Prospect for Murder (Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Cozy Mystery 1): Volume 1

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Product Details
$29.95  $27.85
Artemesia Publishing, LLC
Publish Date
5.98 X 9.02 X 0.69 inches | 1.18 pounds

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About the Author

Jeanne Burrows-Johnson draws on a multi-faceted background in the performing arts, education and marketing. The well-researched elements of her Natalie Seachrist mystery series invite the reader and listener into the sensory rich environs of Hawai`i, where she lived for over twenty years. Like her heroine, she and her husband enjoy feline companionship in an environment featuring dynamic skies, landscapes and characters.

Academically, she was accepted for membership in Phi Beta Kappa while completing her Bachelor's degree in History at the University of Hawai`i. During graduate studies and a teaching assistantship, she became a member of Phi Alpha Theta. She is also a Lifetime Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing, Highland Division.

"An deftly crafted and impressively engaging read from cover to cover, Prospect for Murder clearly demonstrates novelist Jeanne Burrows-Johnson as a master of the mystery/suspense genre. Very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs and community library Mystery Fiction collections." -- Midwest Book Review

"Prospect for Murder is a contemplative and slow-paced mystery with fantastic scenery and lovely characterization.

Jeanne Burrows-Johnson's Prospect for Murder is a unique mystery set against the lush backdrop of Hawaii.

A haunting and detailed vision of her grandniece's death spurs Natalie Seachrist into action. Under the guise of retired journalist, Natalie copes with the grief and loss by carefully investigating the suspicious death of her beloved Ariel. With a loose coalition of allies, Natalie subtly interviews residents of the apartment building where Ariel died, delves into library archives, and follows her occasional psychic visions to determine how Ariel passed and why.

Prospect for Murder focuses more on the everyday than a typical procedural mystery might. At the forefront is the Jessica Fletcher-like heroine, Natalie. Natalie boasts a keen intellect and dogged persistence, along with a tinge of supernatural insight. Her quest is simply to determine the truth behind Ariel's death so the family can have closure--but without putting herself or anyone else in any danger.

Natalie's strong relationships with those around her help cement the story while slowly pushing it forward. A retired ex-cop provides connections and a budding romance, interviews with the apartment denizens build up an interesting historical backstory while subtly laying down important clues, and a feline companion interjects a bit of levity into the proceedings. These allies and contacts establish a community that bodes well for the future of the series.

The setting functions nearly as a character in its own right. Set on Hawaii, much of the plot revolves around the history and people of the islands. From the roaring 1920s to tumultuous World War II, much is discussed as Natalie attempts to bond with and carefully interrogate potential suspects. These forays into the past, alongside well-detailed modern locations, help to ground the story beautifully.

The pacing is languid, allowing Natalie room to investigate realistically. An overly lengthy interview with a landlord, though, does inhibit progression.

As a mystery, the novel features a simple crime and an unsatisfying ending. The truth behind Ariel's death is revealed in the last few pages of the book, but without a enough of a rewarding connection to previous information and actions. Instead, the issue is neatly tied up without too much undue fuss. Since so much of the earlier story revolved around Ariel's death, the conclusion falls flat.

Prospect for Murder is a contemplative and slow-paced mystery with fantastic scenery and lovely characterization." -- Foreword Reviews

"Burrows-Johnson's cozy mystery Prospect for Murder is set in the Hawai'ian Islands, proving that even Paradise has its dark side. We begin with the odd occurrence of our protagonist having a psychic vision. Both she and her brother have unique gifts, different yet complementary. Sadly, Natalie's vision is one the gruesome death of someone with personal ties to Natalie herself. The victim is her niece, who's fallen from the fourth story of an apartment building where she had gone to look at a possible rental.

The death is first considered accidental, possibly suicidal. Natalie doesn't buy this, and, using the skills of a researcher and the gifts of a psychic, she sets out to prove murder, or, at the least, a true motive for the death. She finds suspects in the landlady who was going to rent the apartment, Natalie's mysterious roommate, who had not shown to view the place, and the maintenance man for the complex (her niece fell on his priceless, customized car). During all of this, she is also doing historical research for a friend named Keoni.

I am picky about reading cozy mysteries. It's a bias about the word "cozy," which makes it seem to me that the story would be trivial. This has never actually been the case, and I am really glad that I gave this story a chance. I live in California and have a hope to one day visit Hawai'i. I enjoyed reading about Natalie's research work as much as the murder plot.

The story is well written, though there were a few places where pacing slowed down a bit. Natalie reminds me somewhat of Fletcher from Murder She Wrote, with a bit of The X-Files added thanks to the psychic thread. However, she also reminded me a great deal of my forensic anthropology professor, and that's the person Natalie "looked like" to me as I read. I'd love to read more of Natalie's adventures in the future!

Highly recommended for the mystery-lover." -- San Francisco Book Review

"Prospect for Murder by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson is a well written cozy mystery peppered with historical references that are enlightening and engaging. A young woman seeking a place to live visits an apartment complex only to be found dead, lying on top of a vintage vehicle. Her grand-aunt steps in to solve the mystery. The deadly fun begins as Natalie, the grand-aunt, moves into the very apartment her grandniece fell from; guided by interviews of the tenants and her uncanny visions, Natalie delves deeper into the mystery. Methodically moving from tenant to tenant, exploring and researching Natalie makes a horrifying discovery.

Taking place in Hawaii, Burrows-Johnson masterfully describes the locations, people and history in vivid detail that flows almost poetically. Although it is a slow-moving cozy mystery, it is captivating. The story moves slowly as it is filled with Hawaiian and Shanghai history focusing around the WW2. Methodical and detailed, Burrows-Johnson reveals each clue until the last clue of the killer is revealed. Furthermore, her character development and back story is well-developed also. This allowed for me to connect to the characters and wish to see justice done. I enjoyed the retired copy, Keoni and Natalie together, and how they danced around their relationship. The supernatural piece was well written into the story.

This is a very enjoyable book. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, this is a perfect book for you. I enjoyed it immensely. The book does center around an older woman so don't expect any death-defying rumble tumbles. The lack of emotion Natalie displays was a bit odd but in looking back, I find myself detached from emotional moments as well. It is a bit predictable, at one point I wanted to scream - am I the only one who sees what is going to happen? But this was excusable as the book overall was very interesting and entertaining and educational - I had no clue of the history of Hawaii.

The narrator, also the author, Jeanne Burrows-Johnson did an excellent job of reading the book. The enunciation and clearness of her speech as well as the passion was not over the top or fake; she not owned the book as an author but as the narrator as well. Her voice was soothing and calming.

There were no issues with the audio production or quality of this audiobook." -- Charla White, Audiobook Reviewer - 4 Star Review

"PROSPECT FOR MURDER is a murder mystery set in Honolulu. Natalie Seachrist is a 50-ish, semi-retired journalist, whose friend Keoni Hewiit, a retired homicide detective, has asked her to help him out on a research project.

Suddenly, Natalie's world is impacted by a terrifying vision. Throughout her life, since early childhood, Natalie has experienced visions. This time, the vision involves the gruesome death of someone close to her, her grandniece Ariel.

As the local police continue the official investigation without much progress, Natalie devises a plan to carry out her own investigation into Ariel's death. Natalie and her cat, Miss Una, take up residence in the apartment complex where Ariel died. She enlists the help of her friend Keoni.

The reader's attention will be captured the on page one of the prologue with the author's descriptive writing style. Readers will quickly warm to the protagonist, Natalie, her cat Miss Una, and the many other memorable characters.

The pacing of the narrative was perfect. The characters were well-developed, the storyline plausible, and the author's descriptive writing skill will leave readers wanting more Natalie Seachrist and Miss Una stories...and very likely the reader will wish that they could know Natalie personally.

I think Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher fans will be especially delighted with PROSPECT FOR MURDER and I do hope there will be further sleuthing opportunities for Natalie!" -- Cherie Jung, Blog - Over My Dead Body!

"Set in the tropical paradise of Hawaii, this convivial mystery unfolds leisurely as Natalie sets out to determine exactly what happen, why, and whether or not foul play was involved. Hiding her connection to the deceased, she rents the actual apartment from which her grandniece fell so she can learn more about individuals who may or may not have been involved in the untimely death. These individuals include a Chinese landlady with a multifarious history, a handyman thought to be religious but also perhaps righteously indignant, a sullen hanger-on with questionable ties to the owners and the property, and a roommate mentioned but inexplicably unseen.

Natalie is a protagonist who will inevitably draw comparisons to Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote, perhaps even to Agatha Christie's Jane Marple. Similar to those intellectually endowed ladies, Natalie brings precise observation and keen insight to her task. However, she also employs an additional armament not shared by those feminine sleuths. Natalie has visions--visions that enable her to see, sense, and feel more than the average person. The trick is interpreting those visions correctly. In this debut whodunit, Burrows-Johnson displays a fine eye for detail, a sharp ear for dialogue, and a commendable commitment to tie up loose ends. Her descriptions of time, place, history, and more make up in substance what may be lacking in suspense. One suspects this is only the beginning of Natalie's adventures." --Joe Kilgore, The US Review of Books