About the Book
Author: Marji Laine
Genre: ChristianHistorical Mystery, Fairytale retelling
Release date: March 7, 2023
Murder. Even the word sounds ugly. Almost as ugly as the corpse on the shore.
Dallas, Texas, 1948
Opal Stedman enjoys caring for old Mrs. Farnesworth. But keeping her sister Ruby out of trouble, well that is another issue entirely. Especially now that Ruby has stepped into high society with her new beau. A dubious man. Maybe even duplicitous.
Even the handsome security guard warns her sister about him.
When a body is dragged onto the shore of the lake that borders their home, rumors and worries over the new man become assurances. But why has he involved her household in these gruesome shenanigans?
And why are Opal’s loved ones suddenly having “accidents”?
Loosely based on the little-known fairy tale of “Snow White and Rose Red” this mystery twists its way all along the banks of White Rock Lake during its heyday.
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This is a fun mystery loosely based on a little known fairy tale. If you do not know the story of “Snow White and Rose Red”, you may want to find out about it before your read this one. Even if you don't, however, it is a good historical mystery that will keep your interest. I liked the characters. The sisters make good heroines. While not naturally bold, they rise to the occasion, gathering information to get to the bottom of the murder and other odd happenings. I liked the fellows who are involved in protecting the women and investigating the case. My favorite character was Old Miss. She was a feisty grandmother. The villain was not a surprise as Laine gave us many clues to the individual's identity.
While it took me a while at the beginning to figure out how the sisters were involved in the family of Old Miss, the mystery and the budding romances kept me interested to the end. There is a good amount of action but only that suitable to a cozy mystery. It is an enjoyable read.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author
More from Marji
A Troll Falls is set in my hometown of Dallas, Texas around the time that my grandfather served as one of the fire captains in the area. I have pictures of my mom and my aunt posing near the spillway of White Rock Lake.
Yep, White Rock Lake is a real place less than ten miles from the central district of Dallas. I remember doing a Walk-a-Thon around the lake and playing softball on Saturday mornings at Winfrey Point, overlooking the lake with a view all the way to downtown. Swimming in the lake was never an option in my lifetime, but my mom remembered swimming there. Because the lake was a major reservoir for Dallas, they had to close it to swimming in the early 1950s due to a drought. By the mid-1950s, boating had made the lake dirty and crowded, so the city of Dallas closed it to motor boats that traveled faster than ten miles per hour. Aside from little fishing boats here and there, White Rock Lake is primarily a sail-boat lake now, and a beautiful sight on a clear day with a light breeze.
The Bonnie Barge is a real thing as well. The double-decker party and dance boat sailed around White Rock Lake from 1945-1956. Fraternities, church groups, reunions, and all types used the Bonnie Barge. Even such famous people as Gypsy Rose Lee and Billy Graham are rumored to have sailed on it, though not at the same time! Johnny Williams, Jr. grew up on the barge that his father built, often steering it even though he was underage. The young man who has the “find” in the Prologue is fashioned after him. Johnny actually did find a body once when he was sixteen, in a similar manner to what I described, except the deceased was a woman who had fallen into the lake and drowned after a night of drinking. The Bonnie Barge was a mainstay on White Rock Lake, but it relied on speed boats to come help in case of trouble. When the speed boats were ousted in 1956, the Bonnie Barge floated her last party as well. You can learn more about the Bonnie Barge here: https://lakewood.advocatemag.com/a-boat-named-bonnie/
On the shores of that lake lies the Dallas Arboretum, a beautiful collection of gardens that I visited often, field trips for my homeschooled kids. The focal point of the Arboretum is the DeGolyer House. Built in the 1930s, the house is fashioned after a Spanish Hacienda. I heard rumors about the house and the rare book collection that Mr. DeGolyer kept locked away in his library, and it became the inspiration for the Halling Estate in my book. You can learn more about the Dallas Arboretum (well worth the visit!) and the DeGolyer House here: https://www.dallasarboretum.org/
My fictional Halling Estate is situated on the lake about where the DeGolyer House still stands, but my imaginary house is a two-story hacienda instead of a single story. I also created a covered drive (called a dog-trot) that separates the kitchen from the garage and the servant apartments above the garage.
While I took some liberties with my 1948 Dallas, the Adolphus Hotel is the real deal. (I shared about it in my first book, A GIANT MURDER, too.) They really did have ice skating shows in their Century Ballroom in the 1940s and 50s. And the dance floor really did glide back over the ice for dancing after the shows were over. You can learn more about it here: https://flashbackdallas.com/2014/10/26/century-room/
I’ve always loved writing mysteries. I love the unexpected twists, and I usually have an idea of who the murderer will be before I start the story. Adding the element of history to the mix has been sheer pleasure. I love setting my stories in and around real places, events, and people. I hope you enjoy A TROLL FALLS as well!
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 27
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 28
Denise L. Barela, April 29 (Author Interview)
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29
Texas Book-aholic, April 30
Locks, Hooks and Books, May 1
For the Love of Literature, May 2 (Author Interview)
Lily’s Book Reviews, May 3
Connie’s History Classroom, May 4
Guild Master, May 5 (Author Interview)
Blogging With Carol, May 7
Through the Fire Blogs, May 8 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, May 9
To celebrate her tour, Marji is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
(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.)