Monday, November 8, 2021

"...a mingled yarn, good and ill together..." Guest Post by Cathy Ace


…a mingled yarn, good and ill together… 

(Source: All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 4, Scene 3, William Shakespeare

In The Corpse with the Granite Heart, the eleventh Cait Morgan Mystery (November 5th 2021, Four Tails Publishing Ltd.), Cait Morgan and her husband Bud Anderson are visiting London, England, for some pre-Christmas cheer, and to meet the new fiancée of their friend, John Silver. But – because this is a classic, closed-circle, mystery – things don’t go quite according to plan. Indeed, within hours of their arrival they’re not only grappling with the idea that they’re off to a dinner party to “celebrate” the life of a recently deceased Shakespeare aficionado, but they’re also confronted with a tragic, and puzzling, death. 

This book’s given me the chance to take Cait to her old stamping ground of London, and to force her to face some ghosts from her past. Being a bright woman, she expected as much, but – as is always the way for Cait, who’s not as judgmental about herself as she is about others – she hadn’t foreseen how very many ghosts there were, nor how they might pool their resources against her. 

Cait Morgan was “born” within a collection of short stories (in Murder Keeps No Calendar) and developed in a novella (in Murder Knows No Season), but most readers first met her in The Corpse with the Silver Tongue, the first novel in her own series, published in March 2012. That’s almost ten years ago (where did all that time go?) but – for Cait – the books she appears in have covered only about three and a half years of her life, so she’s just turned 50, whereas…well, let’s just say this author is no longer in her 50s, but had fun while she was, eh!? 

When I created her, Cait was about my age, and a professor of criminal psychology at a university in Vancouver that was a synthesis of the two universities in Vancouver where I was/had been teaching. Like me, she is short, overweight (damn those wretched Body Mass Index thingies!) and a bit bossy. I also gave her a Welsh birth and upbringing – like me – though she’d migrated to Canada by the time we met her. Who also did that, aged forty? Yep, me. So, yes, Cait’s a lot like me, and each of the books about her adventures have taken her to places where I’ve either lived, or worked. So, as you read the books, you’re also taking my life-journey with me. Possibly never moreso than in this book. It’s taken me a long time to face up to my ghosts – and I decided Cait could help me out. 

I lived in London for eighteen years, and miss many aspects of it to this day…for example, I sent Cait and Bud along to my favourite galleries to see some of the paintings with which I built a deep relationship over the years, which was great fun. I hope you like them. Also, writing this book has given me the chance to conjure old haunts of mine that no longer exist, share feelings I’ve experienced when realizing that change means memories are all we have of people and places, as well as creating new, absolutely fictional situations that gave me an opportunity to examine the nature of toxic, and – of course – deadly human relationships. 

I hope you enjoy all the Shakespearean quotes as chapter titles (yes, there’s a list of sources at the end of the book!), and maybe you’ll even spot the fact that I pinched the Great Bard’s classic five-act structure for this sweeping tragedy, which follows the House of Asimov as it teeters, and falls. With the highest body-count of any of the Cait Morgan Mysteries (to date), there’s also a Shakespearean swagger to the scale of the overall tale. 

If that sounds like your cup of tea – with a spoonful of Shakespearean allusions you’ll have fun spotting (I hope) throughout to sweeten the pot – then this could be the book for you to curl up with on a chilly evening, as you plan your seasonal decorating. 

Those who knew me during my “London years” might have a few surprises, but – if you didn’t know me back then – this book might give you an insight into some of the “mingled yarn” that was my life in those times.


Cathy Ace is the author of the traditional Cait Morgan Mysteries, the cozy WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, and the psychological suspense novel The Wrong Boy, Cathy was born and raised in Wales, but now lives in Canada. A Bony Blithe, IPPY, and IBA award winner, she’s also been shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award. Her Cait Morgan Mysteries, and The Wrong Boy, have been optioned for TV, and she’s currently working on editing the script (which, no, she didn’t write…not her skill set!) for the movie of The Corpse with the Silver Tongue

The Corpse with the Granite Heart is published on November 5th 2021 by Four Tails Publishing Ltd. ISBN paperback: 978-1-990550-00-3 ISBN digital: 978-1-9992230-9-0 


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Cathy Ace said...

Thanks ever so much for giving me the chance to share some insights about this book with your followers, Janet. Much appreciated!

Mary (M. A.) Monnin said...

Your book (and your life!) sound fascinating! I'll be asking for this one for Christmas.