Tag Archives: Susan Breen

A Day in the Life With Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

maggie-doves-detective-agencySince last visiting Dru, I’ve solved a murder mystery and opened a detective agency. I love my new life as Private Investigator Maggie Dove. I have an office, a badge, stationery and two business partners. Everything is perfect, except for one small problem. I have no clients.

Not a one.

Occasionally one of the patients from the dentist’s office next door meanders into my office and asks questions, but I suspect they’re just killing time until the numbness passes. Cassie Fletcher wanted to hire me to find her driver’s license, but it was in her wallet, so I couldn’t see charging her. Though I did make up a folder. Old Henry Stample wanted me to do genealogical research for him. That seemed promising, but then he died.

Under other circumstances, I would pray over it. I’m a Sunday School teacher (when I’m not detecting) and pray a lot, but I couldn’t see asking God to bring me business. Detectives thrive on misery: on people whose spouses are cheating or employees who are stealing or family members who are lost. I couldn’t bring myself to pray for misery when I’d spent a good portion of my 62 years trying to avoid it.

Still, when the first of October arrived and we’d gone four months without a client, I began to feel the prickles of anxiety I associate with waiting rooms. We can’t stay in business without business forever. If the detective agency closes, I’ll be forced to return to the staid and somewhat melancholy life I’d been living before these adventures started and I don’t want to go backwards.

That was when I noticed Racine Stern walking down Main Street. It’s easy to spot Racine because she always wears a red beret. She’s the daughter of the richest woman in my small village, Darby-on-Hudson. They live in the vast Stern Manor in Belvedere park, and they’re proud. They sit three rows in front of me at church, but they never speak to me. Only to the minister, and God, I suppose.

When I saw Racine striding along, banging into Joe Mangione and his coffee, and then bumping into Mr. Cavanaugh and his little dog, I imagined she was on her way to the train station and some appointment in New York City. So you can imagine my surprise when she stopped right outside the door to my detective agency. I had only enough time to quickly push aside the book I’d been reading, The Brothers Karamazov, and then, there she was, in my office.

“How can I help you?” I asked.

“I want to hire you,” she said.

“Fabulous!” I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down the word “hire.” Then underlined it three times.

“What do you want me to do?”

Racine licked her lips. They looked chapped, and I noticed her wrists were flaked with dry skin. “Do you believe in evil, Maggie Dove?”

That startled me, but I remembered a night last April when evil had come close to taking my life. I could still smell the honeysuckle. Cold prying eyes that sought to destroy me. “Yes, I said, “I believe in evil, but I don’t know that I’m equipped to deal with it. Can you tell me what scares you?”

“Oh, I’m not scared,” Racine said. “But my sister is evil, and I want you to stop her from coming home.”

That made me shiver. Couldn’t help myself, because I feel I’m about to be tested in ways I never have before. I just hope I’m up for the job.


Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency is the second book in the Maggie Dove mystery series, published by Alibi, November 2016.

As Susan Breen’s compelling cozy mystery series continues, Maggie Dove’s budding detective agency has given her a new lease on life. Only one thing stands in the way of success: her clients—or lack of them.

After catching the killer who shook her small Hudson River town, former Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove stumbled onto an exciting new career and found a way to take her mind off her own tragic past. Now, despite her best efforts to promote the agency, Maggie can’t seem to land any new cases—until Racine Stern, one of the village’s wealthiest residents, offers her a thousand dollars to convince her “evil” sister, Domino, to stay out of town.

While Maggie’s business partner thinks she’s crazy for turning down a potential client, she doesn’t want her agency to get a reputation for accommodating bizarre requests. However, Maggie is soon caught up in the family drama anyway. Racine may fear for her life—and her inheritance—but it’s Domino who takes the fall when she plunges to her death from a tower at Stern Manor. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Maggie’s investigation will test her faith—and her ability to survive.

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About the author
Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove detective series, published by a digital imprint of Penguin Random House. Her second book, Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency, was published on November 8, 2016. Susan’s short stories have been published by a number of magazines, among them Ellery Queen’s Detective Agency and Best American NonRequired Reading. An upcoming issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine will include a new Maggie Dove story. Susan lives in a small village in the Hudson Valley with her husband, two dogs (cockapoos) and a cat. Her three grown children are flourishing elsewhere. Her website is www.susanjbreen.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a kindle edition of Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency plus a tote bag. The giveaway ends November 23, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency by Susan Breen

Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency by Susan Breen is the second book in the “Maggie Dove” mystery series. Publisher: Alibi, November 8, 2016

maggie-doves-detective-agencyAs Susan Breen’s compelling cozy mystery series continues, Maggie Dove’s budding detective agency has given her a new lease on life. Only one thing stands in the way of success: her clients—or lack of them.

After catching the killer who shook her small Hudson River town, former Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove stumbled onto an exciting new career and found a way to take her mind off her own tragic past. Now, despite her best efforts to promote the agency, Maggie can’t seem to land any new cases—until Racine Stern, one of the village’s wealthiest residents, offers her a thousand dollars to convince her “evil” sister, Domino, to stay out of town.

While Maggie’s business partner thinks she’s crazy for turning down a potential client, she doesn’t want her agency to get a reputation for accommodating bizarre requests. However, Maggie is soon caught up in the family drama anyway. Racine may fear for her life—and her inheritance—but it’s Domino who takes the fall when she plunges to her death from a tower at Stern Manor. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Maggie’s investigation will test her faith—and her ability to survive.

I love stories where I feel like I’m part of the action and this, the second book in the series, did just that. The narrative pulled me in and I couldn’t help but react to the various scenes that resonated with me. The author presented a well-crafted story with a wonderful, yet quirky, cast of characters and an engaging mystery that had me quickly turning the pages as I had to know how this will all play out. This was a good read and I look forward to the next book in this pleasantly appealing series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher.

A Day in the Life with Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

Maggie DoveThe trouble began with the oak tree on my front lawn. Not that the tree itself caused me any difficulty. That lovely tree gave me nothing but pleasure. My father planted it when I was just a girl, more than 60 years ago. I played on it, my late daughter climbed on it. Over the years its sweeping grace has brought me a great deal of comfort and joy. Unfortunately, my neighbor hated it. He said it blocked his view of the Hudson River.

My name is Maggie Dove and I live in a small village in New York, right on the shore of the Hudson River. There are only about 6,000 people in Darby-on-Hudson and I know most of them. I love most of them, and I hope most of them love me. One of the pleasures of living in a small village is that people get to know who you really are. There’s no hiding. Reputation matters. People still remember how I set off the fire alarm in church 20 years ago because I steamed up the oven when I was teaching my Sunday School class how to make pretzels. The whole church had to file out, and that was right during the minister’s stewardship sermon. So embarrassing. But beyond that, I have a good reputation, or I did, up until Marcus Bender bought my old friend’s house next door to mine.

You know how some people just drive you crazy?

I knew, even as I fumed at Marcus Bender and his antics, that it was all petty. So what that he set up a soccer net right alongside my hydrangea bush, so that every missed ball crushed one of its blooms. Or that his daughters kept stealing my snow shovel during storms? Petty stuff, and I knew it. But then he went after my tree. He explained that he wanted an unobstructed view of the river and my little oak tree blocked a portion of it. He offered me money to buy a new tree, and plant it somewhere else, and I said no. My best friend Winifred told me to take the money and move to a condo in Florida, but I don’t want to move. My home is in Darby, in my house, with my tree.

Then, the other morning, I went down to say hello to the tree, as I often do, and I noticed its leaves were dropping off. It smelled wrong. I bent down to look at the dirt and smelled lye’s sharp tang. He was poisoning my tree. I went to his front door and pounded on it and told Marcus Bender that if I found him on my lawn, I’d kill him. Afterwards I was horrified with myself. What was anger doing to me? What was sort of person was I becoming? I vowed that I would never talk to anyone like that again. I had to let my anger go.

The next morning, I found Marcus dead under my tree. It looked like a heart attack, but it wasn’t. It turned out someone poisoned him.

No one seriously suspected me of the crime, but the prime suspect was an outspoken, quarrelsome man who used to be my daughter Juliet’s fiancé. Now I’m not going to say Peter Nelson was an angel. He was the worst Sunday School student I ever had. But he’s been a devoted friend to me, looking after me in the years I’ve mourned my daughter, and I knew absolutely he was not guilty. I’d do anything to protect him. But as I began looking into the crime, I was hit with a disturbing realization. Whoever killed Bender was someone I knew. That meant that someone I love is a murderer, and I doubt this killer’s going to stop with one death.


Maggie Dove is the first book in the NEW Maggie Dove mystery series, published by Alibi/Random House, June 2016.

Susan Breen introduces a charming new series heroine in this poignant and absorbing cozy mystery with a bite. Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.

Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.

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Meet the author
Susan Breen’s first mystery, Maggie Dove, is to be published by a digital imprint of Penguin Random House on June 14, 2016. The sequel, Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency, will be published on October. 18, 2016. Susan’s short stories have been published by a number of magazines, among them Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and American Literary Review. One of her stories was selected for inclusion in Best American NonRequired Reading. She is also a proud finalist in the Writers Policy Academy Golden Donut story competition. Susan’s first novel, The Fiction Class, won a Washington Irving Award. Susan teaches creative writing at Gotham Writers in Manhattan. She lives in a small village in the Hudson Valley with her husband, two dogs (cockapoos) and a cat. Her three grown children are flourishing elsewhere.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Maggie Dove and a tote bag. The giveaway will end June 21, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.