Monday, July 22, 2013

Please Welcome Back Viola Russell

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Viola Russell
with Viola Russell

We are delighted to welcome back novelist Viola Russell to Omnimystery News.

Viola visited with us earlier this month to answer a few questions about her new crime novel, A Fair Grounds Mystery (Red Rose Publishing; May 2013 ebook format).

We asked her to return and tell us a bit more about the backstory to the murder mystery plot of the book.

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Viola Russell
Photo provided courtesy of
Viola Russell

My first foray into crime fiction, A Fair Grounds Mystery, involves a long-ago cold case. Lt. Etienne Baptiste and his partner Sgt. Duane Morrow are called to the scene of an apparent homicide. A body was found in an old grave, and Baptiste learns that it is his friend and mentor, ex-detective Jimmy Landry. Landry, now a PI, was working on a cold case brought to him by Iseult O'Flannry, a local journalist. Iseult, the daughter of a thoroughbred horse trainer who died at the track of seemingly natural causes, always believed her father was murdered.

In some ways, my experience was similar to Iseult's. Like Iseult, my father died at the racetrack of a heart attack, and also like her, I couldn't accept that his death resulted from natural causes. How could my strong daddy be dead? Yes, his health had declined after a stroke, but the man was determined, courageous, and unbeatable. He even re-qualified for his trainer's license after that devastating stroke that claimed his power of speech. How could a man like that die?

My father was a likeable man, but he was a horse trainer and a bookie. I was sure he had enemies and was positive one of them killed him. Even some family members thought they would inherit lots of money. (There wasn't actually lots of money). Some evil person killed my father. I knew it.

My anger was flaming, vivid, and unabated for many years. After my father's death, life for my mother and me also changed drastically. We had to leave our comfortable home and move into a neighborhood I hated. I was about to start high school, and I despised the school. It symbolized everything I'd lost. Eventually, I accepted my father's death. I no longer believed he was murdered. My childish anger faded but not the hurt — not for a long time.

So — I completely understand Iseult O'Flannery's anger when she lost her father. As I wrote her, I remember my youthful self, but Iseult's situation is unlike mine in that her assumptions were correct. Her father was murdered, and two New Orleans police detectives have to set it all right.

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Viola Russell is the pseudonym of a native New Orleanian writer Susan Weaver, who is a true romantic. She is an English teacher who lives with her dog and is happiest when she is creating at her computer.

For more information about the author and her work, visit her website at or find her on Twitter.

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Fair Grounds Mystery by Viola Russell

A Fair Grounds Mystery
Viola Russell

New Orleans detectives Etienne Baptiste and his partner Duane Morrow are called to a local cemetery, where a body has been discovered. They immediately identify the body as that of Jimmy Landry, a local PI who was an NOPD veteran and Baptiste's mentor. This murder is personal, and the detectives soon discover that Landry was investigating a death that took place years ago at the local race track.

This cold case leads them to a local journalist who long has believed her horse trainer father died at another's hand even though his death was ruled natural. She'd hired Landry to investigate her father's death, and Lt. Baptiste soon believes she may be correct.

As Baptiste and his partner uncover ugly secrets, a killer lurks in the shadows, threatening them and their familes.

A Fair Grounds Mystery may be purchased directly from the publisher, Red Rose Publishing.


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