Monday, August 04, 2014

Guest Blog by Ellery Adams and Review and Giveaway of Murder in the Mystery Suite - August 4, 2014

Please welcome Ellery Adams to The Qwillery. Murder in the Mystery Suite, the first novel in Ellery's A Book Retreat Mystery series, will be published tomorrow.

A Day in the Life of a Storyton Hall Guest

Dear Honored Guest,
       Your journey to Storyton Hall begins at the train station. The moment you alight from the train car, a man dressed in impeccable blue and gold livery will raise a placard bearing your name. After collecting your luggage, your chauffeur will lead you to one of Storyton’s fleet of vintage Rolls Royce sedans. It looks like you’ll be spending the forty-five minute drive to the resort in the luxurious comfort of a Silver Shadow. While you gaze out the windows at the tree-covered hills and the endless blue sky, your driver will remind you of Storyton Hall’s technology restrictions. Because the resort caters to readers, we don’t want anything to disturb the tranquility of the public areas, so you may only use cell phones, tablets, ereaders, or computers in the privacy of your room. At first, this might cause you some anxiety, but you’ll soon find that it’s a boon to be able leave the cares of your busy life behind for a spell.
       Ah, here comes your first glimpse of Storyton Hall now. Do you see how magnificent it is? How its central clock tower reaches toward the hills and its two long wings seem to reach out and out like a pair of arms opening to embrace you? As for the sweeping expanse of front lawn, you might chose to play croquet on the Lewis Carroll lawn or stroll around back to Milton’s Gardens. But for now, kindly step into the manor’s elegant lobby. Note the high ceilings, brilliant chandeliers, and the numerous groupings of plush chairs and sofas. But before you continue your tour, Mr. Butterworth, Storyton Hall’s butler, would like to offer you a glass of champagne. All of our guests are greeted in this manner. Consider the bubbly just the beginning of the delightful surprises you’ll discover during your stay.
       Once you’ve unpacked, perhaps you’d like to check out a book from the Henry James library and then make yourselves comfortable in the Jane Austen Parlor or the Daphne Du Maurier Sunroom. Or, you could have a bite of lunch at Kipling’s Café or the Madame Bovary Dining Room. But don’t overindulge, because we serve afternoon tea every day in the Agatha Christie Tea Room. And believe me, you don’t want to pass up Mrs. Hubbard’s Victoria sponge, scones served with homemade jam and clotted cream, or her tantalizing tea sandwiches.
       And make sure you have enough energy for this evening. We’re opening the Murder and Mayhem Week here at Storyton Hall with a costume ball. I hope you’re prepared to dress up as your favorite detective. Of course, I won’t be able to tell who’s who tonight. With all the Miss Marples, Hercule Poirots, and Tommy and Tuppences, a guest could get away with murder and I’d never know it!
       One last word of caution: Storyton Hall is a paradise for readers, but like many old houses, it has its own secrets. In fact, there’s an entire library hidden in a fireproof, temperature-controlled room in the highest turret. The treasures housed within this room could be called the Eighth Wonder of the World. So valuable are they, that many a person has come to Storyton Hall bent of stealing them. If you intend to commit a nefarious act, I must warn you: those of us who live and work here are not quite what we seem, and we will stop at nothing to protect our guests, our property, and our secrets.
       Enjoy your stay!
       Yours truly,
       Jane Steward, Guardian of Storyton Hall

Murder in the Mystery Suite
A Book Retreat Mystery 1
Berkley, August 5, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
Review Copy: Provided by the Publisher

First in a new series!


Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…

Qwill's Thoughts

Murder in the Mystery Suite is the first book in a new series by Ellery Adams. Jane Steward runs Storyton Hall with the guidance of her Great Aunt and Uncle, Aloysius and Octavia. Jane is a widow and the mother of twins, Hem and Fitz. The twins are delightful and Adams nicely conveys the deep affection between all these family members. Jane comes up with the idea of a Murder and Mayhem week to help raise additional funds for repairs to Storyton Hall, which has a very interesting history. Adams does not dump that history on the reader all at once but doles it over the story, which this reader enjoyed.

This is clearly a first book in a series, but Adams does a terrific job of introducing the reader to the setting (Storyton Hall and Storyton Village) and the characters that live both at the Hall and in the Village without making the story drag. It is a lot of fun learning about Jane's book club friends from the Village and getting to know Uncle Aloysius and Aunt Octavia. The staff at Storyton Hall and the building itself are full of surprises.

Jane is a likable main character. While she can be distressed by events she works her way through difficulties. She's intelligent, hard-working and a good friend and Mom. Her instincts are good. Fortunately, Jane does not go it alone. She has the support of her family, the staff at Storyton and a wonderful set of friends. Her life takes a big turn during the course of the novel. Jane takes this mostly in stride as she comes to accept the changes in her life. I'm looking forward to seeing how Jane copes with her new responsibilities as the series continues.

The murder mystery is very satisfying with enough appropriate red herrings to keep me both guessing and up very late reading. There are many references to mystery novels and their characters to delight readers especially as the Murder and Mayhem week takes place at Storyton Hall.

I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, trying to solve the mystery and learning about the history of Storyton Hall and its libraries. I'd love to check into Storyton Hall and never leave, but I'll have to settle for making a reservation for the next book in the series!

About Ellery

Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @ElleryAdams

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams from the publisher. US ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on August 13, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hands down, my all-time favorite amateur sleuth is Amelia Peabody. She's smart, funny, sexy*, a good parent and wife.

    *Those books, without having a bit of graphic text and not a single onscreen sex scene had more sex in them than anything I can remember reading before actual romance novels. LOVE it!

  2. I've always had a soft spot for the independent spirit displayed on "Remington Steele" by the character Laura Holt. What a shining example of a modern career woman!

  3. Eve Dallas has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered the In Death series about eight years ago.

  4. Virgil Flowers from the series by John Sandford and Jack Reacher from the series of BOOKS by Lee Child (intentionally excluding the movie in which Tom Cruise plays the
    6' 5" Jack Reacher....).

  5. I loved Angela Lansbury, as Jessica Fletcher, on Murder, She Wrote.

    patucker54 at aol dot com