The Book Cellar
Join Chicago historical mystery writers, Susanna Calkins, Cheryl Honigford, Michelle Cox, and D.M. Pirrone, as they gather for a lively panel discussion about their work and all things mystery! Come join in the conversation!
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Susanna Calkins lives in Highland Park, Illinois with her husband and two sons, and works at Northwestern University. Holding a Ph.D. in history, Susanna writes a historical mystery series featuring Lucy Campion, a 17th-century chambermaid-turned-printer’s apprentice, for St. Martin’s/Minotaur Books. Her books have been nominated for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Agatha for best historical mystery. Her third novel THE MASQUE OF A MURDERER was also awarded the Sue Feder Historical Mystery (Macavity) Award. Her fourth in the series, A DEATH ALONG THE RIVER FLEET, was released in 2016. She is currently working on a new series set in 1920s Chicago.
A Death Along the River Fleet:
Lucy Campion, a ladies' maid turned printer's apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge above the River Fleet when she encounters a distraught young woman, barely able to speak and clad only in a blood-spattered nightdress. The woman appears mad, afflicted with the devil's tongue. But Lucy is concerned for the woman's well-being and takes her to a physician. When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman's companion. As the woman recovers over the month of April 1667, she begins--with Lucy's help--to reconstruct the terrible event that occurred on the bridge, as well as the disturbing events that preceded it...
Cheryl Honigford is the Daphne Award-wining author of the Viv and Charlie Mystery Series including THE DARKNESS KNOWS and HOMICIDE FOR THE HOLIDAYS. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago where she enjoys listening to old time radio, watching classic movies, tumbling down historical research rabbit holes, and living vicariously through her writing.
The Darkness Knows:
It's October 1938, and radio is king. Vivian Witchell is determined to be a star, and with her new role in the popular detective serial The Darkness Knows, everything she's dreamed of is finally within her grasp. Until the night she steps into the employee lounge and stumbles upon the body of the station's biggest--and most reviled--actress. Clutched in the dead woman's hand is a threatening letter that targets Vivian as the next victim. Suddenly, Viv's biggest worry isn't remembering her lines--it's staying alive.
Michelle Cox holds a B.A. in English literature from Mundelein College, Chicago, and is the author of the award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. Book 2 of the series, A Ring of Truth, has just been released in April of 2017. Cox is known for her wildly popular blog, “How to Get Your Book Published in 7,000 Easy Steps—A Practical Guide” as well as her charming “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Michelle lives with her husband and three children in the Chicago suburbs.
A Ring of Truth:
In this second book of the series, Henrietta and Clive delightfully rewrite Pride and Prejudice―with a hint of mystery!
Newly engaged, Clive and Henrietta now begin the difficult task of meeting each other’s family. “Difficult” because Clive has neglected to tell Henrietta that he is in fact the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta has just discovered that her mother has been hiding secrets about her past as well. When Clive brings Henrietta to the family estate to meet his parents, they are less than enthused about his impoverished intended. Left alone in this extravagant new world when Clive returns to the city, Henrietta finds herself more at home with the servants than his family, much to the disapproval of Mrs. Howard―and soon gets caught up in the disappearance of an elderly servant’s ring, not realizing that in doing so she has become part of a bigger, darker plot.
As Clive and Henrietta attempt to discover the truth in the two very different worlds unraveling around them, they both begin to wonder: Are they meant for each other after all?
D. M. Pirrone is the nom de plume of Diane Piron-Gelman, who works as an editor and narrates audiobooks when she isn’t writing. Shall We Not Revenge (Book 1 of the Hanley & Rivka Mysteries) was a Kirkus Prize nominee and a Notable Page-Turner in the 2014 Shelf Unbound Indie Novel competition, and earned Honorable Mention for traditional fiction in the Chicago Writers’ Association 2015 Book Awards. Book 2 in the series, For You Were Strangers, won Honorable Mention for Mystery as a Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab 2015 Book of the Year. Ms. Pirrone's debut mystery, No Less In Blood (Five Star/Cengage, 2011), received rave reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist.
A Chicago native and history buff, Ms. Pirrone is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Society of Midland Authors, the Historical Novel Society, and the Chicago Writers Association. She lives on the Northwest Side with her husband and two sons.
For You Were Strangers:
On a spring morning in 1872, former Civil War officer Ben Champion is discovered dead in his Chicago bedroom—a bayonet protruding from his back. What starts as a routine case for Detective Frank Hanley soon becomes anything but, as his investigation into Champion’s life turns up hidden truths best left buried.
Meanwhile, Rivka Kelmansky’s long-lost brother, Aaron, arrives on her doorstep, along with his mulatto wife and son. Fugitives from an attack by night riders, Aaron and his family know too much about past actions that still threaten powerful men—defective guns provided to Union soldiers, and an 1864 conspiracy to establish Chicago as the capital of a Northwest Confederacy. Champion had his own connection to that conspiracy, along with ties to a former slave now passing as white and an escaped Confederate guerrilla bent on vengeance, any of which might have led to his death.
Hanley and Rivka must untangle this web of circumstances, amid simmering hostilities still present seven years after the end of the Civil War, as they race against time to solve the murder, before the secrets of bygone days claim more victims.