Today my guest is Beth Gutcheon, author of The Affliction.
Before our interview with Tom, Josh, Scott, and Chuck from Keystroke Medium with a Keystroke Minute about balancing writing and business for the indie author. Follow Keystroke Medium here.
The New York Times bestselling author of More Than You Know, Leeway Cottage, and Death at Breakfast delivers the second installment in her clever romp of a mystery series combining social comedy and dark-hearted murder—a novel set at a girls’ boarding school in a picturesque Hudson River town with more than its share of secrets.
Since retiring as head of a famous New York City private school, Maggie Detweiler is busier than ever. Chairing a team to evaluate the faltering Rye Manor School for girls, she will determine whether, in spite of its fabled past, the school has a future at all. With so much on the line for so many, tensions on campus are at an excruciating pitch, and Maggie expects to be as welcome as a case of Ebola virus.
At a reception for the faculty and trustees to “welcome” Maggie’s team, no one seems more keen for all to go well than Florence Meagher, a star teacher who is loved and respected in spite of her affliction—that she can never stop talking.
Florence is one of those dedicated teachers for whom the school is her life, and yet the next morning, when Maggie arrives to observe her teaching, Florence is missing. Florence’s husband, Ray, an auxiliary policeman in the village, seems more annoyed than alarmed at her disappearance. But Florence’s sister is distraught. There have been tensions in the marriage, and at their last visit, Florence had warned, “If anything happens to me, don’t assume it’s an accident.”
Two days later, Florence’s body is found in the campus swimming pool.
Maggie is asked to stay on to coach the very young and inexperienced head of Rye Manor through the crisis. Maggie obviously knows schools, but she also knows something about investigating murder, having solved a mysterious death in Maine the previous year when the police went after the wrong suspect. She is soon joined by her madcap socialite friend Hope, who is jonesing for an excuse to ditch her book club anyway, before she has to actually read Silas Marner.
What on earth is going on in this idyllic town? Is this a run-of-the-mill marital murder? Or does it have something to do with the school board treasurer’s real estate schemes? And what is up with the vicious cyber-bullying that’s unsettled everyone, or with the disturbed teenaged boy whom Florence had made a pet of? And is it possible that someone killed Florence just so she’d finally shut up?
Beth Gutcheon is the best-selling author of eleven novels. Her work has been translated into at least fifteen languages. Her novel More Than You Know was named one of the best books of the year by the LA Times, and most recently her first murder mystery, Death at Breakfast, was a finalist for the Nero award. Her novel Still Missing was made into the 20th Century Fox feature film Without a Trace for which she wrote the screenplay. She is also the author of the narration for Children of Theatre Street, a feature-length documentary that was nominated for an Academy Award. She lives in New York City. Visit www.bethgutcheon.com.