A Diet of Death
A Diet of Death
by Jinny Alexander
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
Ballyfortnum Get Slim group--putting the die in diet.
In the close-knit Irish Village of Ballyfortnum, getting slim might just get you dead. Mystery-lover Jess O'Malley is distraught when her elderly friend dies, but that's not all--he's the third of the local slimming group to die this year and it's only February. Is something amiss in the Get Slim group?
Jess, aided by her sidekick Fletcher, her boisterous Labrador, must convince local policeman Marcus that there may be a murderer at large in the village. If she doesn't solve the mystery, will another of the dieters end up dead? Or worse--if she doesn't stop asking awkward questions, will Jess become the next victim?
Jess shuddered, remembering how, on the Wednesday of that week, she had bumped into Breda in the refrigerator aisle of one of the supermarkets in Lambskillen. They chatted for a while in front of the fish section, each clasping a warming bag of prawns while discussing the merits of various shellfish. Breda had never had mussels before, she’d said, peering dubiously into the fridge.
“Nor any shellfish, sure I haven’t,” she’d told Jess, brimming over with the enthusiasm of one discovering new tastes. She gestured back towards the fridge. “Nor octopus … sounds suckery—however would you cook it?”
There was a whole section of seafood recipes in the newest Get Slim magazine that she was going to try out, Breda said, managing to sound both wary and excited. Adding a jar of tartare sauce to her basket, Breda moved on.
Jess returned her own lukewarm bag of prawns to the fridge, and selected instead a bag of battered onion rings from the freezer below, tossed them into her trolley, and wheeled off into the wine aisle. She waved at Breda across the car park as they loaded their shopping into their respective car boots.
Three days later, as she’d considered the news Mrs Dunne had shared, wondered if Angela had been trying out the same recipe. Food poisoning, Mrs Dunne had reckoned. Dodgy prawns? Jess shudder as she relived the moment she’d decided to choose unhealthy—but delicious—battered onion rings instead of the nakedness of wrinkled prawns, put off by the thought of accidentally purchasing something healthy that Kate might construe as a sign to try to persuade Jess to join Get Slim.
About the Author:
Jinny was first published in Horse and Pony magazine at the age of ten. She’s striving to achieve equal accolade now she’s (allegedly) a grown up. Jinny has had some publishing success with short story and flash competitions and secured a publishing deal in December 2020 for her first three novels. The first of these, Dear Isobel, was released in March 2022. A Diet of Death is Jinny’s second novel and the first in her Cosy Mystery series. Jinny is currently studying an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Hull, UK.
Jinny also teaches English as a foreign language to people all over the world. Her home for now is in rural Ireland, which she shares with her husband and far too many animals. Her two children have grown and flown, but return across the Irish Sea when they can. She quite likes to shut the door on them all and write.
Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed everything about writing A Diet of Death. I even still enjoyed the story when I was editing and proof-reading it! I love the world I have built for this series and I find it easy to slip into the head of the main character, amateur sleuth Jess O’Malley. Cozy Mystery is such a fun genre to write in, and a genre I love to read. With Cozy, there are certain conventions to adhere to, and certain reader expectations, so this gives a useful framework to work within. Some typical features of Cozy Mystery are the inclusion red herrings, false accusations, and a large bunch of characters who could easily be the perpetrator of the crimes. When I began writing the book, I had no idea who the perpetrator would turn out to be, and only uncovered it for myself as the story unfolded. This was a really fun part of the writing process, as it kept me invested in solving the puzzle just as I hope it will keep the readers guessing.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
I’m currently in the final module of a Creative Writing MA, so I’m mostly writing towards that. This final module is to write a novel. My work-in-progress novel is quite different from my other novels. It’s the first time I’ve had a male viewpoint character, and the first book I have set in a city rather than in a rural village. It features an elderly bookshop owner, a quest, and a puzzle and is set in the 1980s, which is fun and nostalgic and I’m enjoying the soundtrack of my teenage years while I write.
I’m also working on the third Jess O’Malley book (the second is already finished and will be out in 2023) and making good progress with that – Jess and I both love a new mystery!
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
My immediate plans are to finish the third Jess O’Malley book, and my MA, including the standalone book mentioned above. I’ll be doing National Novel Writing Month in November, and will dedicate that to one of these two books, so hopefully one of them will finished before the year’s end. Luckily, I already have ideas for the fourth Jess O’Malley AND for another standalone!
How long have you been writing?
I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember, and one of the earliest stories I can recall was also a cozy mystery! I even illustrated it. I imagine it was around the time Bob Geldof’s daughter was born as it featured a poodle called Fifi Trixibelle. It also featured some missing jewellery and the rich owner of the jewellery (and, I presume, also the poodle). I don’t remember the woman at all, but I do know she must have been rich, and not just from the ‘lots of nice jewellery’ clue, but because the culprit turned out to be her butler. And only rich people have butlers. I must have been aware of cozy mystery conventions even way back then (Thanks Mum and Dad for the love of old Agatha Christies!) because I knew enough to give the butler a solid alibi, and for the finger of blame to be firmly pointed elsewhere. It was also absolutely impossible for the butler to have committed the crime, and the detective (now long-forgotten) solved the mystery purely on the cliched argument that it must have been the butler, because the butler always did it. In more lucrative news, my first published work was a letter to Horse and Pony Magazine. I was ten, and they accidently paid me twice. £50 for a ten-year-old in 1983 set my writing-for-payment expectations extremely high!
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Yes! Dear readers, please keep on reading! Writers across the entire globe appreciate you more than you know. Just knowing that you read our books is what keeps us writing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Also, keep reading the books you want to read and love to read. Reading for pleasure should always be a pleasure. Thank you to, for your support and interest in my books. I always love to hear from readers, so don’t be shy about following me or sending me a message.
Jinny Alexander will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway