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Spotlight on Mistletoe and Murder by S.L. Smith (#Mystery)

Have you heard? S.L. Smith has a new book out! It’s the fourth in the popular Pete Culnane Mysteries and it’s called Mistletoe and Murder...

Have you heard? S.L. Smith has a new book out! It’s the fourth in the popular Pete Culnane Mysteries and it’s called Mistletoe and Murder.

Mistletoe and Murder

by S.L. Smith



Sightline Press; 1 edition

Trade paper, 219 pages
July 26, 2017
Series: Pete Culnane Mystery, Book 4
Genre: Mystery

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Auld Lang Syne with a Twist

As Collette Hammond orchestrates an elaborate New Year’s Eve wedding reception for her brother in St. Paul’s historic Union Depot, she never anticipates the evening might end in her own mysterious death. She collapses just before midnight. A fresh needle mark suggests narcotics. St. Paul police detectives Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney are called away from their holiday celebrations to investigate, launching a trip through a labyrinth of intrigue and deception.

“Like its title, Mistletoe and Murder is a story that combines elements which might, at first, seem at odds. But S.L. Smith delivers a tale that interweaves both the bright promise of this iconic season and the dark reality of what it can deliver, especially where police work is involved. Smith understands the territory and mines it to good effect. For those who know the Twin Cities, there’s extra delight in tracking the action across familiar terrain. Don’t wait until Christmas to open this one.”

William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author

Other Pete Culnane Mysteries:
  • Blinded by the Sight
  • Running Scared
  • Murder on a Stick

S.L. Smith

A lifelong resident of Minnesota, S.L. Smith was born in Saint Cloud and attended Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul. The tall iron fence surrounding the campus provided a sense of security for this small-town transplant. Over the next four years, she grew to love the Twin Cities, in part because of the Minnesota Twins and her love for baseball. After graduating, she rented an apartment a few miles from Metropolitan stadium and rarely missed a home game.

During her thirty-two years with the state department of public safety, she worked with law enforcement and fire officials at the state, county and municipal levels. Those interactions assisted her with writing mysteries, but were just the starting point. Without the help of a friend who spent thirty-five years as a cop, she might never have ventured into writing police procedurals. He contributed to her understanding of the perspectives of her two protagonists, Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney. Thankfully, this friend is still a resource. He proofreads each manuscript and performs a reality check on the law enforcement aspects.

Publishing family memoirs helped fine tune her research skills, and taught her to contact everyone involved. She used that tactic on the first Pete Culnane mystery, Blinded by the Sight, and included those who assisted in the acknowledgments. That paid rich rewards as she worked on books two, three, and four in the series. An investigator in the medical examiner’s office provided a foot-in-the-door with the head of homicide at the Saint Paul Police Department, and with a retired investigator (detective).

The Saint Paul Fire Marshall and an emergency medicine physician patiently and graciously answered her questions. Taking it a step further, I spent four days at the State Fair, while working on Murder on a Stick. While there, I spoke with law enforcement and fire officials. I questioned at least fifty food vendors, and an information booth volunteer. A ticket booth supervisor gave me the lowdown on their procedures. True to form, I was bent on getting the facts right. If I didn’t know the answer, I researched it.

Smith’s books are set in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The protagonists, Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney, are two Saint Paul detectives. (The Saint Paul Police Department calls them investigators.) They’re close friends, but as different as parchment and newsprint. Their banter provides humor in the novels.

All three include a social issue. In Blinded by the Sight, it’s homelessness. For book two, Running Scared, it’s the impacts of a failing marriage on the kids. Book three, Murder on a Stick, addresses a plight faced by many of the elderly. Smith is a member of Sisters in Crime (an organization that supports mystery writers). She divides her time between Minnesota and Florida, to care for her mother.

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