Ho-ho-ho with a dash of horrible: A new Portland Bookmobile murder mystery

     Friend Stevie Lennartson, a recent grad of Occidental College in Los Angeles, created the cover art for our latest mystery novel, as she has for the entire series.

HERE IT IS, THE IDES OF NOVEMBER already, and the tinsel and lights have been on sale at Fred Meyer for a solid six weeks, so it’s not too early to shamelessly promote our new Christmas-themed mystery novel.

Barbara and I, writing together under the pen name of B.B. Cantwell, took a little, um, seven-year hiatus after publishing our second book in the Portland Bookmobile Mysteries series inspired by her happy time as a bookmobile librarian for Multnomah County Library. In our last few years before retirement we just got kind of busy with other things.

It took a pandemic to get us back to mystery writing. Nothing better than a government-ordered quarantine to inspire a writer to hunker down like an oyster and grind out the literary pearls.

Barbara is the brilliant idea-person. I’m the guy who’s been a lifelong slave to deadlines and a keyboard. Together, we have fun with these stories. In librarian Hester Freelove McGarrigle and her main squeeze, Detective Nate Darrow of the Portland Police Bureau, we’ve created protagonists who are like imaginary friends, interacting in authentic Northwest settings. And yes, a pandemic is a perfect time for imaginary friends.

As you might guess from the theme, the series isn’t full of blood and guts, but thrives on quirky characters in an often quirky town (where we lived for 10 years, much of it on our sailboat, and where our daughter was born). The genre is “cozy mystery.” Yes, there are pet cats.

All that said, a Christmas-themed installment was a natural. As with the town of Cabot Cove from the TV series “Murder, She Wrote,” it can be hazardous to one’s health to hang around the Portland bookmobile. Even the season of ho-ho-ho can turn horrible. But this latest book, “Iced, with Sprinkles,” offers plenty of cozy moments, with elaborately decorated Christmas cookies, holiday story hours, parades of decorated yachts, and crusty old salts holding Yuletide potlucks in their Willamette River marina. Among other colorful characters, there’s a crusading newspaper columnist, a fanatical steelhead fisherman, and a couple of mad birders who don’t let winter stop them. Write what you know, you know?

Just remember, “iced” is another word for “murdered.”

“Iced, with Sprinkles” is available from Amazon as an e-book or a handsome paperback, just in time for gift giving — or to curl up with in front of a fire, preferably with a Christmas cookie (or two) and an eggnog with a slug of good rum. Ho-ho-ho.

P.S. Reviews from satisfied readers is what sells books on Amazon. We’d be delighted if you choose to post one.


3 thoughts on “Ho-ho-ho with a dash of horrible: A new Portland Bookmobile murder mystery

  1. So sorry, luv. Really truly sorry. But I must inform you that November 15th is not the ides of the month. If anything, that would be November 13, but there may in fact be no ides of November. The Roman calendar only had ides for those months that had 31 days in them.

    Otherwise… we are gladly reading out loud your latest mystery with gladness and suspense!


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