Murder Undetected by Roxanne Dunn Genre: Mystery, Suspense
The moment psychologist Brittany Ann Thornton thinks she has her life all dialed in, her perfect little family falls apart and the FBI seizes all her assets. Trouble follows her from Seattle to Paris to the south of France.
Viane Thibaudet, darling of a quaint hilltop town in Provence, has been getting away with murder. But when she attempts to poison her husband, Brittany steps up to stop her.
“The rumor flying around Chevalier is that you tried to blackmail Viane. I know you’re a little crazy.” Arielle winked. “But not that nuts.”
“Actually, I did.”
Arielle’s eyebrows shot up. “Seriously?”
“Seriously. I hoped if I could get hush money from her it would be tantamount to an admission of guilt, something I could take to the gendarmes.”
“That’s brilliant. So, now the whole town thinks you pushed her down the stairs because she refused to pay you.”
“They’re wrong. I didn’t push her. I kicked her.”
“Brittany Ann Thornton, where are your manners?”
Britt allowed herself a small smirk of satisfaction. “It’s okay. She pushed me first. After she drugged me with heroin and hit me with a ginormous frying pan. Then she was going to finish me off with a syringe full of nicotine.”
Murder Unrehearsed by Roxanne Dunn Genre: Mystery, Suspense
When aspiring young actress Heather Shelton jumps in the car with her dog, Bear, and flees to her family's mountain cabin to escape an untidy romance, all she wants is peace and time to study for auditions. What she gets is murder. The only witness of a savage killing—and squarely in the cross-hairs of a ruthless assassin—she is injured and left for dead.
Heather knows handsome men are bad news, but hottie lawman Matt McCrae's smile gets her every time, until he leaves her hanging out as bait to trap the killer. McCrae promises to protect her, but fails, and she faces the killer alone, with only Bear to help.
Matt stopped. His mouth hung open for a few beats. “What are you doing here?”
The darkest parts of me, those that I kept stuffed way down inside surged to the surface. My face burned with indignation. I was Kate the Shrew at her best. “How dare you! You and your pretty little Live Like King Tut fable. You kiss me and tell me you liked it. You say you are my biggest fan. You pretend to bare your soul. You think I can’t figure out what’s going on? All you want is for me to believe that you’re a good guy, so you can leave me hanging out for a pack of wolves. So I can end up as dead as Mariella. Well, damn you all to hell!”
Slick as spit, Matt reached out and took my hands. “It’s not like that.”
I wrenched away. “Keep away from me, you – you Judas!”
Recently, I ran into an old boyfriend “You’re looking good,” he said, pulling me in for a hug.
I started to smile and say “thanks.”
“… for an old broad.”
Ah, well, being an old broad isn’t all that bad. Instead of rushing off to work each morning, I take my coffee out to my flower garden and plot.
Right now, I’m working on my third novel. Chloe Eugenie Duval finances her Paris apartment and extravagant lifestyle by picking up diamonds and other baubles left lying around by careless owners. I won’t be surprised if a body turns up soon.
When not writing, I’m trying to help save the endangered Pacific Northwest killer whales. And I cook, clean, garden, do yoga, text my grandchildren, update my website, phone my aunts, teach my husband how to make pie crust, and make sure I have clean underwear. My life is rich and full.
To quote essayist John Burroughs, “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, and all the friends I want to see.”
What are you passionate about right now?
I want to tell everyone about the plight of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, three pods of orcas in the Pacific Northwest, where I live. Highly intelligent, social animals, they normally hunt and travel together in matriarchal groups of twenty or more, but since 2013, they have broken up into bands of three or four and spend more time offshore because, due to a marked decline in salmon, there is not enough food for all of them.
I adore the Southern Resident killer whales unlikely champion, Eba, the whale-poop sniffing dog. An alert, intelligent, six-year-old white and tan mixed breed, she lives and works in Friday Harbor, Washington, with research scientist Dr. Deborah Giles. And, the perfect ambassador, she greets everyone by wagging not just her tail, but her whole body.
When the whales are in the area, Eba and Giles are out on the bow of a research boat. Eba’s job is to sniff out whale poop so that Giles can scoop it up and analyze it. An ounce of whale poop yields a ton of information about the orcas, their state of health, and how various factors in their environment affect them.
Giles’ analysis informs us and tells us what we can do to help change the path to extinction. If you’re interested, you’ll find a photo of Eba and a lot of information, including a BBC documentary narrated by David Attenborough at https://www.wildorca.org/.
Which novel can you imagine being made into a movie?
I can see both as movies. Murder Unrehearsed is set in the spectacular Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Centered around a remote cabin and a picturesque, old-fashioned summer resort that makes you long for your swimsuit, a lounge chair, and a tall, cold drink; it appears calm and peaceful—the perfect place to bring the family, kick back, and enjoy the sunshine. But evil lurks under the placid surface, and Heather Shelton, the only witness to murder, must face a killer alone.
Striking scenery also forms the backdrop for Murder Undetected, which spans the globe from Seattle to Paris to a quaint hilltop village in the south of France. Two strong, attractive women, one driven by selfish desire, the other by selfless love, become locked in a deadly struggle. Together, external conflict and soul-searching internal conflict create a tense, suspenseful atmosphere. A second mystery and romance drive subplots, one full of suspense, the other full of hope.
Where do I get my ideas?
I spent many summer vacations in a cabin at a high mountain lake like the one in Murder Unrehearsed. The cabin had a ghost, allegedly, if not in fact. That lent a spooky element to the place, and I often wondered what would it be like to find a body on the deck, or something equally scary, one dark night when I was there alone.
So, when my character, aspiring young actress Heather Shelton, wants to escape an untidy romance, she flees to the family cabin with her dog Bear. Expecting peace and quiet, she plans to focus on the script of Taming of the Shrew and practice for an audition.
What she gets is murder, and eventually, she must decide whether follow her life-long pattern of running from things that frighten her, or face her fears and fight. In the process, will she find new love?
The 1987 movie The Black Widow, inspired my second novel, Murder Undetected. In the movie, an FBI analyst suspects a wealthy widow of marrying for money and killing her husbands. When no one believes her, she decides to unmask the killer all by herself.
In Murder Undetected, my protagonist, newly minted psychologist Brittany Thornton, suspects Viane Thibaudet, the darling of a quaint hilltop village in Provence of getting away with murder. But no one is willing to listen to this crazy idea. Viane is their hero, the one who put their town on the map.
Brittany has plenty of problems already. She absolutely does not need another. And she doesn’t need to alienate her best friend. But can she give in to popular opinion and walk away?
Do you have a favorite movie?
I love old movies. The African Queen with Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart is my all-time favorite. Set in East Africa at the outbreak of WWI, a prim spinster missionary, Rose Sayer, persuades a gin-loving river rat, Charlie Allnut, to team up and take his boat, The African Queen, down an unnavigable river and torpedo a German gunboat.
This movie shows up in both of my novels. In Murder Unrehearsed, my protagonist, Heather Shelton, watches it in a little outdoor theater on a summer evening with her friends. In Murder Undetected, the heroine’s ex-husband has a half-size replica of the African Queen, and the key to the valve that regulates the steam-driven engine becomes an important clue.
What to expect in the future:
I’m working on my third novel, Murder Richly Deserved. The story came to me out of nowhere. One morning I woke up and the basic plot was right there in my head, waiting for me to start writing it down. The main character told me her name was Chloe Eugenie Duval, and in her own distinctive voice, introduced me to Honoré St. Lazarre, the enigma who is both her lover and her rival. It’s set in my favorite city, Paris, France, and is a great reason to hop on a plane and do a little more research.
I also write the galley column for Pacific Yachting Magazine. It includes a short personal essay and a recipe suitable for on-board cooking. And I’ve recently begun writing for the Wild Orca website, which is devoted to the endangered orcas in the Pacific Northwest. I’m hoping to see some of my work soon at https://www.wildorca.org.
Follow the tourHEREfor special content and a giveaway!