Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Murder at the Empire by Cathe Swanson Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Murder at the Empire

Author: Cathe Swanson

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: October 5, 2021

Gayle Wells is a killer organist, but does a killer have her in his sights?

They call him the Emperor.  John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees.

Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky.

Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next?

Murder at the Empire brings the Nightingale into an elegant movie palace in the roaring 20’s – but the real excitement is all off-screen.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is an entertaining historical mystery. It was interesting to learn about theaters during prohibition and the music accompanying the silent films. I was surprised to find out other acts, such as dog shows, were included. Animosity toward a female organist was no surprise.

The plot was complex as shown from the lengthy denouement. The detective explains much, most of it unknown to readers. There were some parts of the mystery I felt were inconsistent, such as Langdon's later actions and a detective's odd quietude after such an aggressive stance earlier.

Although I felt there were a few minor plot and character problems in this novel, it is an entertaining one shining light on an interesting time in the history of entertainment.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

After 40 years of wandering (but always in lovely places and not in a desert), Cathe Swanson has recently returned to her childhood home and family in Minnesota.  In the summer, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and being outdoors, gardening, hiking, birdwatching, and kayaking. The long winters are perfect for writing books, playing games, reading, and indoor hobbies. Cathe’s been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years and enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper.

Everything inspires new books! A lifelong love of quilting, Cathe’s Swedish heritage and an interest in genealogy led to The Glory Quilts series, and The Hope Again series is inspired by her life in the Midwest and experiences with the elderly, the military, and inner-city ministry. As a child of the sixties, she’s having fun writing about hippies and the Jesus People movement in the Serenity Hill series.

Cathe writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

More from Cathe

The 1920’s is a fascinating era. Women had recently won the right to vote, and America adopted the Volstead Act – Prohibition – which led to the growth of underground clubs and organized crime. Women were forging new paths in social reform, politics, science, medicine and every other career. America became more urbanized, building suburbs and developing a large middle-class population. The affordable automobile changed the entire culture! It was a time of innovation and rapidly expanding technology. Synthetic fabrics, convenience foods, electric appliances and other inventions made daily life easier. People had more free time, money and access to a variety of entertainments than ever before.

So much happened in this brief, exciting decade between the end of WWI and the Great Depression! It’s always interested me, so I was flattered and thrilled when Celebrate Lit Publishing invited me to participate in The Ever After Mysteries, a collection of 1920’s mysteries inspired by fairy tales. I’m a great fan of mysteries from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, and I read at least a thousand fairy tales as a child.

To be honest… I set about it backward. I knew I wanted to write about a young woman playing the Mighty Wurlitzer organ to accompany silent films at a glamorous movie palace, so I Iooked for a fairy tale to match it!

I chose The Nightingale, an old Chinese story about an Emperor with a beautiful palace. Everything in it was exquisite and fragile, and people came from all over the world to admire his palace. He loved to show it off and even tied little bells to the prettiest blossoms in the garden, to make sure no one missed them. When the emperor heard rumors about a bird that sang more beautifully than anything else, he sought it out and brought it home to live in the palace, where it could sing to entertain him and his guests.

At that point, the fairy tale and my story diverge. In the fairy tale, the nightingale lives in the palace singing for the court until the Emperor of Japan presents the Emperor of China with a bejeweled mechanical bird – so much prettier than the plain brown nightingale. The Chinese emperor abandons the real bird and enjoys the mechanical one until it breaks. He falls into a deep depression and is only restored to health by the return of the real nightingale.

None of that happens in Murder at the Empire, but there’s lot of other fun, jazzy excitement as the John Starek – the “Emperor” – fills his magnificent movie palace with fine artwork and beautiful things – including Chicago’s first female theater organist, Gayle Wells. He thinks she’s the bee’s knees, but she’s a pretty independent girl, busy working and saving money to buy her own car.

And then things start falling apart… with murder at the Empire. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 16

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, November 17

Blossoms and Blessings, November 17

Texas Book-aholic, November 18

Blogging With Carol, November 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

deb's Book Review, November 20

Sodbusterliving, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 21

For Him and My Family, November 22

Simple Harvest Reads, November 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 25 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, November 25

Connie's History Classroom, November 26

Genesis 5020, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 27

Connect in Fiction, November 27

Back Porch Reads, November 28

Through the fire blogs, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 29

 
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

9 comments:

Bea LaRocca said...

Thank you for sharing your review of this book, it sounds like an excellent read

Rita Wray said...

I liked the review.

Stormy Vixen said...

Cathe, Your book sounds like a thrilling read and I can't wait to read it! Congratulations on your release of Murder at the Empire and good luck with your book and the tour! Thanks for sharing it! Thanks Book Reviews from an Avid Readers for sharing your review! Have a wonderful holiday season!

megana said...

I'm definitely reading this! Thanks for sharing!

Deborah Dumm said...

Cathe, You are a new author to me. I am looking for your books in my local library.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book.
Marion

Emma said...

This sounds like a fun mystery!

Cathe Swanson said...

Thanks for sharing the book! It was fun to research and write!

Amelia said...

Thanks for sharing!