Blanche Renard Putzel, better known in the community as Samme Putzel, is launching her third murder mystery book on November 12 at Arbor Gallery. The Review took the opportunity to sit down with the author to learn more about the universe she delves into to write her stories.
“When I first started writing, I wanted to see if I could write a murder mystery novel à la Agatha Christie. I always wanted to write what I knew so I took the environment of Eastern Ontario as a backdrop. I wanted to make something light, funny and witty even though my books are murder mysteries. I wanted to have messages in my books without sounding too preachy so I write in a way that is palatable to the reader. My absolute conviction is that if we all believe in creating a different world, we can have some kind of hope, and I try to convey that message with stories of hardships and challenges,” says Putzel.
Her recurring main character is Emily Blossom, a sleuth who refuses to acknowledge that she is aging in any way and has an absolute determination to find the truth and save the community. But Emily also has weaknesses. She mixes up words and is constantly being corrected by her sidekick named Pete Picken, an antique dealer, who is an alter ego of her late partner and well-known community activist, Phil Arbor.
Emily Blossom is definitely an alter ego of Putzel, although Putzel says that there are parts of Emily that she wouldn’t like in a real person. In her second book, The Trouble with Friday, she introduced another character, Daisy Blossom, a farm owner and operator with a lifestyle resembling her own which covers another side of her life.
In her third book, even though it’s a stand-alone story, Emily Blossom, the sleuth, is back and is supported by two other recurring characters from past novels such as Pete Picken, who is reluctantly dragged into the murder investigation and the naive and goodhearted Daisy Blossom.
Writing a book is a feat of perseverance and Putzel, while writing her first book, didn’t have the goal to be published or even read, she just wanted to reach the point where she could write The End. But she admitted that once she got through the process of finishing her first book and then publishing it, that having readers and their feedback made want to write more. It took her 12 years of writing to get all three novels out, aside form her poetry books.
“Publishing a book is very liberating and scary at the same time because once it goes live, it’s out of your hands and it becomes the work of others to read through it. I believe that my third book, Fiddle for the Dead, is my best work yet because I gained more confidence as a writer and I was willing to push the envelope with my writing style. Hopefully, I will be able to reach more people with Emily Blossom’s latest murder mystery,” says Putzel.
The official book launch takes place at Arbor Gallery, 36 Home Avenue, Vankleek Hill, on Sunday November 12, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Books may be purchased from the author directly by writing [email protected] or from the publisher at iuniverse.com or on amazon.com for printed or ebook versions.
As a teaser, here is the back cover of Fiddle for the Dead:
On a blustery night, a stranger collapses in the audience attending a magic show in Emerald Hill, a sleepy village in Eastern Ontario, Canada.
The next morning, Daisy Blossom’s dog, Friday, adopts a ragtag child named Aster Blossom, a distant relative who mysteriously appears at the farm, hungry and alone. Emily Blossom, Daisy’s sister-in-law and a self-appointed detective, suspects the death at the show is, in fact, a murder. Considering her
advancing age and frailty, how will the aspiring sleuth follow the threads of small-town gossip to unravel the sordid truth?
She enlists the help of her reluctant sidekick, antique dealer Pete Picken, to help her solve the crime. Meanwhile, Daisy, a confirmed spinster, copes with the dilemma of raising Aster, while a naughty school pony and friendly farm animals teach the girl valuable lessons about life.
In this mystery novel, through unpredictable twists and turns, Detective Emily Blossom is determined to track down a killer and reveal secrets that reach far beyond the town’s limits.