FEATURED AUTHOR: CONNIE BERRY
ABOUT THE BOOKOn a remote Scottish island, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton wrestles with her own past while sleuthing a brutal killing, staged to recreate a two-hundred-year-old unsolved murder.
Autumn has come and gone on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, and the islanders gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-tourist-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has brought hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel, famous for its connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Kate has hardly unpacked when the next morning a body is found, murdered in a reenactment of an infamous unsolved murder described in the novel—and the only clue to the killer’s identity lies in a curiously embellished antique casket. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when a much-loved local handyman is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.
Title: A Dream of Death
Author: Connie Berry
Genre: Traditional Amateur Sleuth
Series: Kate Hamilton mystery series, book 1
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, (April 9, 2019)
Print length: 320 pages
On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours
IFs ANDs OR WHATs INTERVIEW WITH CONNIE BERRY
IFsIF you could talk to someone living, who would it be and what would you ask them?
A living person I'd love to spend time with is Martin Edwards, author of The Golden Age of Murder: The Mystery of the Writers Who Invented the Modern Detective Story. We'd sit by the fire in overstuffed armchairs sipping fine red wine. I'd ask him to tell me stories about the Golden Agers, and I'd sit back and listen for hours and hours. After that we'd move on to The Detection Club (he was the eighth president) and The Murder Squad. Finally, I'd pick his brain about writing modern crime novels with substance and style. I believe I'll be seeing him at Bouchercon 2019 in Dallas this autumn. Hmm. Wonder if he has time.
IF you could talk to someone dead, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Only one? As a history fanatic, that's hard. But I think I'd choose Queen Elizabeth I. I'd ask her if she was in love with Robert Dudley and how she really felt about the execution of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots—but only if she was in a good mood.
IF you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
Stepping back in time has always been one of my fantasies. I'd choose May of 1797, and I'd wing my way to the village of Chawton in Hampshire, England. Dropping by the Austen house on Winchester Road, I'd inquire if Miss Jane had an inclination to stroll down to Chawton House, the residence of her brother, Edward Austen Knight. We'd chat about her upcoming novel, First Impressions, and I'd suggest she rename it Pride & Prejudice.
IF you could time travel for an infinite period of time, where would you go?
Medieval England. I'd witness the swan song of the Anglo Saxons, life in the rural villages, the construction of the great cathedrals, the rise of the cities, the signing of the Magna Carta. I would not love the sanitary conditions, however. Could I pop back to the 21st century for a bath every few days? And—oh, yes—I have to be home before the Black Plague strikes.
IF you could choose a fictional town to live in, what would it be and from what book?
St. Mary Mead from Agatha Christie's The Murder at the Vicarage and The Body in the Library. As Miss Marple said, "One does see so much evil in a village."
IF you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
This will come as no surprise—an English village. I'm sure I was switched with an American baby at birth.
ANDs5 favorite possessions:
• My sweet Shih Tzu, Millie [see photo]
• My Bible
• Family Photographs
• Four Norwegian egg cups that have been in my family since the 17th century [see photo]
• My hiking boots that have taken me everywhere
5 things you never want to run out of:
This is a touchy question because products I like are routinely discontinued, forcing me to purchase them in bulk on ebay. For example, I own a lifetime supply of Rescue Pads, the tiny soap-filled scrubbers I can't live without, and at least a decade's worth of my favorite discontinued perfume, Essence by Narcisco Rodriquez. When they stopped making Cinnamon Tic Tacs (someone has a lot to answer for), I purchased every pack still in existence. I have one left, the last box of Cinnamon Tic Tacs in the universe [see photo]. Besides Rescue Pads and Essence, three more things I never want to run out of are coffee, Rosebud Salve, and red lipstick.
5 favorite foods:
• Cardamom bread with raisins (my Danish grandma made it every week)
• Homemade chicken soup
• White almond cake with buttercream frosting
• Beef stew cooked in an Instant Pot
• Pavlova with raspberries
5 favorite places you've been:
5 favorite authors (writing now):
• Elly Griffiths (thought of her first because I'm currently reading The Stranger Diaries)
• Jodi Taylor (The Chronicles of St. Mary's series)
• Deborah Crombie
• Anthony Horowitz
• Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)
WHATsWhat's your all-time favorite movie?
Not quite a movie but the mini-series of Pride & Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. I watch it at least once a year.
What's your all-time favorite library?
The main library in my hometown growing up where I wandered the stacks and fell in love with P.G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie. I thought I'd discovered authors no one else knew about. Ha!
What's your favorite beverage?
Coffee. No question.
What's one thing you never leave the house without?
Lipstick. Without it, I look seriously ill.
What is the wallpaper on your computer's desktop?
The village of Bibury in the Cotswolds [see photo].
What's your all-time favorite picture of yourself?
A photo of me with my father—best dad ever. [see photo]
What's your latest recommendation for:
Food: A ketogenic lifestyle.
Music: "Anything" by Brook Benton or Sam Cooke. And lately I've been mesmerized by the piano playing of Jerry Lee Lewis in his country phase (I know, I know—don't judge me).
Movie: Mary Poppins Returns (I can't do intense movies in a theater).
Book: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths.
Audiobook: The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.
TV: Two relatively unknown series from England, Wild At Heart (set in South Africa) and The Royal (set in Yorkshire in the 1960s).
Netflix/Amazon Prime: The Five by Harlan Coban (chilling).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connie Berry was born in Wisconsin to second-generation immigrants from Scandinavia and the British Isles. Like her protagonist, she was raised by charmingly eccentric antique collectors who eventually opened a shop, not because they wanted to sell antiques but because they needed a plausible excuse to keep buying them. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves cute animals, foreign travel with a hint of adventure, and all things British. She's the mother of two grown sons and lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable dog, Millie. Her second book, A Legacy of Murder, will be out in October of 2019.
Connect with Connie:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound