Many authors use pen names, some to conceal their identities entirely; others to build separate audiences for different genres or publishers.
Such is the case with Green author Kathryn Long, who uses the name Bailee Abbott for the new Paint by Murder mystery series. “A Brush with Murder” is set in a touristy town on Lake Chautauqua, with gift shops, bakeries, an aromatherapy parlor and a place that sells hand-painted kites.
Chloe Abbington, having broken up with her workaholic boyfriend, leaves her unsatisfying art career in New York and returns to help her sister Izzie run her painting party studio, one of those half-instruction, half social event places where groups of girlfriends drink wine while painting pictures of their dogs.
When Izzie takes Chloe to see the studio, they see an altercation between a candle shop owner and Fiona Gimble, a local newspaper columnist, whose malicious hit jobs are directed at every businessperson in town. Despite Fiona’s venom, Izzie invites her to the next evening’s private event for those same businesspeople, hoping for good press.
After the event is over, Chloe hauls a trash bag into the back alley, where she finds Fiona dead, stabbed with a painting knife.
With several of the shop owners having secret legal or financial difficulties and Izzie, too, disappearing without explanation, there is no shortage of suspects.
‘Snow Under Murder’
Kathryn Long also writes the Sierra Pines B&B mystery series; the second book is “Snowed Under Murder.” In Book One, Alexis Winston comes to help out her aunt de ella, who runs a bed-and-breakfast in a ski resort area but arrives to the horrible news that her aunt has died. Julia was in good health but was 93, so she is presumed to be of natural causes, but Julia’s best friend thinks there was something suspicious about it. An independent movie is shooting in town so there are lots of colorful suspects.
In “Snowed Under,” the B&B is facing economic issues like a dodgy furnace and a shortage of reservations, unusual for the winter holiday season. A posh new ski resort nearby has attracted guests with a spa and free ski lessons, amenities Ali can’t hope to match.
She does have a couple of guests on the horizon: Her cousin Nathan and his new wife, Isadora, who will be spending their honeymoon at the B&B, not the boon it would seem, as Ali describes Nathan as unbearable. Isadora, a successful actress, is condescending and rude. Ali drives a group of guests over to the resort for some skiing, and it’s not too long before Isadora ends up dead at the bottom of the cliff.
The annual Christmas charity event is foundering and someone is leaving defamatory comments on social media about all the town’s businesses, which were already seeing reduced revenues. There are many possibilities for the culprit, even after a second death rocks the community. The reader is reminded that disagreement is not a reason.
“A Brush with Murder” (320 pages, hardcover) costs $26.99 from Crooked Lane Books. Book Two, “Kill Them With Canvas,” is announced for an October 2022 publication. “Snowed Under Murder” (213 pages, softcover) costs $15.95 from Camel Press, which is not as scrupulous about copy editing as Crooked Lane.
Kathryn Long/Bailee Abbott will be among about 30 authors who will appear at an author fair, with four workshops, at from 11 am to 3 pm Saturday at Stark County District Library, 715 Market Avenue N., Canton. Some of the authors are Gail Bellamy, Nancy Christie, Jane Turzillo and Irv Korman. See the list at starklibrary.org.
Every child is somebody, which is the point of “Somebody,” and that is the point of a storybook by Akron teacher Lura Beaven.
It begins “Once upon a time there was a child named ‘Somebody,’ ” whose reassuring parents promise that Somebody will one day know what he or she (the illustrations are deliberately ambiguous) wants to do.
Somebody dreams that the letters SOMEBODY form in a cloud and talk about their plans: S wants to be a surgeon; O wants to be an orthodontist, M a musician and so on. The second O explains the work of an oceanographer.
Somebody wakes up confident and happy.
“Somebody” (30 pages, softcover) costs $16 from online retailers. The illustrations, a combination of cartoons and digitally altered photos, are not credited.
Hudson Library & Historical Society: David Siegel, chief executive officer of Meetup, talks about “Decide and Conquer: 44 Decisions to Make and Break All Leaders” in a Zoom event at 7 pm Monday. Register at hudsonlibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch, 1876 S. Green Road): Kathryn Schultz talks about “Lost & Found: A Memoir,” featured in the Jan. 30 Book Talk, with NPR host Amy Eddings, 7 to 8 pm Monday. Register atwhosahogalibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library: John Searles talks about his romantic thriller “Her Last Affair” in a Zoom event from 7 to 8 pm Tuesday. From 7 to 8 pm Friday, Edgar Award-winning author Lisa Scottoline talks about her work, including her Rosato & DiNunzio legal thrillers, her humorous nonfiction and her standalone novels (“What Happened to the Bennetts” is her latest from her). Register atwhosahogalibrary.org.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (60 S. High St.): North Canton children’s author Lindsay Bonilla (“Polar Bear Island,” “I Love You with All My Hearts”) shares storytelling tips in an interactive program from 6:30 to 8 pm Wednesday, followed by a book signing. Register at akronlibrary.org.
Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.): David Millard, author of “Make Mayberry Real Again,” presents “Mayberry: A Place in Our Hearts” and the local chapter of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, 6:30 to 7: 30 p.m. Thursday. Register at doverlibrary.org.
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library (Coventry Village branch, 1925 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights): Former Beacon Journal writer Thrity Umrigar reads from and signs her latest novel “Honor,” about a Mumbai-born American journalist covering the story of a Hindu woman tortured for marrying a Muslim man , 7 to 8:30 pm Thursday. Register at heightslibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd.): Alan A. Winter discusses his historical novel “Sins of the Fathers,” about a German attempt to recruit British aid to bring down Hitler, 7 to 8 pm Thursday. Register atwhosahogalibrary.org.
Music Box Supper Club (1148 Main Ave., Cleveland): Scott Longert, author of “Victory on Two Fronts: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball through the World War II Era,” will appear at 7 pm Thursday as part of the Cleveland Stories Dinner Party series, along with Ken Krsolovic and Bryan Fritz, authors of “League Park, Historic Home of Cleveland Baseball.” Dinner is $20; the reading is free. Go to musicboxcle.com.
Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Luke Epplin signs “Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series that Changed Baseball,” about the 1948 Cleveland Indians team that included Larry Doby, Bob Feller, Satchel Paige and owner Bill Veeck, 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Cleveland Public Library (Martin Luther King Jr. branch, 1962 Stokes Blvd.): Cora Sykes discusses “Crescent Tide,” 11 am to noon Saturday; Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour (“I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices”) reads from her work in a Zoom event from 1 to 2 pm Saturday. Register at cpl.org.
Tuscarawas County Public Library (121 Fair Ave. NW, New Philadelphia): Medina County author Mary Ellis talks about her work, including the Bourbon Tour mystery series (Book Two, “One Hundred Proof Murder,” was released in August 2021), 2 to 4 pm Saturday . Register at yourclibrary.org.
Email information about books of local interest, and event notices at least two weeks in advance to BeaconBookTalk@gmail.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. I tweet at @BarbaraMcI.