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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

ℚ Death in the Great Dismal: Will Rees Mysteries [9] - Eleanor Kuhns

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with returning author to talk about Death in the Great Dismal (, Severn House Publishers, 224 pages), a Historical Mystery, book nine in the Will Rees Mysteries series.

"The strength of Kuhn's fiction is the setting of each novel and her attention to detail." ~ Amazon Top 1000 reviewer and Vine Voice 

"Kuhn has a deft touch and can provide background information without being heavy-handed. [...] what really makes this novel a gripping read is its presentation of the tensions of life in the slave-owning south." ~ Amazon reviewer

A very warm welcome back to Eleanor Kuhns; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What What compelled you to write this particular story, Death in the Great Dismal?

"I was speaking at the Suffolk Mystery Conference in Virginia. Katie Kelley, the organizer, mentioned the Great Dismal Swamp nearby.  My husband and I went to see it.  What an amazing place.  One of the stops is a memorial to all the escaped slaves who took refuge in the swamp, some living there for the rest of their lives, setting up homes and raising children.  I knew I had to write about it."
Eleanor Kuhns at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival (SMAF) in 2018
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I have tried to establish my protagonist as an essential fair individual who solves crime for a sense that justice must be maintained.  So, I put him, a white man with all the privilege that suggests, in a situation where he is forced to see a fundamental injustice.  I would like to think I have some of that passion for justice."
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?
"I was gobsmacked by the Swamp.  What a fascinating, wild and inhospitable environment."
The Great Dismal Swamp, Suffolk, VA
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Death in the Great Dismal - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Severn House has a graphics department. This cover, with the looming menace of the swamp, was an immediate hit with me."
Why should we read Death in the Great Dismal and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"There are many historical mysteries set in Victorian times, medieval times, and all the wars.  But I am the only one I know who writes about this time period, with a middle class craftsman as a detective.  The fact that I usually set the mysteries with the Shakers is icing on the cake."
Can you tell us something quirky about Death in the Great Dismal, its story and characters?
"Sandy Sechrest, one of the characters, is named for a woman who won it in a raffle."
Who would you recommend Death in the Great Dismal to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"It is pretty PG, no bad language or graphic scenes. But it is a mystery so there are descriptions of murders."
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"Time.  There always are a million interruptions."
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
"These responses happened recently, for Death in the Great Dismal.  A reader told me it was the best book I’d written and it was wonderful.  For the same book, several of the journals (Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus) criticized the setting as being ‘smothering.’  Usually I am fairly thick skinned but these really stung."
What is in store next?
"Rees and Lydia return to Maine in the next book, Murder on Principle.  Unfortunately, they are pursued by slave takers searching for the fugitives Rees rescued.

After that, I think I will send the pair to Boston to deal with Lydia’s family.  I’ve had requests to write more about her and her background."
And finally, last time Eleanor introduced us to her lovely dog, Shelby; so here they are again!
Eleanor, thank you again for joining us today.  We hope you are having a great tour!

Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them.

Death in the Great Dismal
Available NOW!

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1 comment:

CMash said...

This swamp sounds both interesting and chilling which I now want to know more about.