Saturday, February 4, 2023

The Crossbow Murders- An Asheville Mystery

 Well, I found a publisher for my new book- The Crossbow Murders, An Asheville Mystery. 

I am under contract with Wild Rose Publishing. They are doing some line editing now and will soon have a publication date available. They've been great to work with so far. 

The Crossbow Murders is not really as gruesome as it sounds.  The story forms a prequel for As the Crow Dies. Like the crow book, Crossbow incorporates some of my favorite places in Asheville and Western North Carolina With a special focus on the River Arts District.  It is in this book that Segal first meets his future partner, Dinah, and we see the bond begin to form between them. I think anyone who enjoyed As the Crow Dies will like this one as well. 

I will update ASAP. I can't wait to see what they come up with for cover art.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Reaction too As the Crow Dies

Reaction to As the Crow Dies

I sent out a few review copies of As the Crow Dies to some of my favorite authors. I was very pleased and humbled when they wrote the following comments. If you don’t know them already I recommend that you check them out.
“Beginning with a body face down in the river, As the Crow Dies flies from one unexpected development to another. A pair of unlikely detectives work to find a missing scientist and keep up with a case that threatens their lives and their sanity. Animals with super powers, street musicians, the U.S. president and first lady, and a roller derby matchup all add to the novel’s strength and quirkiness. Few authors can combine murder and humor as well as Kenneth Butcher.”
Anne Hillerman, New York Times best-selling mystery author-

 "Kenneth Butcher’s As the Crow Dies gives us a crackerjack mystery that begins, like all good murder mysteries, with the discovery of a body—an apparent accident. But the plot then takes us into remarkable territory in which the fantastical becomes true and the detectives find themselves confronting a deadly conspiracy that spreads far beyond the picturesque mountain town of Asheville, N.C. Segal, the seasoned lead detective, is recovering from a gunshot wound. In a turnabout of the usual roles, it falls to his partner, Dinah Rudisill, to handle the rough stuff. One of the joys of this fast-paced mystery is watching their friendship develop, as Segal regains his old confidence and Rudisill sharpens her skills, rising to an extraordinary challenge. Both detectives live into the honorable tradition of restoring justice and meaning to a world often lacking in both, and doing so with style and humor. The perfect book to get a smart reader through the pandemic."
Philip Gerard, author of 13 books, including The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina.-
"As the Crow Dies is a charming, vibrant mystery filled with intrigue that hooks the reader from page one. Kenneth Butcher tells a fascinating tale of murder, animal intelligence, and human foolishness in this wonderful novel that brings the city of Asheville to life. A page-turning follow-up to The Dream of St. Ursula. I love this book."
 Christy English, author of the Queen's Pawn and Waking Sarah Ann.-
In As the Crow Dies, Butcher creates an intriguing mystery that combines a fresh, charming detective duo, the free-spirited vibe of Asheville, NC, and an original plot following a trail of bodies in a race to prevent a crime of international consequence.  As The Crow Dies takes readers on an exciting ride with more twists and turns than the mountain roads of its setting.”
Mark de Castrique, author of Murder in Rat Alley and 18 other mystery novels-
“No living author writes police procedurals that are sharper or funnier than Kenneth Butcher and As The Crow Flies serves up madcap mystery at its most gripping.  He sets loose his two military-trained detectives in the foothills of Western North Carolina where they encounter would-be assassins, international intrigue and a menagerie of uniquely gifted animals.  Who other than Butcher can introduce cigarette-rolling raccoons, lothario crows and alphabet-reciting mule deer into a murder investigation—and never have readers doubt the truth of every word? As The Crow Flies proves as suspenseful as it is entertaining, Appalachia’s rollicking rejoinder to Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade:  A novel as brilliant and rare as the zany animals that populate its pages.”
Jacob M. Appel, author of Millard Salter’s Last Day-

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Painting of Saint Ursula

A lot of people have asked about the Carpaccio painting called The Dream of Saint Ursula which was  a major inspiration for my book.  Here it is.

There is so much in the painting that attracts my attention. There is the angel of course, which made me think of Audrey in my first book. Audrey with her angel scroll. I also find it interesting that the angel is a littler smaller than the saint herself.

Each object and each detail in the room holds meaning which would have been understood by people of the period. For instance the plants in the window are associated with fidelity in marriage.

Then there is the odd perspective. The room is a little out of square. Also the point of view is a little odd, as if the painter was hoovering about seven or eight feet in the air.  Keep in mind that painters of this period knew all about perspecitve and they did not make mistakes with it.

I don't know what to make of any of this. I don't pretend to know what it means, only to have a feeling it means something. Its the kind of thing that drifts up to the top of my mind often when I sit down to write.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Dream of Saint Ursula- chain of Inspiration

The Dream of Saint Ursula- Chain of Inspiration

A lot of the inspiration for this book came from my visits to the Virgin Islands and from all the beautiful places there.  Sharing some of these experiences was one of the primary motivations for writing the book, even though the story is completely made up.  If you’ve been there the book will probably make you want to return. If you haven’t it might make you want to plan a visit.

So, it turns out the Virgin Islands were named by Christopher Columbus for Saint Ursula and her virgins. Apparently the legend of Saint Ursula was popular in the late fifteenth century. I say this because there is also a famous series of paintings by a guy named Vittore Carpaccio that deal with different parts of the legend, all painted in the late 1490’s. 

For me, the most inspirational of Carpaccio’s paintings is called The Dream of Saint Ursula.  It shows an angle appearing at the foot of the bed in which Saint U is sleeping and so it reminded me of the series of drawings that Audrey Colebrook did which are mentioned in The Middle of the Air and in my new book, also named The Dream of Saint Ursula. Paintings play a big role in the plot of my book, another reason for borrowing the title.

In any case Carpaccio’s painting stuck in my mind and still does. It may be because of the angel, because of the detail or maybe because of the mood of mystery it leaves me with.  Then too, there is something odd about the perspective of the room.  The painters of this period did not make mistakes in perspective so I keep asking myself what it might mean. What am I missing?  I also wonder if Carpaccio and Columbus ever met.  They lives certainly overlapped in time and both were Italian.  I like to think they might have thrown back a few glasses of wine together at least once or twice.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Book is Amost Here!

The Dream of Saint Ursula

OK, my second book is finally approaching its publication date, officially targeted as October 9, 2014.  A lot is happening.

Cover Design:  I have seen a couple iterations of the cover design. I think we are very close to the final version, needing only to add a couple of blurbs on the back cover.  I feel the cover is inviting people on a fun and warm beach vacation which is consistent with the setting and overall feeling of the story.

Kick-off Event – Valerie, owner of the Fountainhead Book Store, is organizing an event at the theater down town for October 30 at 7:00 PM.  Should be fun.  I don’t have a firm schedule after that as yet, but I’m sure there will be a lot of signings and readings and interviews to do.