WALKING INTO MURDER is a light-hearted mystery with a delightful setting and distinctive characters: wonderfully appealing amateur sleuth Laura Morland, an American Professor of Gender Studies; a country manor full of British eccentrics, and the Cotswolds, site of England's quaintest villages and most verdant countryside. Still smarting from her ex-husband's unexpected (if not entirely unwelcome) defection, Laura accepts an invitation to teach a seminar in London. First, she ...
WALKING INTO MURDER is a light-hearted mystery with a delightful setting and distinctive characters: wonderfully appealing amateur sleuth Laura Morland, an American Professor of Gender Studies; a country manor full of British eccentrics, and the Cotswolds, site of England's quaintest villages and most verdant countryside.
Still smarting from her ex-husband's unexpected (if not entirely unwelcome) defection, Laura accepts an invitation to teach a seminar in London. First, she tests her new independence by walking the Cotswold Way. The walk soon takes stormy turns. Lost in thick fog, Laura is accosted by a man who may or may not be a murderer but who forces her to masquerade as his wife. Escorted at gunpoint to an ancient manor house by an aristocratic Englishman, she is confronted by a formidable grande dame, an outrageously rude child and a houseful of other theatrical personalities, any of whom could be the killer of the body Laura discovers in a bedroom - a body that perversely keeps changing its identity.
Laura's curiosity is almost as uncontrollable as her over-curly hair, and she tackles the mystery with abandon, ably assisted by two teenagers: Catherine, a free-spirited American runaway whose involvement leads to a breath-taking confrontation on the moors and Nigel, a boy of multiple talents like mask-making and sculpture. The plot gets ever more tangled, the list of suspects longer, and Laura's verbal battles with her alternately charming and irritating would-be husband - to whom she is undeniably attracted - become more pointed.
As the efforts of the villains to silence her become more frantic, Laura's strategies to escape them become more ingenious. With total disregard for the escalating danger, she vows to outwit them all. And she does. In a final dramatic scene, she zeroes in on the murderer, or it might be more accurate to say the murderer zeroes in on her.
Joan Dahr Lambert is the author of CIRCLES OF STONE, a prehistoric novel about the Mother People, who lived in Old Europe until 3,000 years ago. It was published by Simon & Schuster in 1997 & 1999, and was published in ten other countries. Lambert has written two other prehistoric novels: STAR CIRCLES, the second book in the Mother People trilogy; and ICE BURIAL, the story of Oetzi, the 15,000 year-old murdered Iceman discovered in Italy. She has also written The Wolves of Peat Moss Forest, a novel for children, and SEAHORSE MEMOIRS, a novella. All her books will soon be published online.
Lambert is now writing mysteries, mostly because she can't find the type of mystery she wants to read at the end of a long day. She doesn't want blood and gore, hard-boiled detectives and depressing plots, nor is she keen on vampires or chick-lit. Instead, she wants light-hearted, well-written mysteries with intriguing plots, interesting characters and an appealing female protagonist, preferably over fifty like her, who is adventurous, amusing, and able to outwit villains with a unique mix of bravado, ineptness, intelligence and guts.
Enter the irrepressible Laura Morland, of Walking into Murder and Babes in the Baths, the first two mysteries in a series. They are part spirited amateur female sleuth, part primer on gender issues since Laura is an American professor of Gender Studies with a specialty in the history of male/female relationships, part traditional English murder mystery.
It is no accident that Laura Morland specializes in gender and goes on walking trips. Walking is the author's favorite form of recreation, and she has studied gender issues for decades in an effort to understand how and why women and men became as they are today. One day she hopes to write a non-fiction book with her conclusions. For now, all her novels, mysteries included, deal with some aspect of gender.
Lambert began her studies began at Radcliffe College, took a few years to raise children, earned a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University's Extension Program and a Master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, then spent four years as a Doctoral Candidate in the Human Sexuality Program at New York University. She has performed many jobs, taught at seminars and community colleges, and is now planning a course on empowering women across the world for adult education programs. In her free moments she writes novels, and probably always will.