Behind the Book: CYANIDE WITH CHRISTIE by Katherine Bolger Hyde



A game of charades ends in coldblooded murder in this entertaining cozy mystery. Emily Cavanaugh decides to take a leaf out of the book of her favourite detective writer, Agatha Christie, and investigate.




Katherine Bolger Hyde explains the inspiration behind Crime with the Classics…

My series Crime with the Classics features widowed literature professor Emily Cavanaugh, who has inherited a Victorian mansion from her great aunt and retired to a tiny town on the Oregon coast. There she re-encounters her first love, Luke Richards, who is now the town sheriff. They rekindle their romance and start solving murders together − beginning with the murder of said great aunt.

Since I love the classics, I wanted to write a series that would incorporate them in some way. The basic idea is that Emily uses her knowledge of literature to solve crimes. But the series draws on a different classic author for each book. Since the authors themselves are different, the way I use them also varies from one novel to the next.

The first book in the series, Arsenic with Austen, has a light-hearted tone and a witty style that I hope echoes Austen’s. The plot of Persuasion forms the background for the novel’s romance, and the villain’s motivations resemble those of some of Austen’s less savory characters.

In the second book, Bloodstains with Brontë, the atmosphere gets considerably darker. The weather is stormy, recalling that of the Brontës’ Yorkshire moors, and the plot revolves around the kind of wild, brooding passions they were so fond of portraying.

With the current book, Cyanide with Christie, I had much more to work with since Christie herself was a mystery writer. I set the book at Christmastime in a remote country house cut off by bad weather, used Christie’s favorite cyanide as the murder weapon, and incorporated a number of her typical tropes into the characters and plot. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it!

CYANIDE WITH CHRISTIE is available from 30 November in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.


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