Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Interview with Nancy J. Parra - Review and Giveaway of Bodice of Evidence - June 2, 2015

Please welcome Nancy J. Parra to The Qwillery. Bodice of Evidence, the 2nd Perfect Proposals Mystery, is published today by Berkley.

Hi Nancy and Welcome.

Thanks for having me.

You’re welcome. You have a few books coming out this Spring. Can you tell us about them?

Yes, I have three actually. The end of April, “OH SAY CAN YOU FUDGE” – the third in the Candy-Coated Mystery series with Kensington comes out. This story takes place on Mackinac Island on the 4th of July. The book begins with a bang as Allie, fudge maker and amateur sleuth, gets a call from the pyro tech in charge of the island’s three firework shows asking her to meet him at the warehouse where the fireworks are stored. She discovers him dead just before the entire warehouse goes up in smoke. Allie must scramble to find a new pyro tech or the Mackinac Island’s Star Spangled Fourth will be ruined.

The first week of May, “FLOURLESS TO STOP HIM” arrives. The third in the Gluten-free Baker’s Treat series, It’s Christmas time and we find protagonist Toni Holme’s brother Tim implicated in his best friend’s murder. Toni must choose between helping her brother prove his innocence and saving her bakery.

The first week of June, “BODICE OF EVIDENCE” arrives. This is the second in the Perfect Proposal series. Pepper Pomeroy, owner of Perfect Proposals, discovers the owner of a wedding dress shop stabbed to death in the alley behind her shop. Pepper steps in to help figure out who the killer is while helping her sister plan her wedding and getting her fledgling proposal planning business off the ground.

Wow! That’s a lot of murder and mayhem.

*laughs* Yes it is, but it’s also fun who dunnit puzzles.

Everyone wants to know how do you come up with your ideas?

I put myself in the protagonist shoes and look at her community, friends and family. Then I throw a dead body into the mix and give her a compelling reason to investigate. After that, it’s a matter of following clues and find the killer before it’s too late.

Have you ever killed off anyone you knew in your books?

Ha! No. You’d be surprised, though, how many people ask if I would kill them off in a novel. I certainly am surprised.

With three books out this Spring, is there anything else on your plate for 2015?

I have an e-novella coming out the end of October. It’s part of the Candy-Coated series, but this one is told from the point of view of Allie’s best friend Jenn. I think it’s a lot of fun.

Our last and most important question. Will there be recipes?

Of course! There is nothing better than fudge for the holidays, except maybe gluten-free cookies.

Thanks for stopping by, I know I’ve got these titles on my preorder list.

Thank you! I hope you enjoy them.

(Question and Answers provided by the Publisher)

Bodice of Evidence
A Perfect Proposals Mystery 2
Berkley, June 2, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 288 Pages

The author of Engaged in Murder returns with her second Perfect Proposals Mystery. This time Pepper Pomeroy discovers that shopping for the dream wedding dress can be a nightmare…

Pepper’s new wedding proposal planning business, Perfect Proposals, seems like a perfect fit. If only shopping for her sister Felicity’s bridal gown could be so simple.

After a long day of lace, tulle, and tears, Pepper, Felicity, and their mother pull it together to try one last bridal boutique. Maybe they’ll be surprised. And indeed they are—when they enter a deserted shop and soon discover the owner of the boutique slain in the alley out back.

Distressed by their proximity to the crime, Pepper vows to unveil the killer. As difficult as it is to draw a pattern from the clues, it’s still easier than finding Felicity’s perfect wedding gown. But as the killer begins to feel hemmed in, Pepper may be the one brought to her knees…

Jennifer's Review

Bodice of Evidence is the second installment of Nancy J. Parra’s Perfect Proposals Mystery Series. The series follows Pepper Pomeroy, an event planner who specializes in staging the perfect marriage proposal for her growing customer base. While Pepper is busy getting her new business off the ground, she is also helping her baby sister, Felicity, find her fairy tale wedding dress for her upcoming nuptials. After a long day of trying on one disappointing dress after another, the sisters and their mom, Abigail, make one last stop at a high end bridal boutique. Intent on finding Felicity’s dream gown, Pepper first finds the owner of the shop brutally murdered next to a dumpster, and embarks on an investigation into the crime.

As a character, Pepper is still developing, this being a fairly new series, but she has established some strong traits already. She is focused and determined and has a keen business sense, at the same time having a subtle naiveté that makes her vulnerable. This vulnerability is charming when applied to her budding romantic relationship with Gage, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend, who has always had feelings for her, and is classically handsome and gentlemanly, where her ex, Bobby, is crass, juvenile and unfaithful. Bobby pops up a few times in the story, refusing to accept that Pepper has moved on. Along with Gage, Pepper’s social circle includes her sister Felicity, who is normally a well grounded young woman that is becoming slightly unhinged with wedding plans, and Felicity’s fiancé, Warren, who is a financial whiz who has helped Pepper by going over her business plan and becoming an investor. She is also close with both of her parents, who are still happily in love with one another after many years of marriage.

Pepper is also building an unusual relationship with Detective Murphy, the older homicide detective she met in the first novel. Murphy, who is a methodical investigator who generally plays things close to his vest, objects to Pepper’s involvement with his investigation and to her haphazard way of charging into things without thinking, and while to two butt heads frequently, there is an obvious respect and mutual affection growing between them.

The characters directly involved in the mystery are Vidalia, Vladimir, Anton, Theresa and Thad. Vidalia is the daughter and heir of Eva, the aforementioned murder victim. Vidalia is keen to prove to the world that she has what it takes to step into her mother’s shoes and run the already successful bridal shop. Her brother, Vladimir, is a bit of a ne’er do well dreamer who is bitter that his mother did not leave him a share in the shop. Anton, Vidalia’s husband, passionately backs his wife and believes in her ability to take the shop to the next level. Theresa is Vidalia’s sweet, young shop assistant, inherited from her mother, and Thad is her gruff boyfriend, who has a tendency to disrupt business when he storms in looking for Theresa.

The plot of the mystery is well thought out, but is very much a secondary storyline. Much of the book revolves around Pepper’s relationships and the building of her business, and the solving of the mystery seems to be a bit of an afterthought to her until close to the end of the novel, where the action becomes much faster, leading to a satisfying ending. The writing is smooth, and the author is taking the time to polish the main characters, establishing their motivations, and giving them a solid foundation to build upon in future books, which gives this series a great deal of potential going forward.

About Nancy

Nancy J. Parra is the author of Engaged in Murder and the upcoming Bodice of Evidence in the Perfect Proposals Mystery series and Flourless to Stop Him, Murder Gone A-Rye, and Gluten for Punishment in the Baker’s Treat Mystery series. She lives in the Midwest with her trusty Bichon-Poo, whom she refers to warmly as “Little Dog.” Parra’s 2010 novel, The Counterfeit Bride, was named “one of the top ten romances of 2010” by Booklist.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @nancyjparra

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Bodice of Evidence by Nancy J. Parra from the publisher. US ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on June 11, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Engaged in Murder
A Perfect Proposals Mystery 1
Berkley. June 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback, 288 Pages

There’s no planning for murder…

Event planner Pepper Pomeroy is making the most of her current unemployment by arranging a surprise for her sister, Felicity. Warren, Felicity’s boyfriend, plans to lure his lovely lady into a private jet, propose, and whisk her away on a romantic vacation. He just needs Pepper to handle all the fine details in order to make it the perfect proposal—and it is. Everything goes so well when Warren pops the question that he suggests Pepper do this sort of thing professionally.

But before she can get her new business off the ground, there are some disturbing questions. Like who’s the dead guy Pepper finds in the ladies’ room of the jet hangar? Is it possible Felicity’s high-flying fiancé has been hiding more than the engagement ring? Pepper’s not married to the idea of having a criminal in the family, so in order to protect her sister, she takes off in pursuit of a killer…


  1. I'm always looking for a new cozy series, will be checking out Engaged in Murder.

  2. Thanks for this captivating and wonderful feature, post and giveaway. What a delightful series which I would enjoy. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. thanx for the giveaway......
    would love to read this!!!