvaro is named for Pritzker Prize winning architect Alvaro Siza, while Laika is named for the terrier launched into space by the Russians in Sputnik (we don’t talk about the end of her story when the dogs are listening)."
  • Alvaro&LaikaInCalifornia copy
  • Tracee&Alvaro
  • Tracee&Laika
(Indeed... poor, little Laika...)
Hello Alvaro and Laika, you beautiful fur-babies! Lots of head-scratches and belly rubs to you both :-) BTW I loved the feature about you on Coffee with a Canine.

Tracee, thank you for sharing Alvaro and Laika with us!

A Well-Timed Murder
Available NOW!

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3 comments:

  1. "Watchmaking in Switzerland is both an influential industry and a secretive one". Oooh this has piqued my curiosity so putting this on my TBR list.

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  2. Alvaro and Laika were thrilled to see themselves on screen this morning! (And it was fun to visit Coffee with a Canine.....) Thanks for having me today!

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    1. Hello Tracee! Thank you for stopping by. It was a pleasure to host you and meet Alvaro and Laika. You really made me pine for Switzerland... (I come from northern Italy).

      Hope you are having a great tour!

      Flora

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