Blog Tour: Interview with M.M. Hall, Author of Whispered Truth and a Review

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Whispered Truth by M.M. Hall

Published: March 26th 2013 by Molly M Hall
Format/Source: eBook for Tour
Genre: Historical mystery

Synopsis:

In 1911, England hovers on the cusp of change. A new king waits to be crowned. Women and the poor are fighting for their rights. Political turmoil rages throughout Europe. And a promising young artist lies dead in the heart of London.

Just another tragic death in a city filled with untimely demises. Or so thinks Hargreaves, the gifted, but troubled, Detective Inspector called in to investigate. Haunted by the tragedy of his own past, he is unprepared for the onslaught of long-buried memories and powerful emotions the case brings. Making his task even more difficult is the troubling presence of Daisy Cartwright, a wealthy widow closely connected to the victim, and a woman he feels inexplicably drawn to.

Untangling the tightly woven threads connecting the victim and the suspects, Hargreaves soon reaches a conclusion, only to have that theory shattered by the revelation that everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Groping through the silence and secrets, he uncovers a cold-blooded killer, and a connection to his own past that leaves him reeling.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00007]

Excerpt:

Forty-five minutes later, her head pounding with fatigue, Daisy thanked Olivia for a truly enjoyable evening, nodding and smiling at the rest of the guests as she made her carefully timed exit. She subtly scanned the room for Eugene, hoping for a chance to speak with him before she left, but he was nowhere in sight. Disappointed, she continued into the hallway, followed by Sir John, playing his role as host to perfection, seeing her to the door.

“I’ve instructed Mary to bring your hat and coat,” Wilson, the Sebright’s butler said, opening the vestibule door as she approached.

“Thank you, Wilson,” she replied, as a gust of wind sent a smattering of rain against the stained glass panels beside the front door.

“Do mind the weather, Daisy,” Olivia called, her strong voice carrying into the entrance hall. “I would hate to hear you’ve caught a chill.” She stretched her ample neck, peering over the back of the drawing room sofa.

“Not to worry, Olivia. I’ll be quite all right,” Daisy called back, touched by her concern. She genuinely liked Olivia, taking delight in her numerous eccentricities. She just wished Olivia had chosen a better husband. “So nice to see you again, Sir John,” she said, turning with a charming smile to the man in question. “I was hoping you and Olivia could join me for dinner next week. There’s something I would dearly love your advice on. Perhaps next Wed…”

Her words were interrupted by a scream. Flinching in surprise, she stared wide-eyed down the hallway as another scream, even more ear piercing than the first, quickly followed. “What on earth,” she mumbled, following her first instinct and hurrying down the hall, leaving Sir John rooted to the spot, his mouth hanging open in shock.

Nearing the rear of the hall, Daisy spotted the Sebright’s housemaid, Mary, trembling at the entrance to the coatroom. Her face was ashen, a hand clamped over her mouth in an effort to stifle the further screams gathering in her throat.

“Mary!” Daisy exclaimed, reaching for the young woman’s arm. “What is it?”

Mary’s head shook quickly back and forth, her eyes filled with stark terror.

“What’s happened?” Daisy tried to keep the alarm from her voice as a cold sense of foreboding swept over her. From the corner of her eye, she could see Olivia and several other guests making their way down the hall toward them.

In a voice filled with more curiosity than annoyance, Olivia asked, “What is all the commotion? Ooh, has our young Mary seen a ghost? How thrilling! You know, there were rumors when we moved in here…”

Daisy kept her attention focused on Mary, Olivia’s voice fading away. Mary stepped aside and pointed a trembling hand to the rear of the coatroom. Unsure what Mary was indicating, Daisy took a step into the room and gasped, the color draining from her face. Amidst a jumbled pile of evening wraps and overcoats, a body lay sprawled on the floor, unmoving. Stepping closer, her stomach clenched.

Oh, dear God, no. Please…

It couldn’t be. It was just a strange trick of the light.

A familiar pain swept through her and she choked back a sob. Shaking her head in slow denial she stared at the once handsome face of Eugene Evans, his youthful features now distorted and reddened into a deathly grimace as dull, sightless eyes stared past her.

Review:

Ever watch Masterpiece Mystery on PBS? Inspector Lynley, Inspector Morse, or perhaps even Hercule Poirot? This story was like reading one of those episodes in the most pleasant way.

I am a big fan of those kinds of shows so I was definitely pleased with Whispered Truth. A Detective Inspector given very little rest lately is given a new case concerning a murder that takes place in a very posh family’s house during a dinner party. He has to attempt to infiltrate a closed society where holding onto secrets is practically a past time.

I appreciated that while this is the first book in the series, the characters are not dropping out of thin air–they have a history that helps inform their decisions. The decisions and actions taken by the characters are motivated by their personalities; nothing seemed too contrived.

Perhaps it is because of some of the other things I’ve been reading lately, but the book seemed to have been more maturely written; experience definitely shows with this book which is awesome. It made it easier to fall into the groove with the story, to lose myself within it. It was written in such a way that a person could try to solve the mystery themselves if they pick up on enough of the clues but at the same time isn’t predictable and can leave you pleasantly surprised.

The story is light on history, heavy on suspense and mystery. It was a story that I wanted to return to, with little to no feeling of obligation. I would definitely be interested in reading whatever books might follow—especially with the teaser at the end!

My rating: 5/5

About the Author:

mmhallM M Hall is the author of Whispered Truth, the first novel in the Inspector Hargreaves series. She also writes as Molly M Hall, and is the author of Reckoning, the first installment in the Dark Prophecy series. She currently lives just outside of Denver where she’s at work on her next novel.

She pursued a degree in English Literature at Columbia College and worked in the corporate world for several years before turning to writing full time.

When not reading or writing she can be found listening to music, playing piano, exercising, working on her very inadequate French, or looking for inspiring landscapes to photograph.

Twitter: @mollymhallbooks | Facebook: facebook.com/mollym.hall.31 / facebook.com/pages/Inspector-Hargreaves/173827136102656 | Website

Interview:

Where did you get the idea for the novel?
I have always been a fan of British mysteries, from Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh to Charles Todd and Peter Lovesey. I’m also fascinated by the late Edwardian era. It was a time of immense change and opportunity. In light of that, I thought it would very interesting to place a Detective Inspector in the heart of London in 1911 and have all of this great social and political turmoil going on around him as the backdrop to the mystery.
 
What is your writing process?
My writing process begins with a very basic idea and outline. From there, I begin layering and layering until a complex, multi-dimensional story emerges. Along the way, I try to provide vivid imagery into the time and place, remain accurate to historical detail and, hopefully, throw in a few unexpected plot twists to keep the reader guessing.
 
Is Whispered Truth a stand alone novel or part of a series?
Whispered Truth is the first in the Inspector Hargreaves mysteries. I don’t know how many books it will ultimately encompass, but I have so many ideas that as of now, there’s not an end in sight. I will follow wherever the series leads me.
 
What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
When it comes to reading, I can’t stop with just one. I’ve always got two or three going at the same time. Right now, I’m reading The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb, Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James.
 
Do you have a favorite character from the novel?
Of course I love my inspector, DCI Hargreaves. He’s very complex and secretive, so he’s great fun to write. I also love Daisy Cartwright, the intrepid and resilient woman he feels a strong connection to and someone readers will definitely be seeing (reading?) more of. She’s a woman a little ahead of her time so I quite enjoy placing her in challenging situations.
 
If you could time travel, would you travel into the past or the future?
I think I would definitely travel to the past. It would be fascinating to get a real sense of what a specific time period was actually like. I’m sure it’s nothing like we imagine; probably much worse. But what an experience it would be! Of course, the almost unbearable temptation would be to try to change the course of events….
 
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Oh, wow…so many choices! I think I would have the ability to control the weather. I could make it beautiful and sunny, create storms, control wind and lightning. It would be pretty awesome.
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2 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Interview with M.M. Hall, Author of Whispered Truth and a Review

    • No problem! I did forget one Inspector that I had also wanted to reference–Inspector Lewis, which is one of my favorite Masterpiece Mysteries. Definitely enjoyed Whispered Truth and looking foward to reading more about Hargreaves. Congratulations on both the accomplishment of finishing a book and writing such an enjoyable one. 🙂

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