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The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder #1, in the Herringford and Watts Mysteries series, by Rachel McMillan
In an era when a respectable young lady should be in search of a husband, Merinda Herringford has murder on her mind. Solving crime is what captures her attention. Her best friend, Jem Watts, tags along – interested in both pursuits. Aided by the local constable, Jasper Forth, and Ray DeLuca - a clever reporter who fascinates Jem – the pair of women aim at becoming the best detective team in Toronto, despite the “disadvantage” of being female.
|Title: The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder #1|
By: Rachel McMillan
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Harvest House Publishers
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.25 (inches)|
Weight: 6 ounces
Series: Herringford and Watts Mysteries
Stock No: WW966405
In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.
Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.
While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her foreverif they can stay alive long enough to do so.
Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.
"Fresh and beguiling, the Bachelor Girls are an engaging new addition to the mystery scene. They tackle criminals with a combination of unique moxie and an irrepressible sense of adventure. I want to be friends with the Bachelor Girls!"
Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries
"In her fabulous debut, Rachel McMillan brings 1910 Toronto to rich and wonderful life. The intrepid Jem and Merinda make a winning detective team. Full of romance and derring-do, The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder will keep you turning pages."
Nancy Herriman, author of No Comfort for the Lost
"Smart, sassy, and chic. The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder is all that and more. A fabulous historical. Encore, Rachel McMillan!"
Laura Frantz, author of The Mistress of Tall Acre
"A wonderful romp! McMillan's delightful debut introduces us to a beguiling and intrepid crime-solving duo. The two lovely ladies defy expectations and social norms as they lead us across early twentieth-century Toronto and into the heart of a compelling mystery...with a dash of romance on the side. Can't wait for more of these two and the adventure they'll lead us on next!"
Katherine Reay, author of The Bronte Plot
"A savvy and street-smart read. Rachel McMillan's The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder is a wickedly clever debut, with the wit and intelligence of a classic Agatha Christie whodunit. It's a vintage-inspired ride with a dash of mystery, romance, and just enough suspense to keep the reader guessing. I was drawn in and held captive with the turn of each page!"
Kristy Cambron, author of The Ringmaster's Wife and the Hidden Masterpiece series
"One does not merely read The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder. Rather, one enters the story, allows the author to take her on a wild ride through early twentieth century Toronto, and remains unable to do anything but turn the pages until the final scene has ended. McMillan has created characters whose exploits will live on well beyond this story. Well done! Now hurry and write the next one!"
Kathleen Y'Barbo, bestselling author of Firefly Summer and Sadie's Secret
"In her stunning debut, Rachel McMillan achieves a perfect balance of wit and warmth and invites readers into an entirely new world. More than intrepid detectives, Bachelor Girls Jem and Merinda are fully fleshed women, grappling with mysteries of the heart as well as those of the gritty streets of historic Toronto. A cast of supporting characters brings life and dimension, as well as the promise of more stories to come. McMillan's homage to the spirit of Sherlock and Watson stands solid on its own, whether in pick heels or brogans."
Allison Pittman, author of On Shifting Sand
"Come for the gorgeous cover and promise of mystery; stay for the lilting romance and tingling wit. Rachel McMillan's debut is the perfect mix of engaging characters and a fresh, enticing voice. Simply put, I'm hooked!"
Melissa Tagg, author of From the Start and Like Never Before
Author: Rachel McMillan
Located in: Canada
Submitted: January 26, 2016
Tell us a little about yourself. I live in Toronto, Canada where I work in Educational Publishing by day and scribble at night. I drink a lot of tea and watch entirely too many British miniseries!
I am a lifelong bibliophile and especially love Christian Fiction---ever since I read Vienna Prelude at age 12.
What was your motivation behind this project? My lifelong love of Sherlock Holmes and my desire to empower women in whatever life path they choose-- whether it be a traditional homemaking role or in the pursuit of a career. The Bible is full of Marys and Marthas but also Deborahs and Esthers. There is room for all.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? A huge motivator for me while writing this was Proverbs 31:8: Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The time period in which the book is set sees major changes happening in Toronto--especially with the rise of immigration. Poor working conditions and the silencing of women and immigrants are two major themes in the series. I thought it was so important to feature characters who risked their lives to speak for those silenced. Today, we live amidst similar challenges of prejudice and social issues. Things haven't much changed in 100 years and people will ALWAYS need champions who are willing and able to fight for them. I also hope readers are encouraged to read a bit more about history. I love history and the best historical fiction offers a lens into a different time. It also inspires me to learn more about a historical personage or place. Whether something about Toronto's history whets your appetite or the cameo appearances by anarchist Emma Goldman and Theodore Roosevelt in book II interest you, there is lots, I think to be found. This series took a lot of research and a lot of fun trips to the archives! Looking through so many photographs and articles.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? Even though I grew up in a small town, I always loved Toronto and its history. Writing the Herringford and Watts series made me fall in love with my city in a new way. I cannot walk its streets without pulling the modern curtain back and imagining life in Jem and Merinda's world. I also had the opportunity to visit Concord, Mass. and Chicago: two US cities our lady detectives visit in upcoming adventures. I was impacted not only by the rich history but also the amazing visual narrative that met me there through the people, culture and architecture. Mostly, I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with my fictional friends! Jem and Merinda and Jasper and Ray are like my family now. They literally fill the pages on their own. I just dictate. I was able to work in a bit of my family history in book II "A Lesson in Love and Murder." My father is a chaplain for the RCMP and his family has a long connection with the Mounties-- I explore a bit of this exciting past in A Lesson in Love and Murder with the arrival of Benfield Citrone, a Royal North West Policeman
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? Catherine Marshall, Lynn Austin and Dorothy L. Sayers have all influenced my spiritual life greatly. I often find God in story. I think Great Expectations and Les Miserables are two great examples of incarnate Grace as told in story ( I have a bit of a thing for the classics ;) ) Jesus taught through parable and used story to help us understand some of the concepts that are a bit too hard to grasp through our dim human vision ( not unlike Watson trying to understand Holmes' brilliant mind). Stories can help us understand humanity but also feel closer to God. I love that! Each of these authors' words have met me at a time when I needed encouragement or guidance.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: The Herringford and Watts series explores spiritual themes in a more thematic way. But, readers should know that each relationship in the books and many of the questions grappled with and asked by the characters are questions I find myself asking. I think God specifically makes so much of life a great mystery so that we are encouraged to seek Him more deeply. What better way to express this than through the fun filter of detective fiction?
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