Guest Post: When you read a good mystery, what gets you hooked? by Jane Gorman

When you read a good mystery, what gets you hooked?
by Jane Gorman

When you read a good mystery, what gets you hooked? The plot? Definitely! The characters? Of course! How about the setting? 

One of the things I love most about reading cozy mysteries is all the beautiful, fun and yes, cozy, places they take me. I’m particularly fond of mysteries set in quaint English villages, but thanks to the books I’ve read, I’ve spent hours in beautiful French towns, historic Maine hamlets, communities out West and cities Down Under! 

So when I set out to write a cozy mystery series, I knew one of the most important decisions I would make was where to set the story. I chose Cape May, New Jersey.

Have you visited Cape May yet? I say “yet” because I hope you all will get a chance! Cape May is a New Jersey treasure, though I can’t call it a hidden treasure – Cape May has been attracting tourists since before 1766, by which time it was already recognized as a beach town destination. (In case you’re curious, New Jersey was named New Jersey in 1644 and became an independent state in 1776.) Cape May is part of the area’s earliest history.

The entire Jersey Shore town of Cape May is a National Historic Landmark, due in no small part to the gorgeous Victorian mansions that dominate the town center — all the colorful gingerbread trim, gables and turrets. Just wandering the streets is a treat for the senses. It didn’t always look this way, however.

A devastating fire in 1878 ruined over thirty acres of the city, which at that time contained a variety of buildings from rustic lodges and small cabins to large private homes and hotels. 

Refusing to be destroyed, residents of Cape May joined together to rebuild their town. They did so in the style of the time and the homes and businesses built after the great fire are perfect examples of late nineteenth-century architecture and design. You can see buildings in Queen Anne, Gothic and, of course, Victorian styles. While the fire was no doubt a catastrophe, it’s the reason why Cape May is so attractive today.

I am lucky to have grown up not far from Cape May. While I haven’t (yet) had the privilege of living there, I’ve been a frequent visitor. In fact, I’m so attached to the town I got engaged and, later, married there! 

By setting my cozy mystery series in Cape May, I’ve opened up so many possibilities for stories. Anna McGregor, my amateur sleuth, runs a Bed & Breakfast – and there are certainly plenty of those in Cape May. She has friends who own their own shops, work in the library, run wineries, and more. 

For a writer on the look-out for new ideas, Cape May is a treasure trove. It has a long history full of fun (and sometimes spooky) twists and turns, great restaurants, a growing wine scene, and of course the beach. So far in the series I’ve written about tourists, life guards, small business owners and wine makers, and I have ideas for future books about traveling musicians, bird watchers and more. My characters will get the chance to travel a bit, too. There are a number of other fun and fascinating towns along the Jersey shore that may well end up hosting their own murders for Anna to solve.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts about Cape May and how important the setting is to any story. I hope this little detour through Cape May tempts you to pick up a copy of Scones and Scofflaws, and maybe even visit the town yourself!

About The Book

Scones and Scofflaws: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist

When a gorgeous man dressed as Bridgette Bardot buys her a Scofflaw and asks her out on a date, Anna McGregor begins to suspect her murder investigation has taken a wrong turn. Her previous work as a medical anthropologist exposed her to a variety of unexpected situations, but none quite like this.

“The story does a great job of setting up the mystery and then anthropologist turned B&B hostess, Anna McGregor leads us through a merry chase and I thought I had it partially figured out but then realized…red herring. I would suggest you skip to the back of the book to find the scofflaw recipe and make one to enjoy while you armchair sleuth your way through this charming and cozy mystery.” — Tracy’s Tidbits

It all seemed so simple: fix up the Cape May Victorian mansion she’d inherited from Great Aunt Louise and re-open it as the exceptional B&B it used to be. Everything’s going great, until her very first guest turns up dead at the breakfast table, crumbs from Anna’s blueberry scones scattered on the lace tablecloth.

As the town’s gossip mill goes into overdrive, Anna leaps into the fray to save her reputation, her business and Great Aunt Louise’s legacy.

With help from a handsome handyman eager to solve all of Anna’s problems and a young police officer new to murder investigations, Anna does her best to convince the town — and her future guests — that while her scones may be killer, someone else was responsible for this murder.

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Alibris – IndieBound – Kobo – Books2Read

About the Author

Formerly an anthropologist, then a diplomat, then a park ranger, Jane Gorman now writes murder mysteries. Building on her knowledge of Philadelphia (her home for many years) and her varied experiences, her Adam Kaminski mystery series features a Philly cop who manages to solve complicated murders in far-flung locales, both in the U.S. and overseas. Her Cape May cozy mysteries paint a light-hearted, fun picture of the Cape May life of a former anthropologist who just happens to be good at solving murders – and trying out new cocktails!

Read More from Jane Gorman 

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