Author: Judy Penz Sheluk
Narrator: Claira Jordyn
Series: Marketville Mysteries, Book 1
Publisher: Judy Penz Sheluk
Released: Jul. 31, 2017
What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there.
Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville – a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a 30-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic? Find out.
Judy Penz Sheluk is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mystery and Marketville Mystery series. Her short stories can be found in several collections, including Live Free or Tri and The Best Laid Plans, which she edited. Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com.
Claira Jordyn is an on-camera and voice over actress based in New York City. She can most recently be heard on a variety of television and radio commercials encouraging you to ski in Colorado, shop at Old Navy and also to try a particularly popular makeup brand this holiday season. She can also be heard reading countless books including Opaque, The Endless Horizons Sagas and an upcoming retelling of children’s fairytales. She lives just north of New York with her husband and super mutt Junebug, loves telling stories for a living and is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do that every day.
Callie (Calamity) Barnstable has a problem. And it’s not merely an addiction to cocoa butter lip balm!
Her father has just passed away, naming her as his only beneficiary. That, in itself is not unexpected; she’s an only child and her mother left the scene years ago when Callie was only six.
Callie’s father never spoke much of her mother during her childhood or since, and Callie hadn’t given her mum’s disappearance much thought either.
So, when her father’s will stipulates she move back to her childhood home – to a house she didn’t realise her father still owned – Callie is more than surprised, to say the least. Yet, the surprise doesn’t end there. Her father wants her to find out who killed her mother! Until that point, Callie had never heard any mention of her mother being killed. So what exactly was her father thinking?
The story develops at pace as Callie moves into her new home and meets the neighbours and previous tenants (the house had been rented out by her father).
Each person that comes into Callie’s life from thereon, has something to say about her parents’ relationship – or they know someone who knew them.
Callie is drawn into a world of secrets and cover-ups, affairs and separations. Conflicting information makes her wonder who to trust, but amidst the sleuthing she finds new friends as well as some unwelcome relatives.
The sleuthing is quirky and interesting, relying on old microfiche records of newspaper articles, objects hidden under carpets, not to mention the very specific tarot cards. I found the story flowed well and with short chapters, I was already ready for “just one more”.
This was the first full-length audiobook I’ve listened to in a long time. The narrator did a great job at conveying Callie’s thoughts as she questioned those around her.
As for the story, I felt there were a few events that were left hanging – whether they’ll be resolved in a future story, who knows? I hope so, I’d like to hear more of Callie’s adventures in Marketville.
I received a free copy of the audiobook as part of the AudioBookWorm blog tour, and have reviewed this voluntarily.
Q&A with Author Judy Penz Sheluk
- Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
- I believes it completely depends on choosing the right narrator. I have a collection of three short mystery stories that comes in at about an hour. Kate Tyler narrates that and she does a great job, absolutely nails it. But as much as I enjoyed working with her—she’s a complete pro—and loved her narration of Live Free or Tri, she didn’t have the right voice for Calamity (Callie) Barnstable, the protagonist in my Marketville mystery series. Find the right narrator, and any book will be a good fit for audio. After all, just like traditional readers, audiobook listeners have a variety of interests.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- Not initially, no, in fact, when I first started writing I never thought any of my books would end up on audio. However, when we were recording (narrator Kelli Lindsay) A Hole in One, book 2 in my Glass Dolphin mystery series, Kelli pronounced Graham Gilroy as “Gram Gilroy.” I’m from Canada (Toronto area) and here Gram is short for Grandma…we say Gray-ham. I consulted with fellow members of Sisters in Crime and discovered this is very much a regional thing. Some parts of the U.S. say Gray-ham, and others, like California, say Gram. Because the book is set in Canada, Kelli switched to the Canadian pronunciation.
- Fast forward to writing A Fool’s Journey, book 3 in my Marketville mystery series, and I have my protagonist, Callie, entering a foyer. Now, in Canada we say Foy-eh, but I know from watching house hunting shows set in the U.S. that Americans say Foy-ur. To avoid another Gram/Gray-ham situation, I switched it to “Callie entered the front hallway.”
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- All of my books are loosely inspired by real life events, emphasis on the loosely. The idea for Skeletons in the Attic came to me while I waited with my husband, Mike, in our lawyer’s office in Newmarket, Ontario. We were there to update our wills, and our lawyer’s goldendoodle kept us company while our lawyer was detained at court. The opening scenes of the book are culled directly from that experience: While Mike spent the time reading back issues of Bicycling Magazine, I started thinking… “What if I was here, not to update my will, but to inherit…what if there were strings attached…what if I inherited something I had no idea had existed…what if that something was a house in a small town called…Marketville.” I started scribbling notes down (I always keep a notebook and pen in my purse) and by the time our lawyer arrived I had finished chapter 1.
- In the case of Past & Present, the inspiration came from a train case found at the back of my late mother’s clothes closet. I’d never seen the documents inside—her immigration papers from 1952, an old passport, her mother’s death certificate, among other things—made me want to delve into a past she’d pretty much kept to herself. Before long, that research became Callie’s research. The book is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Anneliese Penz, and there is a character in the book named Anneliese Prei, who was murdered in 1956 in Toronto, after immigrating to Canada in 1952. Prei was my mother’s (my grandmother’s) maiden name, something I learned for the first time from the death certificate in that train case. A personal aside: Skeletons in the Attic was the last book my mother read.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- Burn-out is what I felt working in a 9-5 corporate world, mostly in management positions. In 2003, I walked away from that life and started to work as a freelance journalist, which eventually led to Senior Editing positions for several different magazines. In 2012, I went to a writing conference as a reader and came away knowing I had to write a book; the result was The Hanged Man’s Noose (published July 2015 in print/ebook and in Nov. 2017 in audio). My writing journey hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve never looked back. There’s something magical about creating a world, living in it for weeks and months, and knowing when to write THE END. By the time I do that, I’ve already got an idea or two for another book.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- I’ve been told that this series would adapt well to film, so I love this question. In Skeletons in the Attic, Callie is 36, so perhaps Evangaline Lilly, who is also Canadian. Kate Hudson would make a great Chantelle Marchand, Callie’s best friend and, in Past & Present, her business partner. But wouldn’t it be fun if the role of Callie became a breakout for an actress hoping for the perfect part. Let’s put that thought out there in the universe: The Marketville Mystery Movie Series. I do like the sound of that!
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- There’s an old saying: You can’t judge a book by its cover. You also can’t judge a person because they choose to listen to a book, for whatever reason, instead of reading it. Even when it comes to “real reading” people have different preferences: hardcover, large print, paperback, e-book…as an author, I’m delighted if someone enjoys what I’ve written, regardless of format.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- I’ve written two series (Marketville and Glass Dolphin mysteries), and zero standalones, though I am working on a standalone. The pros of a series is you create a world and then keep adding to it, so it becomes familiar, not just to the author, but to the reader. The cons are exactly the same: it becomes familiar, meaning the author must allow the characters to grow and age. A standalone can be freeing…everything is shiny and new and you don’t have to worry if your character suddenly does something completey out of character (in the way you would with a series) because no one really “knows” that character yet. The con is that from a marketing perspective, there’s no one following the series, or waiting for the next book in the series. Because there is no expectation, it’s easy to put the project aside for another day.
- What’s your favorite:
- Food: cheese pizza, but any non-meat topping pizza will make me smile
- Song: Bulletproof by Jim Cuddy
- Book: Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery, which I first read as a young girl, and is one of the few books I’ve read more than once.
- Television show: Gilmore Girls
- Movie: The Sting (tied for second, Primal Fear and The First Wives Club)
- Band: Blue Rodeo
- Sports team: Toronto Maple Leafs though I’ve recently hopped on the Raptors bandwagon
- City: Toronto
- Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
- Callie loves pizza, though she orders it with hot peppers and extra sauce. I mention Blue Rodeo and Jim Cuddy in my Glass Dolphin series. And there’s a scene in A Hole in One, book 2 in my Glass Dolphin series, where Arabella recites lines from The Sting. That’s an old movie, but it holds up. If it was re-released, as is, it would still be a runaway hit. Great cast, great writing.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- I always answer this question with a quote from Agatha Christie: “There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”
Giveaway: 5 Judy Penz Sheluk Audiobooks
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