Guess Blogger: Judy Penz Sheluk – It’s Not Always a Murder

It’s Not Always a Murder by Judy Penz Sheluk

The first thing I do after writing The End is to send a copy of the manuscript to my beta readers. I did just that with Where There’s A Will, the third (and final) book in my Glass Dolphin cozy mystery series, and waited to hear back.

Now, I’ll be honest with you. Even after five published novels, I still get nervous. After all, when you’ve been immersed in a project for months, you tend to lose perspective. What if they hated it? After all, I encourage honest feedback. That’s the point of having beta readers.

Fortunately, the feedback for Where There’s a Will was positive. One reader, however, did make this comment:

“I know the first two books in this series had murders at the center of the drama, so I was surprised that, although there were compelling mysteries reminiscent of your style in the Marketville series, there was no murder. Even more surprising was how much I enjoyed the story, even without a murder in the mix. I really couldn’t put it down. The mystery of the wills and how it all could impact the lives of all the characters was really intriguing.”

Now, as an author, I knew I was taking a risk. Cozy mystery readers have come to expect a murder. In fact, there’s often a dead body in the first chapter, sometimes on the first page.

But I wanted this story to be about friendship and forgiveness, about second chances, and about leaving my main characters—Glass Dolphin antiques shop co-owners Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland—at a good place in their lives.

That’s not to say that some of the characters in Where There’s A Will don’t deserve to fall victim to a bad end, and not everyone gets the second chance they might have hoped for, had one been offered. But hey, I write without an outline. Is my fault that when it came to “their turn for redemption” I didn’t find them worthy? I don’t think so. But that’s the thing about pantsing my way through the pages. I’m often surprised by who gets forgiven, and who doesn’t. Even when there’s not always a murder.

About the book: Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

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About the Author: A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at


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