Guest Post:Who-dunnit Is More Important Than Why 

Who-dunnit Is More Important Than Why 

Characters are the heart of the Travel Can Be Murder novels, a series of cozy mysteries that follow tour guide Lana Hansen to intriguing locations around Europe. They come alive for readers – according to many Amazon and Goodreads reviews – something I am very proud of.

That is why I like to murder my victim later in the book, instead of in the first chapter, so readers can see him or her interacting with Lana’s tour group before the proverbial shot is fired. It also gives me a chance to introduce several storylines that intersect and collide as the tour progresses.

I also think it is important to spend so much time developing the characters because this is not a typical cozy mystery series, in the sense that there is no small town where a cast of reoccurring characters live and interact. I do have some characters that pop in and out of each book, such as Lana’s best friend, her boss, and her boyfriend. But the majority change with each story and tour.

This changing cast allows me to give the characters a profession or background that relates the place they are visiting. For example, in Death by Leprechaun, music and genealogy are important themes in the book. Dublin is famous for its musical traditions – not only the big-name bands like U2, but also the lively busking tradition on Grafton Street. Genealogy is one of the most important reasons for Americans to visit Ireland – travelers want to rediscover their roots. So several of my characters are in Ireland to visit their ancestral homes or trace their family’s lineage during the trip. Two others are musicians interested in exploring Dublin’s lively nightlife. Thanks to their interests, readers also get to learn more about Irish music and genealogical research.

When writing these stories, I spend most of my “thinking time” working out each character’s backgrounds and motivations, long before I consider which places and attractions Lana’s group will visit. It is fun for me to give them a profession I know very little about so that I also have a chance to learn something new.

I do hope readers enjoy the tours of the European cities Lana visits, as well as getting to know the characters in my book! 

Death by Leprechaun Amazon link (eBook, Kindle Unlimited, and paperback):

Death by Leprechaun Large Print edition:

Death by Leprechaun Barnes & Noble (paperback):

Death by Leprechaun Book Depository (paperback):

Hooking up with book tours, I often find myself coming into the middle of an established series. The books are almost always good, but I always feel like I have missed a little something.  In this particular series, I actually got in on the first book, Death on The Danube. I have found the series to be lots of fun.  It features a spunky heroine who is at home in all the great cities in Europe, is great at her job, and takes the more than occasional murder in stride. I missed a few books, but recently I have been able to play catch up with Death by Bagpipes, Death in a Fountain, and Death by Leprechaun.

When I received the guest post for this spotlight, I had to laugh a little. It had been my intention to mention the thing I found most intriguing and also most inviting about this series; the fact that the murder takes place so late in the story that you almost forget that this is supposed to be a murder mystery. Instead, you get to meet all the characters, learn their secrets and affiliations, begin to develop feelings for them. It is very Agatha-Christie-like and very cool. The great characters added to the brilliant descriptions of European cities, tour stops, and culture makes the reader feel like they are taking part in the tour and gives them a personal stake in discovering whodunnit.

Death of Leprechaun is no exception. Lana has secured a spot on her current tour for dear friends of hers and she is really looking forward to touring Dublin. Unbeknownst to her, almost every member of the tour has a connection to a corrupt reporter who ends up dead. Everyone he has written about or even for has a motive to want him dead, but only Lana’s tour group had access to the murder weapon. 

Beyond the search for the murderer, I have to admit my favorite part of this book is when Dottie and later Lana hang a lantern on the fact that guests in Lana’s tours always seem to turn up dead. Though I will give kudos for the switch up here in that the tour group is still suspect, but the victim, is an outsider.

Readers who enjoy travel fiction, epic character development, and clever mysteries will enjoy this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I received an advance review copy for free through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

Take  a moment to stop by Guest Post: Lana Hansen and the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series by Jennifer S. Alderson to get the inside scoop on tour guide Lana Hansen

When an old friend is arrested in Dublin, tour guide Lana Hansen will need the luck of the Irish to clear him of the crime.


Lana is thrilled her friend Jeremy and his wife are on her tour to Ireland. The couple are having the time of their lives exploring the country’s rich literary and cultural history, until they run into Guy Smith, a reporter Jeremy recently exposed as a fraud.


A tussle turns into a fight and leaves each man vowing to destroy the other. Yet cross words and dirty looks tell Lana that Jeremy is not the only client on her tour who has a grudge against the reporter.


When Guy is murdered at the same pub Lana’s group is present at, Jeremy is the police’s number one suspect. But did he really murder the reporter? Or was it one of her other guests?


Lana keeps their tour going and her ears open for any clues that might help free her friend. Can she discover the true killer’s identity before their trip to the Emerald Isle draws to a close?

Purchase Link – AMAZON


The Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries are heartwarming stories about making friends, traveling, and celebrating new experiences. Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that often turn deadly.

Books in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series:
Book 1 – Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest
Book 2 – Death by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
Book 3 – Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam
Book 4 – Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh
Book 5 – Death by Fountain: A Christmas Murder in Rome
Book 6 – Death by Leprechaun: A Saint Patrick’s Day Murder in Dublin
Book 7 – Death by Flamenco: An Easter Murder in Seville
Books 8-12 – Coming Soon!!

Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries: Books 1-3

Travel, anyone? Here is your passport to murder – three clean cozy mysteries set in Budapest, Paris, and Amsterdam! Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that often turn deadly.

This collection includes Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in BudapestDeath by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris, and Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam.

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning Zelda Richardson Mystery series, her Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries, and her standalone stories. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Author Links






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1 Comment

  1. What a wonderful review! Thanks so much for sharing the series and my guest post with your readers. I am so glad you enjoy getting to know the characters before the murder – I know it’s a bit different, but it is so fun for me as a writer to explore their personalities and potential motives before killing one off 🙂 And thanks for mentioning Dotty’s concerns about Lana being an angel of death. That’s going to be an important part of the story line in the next two books and I’m happy to see readers reacting positively to it 🙂 Take care!! Jennifer


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