Monday, May 04, 2015

Guest Blog by Linda Reilly and Review and Giveaway of Fillet of Murder - May 4, 2015

Please welcome Linda Reilly to The Qwillery. Fillet of Murder, the first novel in the Deep Fried Mysteries, will be published on May 5th by Berkley.

When I began writing Fillet of Murder, which features a fish and chips eatery in the Berkshires, I wanted readers to like my people . . . maybe even find a few of them quirky. Isn’t that one of the things we love about cozy characters? Since I grew up in the region where the series takes place, I scrolled my mind backward (way, way backward) to my younger days, to some of the wonderful “characters” I was lucky enough to know.

I was seventeen when I first got a summer job at an old-style restaurant called The Willows (long gone, I’m afraid). The owner, Gladys, was a generous soul and one of the best cooks I’ve ever known. Throughout that entire summer I flipped burgers, made sub sandwiches, and washed a never-ending stream of dirty dishes and pans. I even scrubbed clam shells for the soon-to-be steamed clams, never realizing they were still alive until one of them snapped shut and sent my heart into overdrive!

That summer left me with so many treasured memories. I can still recall how appreciated Gladys made me feel after working long, hot hours in a kitchen cooled only by a table fan. She overpaid me and over-praised me—she was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known.

Those are the days I thought back to when I first began writing the Deep Fried series. I wanted Talia Marby, my main character, to have those same warm recollections of her first summer job. So I created Bea Lambert.

As characters go, Bea is one of my favorites. Picture a petite, sixtyish woman with springy black curls, leaf green eyes, and a darling British accent. Originally from the UK, her speech is populated with words like “luvvy” and “bloke” and “wanker.” Bea is the co-owner, with her hubby, of Lambert’s Fish & Chips—an eatery located in a cobblestoned shopping plaza designed to resemble an old English village.

Talia was a teenager when she got her first job at Lambert’s. Troubled by a rift between her mom and dad, she bonded with the childless Bea, and Lambert’s became her refuge. Even when she wasn’t working, Talia could often be found mulling over homework at one of the tables at the back of the restaurant. Bea couldn’t have loved Talia more if she’d been her own daughter.

Talia learned the fish and chips biz that summer, never dreaming she’d return there more than fifteen years later to help out Bea in a pinch. What she also never imagined was murder, right there in that charming plaza. When Bea is accused of murdering a fellow shopkeeper, Talia dives right in to rescue her friend from a certain stint in the pokey.

Looking back, I realize that Bea and Gladys didn’t have all that much in common. Not unless you counted their many kindnesses, their overwhelming generosity, and their love for humankind.

Were you ever lucky enough to have a Bea or a Gladys in your life? Do you have a story you’d like to share about your first summer job?

Fillet of Murder
Series:  Deep Fried Mystery 1
Publisher:  Berkley (Prime Crime), May 5, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425274132 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher


Talia Marby serves up delectable English deep fried fare in the heart of the Berkshires—but she soon discovers there’s something fishy going on…

Sometimes in this life, you have to fish or cut bait. After walking away from a miserable job and an even worse boyfriend, Talia Marby has no regrets. She’s returned to her hometown and is happy to help her dear friend Bea Lambert by working at Lambert’s Fish & Chips, a cornerstone of a charming shopping plaza designed to resemble an old English village.

But not all the shop owners are charming. Phil Turnbull has been pestering Bea to sign a petition against a new store opening up, and his constant badgering is enough to make her want to boil him in oil. When Talia and Bea stumble upon Turnbull murdered in his shop, the police suspect Bea. Now it’s up to Talia to fish around for clues and hook the real killer before her friend has to trade serving food for serving time…

Includes delicious recipes!
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Book Depository : Books-A-Million : IndieBound

Jennifer's Review

The first novel in Linda Reilly’s new Deep Fried Mystery series is entitled Fillet of Murder. The book follows Talia Marby as she returns to her hometown, nestled in the picturesque Berkshire region of Massachusetts, after leaving a horrible job and a stagnant relationship behind her in the big city. While Talia is temporarily staying in her late grandmother’s cottage she is working at Lambert’s Fish & Chips for her old friend Bea, and trying to decide where she really wants to go with her life. Lambert’s has always been a haven for Talia, so she is devastated to find the local bully, Phil Turnbull, brutally murdered in his lamp shop in the same quaint plaza that she loves. Things go from bad to worse, when her beloved Bea is named as the prime suspect in the crime. Talia feels the need to clear Bea’s name by finding the real culprit.

Talia is at a crossroads in her life and spends a great deal of time doing some heartfelt soul searching, trying to discover if her life lies in her comfortable home town, in the high powered world of Boston or somewhere in between. She comes off a bit flat in the beginning, but as the story evolves, you can see she is a strong character who has just hit a bump in the road. She has many supporters, especially her mom, who runs a local home for the elderly, and Bea, who is an audacious British ex-pat with a sweet nature that has been in Talia’s life since she was a teenager. Talia’s best friend, Rachel, a local schoolteacher, is always there for her with advice and encouragement. Whitnee is Talia’s young and naïve co-worker, who is trying to balance school, work and a difficult home life. Talia also gets to know the other shop owners in the plaza. The ill-fated and manipulative Phil makes a brief but explosive appearance before his untimely demise. Suzy is the gregarious owner of a small fragrance shop. Jill is a wife and mom and purveyor of tea and its accoutrements. Jim owns a pottery shop and is another person from Talia’s past; he is the former high school geometry teacher who has found his passion in working with clay. After Phil’s murder, we meet is ex-wife Kendra, a very snooty and uptight socialite, and her new step-son, who surprises everyone with his intentions of opening a comic book store in the plaza. A new possible love interest enters Talia’s life in the form of Ryan Collins, the nerd of her high school class, who has grown into a handsome and kind man. Ryan’s dad is a resident of the home for the elderly that Talia’s mom runs. Many of the characters have a potential motive for the murder.

The crime investigation often takes a backseat to the personal lives of the characters, but comes to the forefront again towards the end of the book when the trail of clues leads Talia to a place she wasn’t expecting. The author provides a plethora of detail, from her descriptions of the local landscape to the back stories of the important characters. The plot flows slowly throughout much of the novel, but speeds up in the end, and the mystery, along with Talia’s future, are both tidied up by the last page. There are a couple of recipes included that have significance to the storyline, Bea’s famous coleslaw and Talia’s newest creation, Deep Fried Pickle Spears, both look easy to make and delectable.

About Linda

Raised in a sleepy town in the Berkshires, Linda Reilly has spent the bulk of her career in the field of real estate closings and title examination. It wasn’t until 1995 that her first short mystery, Out of Luck, was accepted for publication by Woman’s World Magazine. Since then she’s had over forty short stories published, including a sprinkling of romances. In 2013 Five Star Publishing released her first full-length mystery, Some Enchanted Murder. Her first mystery in the Deep Fried series, a cozy featuring fry cook Talia Marby, will be released by Berkley Prime Crime in 2015.

Linda lives in New Hampshire with her husband, who affectionately calls her “Nose-in-a-book.”

Website  ~  Facebook

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Fillet of Murder by Linda Reilly 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 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on May 13, 2015. 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.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I didn't have a mentor at my first job. I went to work at Woolworth's (5 and dime)
    and was put on the floor to sell housewares and restock shelves as needed. I enjoyed it. Learned how to cut roller shades for windows (kind of tricky). I was 16 - went looking for a job the day I turned old enough to work. It was lots of fun.

  2. A summer job which I enjoyed greatly was being a library assistant for the summer reading program. Just my type of interest. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. My first job was in a Museum on Campus as a student with a very kind Teacher. To this day I think of her often and fondly.

  4. I worked at what is now Six Flags amusement park during the summer. It was a lot of fun.
    gibsonbk at

  5. My first job was doing data entry for a nonprofit that was near the tech school I was attending. Easy work, decent pay. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

  6. I had a mentor at one of my jobs. She was feisty, full of information, and entirely loveable

  7. I think this will be a favourite series of mine :) My first job was babysitting.

  8. Yes, I had a mentor at my first job. The work environment was totally different from today and I have fond memories of those days.

  9. No never had either in my life. My first summer job was caring for animals.
    Theresa N

  10. No never had either in my life. My first summer job was caring for animals.
    Theresa N

  11. my first summer job was as a teacher's assistant & it certainly showed me that I am not meant to be in the education forum...........
    thank you for the giveaway........

    cyn209 at juno dot com