News from Deborah
Many, many thanks to readers who have emailed me to ask if a new Sister Rose adventure is in the works. If I haven't yet responded to each of you personally, I will try to do so soon. I apologize for my slowness—every now and then, life throws a curveball. Sometimes several in a row. Thank you for your patience. I am indeed working on a seventh Shaker mystery, though it has been slow going. Other projects have intervened.
You see, there is a new sleuth in my life, and her name is Maggie Serene. Her first encounter with murder, tentatively entitled The Last Highball, takes place in 1954. After losing her husband in the final days of the Korean War, Maggie packs up her belongings and, reluctant teenage daughter in tow, moves back to her tiny Midwestern hometown. Maggie hopes to find a peaceful place to heal, and we all know how hopes like that turn out. Sure, the elm tree branches still arch across the village streets, and the Chickadee Diner has the same old patched seats. As always, the villagers enjoy a good gossip and bring casseroles to the newly bereaved. However, too many bereaved are losing their loved ones to distinctly unnatural causes. When Maggie finds herself embroiled in the latest of these untimely demises, she sets out to extricate herself. In the process, she uncovers nasty secrets that some folks might kill to keep.
Check back for publication information. I hope it won't be a long time coming!
Meanwhile, Resort to Murder (Nodin Press), a new anthology of Minnesota mystery short stories, was published in September 2007. My story, "The Moose Whisperer," is in it. For those of you who have read the 2005 anthology, Silence of the Loons, my new story marks the return of Jens Johansson, police chief of Loon River, Minnesota. And yes, it is still winter up there.
A southern Ohio childhood, near the abandoned sites of several Shaker communities, followed by a Sociology of Religion Ph.D., inspired Deborah to create a Shaker mystery series set in Depression-era Kentucky. Sister Rose Callahan, eldress of a dwindling Shaker village, does the sleuthing, often with the energetic assistance of her young friend, Gennie Malone, an orphan brought up by the Shakers.
Publishers Weekly called the Sister Rose mysteries "a first-rate series; warmhearted, richly detailed, and completely enthralling." The books have received acclaim for their accurate portrayal of Shaker life. In 2000, Woodworth was the keynote speaker at the annual Friends of the Shakers meeting at the last remaining Shaker community, in Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Killing Gifts, the fifth book in the series, won a Barry Award for Best Paperback Original. The award is sponsored by Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine and voted on by readers.
Deborah Woodworth has recently completed The Last Highball, the first book in a new mystery series set a small town in the 1950s. At present, she is working on a seventh Shaker mystery, tentatively entitled The Year of Fire and Blood. Her northern Minnesota short story, "The Waltz of the Loons," appeared in the anthology Silence of the Loons, and another was included in Resort to Murder. She is also the author of two biographies for children.
She lives in New Brighton, Minnesota, with her husband of nineteen years, along with two cats for whom they pay the mortgage.