I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I am enamored of the authors and sleuths of detective fiction’s Golden Age. My inaugural series, featuring professional researcher and Scottish historian Elle Cunningham Mackay, is an homage to these masters—with a little modern sensibility mixed in. Elle’s Scottish-flavored whodunnits will immerse you in a world of kilts, bagpipes, Highland games and haggis.
I have three other series currently in the works. The Arca Noctis trio of thrillers stars curiosity store owner Emery Vaughn. Last, a pair of Golden Age mystery series feature sleuth and former spy Mafalda Marchand and village Vicar James Valentine.
For author and historian Elle Cunningham Mackay, six weeks on Cape Fear’s Roan Island is a desperately needed second chance. When her host and former flame Stuart MacUspaig invites her to his historic Aldermire estate, she jumps at the opportunity to research first-hand the disappearing Scottish clans who settled North Carolina.
She soon realizes that Stuart has something more in mind, and his offer comes with complicated strings. After too many questionable choices—not to mention a failed marriage, a pink slip and a criminal record, Elle knows she is running out of options.
When Stuart is found brutally murdered, Elle fears that her past mistakes may finally be catching up with her. Relying only on her keen mind and mile-wide stubborn streak, Elle races to find his killer. As the body count grows, her only hope is to mend her ways and make a new start or she risks becoming collateral damage in the extinction of Clan MacUspaig.
It was an era of exotic poisons and smoking pistols. Of unbreakable alibis and elaborate charades. Of shrewd spinster sleuths and effete gentleman detectives.
Nestled comfortably between the First and Second World Wars, the Golden Age of Detective Fiction captivated readers with twisty tales of murder and mystery. The crime is presented as a game—a puzzle with all its pieces and players left on the table. Nothing is hidden, and the solution is in plain sight, if one only knows where to look.
This brief guide offers a curated list of ten of the most prolific and influential writers from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. While today some names may be more familiar than others, in his or her prime each was a creative force from the earliest days of the murder mystery craze. The guide also includes three titles by each author that shouldn’t be missed.
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For five years, Daniel Mackay has struggled to forget the questions surrounding his mother’s murder. Was it a home invasion gone wrong or a senseless crime of opportunity? Why was her home ransacked but her valuables left untouched? And why would anyone want to kill affable, unassuming Shona Mackay?
Those memories come flooding back when Duncan Scot, her convicted killer, is released from prison on a technicality. Duncan’s freedom is short lived, when he is soon found dead at the annual Eagle Island Highland Games—impaled on Daniel’s competition pitchfork.
Although author and historian Elle Cunningham Mackay has questions of her own, of one thing she is certain. Daniel may be her hotheaded, philandering louse of an ex-husband, but he is not a killer. As she seeks to prove Daniel’s innocence, she suspects there is more to both murders than meets the eye. Is Duncan’s death a case of brutal, eye-for-an-eye justice or the echo of something far more sinister?
One very suspicious corpse, one house filled with suspects and one improbably locked room. Sleuth and former spy Mafalda Marchand claims nothing is beyond her legendary intuition, but in this impossible murder has she finally met her match? The first in a planned series of Golden Age era mysteries co-written with author Beatrice Bonnie, Murder After Midnight is scheduled for Fall 2020.
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Mafalda also appears weekly on Instagram in the Murder for Monday series of short mysteries. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for her next mini-adventure.
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