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Author Guest Post: Holy Clue | DEATH AT FAIR HAVENS by @marenandmankin | GREAT ESCAPES TOURS Presents Cozy Mystery

Death at Fair Havens by Maria Mankin & Maren C. Tirabassi is on book tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and stops at Readeropoli...

Death at Fair Havens by Maria Mankin & Maren C. Tirabassi is on book tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and stops at Readeropolis with a guest post. Enjoy!

About Death at Fair Havens

Death at Fair Havens
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Brain Mill Press (April 26, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 318 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 194855965X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1948559652
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09NCJDRCS

Wanda Duff is an unconventional New England clergywoman, addicted to chicken wings, high-octane ice cream, and saying yes to anyone in need of a prayer, even the folks her town might think don’t deserve one.

When parishioner Niels Pond dies unexpectedly at the Fair Havens assisted living facility, Wanda’s duty to minister to his family is beset by her suspicions about the circumstances of his abrupt passing. Wanda finds an unexpected co-detective in high school vice principal Prudence Rye, who fled town on graduation night a decade ago and returned only recently.

Rye puts her job on the line to investigate the mourning Ponds with the surprisingly edgy Wanda. As they expose difficult family truths and uncover a dangerous conspiracy operating out of Fair Havens, Rye and Wanda discover curiosity has an unanticipated cost.

Comfortably gossipy, with a fresh take on the characters and ethos cozy mystery fans will love, Maria Mankin and Maren C. Tirabassi’s Death at Fair Havens launches a series that celebrates intergenerational women’s friendship and the power of inclusion, curiosity, and love.

“Here’s small town life portrayed with humor and affection, peopled with quirky characters you’ll care about.” —James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards

About the Authors:

After teaching and working in early education for a decade, Maria Mankin has published six books with Pilgrim Press and has contributed to several anthologies. She is also a co-author of Circ, a mystery set in Skegness England, published by Pigeon Park Press, and Pitching Our Tents: Poetry of Hospitality. She is a regular contributor to Living Psalms, a collection in which the Psalms are reinterpreted in poetry and art as a reflection of God’s work of justice and compassion. She is currently working on a book of poetry and the third novel in the Rev and Rye Cozy Mysteries.

After trouping the country in the 70s as assistant manager of theatrical tours for choreographer Agnes de 
Mille, The National Theatre of Great Britain, The Royal Shakespeare Company and the Black Broadway production of ‘Guys and Dolls,’ Maren Tirabassi changed careers, to the surprise of everyone, to study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and later Harvard Divinity School. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, she served as a bi-vocational pastor to seven churches in Massachusetts and New Hampshire while developing her writing career. Maren is the author of twenty-two books, fiction, non-fiction and poetry, the majority published by The Pilgrim Press.

A former Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, NH, and LAMDA Prize nominee for Transgendering Faith, Identity, Sexuality and Spirituality she currently facilitates programs for the NH Humanities Council with New Americans and people with cognitive difference and leads poetry and memoir workshops in prisons, recovery groups, churches and synagogues, hospice and survivor groups. She blogs at

With frequent writing collaborator, Maria Mankin, she is currently editing Death in the Woods, the sequel to Death at Fair Havens, as well as plotting the third novel.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:


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Holy Clue

We’re not talking about the board game with Rev. Pink in the church with the Bible, Rabbi Grey in the synagogue with the bat mitzvah, or Meditation Guide Blue with the sunrise in the garden, all trying to detect “where does the spiritual experience happen?”  This is murder. 

From Brother Cadfael, Father Brown, and Rabbi Small to Rev. Clare Fergusson, Sister Boniface, and Rev. Sydney Chambers of Grantchester, novels, movies, and television series love to feature sleuthing by those connected with faith communities. Online lists name hundreds of these investigators - from a Shaker sister, Catholic and Anglican religious sisters, Buddhist, Muslim and Sikh leadership, a clerk of Quaker meeting, and even such non-clerical but Christian faith-based leaders as a fictional CS Lewis - solving crimes. 

Maria Mankin and I joined these ranks when we wrote “Death at Fair Havens,” the first book in the Rev and Rye Cozy Mysteries, with our detectives, high school vice principal Prudence Rye and protestant clergywoman Wanda Duff.  I bring forty years of clergy experience to this genre and affirm that there is truth in the common assumptions that clergy welcome confidences. People leading faith communities often listen well and have learned to ask questions without being deterred by over-protective family members (who might just be suspects!) when seeking to comfort someone in grief. Conversational silence often lightens a victim’s clouded memory or invites a villain’s clue-cluttered over-sharing.

You’ll often find these shepherds turned PIs in rural villages and small towns – places where the population of people is lower than resident livestock. As a pastor, this makes perfect sense to me. When I’m working in big churches with hundreds of members in a bustling city, I don’t have time to nose around. There are too many committee meetings, outreach opportunities and interfaith services to plan. With a large congregation, details go unnoticed, and people are able to slip through the cracks – here one day and gone the next. Not so in a small community. In a church with a hundred people, I know everyone. I know their relatives, their pets, how many alpacas they’re angling to have…and I know all the drama that comes with those close relationships. People are constantly stumbling over the private business of fellow congregants, and you can imagine where this information eventually ends up!

Faith communities also come with wonderful settings for both crime and a good time. Consider the potluck supper or the church fair or “jumble sale.” Tune in to a choir controversy, or the frequently near-lethal attempts to change the d├ęcor in a “church parlor.” And the highest stakes of all – a colleague of mine always says, “wedding rehearsals are murder!”

Of course, Wanda and Rye understand that ministry and teaching are two sides of the same coin. Clerical behavior goes hand in hand with the importance of collegiality. Understanding the angst and highs of youth are necessary in the classroom and the pews. And they’ve begun to realize that “whodunit” can be a role for anyone or everyone, under the proper circumstances. 

1 comment

Get carried away with love!