Book Title: Broken Strings
Author: Nancy Means Wright
Release Date: May 7th 2013
When puppeteer Marion collapses during a performance of Sleeping Beauty, her friend Fay Hubbard promises to carry on. But Fay already has her hands full with three demanding foster children, Apple and Beets, who have a fractious jailbird father—and sixteen-year-old Chance, who has a crush on a much older guy in a band called Ghouls. And now Marion’s husband Cedric seems more interested in a drop-dead-gorgeous French teacher than in any string puppets. And who is the mysterious Skull-man who warns of death if the show goes on with one of Marion’s offbeat endings? When an autopsy reveals that Marion had swallowed a dose of deadly crushed yew—and a friend finds her sister dangling from a rod like a marionette, a shocked Fay goes after the killer.
BURIED UNDER BOOKS
My 6’2” spouse is strong and able but he’s diabetic. He’s not crazy about shoveling snow or mowing two acres of grass. And I was growing tired of paying $500 each time the fuel truck came to our 1835 home—a charming house, yes, but full of holes. So we decided to downsize. To simplify our lives, as Thoreau advised back in the 19th-century
I was busy promoting my 18th-century novels—a mystery series featuring fiery Mary Wollstonecraft, and then a “tween” novel, Walking into the Wild, set during the end of the American Revolution. A new mystery, Broken Strings, about a madcap puppeteer, was in progress. More disturbing still was a languid economy. Was this the right time to downsize, with its exhausting weeks of sorting, packing, organizing, finding the right place and, worse, finding a buyer for the current home?
We did it anyway. In April, just as my weeping cherry tree was putting out its fragrant pink blossoms, we succumbed to a moment of madness and listed the old house with a hot shot out-of-town Realtor. “He’ll sell you to a lovely new family,” we told the house.
Instead, he sold us on a condo in the next town of Middlebury. We thrilled at the thought of no more shovelling, mowing, dragging out trash in sealed cans to keep away the wildebeests. We downsized with passion. We filled a dumpster the size of a Mack Truck with broken tools, boxes of memorabilia, all sacrificed to the cause of simplicity. “Less is more,” I told my skeptical family as I gave away hundreds of books, and packed thousands more.
We now owned two houses, two sets of taxes, and the threat of more snow to shovel if no one made an offer by late fall. But autumn came and went, with only one anonymous looker. I thought of my first published mystery, out from St Martin’s Press with a lovely review—and then thundering silence.
We moved in a thunderstorm on July 18. Three men got the furniture out in a single
wet hour—the sofa eventually dried out. A grandson helped lug myriad boxes of books I
knew I’d have no room for but “couldn’t do without.” Our Maine Coon cats went
catatonic as their favorite haunts disappeared, bed by lounge chair. The movers made
muddy gashes in the lawn as they struggled up the condo hill with bed, dressers, hutch. I
thought of Mary Wollstonecraft moving beyond the Paris gates during the bloodiest part
of the French Revolution. From her hired carriage where she sat buried under books, she
could see the tumbrils rattling toward the guillotine with their cargo of heartsick victims.
Did Mary ever wish she’d never left her home in London? Often, I bet—especially after her lover got her pregnant and then abandoned her! I still mourn my old house. My weeping cherry, the gingko tree, the view of Bread Loaf Mountain. And the books I had to give away.
But finally the house sold. And my novel found a delightful new publisher. The spring bulbs we planted in last December’s frozen ground are about to blossom, along with the new mystery. The marionettes are dancing on their strings in my livingroom, ready to perform a short play I’ve written to help launch Broken Strings.
…With the fervent prayer, of course, that no one will break the strings of these precious marionettes—or all is lost!
Nancy Means Wright
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nancy Means Wright has published 17 books, including 6 contemporary mysteries from St Martin’s Press and two historical novels featuring 18th-century Mary Wollstonecraft (Perseverance Press). Her two most recent books are the mystery Broken Strings (GMTA publishing) and Walking into the Wild, an historical novel for tweens (LLDreamspell). Her children’s mysteries have received an Agatha Award and Agatha nomination. Nancy lives in Middlebury with her spouse and two Maine Coon cats.