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On Being a Reluctant Amateur Sleuth
By Anastasia Pollack
It isn’t easy when an author hijacks your life for her own literary purposes. One day you’re minding your own business; the next thing you know, there’s a dead body in your office chair. That’s what happened to me when author Lois Winston decided to forsake writing romance and began killing people for a living—on the page, of course—in Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.
So now along with being a widowed mother of two teenagers and a crafts editor at a women’s magazine, I’m an amateur sleuth—reluctantly, I might add. I would have been perfectly happy to maintain my predictable suburban life, but I had no say in the matter. We characters don’t come with self-determination. We’re putty in our authors’ hands. At least Lois decided to write humorous cozy mysteries. In her prior writing life she wrote some really gritty romantic suspense that would keep her readers sleeping with one eye open at night, thanks to the extremely evil villains she created.
And I’ll admit, she even has me laughing at times—when she doesn’t have me staring down a killer. You wouldn’t believe the cast of supporting characters she’s given me, everything from a nasty communist mother-in-law to a Shakespeare-quoting parrot!
Lois has now dumped me into eight books and three novellas. That’s a lot of dead bodies. People in town are beginning to refer to me as Westfield’s own Jessica Fletcher. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I figure no matter what happens next, I’m safe. After all, who ever heard of a cozy mystery author killing off her sleuth?
Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 8
Two and a half weeks ago magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack arrived home to find Ira Pollack, her half-brother-in-law, had blinged out her home with enough Christmas lights to rival Rockefeller Center. Now he’s crammed her small yard with enormous cavorting inflatable characters. She and photojournalist boyfriend and possible spy Zack Barnes pack up the unwanted lawn decorations to return to Ira. They arrive to find his yard the scene of an over-the-top Christmas extravaganza. His neighbors are not happy with the animatronics, laser light show, and blaring music creating traffic jams on their normally quiet street. One of them expresses his displeasure with his fists before running off.
In the excitement, the deflated lawn ornaments are never returned to Ira. The next morning Anastasia once again heads to his house before work to drop them off. When she arrives, she discovers Ira’s attacker dead in Santa’s sleigh. Ira becomes the prime suspect in the man’s murder and begs Anastasia to help clear his name. But Anastasia has promised her sons she’ll keep her nose out of police business. What’s a reluctant amateur sleuth to do?
About the author
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.
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