Maggie Bishop, Mystery and Romance Author

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"An established must-read romance author, Maggie Bishop has crossed into the mystery genre with finesse. Murder at Blue Falls is packed with suspense around a tightly-woven plot...with engaging characters, red herrings at every turn, and a galvanizing story line, this is a must-have, must-read." — Christy Tillery French, Midwest Book Review


Murder at Blue Falls...

by Maggie Bishop

Plot Summary:

Blue Falls Guest Ranch, near Boone, North Carolina, the Present

Jemma Chase's life is going through a directionless patch. After her last relationship went bad, she moved to her parent's guest ranch in North Carolina's Appalachian Mountains. She leads trail rides, is the resident handy-person/carpenter and a talented photographer. Because of her beef with a neighbor whose son is tearing up the horse trails with his four-wheeler, she becomes the number one suspect when the neighbor's dog is poisoned. To top that off, her horse Brandy acts up on a trail ride and leads Jemma to a dead body. As a fan of TV's CSI, she knows just what to do...take a lot of pictures and don't disturb the evidence.

Detective Tucker of the Sheriff's Office is a dedicated peace officer, single and prone to working long hours. He interviews Jemma Chase about the dog poisoning and decides she is just too calm and her answers too ready to be completely innocent. Then crime in the area escalates, leading to arson and murder.

Jemma figures the only way to prove her innocence is to solve the crimes herself. She begins her investigation by doing as CSI Sara would do. By this time, she and Detective Tucker have called a truce. He might as well go along with her; she'll just go ahead on her own anyway. But someone doesn't want Jemma snooping around.

Questions for Discussion:

1. How do you feel about Jemma Chase? What are her strengths and her weaknesses? How does she change?

2. In recent years, adult children have returned to live with their parents. How realistic is Jemma’s relationship with her parents? With her Aunt Alma? Who do you know who is a Renaissance-type person who has a variety of skills?

3. The mountain setting is almost a character in this novel. How familiar are you with mountain trees, birds, weather? How does the terrain influence the plot? Would you consider a vacation to a Dude Ranch now that you’ve read this novel?

4. What makes Detective Tucker believable? What are his strengths and weaknesses? How should his working relationship with Detective Graves change?

5. The author likes to have a romantic subplot involving older characters. This is the first in a mystery series involving Jemma and Detective Tucker. Should the romance between Aunt Alma and neighbor Randy continue? Does it detract from the main story?

6. How important is the sport of horse back riding in this novel? When was the last time you were on a horse? What makes the horse scenes believable?

7. What do you think about the author using real people in the novel? How did they influence your view of the characters? 8. If you happened upon a murder victim, what would you do? How would you react?


About the Author:

Maggie Bishop hikes, skis, climbs, swims, explores and writes in the mountains of North Carolina where she settled in 1993 with her husband and cat. Every time they travel, they seek out other mountains but none are as exciting as the ancient Appalachians. When asked, "What do you do?" her answer is, "Entertain with word pictures." All of her novels are set in the mountains, involve strong women and engaging men.

She's an Air Force brat who put herself through East Carolina University and received a MBA degree, a former manufacturing executive, founder and past president of High Country Writers, past Secretary of Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Appalachian Authors Guild.

MURDER AT BLUE FALLS is a light, easy read with lots of local color. The daily workings of a dude ranch are portrayed in a manner both interesting and realistic, and so are the folk, good and not so good, who inhabit the area. Besides a mystery story with no lack of suspects, there is the beginning of a relationship. Jemma and Tucker are mature, likable characters who could very well become a team in future mysteries set in the high country. If that weren't enough to entertain readers, Maggie Bishop has used some actual people as minor characters and included pictures of some of them and many of the horses. All of this is explained in forewords and afterwords, and, as a result, this reader felt very much as though she'd visited Blue Falls and come away a friend. Two previous books by Ms. Bishop were set in that beautiful area, APPALACHIAN PARADISE and EMERALDS IN THE SNOW.

For a fresh, enjoyable read with a homespun flavor, try MURDER AT BLUE FALLS.

Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today

I'm saddle sore just reading this book!

This the third book I've read by Maggie Bishop. While I've enjoyed them all, I can see in this work the blossoming and maturing of this splendid writer. The story is a page turner which pulls the reader
around an unexpected bend, seamlessly integrating new events by building on the foundation she has laid before. She arouses reasonable suspicion of a number of suspects before allowing the true killer to reveal himself in the last pages of the book. I always am struck with the accuracy of Bishop's depiction of the territory in which her characters operate. I ride horses in the Appalachians myself, though on the Tennessee side, and as I read this book I feel myself back in the saddle negotiating the dangerous terrains of the mountains. The characters are interesting, even the peripheral characters. The heroine is strong and capable, yet quite feminine, and the hero is strong enough to appreciate her strengths and sensitive enough to accept her flaws. It is interesting how she has woven the lives of real people, and real writers, into her fictional tale. It is always an education reading books by Maggie Bishop. She gives little details about life in Appalachia that one would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. My only regret in reading Murder at Blue Falls is that it ended too soon. Perhaps there's a sequel in this one?
Danielle Bussone,

"Gets off to a good start and maintains an exciting tension that manages to carry to the end.... A good part of Bishop's success is the set-up she's engineered." – Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen -Times (for Appalachian Paradise)

"Author Maggie Bishop has written a book the equal of any of the popular fiction nicknamed 'Chick Lit’ that is a staple in bookstands everywhere. ... could easily compete with any of the romance genre found on Best Seller Lists." – Rapid River Monthly (for Emeralds in the Snow)

"The book is a fun, fast read ... The characters are clearly drawn ... These are the kind of characters who shape the world around them and readers enjoy that kind of development. ... Readers can look forward to her next one." – JC Walkup, Smoky Mountain News (for Emeralds in the Snow)