Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two Characters in A Place to Die: A Marriage at the End of its Tether by Dorothy James

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by Dorothy James
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My murder mystery, A Place to Die, is set in a retirement home in the Vienna Woods. A couple of American baby-boomers are there, doing what baby-boomers all over the United States are doing, trying to deal with the problems of their aging parents while their own old age is looming up on the not-too-distant horizon.

The couple in my novel, Eleanor and Ernst Fabian, have come for Christmas from New York City because Ernst’s mother in her nineties has just been “put into a home,” pretty much against her will. She didn’t want to move out of her own apartment, but she really could not look after herself any more. How familiar is that?

Ernst and Eleanor live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They both emigrated to the United States in their twenties, she from England, he from Austria. They have been together for years, but their marriage is not exactly made in heaven. It has reached a point, as one reviewer has written, “of mutual stale annoyance, yielding moments of laugh-out-loud amusement for the reader.” Of course, there will be readers who because of their own good or bad marriages may not be amused!

Finding themselves now in close quarters with the older generations, Eleanor and Ernst both become very aware of how their own lives are slipping away, and the five days over Christmas in the Vienna Woods bring them in different ways to a turning point in their relationship. This happens. But it is not the central plot of the novel. The novel is a murder mystery and the murder has taken place just before the novel starts. The five-day process of finding the murderer is narrated, section by section, minute by minute, from the viewpoints of three figures, the Viennese detective, and our two American visitors.

Eleanor is only too happy to immerse herself in the detection process to escape the boredom of the family visit. Ernst on the other hand is mightily irritated by the whole thing and especially by Eleanor’s new role as would-be sleuth. But each of them contributes from the sidelines to the unraveling of the mystery. Central to the detection is of course Chief Inspector Büchner himself. But to get to know him, you will have to read the novel. Suffice to say here that, by the time he finishes his task, Eleanor and Ernst have moved along their own trajectories and neither will ever be the same again.


Guest post created for part of A Place to Die tour - check out the other stops for more details on this book and author
© 2012. All rights reserved.

Dorothy James Bio:
Dorothy James was born in Wales and grew up in the South Wales Valleys. Writer, editor, and translator, she has published short stories as well as books and articles on German and Austrian literature. She has taught at universities in the U.S., England, and Germany, makes her home now in Brooklyn and often spends time in Vienna and Berlin.

She wrote A Place to Die in her attic apartment on the edge of the Vienna Woods. She has travelled far from Wales, but has not lost the Welsh love of playing with language; she writes poems for pleasure as does Chief Inspector Büchner, the whimsical Viennese detective who unravels the first mystery in this new series of novels.

Visit Dorothy:

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by Dorothy James
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Read more about these characters here...

--~ eBook Giveaway ~--

A Place to Die: An Inspector Georg Buchner Mystery
by Dorothy James

Links to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
E-book links: Kindle | Nook | iBookstore

Eleanor and Franz Fabian arrive from New York to spend Christmas with Franzs mother in her sedate retirement home in the Vienna Woods. Their expectations are low: at best, boredom, at worst, run-of-the-mill family friction. But when the wealthy, charming Herr Graf is found dead in his apartment with an ugly head wound, the Fabians are thrust into a homicide investigation.

Some residents and staff have surprising connections to the dead man, but who would have wanted to kill him? Inspector Büchner tracks down the murderer against a backdrop of Viennese history from the Nazi years to the present day. Witty, suspenseful, lyrical, this is a literary whodunit that will keep you guessing till the last page.

WIN the KINDLE version of this book!

Open to all.

Offer ends: February 29, 2012

Leave a comment or question for the author.

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  1. Velvet, thanks again for hosting Dorothy today. What an interesting post on the changing dynamics of a marriage once a couple is placed in a retirement home, yet they're still able to solve a mystery - brilliant! :)

  2. Thanks a lot, Velvet, for letting me talk about my book on your great blog! I look forward to hearing from your readers.
    And thanks to Nicole at Tribute Books too. I should perhaps say that the couple is only visiting the retirement home! But this too changes the dynamics of the marriage.

  3. This sounds like a very well thought-out and realistic story. Honestly, I can easily relate to the basics of the book (minus the murder mystery lol) as I'm at the age where I've experienced what it's like to be aging yourself AMD dealing with the parents thing. It's no picnic, and no wonder my generation is sometimes called *the sandwich generation* ;P

  4. Thanks for this comment, M.A.D. Yes, the novel did partly arise from many experiences with what you rightly call here "the sandwich generation," among my own friends and relatives. I am happy to see the book finding an echo in the way you describe,

  5. I am 65 and I rejoice when whenever I see a book written with baby boomers in it. I think I could imagine myself as being Eleanor!

    Thank you for the chance to win this story!!

    1. That's great, Carol! There are a lot of baby-boomers out there looking for some reflection of their own preoccupations! Hope you'll get a chance to read the book. Let me know if you like it.

  6. I really like the subtitle: "A Marriage at the End of Its Tether." Don't we all feel that way sometimes! Plus it adds another element to the mystery in the novel.


  7. thanks for the giveaway


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