Tag Archives: Margaret Grace

My Musing ~ Matrimony in Miniature by Margaret Grace

Matrimony in Miniature by Margaret Grace is the ninth book in the “Miniature” mystery series. Publisher: Perseverance Press, August 2016

Matrimony in MiniatureWhen murder happens in the small town of Lincoln Point CA, there aren’t many degrees of separation between the victim and retired teacher Gerry Porter. How can she stay away from the investigation when the crime scene is the venue for her marriage to Henry Baker? But this time, nephew Detective Skip Gowen tries to discourage Gerry’s and granddaughter Maddie’s efforts to solve “The Case.” He couldn’t live with himself if the murderer learns of their efforts and comes after them. . .

I always enjoy my time with Gerry Porter and her granddaughter Maddie. In their latest caper, they’re preparing for Gerry’s upcoming wedding when a dead body is discovered at the place of her wedding. What else is Gerry to do but pick away the clues to find a killer hiding in plain sight. With dogged determination and assistance by ever helpful Maddie, the clues are piling up and when things hit a little bit too close to home, the tempo in this tale reaches a crescendo where the need to identify the killer guides the rest of this whodunit. The author did an excellent job in presenting this story where the mystery and the mini-plots kept my interest throughout and the narrative put me in the middle of all the action. With a great cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this was a terrific read and I can’t wait to see what Gerry, Maddie and the gang are up to next.

Maddie’s Day in the Life with Grandma Gerry Porter by Margaret Grace

Matrimony in MiniatureI’m Maddie Porter. I’m 11 and 3/4, and my grandma is Gerry Porter.

People are asking Grandma to talk about a day in her life. But she’s very shy when it comes to talking about herself. She taught high school for years and years, but she claims that’s different. She knows a lot about English—that means all kinds of reading and writing, like, even old stuff, Shakespeare, and all—and she loves to pass it on, she says. But if it’s about her personal life, she keeps it quiet.

So it’s up to me to do it for her. Talk about her day, I mean.

When I was a kid, I didn’t spend as much time with Grandma and Grandpa because I lived far away in Los Angeles. But now I live in Palo Alto, California, which is very close to Lincoln Point and I have my own bedroom in Grandma’s house. Grandpa was sick for a long time and then he died but I still remember a little bit about him. He was an architect and that’s what I might want to be. Either that, or I’ll get a job building dollhouses because that’s my favorite thing to do with Grandma. She has lots of friends and they come over and work on projects that they give away. Like to kids in shelters. I guess that means that they can’t afford real homes. The kids, I mean.

I’m very lucky that I have 2 homes, almost. My best friend in Lincoln Point is Taylor. Taylor’s grandpa, Henry, and my grandma are going to get married soon.

Or else, I might be a cop, like my first-cousin-once-removed Skip, but I can tell nobody wants me to do that, because . . .

Uh-oh, I think I’m doing that unfocused thing my teachers are always ragging on me about. I’m supposed to be talking about a day in Grandma’s life. But I only know about the days I’m with her, so what can I do?

Maybe I’ll just tell you about last Saturday, even though it was the worst day of my life. I did something really stupid and Grandma got mad at me. And she never gets mad, even when my ‘rents are really mad at me, so you know it must have been bad.

I’ll try to explain why it happened. I was at soccer practice with Taylor and when Henry took us back to Grandma’s house she was all upset. The place where their wedding was going to be, I forget her name, called and said someone died in their pool! Then it turned out the dead person was Grandma’s friend Mr. Templeton’s wife! He’s part of Grandma’s group that comes and builds dollhouses with us.

The second best thing I like to do, well maybe it’s the first, is help my cousin Skip solve cases like this. I know a lot about computers and I might be a computer specialist when I get to college. It’s hard to decide.

So, everyone’s trying to figure out why Mrs. Templeton, the dead lady, was even at the place where Grandma and Henry were going to get married, plus who pushed her into the pool? It’s like a hotel but they call it Bee and Bee, I think. I don’t know why.

Why Grandma was mad at me: I had an idea for how to find out something about one of the suspects. I was only trying to help, but it turned out to be not a good idea because I could have gotten hurt and some other people might have gotten hurt, too.

I don’t have time to explain it all, but I just wanted to tell you about that one day in Grandma’s life when I thought she didn’t love me anymore. Everything’s okay now, though. The end.

[Note from Gerry: Maddie wants me to correct her essay before she submits it, but I’m leaving it as is. I’m not even going to read it. I hope she didn’t reveal too many family secrets!]

[Note from Margaret Grace: For the full story of Maddie’s misbehavior, read Matrimony in Miniature, recently released on September 9, 2016!]

Matrimony in Miniature is the 9th book in the Miniature mystery series, published by Perseverance Press, September 2016.

When murder happens in the small town of Lincoln Point CA, there aren’t many degrees of separation between the victim and retired teacher Gerry Porter. How can she stay away from the investigation when the crime scene is the venue for her marriage to Henry Baker? But this time, nephew Detective Skip Gowen tries to discourage Gerry’s and granddaughter Maddie’s efforts to solve “The Case.” He couldn’t live with himself if the murderer learns of their efforts and comes after them. . .

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About the author
Margaret Grace is the pen name of Camille Minichino, the author of short stories, articles, and more than twenty CMedgarmystery novels. They include the Miniature series, the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries (as Ada Madison), and the new Postmistress series (as Jean Flowers). She’s past president of Northern California MWA, Northern California Sisters in Crime, and the Mt. Diablo California Writers Club. She teaches science at Golden Gate University, and writing at Bay Area schools. Connect with Camille at www.minichino.com.


All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Manhattan in Miniature by Margaret Grace

Manhattan in MiniatureManhattan in Miniature by Margaret Grace is the 8th book in the “Miniature” mystery series. Publisher: Perseverance Press, April 2015

Perhaps Manhattan, like Christmas, is best seen through the eyes of a child. Gerry Porter provides both magical experiences for granddaughter Maddie when a SuperKrafts manager takes them to New York City for a huge crafts fair. They get to work on both making miniatures and solving crimes, the detecting duo’s favorite pastimes. All this, plus Rockefeller Center and Radio City, too! But a crafty murderer wants to make sure they don’t make it safely home again to California.

I loved it. It was fun watching Maddie take in Manhattan with her grandma and Bebe by her side giving her the experience of a lifetime. I love how they both became involved in two mysteries and with keen observations were able to help in solving the crimes. The author did a great job in the telling of this story, placing me right in the middle of all the non-stop action. There were one tense moment when I was feeling the emotions that Gerry was feeling in trying to reach Maddie, but it all worked out well in the end. This is by far, my favorite book in this delightfully entertaining series. I can’t wait to see what awaits Gerry, Maddie and friends in their next miniature adventures.

A Day in the Life of Maddie Porter by Margaret Grace

Madness in MiniatureWow, after all the drills in school, we finally had a real earthquake where I live in California. I wasn’t scared. Not too much, anyway. It was only a 3.1, but everything quaked! I was in my Grandma’s house with her and her BFF. I think they’re going to get married soon. I hope so, because Uncle Henry—that’s what I call him—his granddaughter, Taylor, is my BFF! So that would be so cool. Me and Taylor would be, like, cousins or something.

Back to that earthquake, it’s a good thing I remembered Drop, Cover, and Hold On! from our drills in school, and made sure Grandma and Uncle Henry came under the dining room table with me and held on even though it moved a little. I think a vase in grandma’s house broke, but the big thing is that downtown in the new, giant crafts store, some pottery fell off a high-up shelf, and someone died from being hit over the head. The man was a boss of the new crafts company. He came to our town from New York, and my grandma thinks maybe it wasn’t the earthquake’s fault that he died. She’s probably right, and if she is, then we’ll have a Case to work on.

I love helping Grandma and Uncle Skip (he’s not old like Uncle Henry) who’s a police detective. This time I made up a data chart so we could have an easy way to see where everyone was when the earthquake hit. That’s called an alibi, and when we looked at all the alibis it helped us figure out how the man from New York was killed.

Grandma and I work on dollhouses together, and that’s almost as much fun as police work. When I grow up (I’m almost there—I’m eleven years old), I think I want to be a detective like Uncle Skip. Or just make miniatures all day. Or maybe work in an ice cream shop, or maybe live in New York. That’s where my dad was born when Grandma and Grandpa were living there. At least I want to visit New York and see the Rockettes. Maybe Grandma will take me some day.

Madness in Miniature” (April 2014) is the 7th book in the Miniature Mysteries by Margaret Grace, featuring “Grandma” Gerry Porter and 11-year-old Maddie. The 8th book is “Manhattan in Miniature,” (April 2015) where Maddie gets her wish to see the Rockettes. Book is published by Perseverance Press and available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6pm EST on April 17, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of MADNESS IN MINIATURE. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Camille Minichino, a retired physicist turned writer, is the author of 21 mysteries in three series: The Periodic Table Mysteries, The Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace) and the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries (as Ada Madison). A fourth series, the Post Office Mysteries (as Jean Flowers), will debut in August 2015. Camille teaches science at Golden Gate U., San Francisco. She also teaches writing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her website: minichino.com.

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Sophie Knowles And Then There Were Four by Ada Madison

Quotient of MurderGerry Porter put down her glue gun and slid her phone open. The ringtone stopped and she greeted her friend, the only college math professor she knew.

“Hey, Sophie. Meant to call you. Congratulations on the new book. How are the sales?”

“Thanks, but who knows how The Quotient of Murder is doing? They never give you actual figures.”

“I know that bothers you, being a numbers person and all.”

“It’s not just that, look at how hard we work for Ada Madison.”

“You mean Margaret Grace.”

“Yeah, yeah, and Camille Minichino. Whoever. Wonder who she is this month?”

Gerry heard a sniffle. Was Sophie crying? “What’s wrong, Soph?”

“All my work, and I think she’s going to dump me. Four books and I’m out.”

“What? What makes you think that?”

“I heard her talking on the phone with her New York editor. She didn’t know she’d opened up the .doc for the last book featuring”— sniff—”me, so I could hear everything.”

Gerry wasn’t prepared for this. She wasn’t much good with personal relationships. She was okay in a crisis if a murder was involved, but otherwise not. “Let’s get Gloria Lamerino on the line,” she suggested.

Another sniff. “Okay,” Sophie said. “She’ll know how I feel. She was dumped a long time ago and she’s doing okay.”

Gerry was the least techie of the three women friends, so she had to enlist her granddaughter, Maddie, to work out the details of getting Gloria on the line for a three-way.

“Hello, everyone. What’s up?” Gloria asked. “I’ve been napping for a few years.”

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” Sophie said. “What happens when your series gets dumped?”

“They don’t call it ‘dumping’,” Gloria said. “They just avoid mentioning another contract, and move on.”

“But I have unfinished plot threads,” Sophie said. “I have puzzles ready to submit to magazines, and Bruce and I aren’t even engaged yet. There’s so much more life in us.”

Gloria clicked her tongue. “I know how you feel. There were more than 100 elements to go in the periodic table. I was all geared up for The Neon Murder, where a motel manager was going to be murdered over his tacky neon orange sign. But in the end, it’s the sales numbers that matter and there’s nothing you can do.”

Gerry took a sip of her iced tea and a bite of her famous ginger cookies. She was the lucky one, since Margaret Grace, her author, found another publisher for her. Gerry was still thriving and having great adventures in New York City in the 8th book of the series.

“I wasn’t as lucky as Gerry,” Gloria admitted. “Camille took me out for a ride in a short story, The Fluorine Murder, and promised my fans she’d write more stories based on the elements, but so far, she hasn’t come through.”

“She was busy with me and Gerry,” Sophie said. “But now I’m history.”

“She did put The Hydrogen Murder online as an e-book and I have fun watching new people read about that first adventure,” Gloria offered.

“So that’s what it might come to?” Sophie asked. “Like watching Law & Order reruns on TV.”

“Or, worse, Monk reruns,” Gloria said.

“Shh, wait,” Gerry said. “Do I hear clicking noises on the line? Is someone else trying to join us?”

“Hello? Hello?” A woman’s voice, soft and hesitant came through.

“Is that someone new?” Gerry asked.

“Are there four of us now?” Sophie asked.

“Don’t tell me,” Gloria said. “A fourth series is on the way?”

“Hello?” the strange new woman said. “My name is—”

Gloria, Gerry, and Sophie strained to hear.

But the line clicked off.

You can read more about Sophie in The Quotient of Murder, the second book in the “Professor Sophie Knowles” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is The Square Root of Murder. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of “The Quotient of Murder” to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends November 14; US entries only per publisher’s request.

Meet the author
Camille Minichino is the author of 18 mysteries in three series: The Periodic Table Mysteries, The Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace) and the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries (as Ada Madison). The Quotient of Murder is due from Berkley Prime Crime November 5, 2013. Visit her website: minichino.com.

Mix-up In Miniature by Margaret Grace

Mix-up In Miniature by Margaret Grace is the sixth book in the “Miniature” mystery series. Publisher: Perseverance Press, April 2012

Geraldine Porter is thrilled to meet bestselling author and miniatures enthusiast Varena Young. The celebrity seems to seek friendship with Gerry and her crafts group, and makes a generous offer of a house from her collection for a library fund-raiser. But Young is suddenly murdered, and Gerry is left to investigate the crime. She and her eleven-year-old granddaughter Maddie delve for information on Young’s mysterious past, and they find a clue to her murder in a secret room…of a dollhouse.

When Gerry visits famed miniaturist and novelist Varena Young, she delights in being offered one of her miniature homes for a library fundraiser, which is later marred when Varena is found dead. While suspicions falls to Verna’s young protégé, Verna’s daughter seeks Gerry help in solving this murder. This was a fun read that I could not put down. This well-crafted mystery boasts a lovable cast and great conversations in this tale of betrayal and secrets. The loving relationship between Maddie and her grandmother continues to delight me as they look for clues in this puzzling case. This was very enjoyable and I hope to see more of Gerry and Maddie in this wonderfully charming series.

Margaret Grace is the pseudonym for Camille Minichino

Gerry Porter And Professor Sophie Knowles by Camille Minichino

“We’d probably never be friends if it weren’t for Margaret Grace,” Gerry said.

“You mean Ada Madison,” Sophie replied.

Since they had a common friend (whose real name was Camille Minichino) Gerry Porter and Sophie Knowles decided to have lunch together. They chose a neutral spot, a café called Food for Characters, with neither dollhouses nor equations in the décor.

“I doubt we have anything in common besides our creator,” Gerry said, towering over the five-foot-three Sophie. “You teach math in college. I nearly flunked math in high school. I just don’t have a head for it.”

“Are you kidding? Look at all the measuring and scaling you have to do for your miniatures,” Sophie said. “I wish I had your artistic talent. I’m trying to learn to bead better than a fifth-grader. I can’t even make a pretty bracelet for my boyfriend’s niece.”

“You’re the ingenious one,” Gerry said. “Anyone who can make sense out of equations is creative in my book.”

“If you’re so nonmathematical, how come you ordered PI?” Sophie asked.

“And you ordered a mini quiche,” Gerry pointed out.

Both ladies laughed so loudly, heads turned.

At the next table two women scanned their menus, eavesdropping on Gerry and Sophie, who continued to joke and laugh like schoolgirls.

One of women addressed the waiter, pointing to Gerry and Sophie. “I’ll have what they’re having.”
You can read more about Gerry in MONSTER IN MINIATURE, the 5th book in the “Miniature” mystery series and Sophie in THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER, the first book in the new “Professor Sophie Knowles” mystery series. The first book in the “Miniature” series is MURDER IN MINIATURE.

Camille Minichino, a retired physicist turned writer, has published 14 mysteries in three series. Her latest is “THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER,” as Ada Madison. “MIX-UP IN MINIATURE” by Margaret Grace will be released next spring. Visit Camille at www.minichino.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Malice in Miniature by Margaret Grace

Malice in Miniature by Margaret Grace is the third book in the “Miniature” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), February 2009

When her son’s family descends on her quiet home, craft miniaturist Geraldine Porter is absolutely thrilled.  Now she has the help of her adorable eleven-year old granddaughter, Maddie, to complete a room box in time for “the Real President’s Day” of Lincoln Point. But when trouble looms over the event, she’ll need to enlist her little helper for a much bigger project.  Gerry’s neighbor June Chinn has shocking news.  June’s friend Zoe has been arrested for murder.  Zoe’s boyfriend, a local artist, was found artfully killed – and now June desperately needs help.  But Gerry soon discovers that there are some unsavory folks who think that Gerry’s better off sticking to room boxes than sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.

 Another enjoyable book in this series.  My rating: 3.5 stars

Mayhem in Miniature by Margaret Grace

Mayhem in Miniature by Margaret Grace is the second book in the “Miniature” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), August 2008

Gerry likes working in a smaller scale, yet her to-do list is anything but.  Between creating a miniature Victorian room box for the holiday auction, teaching crafts at the Mary Todd Retirement Home, and watching her granddaughter, Madison, her calendar is bursting with holiday cheer – until she has to add in a murder investigation.  The gardener at the nursing home has been found dead, and one of her very own craft students, eighty-seven-year-old Sofia Muniz, is the prime suspect.  With the help of a friend and fellow crafter, Gerry turns the home upside down trying to clear Sofia’s name.  What she uncovers in this upscale community is not a tiny cans of worms – it’s more like a twisted bunch of foul snakes.  And it’s up to Gerry to shrink the mystery down to size.

This was an entertaining read.  My rating: 3 stars