A long time ago when I lived in Manhattan, I used to look out my apartment window and wonder about that place across the Hudson River. I knew very little about New Jersey and didn't have the time to venture over and check it out. After all, I lived in Manhattan; why should I go any place else? We had parks, museums, art galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, Ray's Pizza, and a great one-of-a-kind bookstore called Barnes and Noble. Like I said, it was a long time ago.
In October of my second year in the Big Apple, I finally had the opportunity to travel to New Jersey. I was on my way home back to Texas. What I remember about that drive-through of the Garden State was getting lost and going around in circles for two hours.
Fortunately, my husband and I recently explored the entire New Jersey coastline on our way from Key West, Florida to Eastport, Maine. We discovered Cape May with its cute cottages; Asbury Park where Madam Marie still told fortunes; Atlantic City with it delicious smells of hot dogs and fried clams; Atlantic Heights with the nicest boutique hotel and best corn muffins in the world.
Even more recently, I discovered another New Jersey treasure, Anastasia Pollack, the protagonist in Lois Winston's Crafting Mystery Series. Anastasia is the crafts editor for American Woman, a New Jersey magazine. On the surface, she sounds like an average American career woman with an average American family, living the average American life. That image is quickly shattered on chapter one when I, and Anastasia, discover her husband has just dropped dead in the casino at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. What makes this a real shocker is that husband Karl was supposed to be at a business meeting in Pennsylvania instead of gambling away the family's last dollar.
Anastasia is not only penniless; she is left with two teenage sons who now have little chance to go to college; a Communist live-in mother-in-law who despises her; and a loan shark who is threatening to kill her and her family if she doesn't fork over the cash owed to him by Karl, the dead husband. Just when you think her life can't get worse, she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a fellow colleague who was killed in Anastasia's office at the magazine.
Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, is the first book in Winston's series. The story is lighthearted, fast-paced, and despite the maddeningly frightful circumstances, which surround Anastasia, humorous.
I've been on a quest this year to find new mystery writers I can add to my must-read list. The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series is right there at the top of my list. Check out Lois Winston's website for more information on her crafting mysteries.
I had the opportunity to have Lois as my guest on Birds and Books on Tuesday, May 27. Check out Jersey Strong. Lois shared her thoughts on growing up in New Jersey. The topic sparked some entertaining conversation in the comment section. Lois also offered a peek at her recently released Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery, Patchwork Peril.
Crimes, a Trio of Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mysteries
Labels: Anastasia Pollack, crafts, female sleuth, humor, Lois Winston, mysteries, mystery series, New Jersey