KAREN SHUGHART

Author

About Karen Shughart

I love to write and always have. I wrote my first poem when I was five and have continued writing throughout my life.  I wrote as a public relations professional, teacher, editor, and head of non-profit organizations. I also wrote newspaper columns, feature articles for daily newspapers, guides for chambers of commerce, newsletters and currently, a monthly blog at Ladies of Mystery, https://www.ladiesofmystery.

Several years ago, I was inspired to write my first non-fiction book, a bed and breakfast guide and cookbook, after my husband and I took a trip to New England and stayed at charming historic inns with wonderful food. My second was written to help volunteers  navigate their way through the complexities of creating profitable special events for non-profit organizations after I served as a volunteer board member and fundraising chairperson for a number of organizations in south central Pennsylvania, where our family lived for many years.

My inspiration for writing Cozies- clean, gentle mysteries with no graphic violence, explicit sex or profanity- began more than a decade ago when, during a driving trip one weekend, my husband and I discovered a charming village in the northernmost part of the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York on Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. The village was within proximity to Canada and seemed to embody everything we could possibly want as a place to live:  family values, kind and caring people, a strong sense of community, burgeoning wine scene, fruit orchards, lots of history and culture, spectacular scenery, and within short driving time to two cities: Rochester and Syracuse. One visit was all it took for us to decide that we wanted to live here, and after many years of spending vacations and weekends, we retired and realized our dream.

The series will consist of five Edmund DeCleryk mysteries, all with an historic twist and surprise ending and set in the fictional village of Lighthouse Cove, NY, which is very much like this lovely village where we now live. In book one, Murder in the Museum,  the murder of retired college professor Emily Bradford, is solved when Ed discovers a map dated 1785 and a manuscript written in 1847 that were unearthed during an archaeological dig in Toronto, Canada.   In book two, Murder in the Cemetery, the War of 1812, artifacts discovered during a trip to England, and a diary dating back to the early 1800s, help Ed solve the murder of his childhood friend, George Wright. . Ed’s wife, Annie, head of the historical society, helps Ed solve crimes, but she also likes to cook. Her recipes are listed at the end of each novel.

I am pleased to have also participated in two group-authored books by my publisher, Cozy Cat Press:  Wheel of Death and A Map for Murder. It’s been a lot of fun working with these talented and creative writers.

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MURDER IN THE MUSEUM

Early one gray November morning, retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief, Edmund DeCleryk, finds Emily Bradford’s body on the beach at the base of the bluff where the local museum and historical society stands. At the same time, a break-in has been reported at the museum, and Emily’s coat and purse are found hanging on a peg in the museum’s gift shop where she worked. Was her death the result of a burglary gone bad or something more sinister?

MURDER IN THE CEMETERY

On a bright, spring afternoon the body of George Wright, a childhood friend of criminal consultant Edmund DeCleryk, is discovered at a cemetery where casualties of the War of 1812 are buried. After conducting an autopsy, the medical examiner determines that George has been murdered, the cause of death by poisoning. Lighthouse Cove Police Chief Carrie Ramos hires Ed to investigate, with his spunky wife, Annie assisting him. 

WHEEL OF DEATH: A MYSTERY BY 22 AUTHORS

When Glory Lockhart is prodded into going on a blind date by her friend Connie, no one could have predicted the strange and terrifying turn of events that would take place when her gentleman caller Tom Rankin takes her for a romantic ride on a Ferris wheel at a county fair. But when the wheel returns to the ground, Glory finds Tom dead–shot in the back. Immediately, questions course through Glory’s mind––why was Tom killed and who killed him?

A MAP FOR MURDER: A MYSTERY BY 24 AUTHORS

When their best friend Merilee lands in jail, Janet and Molly naturally rush to her aid. But when the two girls find out that Merilee has been accused of murdering her own mother, they realize that the only way to help her is to find the real killer! The mystery takes the three friends back and forth from their artsy neighborhood in Dallas to the Old West town of Shotgun City, to a ranch so big you could get lost in it.

Discussion Questions: Murder in the Museum

Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery
By Karen Shughart

1. What are the clues to the murder in Murder in the Museum, and how does the author hide them in plain sight?

2. Are there any themes in the book?

3. How do you view the village of Lighthouse Cove and the people who live there?

4. How do you view Ed and Annie’s relationship?

5. What Lighthouse Cove characters did you like the most and why? Least?

6. Is the book only about murder or is there something else?

7. How important is the use of description in the book to set the scene and frame the story?

8. Doe the interweaving of history with the quest to find the murderer enhance or detract from the story?

9. The characters in the book are a diverse group. Why do you think the author did this?

Discussion Questions: Murder in the Cemetery

Murder in the Cemetery

By Karen Shughart

1. There were many clues as to who killed George Wright. Were you able to pick up on them throughout the book? If not, how did the author hide them? How did you feel about the surprise ending?
2. How do you view the village of Lighthouse Cove and the people who live there?
3. How do you view Ed and Annie’s relationship?
4. What Lighthouse Cove characters did you like the most and why? Least?
5. The author uses a lot of description for the characters and the setting. How did you feel about it? If you liked it, why? If not, why not?
6. How important is the use of description in the book to set the scene and frame the story?
7. Doe the interweaving of history with the quest to find the murderer enhance or detract from the story?
8. The characters in the book are a diverse group. Why do you think the author did this?

Cozy Cat Press
Ladies of Mystery
Hometown Readers
Amazon

MURDER IN THE MUSEUM

Early one gray November morning, retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief, Edmund DeCleryk, finds Emily Bradford’s body on the beach at the base of the bluff where the local museum and historical society stands. At the same time, a break-in has been reported at the museum, and Emily’s coat and purse are found hanging on a peg in the museum’s gift shop where she worked. Was her death the result of a burglary gone bad or something more sinister?

When the police chief is called out of town for a family emergency, he hires Ed, now working as a criminal consultant, to assist deputy police chief, Carrie Ramos, with the murder investigation. After several leads don’t pan out, the chief, now back in Lighthouse Cove, decides to close the case. Confident that with more time the murder can be solved, Ed is determined to continue investigating on his own, with encouragement from his wife, Annie, the museum’s executive director.

Several weeks later, while in the basement of the museum, the couple discovers a copy of a map dated 1785, and Ed’s instincts tell him it may be connected to Emily’s death. On a hunch he and Annie travel to Toronto, Canada, where he learns of the original map and a manuscript written in 1847 that were unearthed during an architectural dig. The manuscript contains information about a ship that capsized during a fierce storm on Lake Ontario -- in 1785. Now Ed has clues as to why the murder occurred, but he still doesn’t know who committed the crime. Or does he?

Annie loves to cook. The end of the book contains recipes for meals she made for friends and family while the murder in the museum was being investigated.

On a bright, spring afternoon the body of George Wright, a childhood friend of criminal consultant Edmund DeCleryk, is discovered at a cemetery where casualties of the War of 1812 are buried. After conducting an autopsy, the medical examiner determines that George has been murdered, the cause of death by poisoning. Lighthouse Cove Police Chief Carrie Ramos hires Ed to investigate, with his spunky wife, Annie assisting him.
Suspects include a physician’s assistant, college student and a family member, among others; however, George’s demise may be the result of secrets that have surfaced from the grave. You’ll discover what Ed found on the beach in Murder in the Museum and how that, and an artifact dating back to the early 1800s, are linked to this untimely death.
Annie loves to cook, and at the end of the book she shares recipes for meals she prepared for friends and loved ones.

WHEEL OF DEATH: A MYSTERY BY 22 AUTHORS

When Glory Lockhart is prodded into going on a blind date by her friend Connie, no one could have predicted the strange and terrifying turn of events that would take place when her gentleman caller Tom Rankin takes her for a romantic ride on a Ferris wheel at a county fair. But when the wheel returns to the ground, Glory finds Tom dead--shot in the back. Immediately, questions course through Glory’s mind––why was Tom killed and who killed him? She had barely met this man, but now she feels connected to him in the most permanent and horrible way possible. As the widow of a former local police officer, Glory’s head is soon humming with plans to solve the mystery surrounding this man and his gruesome demise on the wheel of death.

When their best friend Merilee lands in jail, Janet and Molly naturally rush to her aid. But when the two girls find out that Merilee has been accused of murdering her own mother, they realize that the only way to help her is to find the real killer! The mystery takes the three friends back and forth from their artsy neighborhood in Dallas, to the Old West town of Shotgun City, to a ranch so big you could get lost in it. When the threesome find a map of nearby Packsaddle Mountain, they realize they’ve found a clue to a legendary outlaw’s treasure—a treasure worth killing for. Before all is said and done, the three friends will have to face a lot of danger and team up with some unlikely allies to discover the hidden loot and bring a murderer to justice. Written by twenty-four different authors, this is one cozy mystery you won’t want to miss