Crime and Parchment
Crime and Parchment: A Rare Books Cozy Mystery
by Daphne Silver
About Crime and Parchment
Crime and Parchment: A Rare Books Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Fictional town of Rose Mallow, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay
Level Best Books (November 21, 2023)
Print length : 226 pages
Digital ASIN : B0CKVBLPCY
Rare books librarian Juniper Blume knows this much… an ancient Celtic manuscript shouldn’t be in a Maryland cemetery. But that’s exactly what her brother-in-law claims.
Last year, Juniper saw the 1,200-year-old Book of Kells in Ireland. She learned how their bejeweled covers were stolen centuries ago, never to be seen again. So how could they have ended up in Rose Mallow, a small Chesapeake Bay town? Being Jewish, the Book of Kells might not be her sacred text, but as a rare books librarian, the ancient book is still sacred to her, making it important to Juniper to find out the truth.
Rose Mallow is the same place where Juniper used to summer with her sister Azalea and their grandmother Zinnia, known as Nana Z. Ever since Nana Z passed away, Juniper’s avoided returning, but her curiosity is greater than her grief, so she heads down in her vintage convertible with her rescue dog Clover.
Juniper discovers that her sister Azalea has transformed their grandmother’s Queen Anne style mansion into the Wildflower Inn, backing up to the Chesapeake Bay. Although Juniper isn’t much of a cook, Azalea has kept their grandmother’s legacy alive, filling the house with the smells of East European Jewish treats, like sweet kugels and tzimmes cake. Will coming back here feel like returning home or fill Juniper with a deeper sorrow? Can she apologize to her sister for not being there when she was needed most?
Enjoy an Excerpt
My 1965, robin’s egg blue convertible backfired as I parked in front of the Wildflower Inn. The noise set off Clover barking in the backseat. Not exactly the quiet homecoming I’d hoped for. I jumped out of my Karmann-Ghia – or “KG” as I’d nicknamed her – to check under the hood, hoping I wouldn’t need to get the roadster serviced yet again. No idea where that money would come from.
A screaming, ranting madwoman poured out of a neighboring house. Maybe in her late seventies, she brandished a large umbrella. I dropped the hood to find the umbrella pointing at me. Clover – all twenty pounds of him – jumped out and started growling.
“Easy, boy,” I said.
“You shoot something off, Missy? Here to cause trouble? Because I’m on the board of the Friends of the Rose Mallow Police.” the woman said. She wore a perfectly fitted Mamie Eisenhower pink skirt suit with enormous pearls – straight out of the 1950s. Her white bouffant billowed around her head. She reminded me of a researcher I’d helped earlier that day at the Library of Congress. That woman had been a murder mystery author looking for books about early detectives. This woman looked like she wanted to murder someone – namely me.
About Daphne Silver
Daphne Silver is the author of the Rare Books Cozy Mystery series. She’s worked more than twenty years in museums and has the great fortune of being married to a librarian. When she’s not writing, she’s drawing and painting. She lives in Maryland with her family. Although she’s not much of a baker, she won’t ever turn down a sweet lokshen kugel.
Q&A With the Author
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I’ve worked in museums most of my career and am married to a librarian, so I’ve always been fascinated by the stories behind objects, especially rare books. Around ten years ago, my husband and I visited Dublin, Ireland where we saw the spectacular Book of Kells, which is over a thousand years old. While as someone Jewish, The Book of Kells may not be my religion’s sacred book, the dedication put into its creation and care made it sacred to me. I kept wondering about the lives it’d seen over the past millenium.
At the same time, I kept bandying about the idea of two sisters: Juniper and Azalea Blume. Maybe that’s because I didn’t grow up with a sister, so I was interested in exploring the relationship between them. Almost like creating two sides of a person. Each had a strong vision for their lives, but those visions didn’t always intersect well. I imagined one running a bed and breakfast out of a historic house and the other being a rare books librarian. While Juniper isn’t sure about settling down after a fast paced life of travel, Azalea has a daughter and loves running her inn in their family’s historic home.
I tried writing Crime and Parchment several times, but it never took. I couldn’t quite get everything to gel and feel right. Eventually I took time off from it, especially after having my son. A few years later, a friend told me about a book she was working on. She was like me in that she had a dayjob and kids, and yet, she was making it work. I decided to come back to these ideas that had been marinating in my mind for years now: the sisters and the Book of Kells. This time, everything flooded out of me. I’d never had a creative experience like that, and it gave me a lot of confidence that the story was finally right.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
There were so many things I loved about writing this book, but my favorite thing was developing my main character Juniper Blume. From my time working in museums, I’ve collected a lot of random bits of history, and it was fun to weave in those tidbits through her, who as a rare books librarian is a bit of a walking encyclopedia. Juniper gets to do everything I don’t get to do: drive a vintage sports car, wear amazing vintage clothes, go where she’s not always supposed to go, and just be simply fearless. She’s not a perfect person, but she has a good heart and wants to do the right thing, even if it means bending the rules sometimes or taking a creative approach. Watching her journey unfold was amazing, and it continues to be in future stories.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
I’ve finished the first draft of the second book in the series, which will come out in November 2024. I have a contract for five books, and I’m currently in the midst of book three. Juniper keeps surprising me with the choices she makes, but it’s been awesome watching her grow, alongside her relationship with her sister Azalea.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
I want to keep working on this series for as long as Juniper will let me, but I have ideas for other ones too. Hopefully I’ll find time to build those ideas up too, but it’s difficult as I also work as the Director of Development for the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and have my family. I hope to show my son the joy of being a storyteller and encourage him to create his own stories.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much! I hope you come along with Juniper in discovering more books and bodies where they don’t belong. You can keep track by joining my newsletter at www.daphnesilver.com or following me on social media: www.facebook.com/daphnesilverbooks or www.instagram.com/daphnesilverbooks.
Purchase Link – Amazon
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