It's been two years since her fiancé's death. Amy Abel needs to start over. What better way for a shy, risk-averse woman to start than to sink all her savings into a travel agency specializing in adventure? Her first project is a mystery road rally through the European countryside. At the starting line in Monte Carlo, Amy finds herself attracted to Marcus Alvarez, the most mysterious of her two dozen game-loving clients. But the rally gets off to a rocky start when an eccentric writer, the only person who knows the game's solution, is himself murdered back in New York. Who would kill a harmless mystery geek, and why are weird accidents beginning to happen along the way? To her horror, Amy discovers that this fictional mystery was based on a real, unsolved case, one that Marcus knows too much about. Now she has no choice but to join forces with Fanny, her domineering mother, and solve this on her own, before the killer strikes again.
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 337 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: E-book & Paperback
Publication Date: May 29th 2012 by Seven Realms Publishing
This is the second book that I've had the opportunity to read and review for Premier Virtual Author Book Tours and for the author Hy Conrad and just like the previous book I read by him I found Rally 'Round the Corpse to be a delightful read.
This novel centers around Amy Abel, her mother Franny, their travel business and of course a murder. I really liked the fact that Amy and her mother started their own travel business with a unique twist. Relying on the whims of the wealthy the pair have set up mystery tours where the guests must solve the mystery in question except in this case things don't go the way the mother and daughter team expected.
I loved all the characters in the book (even the bad guys) and the dialogue was bang on. It was as if I were hearing actual people talking. The dialogue was easy flowing, hilarious and one of my favourite things about the book other than the plot that is. I thought the plot was an interesting one and one that I haven't seen before which is fantastic for me since I love seeing new themes being represented in novels because I'm rather sick of seeing the same things repeated in a multitude of books that it is completely refreshing to find something new.
The writing was fantastic and kept me glued to the pages. I got completely caught up in the story and with it's characters as well as completely sucking me into the mystery aspect of the novel. I loved the way that Hy Conrad was able to create such an awesome cozy mystery that I was able to spend an afternoon reading and I had no idea how the story was going to end until I reached the finish line and boy was I a little more than surprised let me tell you. The book was written with a lot of twists and turns and a lot of humour and I found myself laughing often while I read the Rally 'Round the Corpse and am so glad I had a chance to review it for this blog tour.
Overall, the author wrote a wonderful cozy mystery that I highly recommend to everyone. If you're a fan of the genre I really hope you'll check this one out and if you're not familiar with the genre this is the perfect place to start. I hope that this will turn into a series and that this isn't the last I've heard of the Abel women.
*I received a free copy in exchange for my free and honest review. I was not compensated in any way and all thoughts and opinions expressed therein are my own.
Really Liked It!
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Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk. He worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer, and received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of America for “Best TV Episode.”
In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old. His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.
Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages. Hy’s first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West in May 2012. And, in a different vein, he recently authored a humor book called Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know.
Hy splits his time among Key West, Vermont and New York City.
Author Q & A
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I guess I’m best known for my TV work. I was one of the original writers of the series “Monk” and wound up becoming the show’s Co-Executive Producer. From there I became head writer for the webisode series “Little Monk” and Consulting Producer on TV’s “White Collar.”
In the publishing world, I’ve written a dozen books of short mysteries published in thirteen languages around the world.
Most recently I was tapped to take over authoring the “Monk” novels, a successful series of mysteries based on the characters from the show. The first, “Mr. Monk Helps Himself”, will be out in hardcover in June.
Q: Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?
A: Starting as a teenager, I began working as a stage actor, performing on Broadway and in national tours. Then one summer, while doing summer stock, I wrote a play that found a niche Off-Broadway. Suddenly I wound up getting a lot more respect and more jobs. And from then on, I was a writer.
Q: What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
A: I love travel and history and dogs. So, I guess my dream job would be to travel back in time and take care of Marco Polo’s pooches.
Q: When did you decide to take that step that made you a published author?
A: I didn’t get my start in the traditional way. After my play closed, one of the backers asked if I had any ideas that would work on Laserdisc, an early, slightly more interactive version of a DVD. The result was the MysteryDisc, a solve-it-yourself mystery film with sixteen different endings.
After the MysteryDisc, people started tracking me down and offering me other mystery projects. I’ve always joked that my main talent lies in answering the phone and saying yes.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
A: Developing a relaxed style has always been a challenge. My early efforts all had time constraints and I had to squeeze a lot of plot into a small amount of screen time or number of pages. In one of my books of mini-mysteries, I limited myself to under 300 words per story, not including the solution.
I admire writers who can take their time, create long, meandering conversations and still keep the reader involved. I have to make a concerted effort to relax and trust myself more. It’s always a battle.
Q: Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your workday?
A: Writing is my full-time job. I start around 8 a.m. every day and try to write at least 1,000 words a day. That may not sound like a lot, but it includes whatever research and outlining I need to do. To put it in perspective, that’s a 90,000 book in three months
Q: If you had to sum “Rally 'Round the Corpse” in 30 words or less, what would you say?
A: It’s the first adventure featuring Amy Abel, a young travel agent, who leads high-end tours around the world and always has to deal with murder. And it’s funny.
Q: What inspired the idea behind your book?
A: One of the things I used to do for fun was to stage mystery parties for friends. Some of them were quite elaborate, taking a full day to solve. So the idea occurred to me. “Why doesn’t someone create a mystery tour, a combination mystery game and two-week vacation?” I’m not sure anyone has done it in real life, but at least I got to do it on paper.
Q: Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
A: I need to be alone, but not isolated. If I could, I would hire someone to sit in the next room and not say anything. Barring that, I like having a dog around, for a little companionship. And Pandora, tuned to New Agey noise.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge in writing “Rally 'Round the Corpse?”
A: When I started “Rally,” I didn’t realize how daunting this concept for a series would be. In every book, I have to establish Amy’s tour and all the guests on the tour. Then I have to place the murder in an exotic locale, and invent a reason for Amy to bring the investigation back to Greenwich Village, so that her mother Fanny can help out. That’s a lot of logistics.
In “Rally,” the story centers on a mystery road rally. In my upcoming book, “If I Die Before the Wake”, it focuses on a dying maid who wants her ashes scattered around the world by all her old employers. And I have no idea what to do for the one after that.
Q: Who are your favourite authors?
A: I’m a big fan of humor fiction writers like P.G. Wodehouse and E.F. Benson. Basically I just go for dead English guys with a lot of initials. Also H.G. Wells.
I would like to thank Hy Conrad for doing this little Q & A with me. It was a delight featuring you and your book on my blog today!