Murder by the Homeplace

Murder by the Homeplace

A Novella in The Homeplace Series

[Now Available on Kindle:
and in Print Edition]

This novella is set immediately following "Back to the Homeplace" in the same location and 1987. Secondary characters take a leading role in this novella while the major characters from "Back to the Homeplace" play secondary roles.

Back of the book blurb:

A police radio scanner call of '419' - "dead human body" - on a bucolic fall afternoon in the south-central Missouri Ozarks small town of Oak Springs sends a part-time local newspaper reporter, Penny Nixon, on the adventure of her life-time. Warned by her editor to only look for 'human-interest angles' to the story, her actions bring her perilously close to interviewing the knife-wielding perpetrator of a bizarre murder. The victim is a recently disgraced young attorney who only weeks earlier was involved in a domestic violence incident with his 'banker's daughter' bride in this quiet small town.

Review of Julie Goucher, Angler's Rest 

"I thoroughly enjoyed this novella, I liked the characters; they were well developed. The central character called Penny is a newspaper reporter/freelance writer and I liked the way the storyline was written, in a conversationalist style.

As a reader it was almost possible to walk alongside Penny as she seeks and uncovers information through her interview skills. The moment I started reading the novella had a feel of Kinsey Malone from the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton and I smiled as Dr Bill threw that bit in too!

This is not feel like a regular who done it, but as a gentle mystery, as the character teases the information from her interviewees. Written in a diary style it is easy to keep track of the flow of information as the story builds.

I really must seek out the rest of the series."

Review by Jen

"The author of this book called it a Novella, it’s not a short story but not a novel either. This book is included in a series and I have not read the others so when I opened this novella I had no clue who was who, and what their characters had endured, but it didn’t matter. The author wrote this story well enough that a first time reader of the series wasn’t lost.
I really liked that while reading this novella, it reminded me of an older mystery movie. The way the author used his words, made it seem like it was being read to me, instead of me reading it. The details were great; I could almost see exactly where everything was taking place. I also really enjoyed the different perspective of the writing. The novella was written as if the main character, Penny Nixon, were writing in a journal.
I didn’t like that the author used the word ‘said’ a lot, almost every sentence; I was reminded who was talking. I found that took up a lot of reading time, even though I knew who was still talking. Some characters spoke, but most of it was a ‘hear-say’ kind of story. What Penny was told, she told to me while reading. Also, the plot started out one way and ended in another direction. I really enjoyed where the author took the plot and how it was played out, I just wish this novella was a little longer so the ending had more to it. I was interested in reading the end result but it was cut short.
All in all, ‘Murder by the Homeplace’ was a quick, good read. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in mysteries, or short stories."

Review by Brandee

"Murder by the Homeplace is a novella in the Homeplace series. It can be read standalone which is how I read it. It is well written and held my interest with the mystery. However, I was never able to connect with the main character, Penny, and I felt this took away from my experience.

Murder by the Homeplace  is the story of the days following a murder in a small town and the investigation that ensues. Penny Nixon, our heroine, is a freelance, part-time journalist and photographer who pursues the story for the local paper - which her father happens to own. We follow Penny over the course of two weeks as she pursues her own investigation of the murder, interviewing law enforcement, as well as other people who had connections to the victim, while law enforcement conduct their own.

The story is told in a first person narrative, and I think this may be the reason for my disconnect with the characters. There's something about this style that doesn't always work for me. While the story was good and well written, I was never emotionally invested. So while I was interested enough in the mystery to keep reading, the story didn't move me.

I will say that the Bevins family saga mentioned in this story and told in the other books in the series is very intriguing. I like the thought of a story told about a family who've owned and lived in the same spot for over a century. I also liked the authors ability to paint the characters in a realistic light. The people inhabiting Oak Springs seem like folks you'd see around town, if you were visiting. I sensed the personal ties the characters had for one another, but I didn't feel the tie myself.

Would I have been more engaged if I'd read the previous books in this series? Perhaps. And I will eventually check them out. Overall, I liked Murder by the Homeplace. I guess I prefer my stories to evoke more of an emotional response."

Review by Mindy

This is a charming story told from the point of view of a newspaper reporter who is interviewing people around town after a murder occurs in her home town.  She interviews various people in town affected by the murders or connected to the victim.

This is a novella.  It is well-written, sweet, and written in a fairly passive voice.  This does not, however, take away from the story.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 clouds.

Comments on 'Murder at the Homeplace' from advance reader Jason Bolger:

"I like how it's a different slant on the town, but still weaves in the characters from the books I enjoyed so much. I like how the reporter interacts with people, and it seems like the dialog gives a pretty good feel for the emotions, or the state of mind the characters are in at the time she talks with them. I also like how there are little "side mysteries" that are hinted at, but not explained.  This gives me a chance to imagine things on my own as a reader, and not have to be told every little thing.

This story was a nice read, I could put it down and come back to it without having to backtrack.  I guess it just stayed fresh in my mind over the few days that I picked it up and put it down. I really liked it, and am excited to check out the final book."

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