Behind the Book – J.R. Ripley’s Maggie Miller series

“Ripley’s appealing sequel to 2015’s Buried in Beignets …clever, amusing cozy.”             Publishers Weekly   

J.R.Ripley’s new Maggie Miller mystery, Beignets, Brides and Bodies is published this week.  Here, J.R. Ripley tells us what’s Behind the Book.

9780727886446The fictional town of Table Rock, Arizona used in the Maggie Miller mystery series is based loosely on Sedona, a town in northern Arizona. Sedona is well-known tourist destination. It is in the heart of an area named Red Rock Country and is a New Age Mecca and creative arts center. In addition to a long history of Native American culture and art, the unique beauty of the landscape continues to lure artists such as the famed Max Ernst, a key figure in the Dada and Surrealist movements, who lived and painted in the area in the 1940s.

I first visited Sedona during my college years and loved it so much I based a novel called Skulls Of Sedona, from an earlier series, in the locale. Rather than using Sedona for the Maggie Miller mysteries, I created Table Rock to allow me to create the perfect, or rather imperfect, world for Maggie, her family and the townspeople she will interact with. Folks in Table Rock tend to be a bit on the eccentric side, or maybe those are just the type of folks Maggie is naturally drawn to. These quirky and artistic residents provide a perfect backdrop for Maggie Miller and her family, somewhat quirky characters in their own right.

Like most beignet lovers, I discovered the sugar-covered fried dough treat on my first trip to New Orleans. It is pretty much impossible to miss the world famous French Market coffee stand called Café du Monde with its iconic green- and white-striped awnings. The café has been a part of New Orleans history since 1862. It is also pretty much impossible to miss the intense and alluringly sweet smell emanating from the Café du Monde’s kitchen. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and you’ll always find somebody waiting in line. Maggie discovered beignets on her honeymoon. Actually, it was her ex-husband’s dream to open a beignet shop and get out of the banking business. Now divorced and single, Maggie has decided to pursue the dream herself. Can she really earn a living selling coffee and beignets in Table Rock, Arizona? Probably not, but she’s going to have a lot of fun and stumble over a few dead bodies while trying.9780727885432

In the first book of the Maggie Miller mystery series, Buried In Beignets, Maggie has to deal with getting her fledgling business open for business and keeping herself alive with a killer on the loose. In book two, Beignets, Brides and Bodies, Maggie expects nothing but smooth sailing, but she is blown way off course when Clive, owner of The Hitching Post bridal shop next door, begs her for a favour. That favour leads to a dead body and a wedding cake. With the evidence stacking up against Clive and his partner, former professional ice skater Johnny Wolfe, it’s up to Maggie to dig through the layers of deceit and hem in the real killer. But she may have to skirt the law to do it . . .

See? I told you it would be fun.

Visit our website for more information on the Maggie Miller series.

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