Guest Author Marianne Jones

Sisters in Crime (or The Birth of a Murder Mystery)

I blame my sister. For years she has been a huge mystery fan, especially of Agatha Christie and the various British detective series’ on television. I had been pursuing the literary life since childhood, and had published a mixed bag of poetry, dramas, short fiction, newspaper and magazine articles, and children’s books. Yet I had never considered attempting a murder mystery.

And then my sister Karen said to me one day, “You should write a murder mystery set in Thunder Bay.”

Thunder Bay, Ontario, our home town, is a small city in the center of Canada, nestled at the head of Lake Superior. It’s set in the midst of some of the loveliest natural beauty you’ll ever see, but because it is geographically isolated, most people are unaware of it. Those that are aware tend to ignore it. Karen thought that made it the ideal location for a good whodunit.

At first I dismissed the idea. But Karen is nothing if not persistent. Finally, I relented enough to say, “If you come up with an idea, I’ll write it.”

Of course, you know what happened. She called my bluff. She gave me a story idea loosely based on a disastrous women’s retreat she had attended. As she described the unfortunate event, I began to visualize my protagonists, middle-aged church ladies Margaret and Louise in the middle of it. At that point I was hooked, and The Serenity Stone Murder was conceived.

Sometimes I hit a snag with the story, and would call on Karen and her daughter Kirsti for advice. Over nachos and ciders at our favourite Thunder Bay restaurant, (appropriately called The Madhouse), the three of us partners in crime plotted together.

It was especially fun to write about Thunder Bay and the surrounding area, with its familiar landmarks. The fictional town of Jackpine, where my intrepid heroines reside, was modelled on any number of the small towns in Northwestern Ontario. Having lived in one of those small towns for five years, I knew well the winter longings of their residents to come to the “big city” of Thunder Bay for shopping and entertainment.

Writing CoverThe Serenity Stone Murder has been a fun ride. Happily, Stacey Voss, editor and owner of Split Tree Publishing, thought it was a great read as well. And readers from as far away as Kenya and New Zealand, have been enjoying it as well! So now there is no stopping Margaret and Louise. They’re already embarking on their next adventure—in the Thunder Bay region, of course!

The Serenity Stone Murder

What are two nice middle-aged church ladies doing at a New Age goddess conference? And what does it have to do with the mysterious death of Thunder Bay’s casino manager? Will Mary Carlisle, organist at St. Stephen’s Church, capture the heart of Thomas Greenfield, church gardener?

Find out the answers to these, and other burning questions in The Serenity Stone Murder, a kinder, gentler murder mystery set in Thunder Bay, Ontario, home of the Sleeping Giant, the Hoito Restaurant, and the world-famous Persion cinnamon bun. For those who like their mysteries served up with a side dish of humour.

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Writer Bio

Marianne Jones is a retired teacher from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living, The Globe and Mail, and numerous literary and denominational publications. Her books include The Land of Mogan, a children’s fantasy novel, Here, on the Ground, an award-winning collection of poetry, Great- Grandma’s Gifts, a picture book for preschool and early elementary, and The Serenity Stone Murder, a cozy mystery set in Thunder Bay.

Marianne has been named International Poet Laureate by Utmost Christian Writers. Her poetry has won numerous awards, and some of them are permanently installed at Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park in Thunder Bay.

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One thought on “Guest Author Marianne Jones

  1. I’m happy you could be a guest on Ladies of Mystery. What a fun way to start a career as a mystery writer.


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