Rhys Bowen

in conversation with Cara Black

Recorded Thursday, September 10th, 2020

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Rhys Bowen in conversation with Cara Black

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Rhys Bowen‘s latest release, The Last Mrs. Summers, reunites mystery lovers with Lady Georgiana Rannoch, who is just back from her honeymoon with dashing Darcy O’Mara when a friend in need pulls her into a twisted Gothic tale of betrayal, deception and, most definitely, murder.

Rhys is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including The Victory GardenThe Tuscan Child, and the World War II-based In Farleigh Field, the winner of the Left Coast Crime Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel and the Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel.

Her work has won twenty honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans around the world, including seventeen thousand Facebook followers. A transplanted Brit, Rhys  divides her time between California and Arizona.

Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 19 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Cara has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris—the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture—and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at conferences such as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew.

“You know what rumors are like-like a jar full of moths. Once they escape, they’re all over the place.”

—Rhys Bowen.

A personal note from Rhys Bowen. 

Sent following her Conversations with Authors session.

I’d like to thank Book Passage for putting on these wonderful events, keeping us all, writers and readers, connected at this time when we feel so isolated. Book Passage has always been at the heart of the community, the perfect neighborhood bookstore. My own association with it and with Elaine goes back to its earliest days in the nineteen eighties and I have watched it grow from tiny hole in the wall to the store it is today, attracting the biggest names in both literature and politics. I have also been pleased to be on the faculty of the annual mystery conference for many years now and have watched with pride as so many of our students are published.

I’m so sad that we can’t hold the conference this year (with Cara as its chair) but look forward to next summer, when the world has returned to normality and sanity. To those of you who were planning to attend this year, you’ve been given the gift of time. Don’t feel daunted. Keep writing. I have to confess that I am finding it extra hard to concentrate, even though I should have more time on my hands. But fending off worry uses up creative energy. We just have to push ourselves a little. Of course I have the added push of a looming deadline to motivate me! So I have to get the next Royal Spyness book finished by the end of the year. 

I have received so many kind letters from readers who say that my Royal Spyness books, light, funny, as well as mysterious, have helped them escape at this difficult time. So this motivates me to keep writing.  The latest title in the series, THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS, is part spoof, part homage to REBECCA. That book made a big impression on me as a teenager. It was the first book that showed me how a writer could manipulate the reader’s emotions. The writer made the reader believe one thing then completely turn everything on its head. So my book, set at a big house in Cornwall, has a creepy housekeeper, a first wife who died in mysterious circumstances and a new wife who feels she is in danger. But of course, being Georgie and Belinda, it’s not all dark and serious.

As far as my reading goes this year, I find I’ve sought the comfort of old favorites as well as some new titles. I have just worked my way through all the Mary Stewart books—remember those? Now I re-read I can see holes in her plots but the sense of place is amazing and I find comfort at being in Greece or Provence.

So what else have I been reading?

One of my favorite books recently has been Ellie Griffiths’s The Stranger Diaries.  I don’t normally go for Gothic, but this is a multi-layered book that can be enjoyed on many levels, centered in an old school, with a creepy old diary in the past and a diary in the present in which someone other than the owner keeps writing… 

Another book I’ve enjoyed recently is pure escape: Jenn McKinlay’s PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA. A workaholic takes a break when her life is turned upside down and goes to relive her gap year in Ireland, France and Italy—each of them with a boyfriend she thought was perfect at the time.

And lastly I can’t recommend Cara’s book, THREE HOURS IN PARIS, enough. There are few books that I absolutely devour without breathing and this was one of them. A female sniper is sent to kill Hitler. Need I say more?

So stay strong and safe, everyone. Keep reading. Keep recommending your favorite bookstore and your favorite authors and I hope to see you in person very soon!

Your friend

Rhys Bowen

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