Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Devil’s Music by Pearl R. Meaker | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Guest Post, Review, Giveaway

The Blurb

Emory Crawford doesn't do martial arts nor is she an athletic, leggy woman who is built like a model. She's a wife, grandmother, and empty nest lover of crafts, reading, birding and bluegrass music.

When an acclaimed scholar, best-selling author and fellow bluegrass musician is found murdered on the Twombly College campus where her husband teaches chemistry and forensics, Emory takes up her knitting caddy, to help her channel the spirit of Miss Marple, and heads off to help solve the crime.

The Devil’s Music by Pearl R. Meaker
Series: An Emory Crawford Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Publication Date: May 1, 2015
Publisher: Promontory Press
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1927559642
ISBN-13: 978-1927559642
Amazon  | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | PublisherGoodreads

The Excerpt

Stars shone in a sky hazed with moonlight from a half- moon. The fountain played its merry music. The smell of late spring flowers wafted on the cooling air. Soft lights in the fountain made the area cozy while keeping it from being scary-dark. But our playful mood faded as we saw the silhouette of someone sleeping on one of the backless benches near the fountain.

“Drat! I was looking forward to some romance.” At forty-seven I still sound like a sulky child when I’m disappointed.

“So was I.” Jebbin didn’t sound it though. He was too busy squinting at the figure on the bench. He nodded his head toward the figure. “Something’s odd there, Emory.”

I looked closer. The figure’s arms both dangled down, hands resting on the ground. The legs were straight, hanging off either side of the bench in an uncomfortable looking position. We edged closer until we could see, lit by the light of the fountain, the body of a man splayed lengthwise on the bench. Several pouches and odd amulets rested on his chest. On the ground, the hand nearest us was holding a fiddle with no strings.

Jebbin grabbed my shoulders, turning me toward the fountain and away from the bench.

“He’s been strangled.” Jebbin’s body was tight, his voice tense. “It’s Archie and he’s
been strangled.”

The Review

I read a really good book recently, y'all! Let me tell you a little about it. 

The Devil’s Music, a cozy mystery, is the first book in the Emory Crawford Mystery series. The Devil’s Music is also the debut novel of author Pearl R. Meaker, a fact belied by how well this novel is written.

The characters in The Devil’s Music are interesting, memorable, and realistic. I could identify with Emory. The self-doubts she has at times make her seem very real indeed. Author Pearl R. Meaker has created Twombly College, located in the fictional town of Twombly in fictional Golden County, Illinois, and has included enough realistic detail to make Emory's world seem true.

The Devil’s Music is told in first person by Emory Crawford. I like her sense of humor, and that of her husband, chemistry professor Jebbin Crawford. The Crawfords have two children — a son, Lanthan, and a daughter, Molly.
Their names are short for what's on their birth certificates. Lanthanum (symbol La, atomic number 57) David Leon Crawford, and Molybdenum (symbol Mo, atomic number 42) Helen Crawford. Elements. Perfect for a chemistry professor's kids, and really, normal enough sounding names once you shorten them.  

The murder takes place during an anthropological society conference being held at Twombly College. In order to keep news of the murder out of the media, the college president 
wants it, as he put it, 'cleared up by the end of the conference.' He also said it was 'best to get it taken care of while the suspects are all still here.' 

To help speed up the investigation, Emory assists her husband's forensics work by doing a little sleuthing. I like that Emory uses Miss Jane Marple as her sleuthing inspiration. I also like Emory's sleuthing motto, W.W.J.M.D.
I mean, after all, what did Jane do? She approached people as a sweet, kindly, understanding old lady and they opened up to her. She'd sit and knit — and listen in on conversations. She'd see everything. 
What Would Jane Marple Do? 

The pacing of The Devil’s Music is just right. I like Author Pearl R. Meaker's writing style. Right from the beginning, I cared about Emory and Jebbin Crawford and their friends at Twombly College. I am looking forward to reading Book Two, The Devil's Hook, when it is released in October.

I really enjoyed reading The Devil’s Music by Pearl R. Meaker, and award it Four Kitties out of five! I recommend it to all Cozy Mystery fans. 
Four out of five kitties
Note:  I received a complimentary copy of The Devil’s Music in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Author Guest Post

Judging a Book by Its Cover

Thank you Jane for inviting me to your blog today, and to Goddess Fish Productions for handling all the details of putting my blog tour together. ☺

Okay. We all know we aren’t supposed to do that to books or anything else, but the truth is that we do, we all judge books by their covers, movies by their trailers and music by its style or the accent of the lead singer. Which is why publishers, movie companies, cereal companies and publicists of everything else you can think of all pay close attention to what is on the cover.

Book covers vary a great deal according to the genre of the book inside, but they all aim to catch the reader’s eye.

Romances have covers with lovers embracing or a lovely woman looking either seductive or lonely. And don’t forget the bare chested man.

Science fiction books often have starry skies, unearthly looking landscapes, spaceships and ofttimes aliens. Oh! And barely dressed female space warriors often put in an appearance.

Fantasy books usually have forests or lovely mountains along with beings of widely varying sizes with pointy ears outfitted in medieval style armor or flowing robes – or female warriors in skintight armor and a huge sword.

In other words, most of the look and feel of the cover reflects the feel and common settings of each genre.

Mysteries follow suit. If it’s a hard boiled detective story set in the gritty parts of a big city, the cover will often have a cityscape or a dark alley for the back drop along with a well bloodied corpse – often a scantily clad well built female.

Cozy mysteries are known for being somewhat genteel, and the covers reflect this. Blood is kept to a few droplets or a spatter or two. Usually, there isn’t a corpse in sight, and the background is either just a solid color with a single illustrated item, author’s name and title, or a nice illustration of a small town, shop or home. Also important is that the items on the cover should relate to important things or places in the story.

My first book, The Devil’s Music and the second, The Devil’s Hook that will be out in October, are both cozy mysteries.

I am fortunate in that my publisher encourages input from their authors regarding their covers. The Devil’s Music deals with murder ballads and a bluegrass fiddler. The cover has aged looking sheet music for its background with a few drops of blood scattered on it. A fiddle is featured along the side and the title is in an old timey style font. It meets the requirements for a cozy mystery cover, I love it, and I’ve had loads of compliments on it.

The Devil’s Hook features a white background with what looks like a crocheted tablecloth. The main items are a ball of crochet cotton with a bit of unfinished crochet work beside it. Bold against that are a red ribbon and an elegant dark red wooden crochet hook with a blood spatter near its hooked end. The ribbon and especially that specific crochet hook are important parts of the story. And again, I love my cover!

Even in the world of e-books, a cover can make or break a book. Think of when you get an email from a book retailer recommending books. It contains several rows of thumbnail book covers. The hope is one will catch your eye and you’ll click on it to learn more.

And you just judged a book by its cover.

The Author

About Pearl R. Meaker

Pearl R. Meaker is an upper-middle-aged, short, pudgy homemaker, mother, and grandmother who in 2002 became a writer. Initially writing fanfiction she soon tried original fiction at the encouragement of her regular readers. She has been a life-long lover of mystery stories and automatically went to that genre for her first book, The Devil’s Music

She and her husband of nearly 40 years live in central Illinois. They both love bluegrass music, playing fiddle and banjo and singing. Pearl also does many crafts —  when she’s not reading or writing — knitting, crochet, origami, needlepoint, and cross-stitch among them. She also enjoys birding and photography and is a former fencer. 

Find her on the web at

The Giveaway

Pearl will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card 
to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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