I love these kinds of cozy mystery collections! There are some great cozy authors in this one and today we are being visited by Carol Sabala, who is the main character in Smoked Meat, Vinnie Hansen’s contribution to Sleuthing Women II.
Be sure to scroll down and find the Prize Guy! Today you can enter for the chance at an ecopy of Sleuthing Women II. That’s 10 cozy novellas!
Please tell us about your latest adventure.
My “latest” adventure that author Vinnie Hansen decided to write about actually happened to me quite some time ago, before I became a PI, even before I solved the mystery at the posh restaurant where I work as a baker. In SMOKED MEAT, I went home for a family get-together at Christmas and all hell broke loose. It was the first “case” I ever solved.
Do you have any friends/sidekicks helping you out?
At the time of SMOKED MEAT, I couldn’t confide in anyone. Everyone in the house was suspect, except, perhaps, my nine-year-old cousin.
Do you have any special skills to fight crime?
I’m smart, nosy, and physically fit. I read crime fiction and lap up non-fiction books on poisons and firearms. I’m also doggedly persistent and a master of stare downs.
Are you a full-time detective or do you do something else?
I was just an innocent baker at Archibald’s in Santa Cruz when I went home (Ferndale, California) to spend the holiday with family and solved my first case. When Hansen first started recording my adventures in the mystery MURDER, HONEY, I was still a baker, but over the years, I trained as a private investigator. I’ve never fully gave up the bread-and-butter *wink* of my baking job, though.
What are you most frightened of in this story?
That one of my relatives is a murderer! That no one will take me seriously.
Is there anything funny that happens to you or another character in this story?
Only if you have a black sense of humor, a trait that thankfully the author and I share.
If I were to choose an actor or actress to play your part in a movie, who would that be?
Michelle Monaghan. She’s about the right height, age, and coloring, and can “do” gritty. But SMOKED MEAT goes back more than a decade before the last book in the series and might require a younger actress.
Do you have other mysteries you would like to tell us about? Is this the first book in the series, or have you cracked a few other cases?
SMOKED MEAT is a prequel to the Carol Sabala series, but Hansen wrote the novella last, after seven full-length mysteries. Authors! Who understands them? And that’s coming from me, a woman who used to dabble in writing screenplays.
Most of the time I investigate murders in the Santa Cruz, California area, but twice I’ve tracked down missing persons. Those cases took me to new locations. In DEATH WITH DESSERT, I traveled to Mexico and Arizona, and in BLACK BEANS & VENOM, I ventured illegally to Cuba.
Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?
The famous mystery author Cara Black says I have quite a mouth on me. While SMOKED MEAT can be safely read by cozy lovers with tender ears, that’s not true of all my adventures.
Let’s give your author a chance to speak. Anything you would like to add? Take Carol with a grain of salt. She likes to come off tougher than she is.
About the Author
Vinnie Hansen fled the winds of the South Dakota prairie and headed for the California coast the day after high school graduation. She attended the U.C. Irvine Writing Program and has written numerous short stories; LOST ART STREET, a cross-genre novel of mystery, murder, and moonbeams; and the Carol Sabala mystery series. The eighth installment in her series, SMOKED MEAT, appears in the best-selling anthology SLEUTHING WOMEN II: 10 MYSTERY NOVELLAS. Still sane after 27 years of teaching high school English, Vinnie has retired and lives in Santa Cruz with her husband and the requisite cat.
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About the Stories in Sleuthing Women II
Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas is a collection of ten mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novella is a tie-in to an established multi-book series—a total of over 800 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, cozy, and female P.I. mysteries.
Frosted, A Moreno & Hart Novella by Allison Brennan & Laura Griffin—Three years ago LAPD Detective Scarlet Moreno and rookie cop Krista Hart were nearly killed during a botched sting operation. Now, they’re best friends and partners in the Orange County private investigation firm of Moreno & Hart. But their routine assignments are anything but safe.
Crewel Intentions, An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Novella by Lois Winston—Craft editor Anastasia Pollack receives a desperate call for help from former fashion editor Erica Milano, now in Witness Protection. Erica is being stalked and is afraid to notify the authorities. She once saved Anastasia’s life. Will Anastasia be able to return the favor before the stalker strikes?
No Quarter, A Cleopatra Jones Novella by Maggie Toussaint—Amnesia, the doctor says when accountant Cleopatra Jones wakes in a distant hospital. Hours later most of her memory returns. Detective Jack Martinez visits Cleo’s nearby wealthy client, only she’s dead and broke. To Cleo’s horror, she’s a murder suspect. Will she totally recover her memory before the killer returns?
What the Widow Knew, A Kali-O’Brien Novella by Jonnie Jacobs—Attorney Kali O’Brien takes on the case of a young woman accused of murdering her much older, very rich husband. As evidence mounts and other possible suspects are eliminated, Kali’s doubts about her client’s innocence grow. Meanwhile, Kali is also grappling with her feelings for longtime boyfriend Detective Bryce Keating.
The Magnesium Murder, A Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—While freelance embalmer Anastasia Brent prepares the body of a young bride-to-be, she learns the girl’s mother suspects foul play. Once again Anastasia is pressed into service as a sleuth, following a trail of clues in search of a murderer and justice.
Honeymoons Can Be Murder, A Lee Alvarez Novella by Heather Haven— When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?
Smoked Meat, A Carol Sabala Novella by Vinnie Hansen—Baker and wannabe sleuth Carol Sabala visits her mother for a family Christmas get-together. It’s murder, in more ways than one.
A Deadly Fundraiser, A Talk Radio Novella by Mary Kennedy—When radio talk show host Dr. Maggie Walsh and her pals start digging up clues in a scavenger hunt at a glitzy fundraiser, the game suddenly turns deadly. Will Maggie and her team be able to crack the case and solve the crime?
The Color of Fear. A Kelly O’Connell Novella by Judy Alter—Kelly receives a written kidnap threat targeting her infant daughter, Gracie. Kelly’s assistant Keisha narrates as Kelly and her family plot their precautions, but as time passes and the threat still looms, fear takes a toll on the family…and on Keisha.
Papa’s Ghost, A Gladdy Gold Mystery Novella by Rita Lakin—Gladdy and her girls accept an assignment iat a famous resort in Key West, thinking it will combine business with pleasure. Once they arrive, Gladdy suspects something is strange. Not only is their client an unexpected shock, but so is the case of murder they are expected to solve. Can they succeed when a whole city is against them?
Some explicit language in a few of the stories.
Fun, Vinnie! I thought you were talking about yourself — smart, nosy, and physically fit! Describes you also (maybe not the nosy!).
I’m very nosy, tempered by my Midwestern politeness. 🙂
I love character interviews. The characters get to mouth off to us, their writers! Of course we can get them back by making them do something really grim in our next story. 🙂
Come to think of it, Carol hasn’t been shot, yet.
I read this story and loved it. And it is different, a wanabe PI knowing someone in her family is a murderer! Carol Sabala is quite a character.
Thanks, Heather! I hope to see you on the panel at the big MWA event at our library this Thursday. 🙂
Teresa, thanks so much for featuring Sleuthing Women II on your blog. And Carol, thanks for the great interview! 😉
You are very welcome 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and bringing your cozy crew!
And, yes, Teresa, thank you for hosting us!
Lois, thanks for dropping by! Carol caught a case and left me, naturally, to do the secretarial work. She says I’m the better typist. True. And better with people. True.
Family get-togethers can be the worst (and the best, of course). But if there were strong sibling rivalries or communication issues in the past, the same will manifest as adults. All that conflict is GREAT in fiction… Speaking as another author with a piece in the anthology, thanks for featuring our collection here, Teresa.
I had nine siblings and sufficient dysfunction to supply material for a lifetime of writing.
Love the Carol Sabala interview – and Black Beans and Venom was terrific!