It is my pleasure to welcome Isabelle Muir to my blog to talk about Janie Juke. I will let you see what the book is about first.
The Invisible Case
A shocking death turns a homecoming into a nightmare.
It’s Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and looking forward to spending time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.
As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family?
As Luigi’s story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.
I first met Janie Juke in February 2017. I was walking my Scottie dog, Hamish, along a Spanish beach and she came into my head. But back then I didn’t know her name, I didn’t know that she would be a mobile librarian and I hadn’t met any of her family and friends.
Since then Janie has become a friend. I have discovered her likes and dislikes, her fears and insecurities. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her dad, Philip, who is a blind physiotherapist and her husband, Greg, who is her soul mate and stalwart supporter. But I’ve still got a lot to learn about Janie and about my writing craft.
Anyone who has tried their hand at writing fiction will understand that moment when your character takes on a life of their own. As an author you think you are in control, but once the words start to appear on the page, you discover that you are not. Well, that’s how it feels to me.
So far, Janie has had three adventures. In The Tapestry Bag,Janie is desperate to track down a friend who has gone missing. By solving that mystery she realises that she has skills as an amateur sleuth and in the early chapters of Lost Property she is surprised to learn that those skills can earn her money. Just like many young families in the 1960s (or now, for that matter) any opportunity to bolster their financial coffers is grabbed with both hands.
The Janie Juke mystery series is set in the late 1960s. I loved the chance to look back at that era when The Beatles were breaking the mould of popular music. Medical advances were coming thick and fast. Attitudes were changing to sex, crime, women’s rights and family life.
InLost PropertyJanie meets Hugh Furness, a Second World War RAF pilot. She learns something about life during the Second World War, and the years immediately following it. She also develops a strong friendship with Libby Frobisher, a young journalist, who is energetic and enthusiastic. They make a great team – Janie with her notebook and thorough approach and Libby with super positivity and determination.
In The Invisible Casewe meet Janie’s Aunt Jessica, who has been travelling around Europe for the last few years. At the start of the book we read about Jessica’s train journey back to Tamarisk Bay, travelling from Rome with a friend – Luigi – in tow. As the story unfolds we discover that Luigi has had a troubled past, a past that threatens to spill over into the present. Having got to know Janie and her family and friends, it was interesting to put a stranger into the mix, to see how they each reacted to Luigi and his moody ways.
So what happens next? Well, I know there is a lot more I have to learn about Janie and her family and friends. My plans for the fourth book in the Sussex Crime series centre around Libby Frobisher – that vibrant young journalist, who is determined to make a name for herself. But I have a feeling that she will be reaching out to Janie to lend a hand somewhere along the line!
Isabella Muir is the author of Janie Juke series of crime mysteries – all set in Sussex.
‘The Tapestry Bag’ is the first in the series, followed by ‘Lost Property’. Now – ‘The Invisible Case’ – the latest in the series is available for pre-order from Amazon.
The ‘Janie Juke mysteries’ are set in Sussex in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian with a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.
Isabella has also published ‘Ivory Vellum’ – a collection of short stories.
She has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.
Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.
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