Monday, April 4, 2011


What will it be this time: celebration or sympathy?

Uh oh, here they come again: butterflies in the stomach. Tomorrow, April 5th, The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder will hit the shelves. Today I will worry about that. Oh sure, it’s my thirteenth book and the fifth in the Charlotte Adams series. I am well aware of that and you’d think I’d get over those butterflies when I think about it. Shouldn’t I be blasé after all these years? Maybe. But there’s something about the first ‘official’ day of a new book. Will it have all its fingers and toes, um, pages? Will readers reach for it? Will they like what they read? Will reviewers be kind to it? Will the series still feel fresh? Will the characters actually stay in character and continue to intrigue? Will all the former loose ends that were fixed in the last draft stay knit up? And of course, the all-important question: will the readers guess the ending or will I win the game of wits with them? There’s no way to know that until the book has been read. Believe me, they’ll let me know if they catch on before the ‘darkest hour’.

It’s a bit like being a parent. We authors get very attached to our projects, sort of like our children. A book does take longer than a pregnancy as a rule and is often painful at certain stages too. The results are worth it, of course, for the author and we hope for the reader. We are also, by and large, very proud of our literary (and criminous) offspring. Rightly so. But there’s something about that day before the official publication date that stirs up any worries, anxieties, whatever. Of course, in my case I could worry over a longer period, but this is an intense business and who’s got time? Once a year for one day has to do the trick.

So wish me well and join me in a small bit of fun to celebrate or sympathize with two of my on-going characters in the Charlotte Adams books: the rescued miniature dachshunds and reigning canine royalty in Charlotte’s small apartment,Truffle and Sweet Marie.

As the story starts, the spoiled little darlings are trying to pass their therapy dog test (third time and you’re out). They’ve been working on this since book three, with woefully embarrassing results. Of course, there is murder and mayhem and investigating by Charlotte, but we are talking about the dogs here. To celebrate the arrival of the book, I am having a little contest and I thought you might be interested. The winner will be drawn from among the correct answers and will get the cute little watch shown here.

The ‘skill-testing question follows:

Truffle and Sweet Marie have their last chance to pass their Therapy Dog Test. What happens?

a) Truffle passes and Sweet Marie disgraces herself.
b) Sweet Marie succeeds and Truffle snarls at the instructor (automatic fail)
c) Both dogs leave Charlotte mortified
d) Truffle and Sweet Marie pass with flying colors
e) None of the above

If you think you have an answer, email me at Good luck! Psst, you have until the first week of May.


The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder: a Charlotte Adams mystery
(April 5, 2011)
A TOP PICK! RT Book Reviews, April 2011 4 1/2 stars

Mary Jane Maffini rides herd on three (soon to be three and a half) mystery series and a couple of dozen short stories. Her thirteenth mystery novel, The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder (April 5, 2011), is brimming with names, no two the same.


  1. Thanks to Amazon, I already have the book and am enjoying it. I know the answer to the skill-testing question but nothing beats my "Wizard of Oz" watch (well, except the one that I can actually see in the dark) so somebody else can win it.

  2. Elaine - beware burglars getting in through your supposedly safe window and swiping that watch! What then? Bwaaaa haaaa haaaa.


    Totally anonymous

  3. I choose to believe both pooches will pass their tests because Charlotte has worked hard to put them through their paces. But if the question was whether Charlotte and Jack will ever get together romantically, I'd have to say no. They both seem hopelessly unfocused in that department. I could be wrong of course and I'll only find out when my copy of the book arrives at Coles.

  4. Do Charlotte's organizational tips in the new book concern the training of small, willful dogs? If so, I see plenty of opportunities to cross-market "A Busy Woman's Guide to Murder"!

    Charlotte helped me get my clothes closet under control . . . if she can get Winnie trained, I'll be a fan for life.

  5. Thanks< Sue. They seem to be a bit thick in that department don't they? (I mean Charlotte and Jack)

    And Paying Attention Canada - I think you are on to something. Love your blog!