First look–Artist Brett Helquist cover revealed for Elizabeth C. Bunce’s How to Get Away with Myrtle


We have a cover reveal today for borg readers!  Take a look at this great cover by Brett Helquist, artist for A Series of Unfortunate Events and other great covers and picture books.  It’s for Elizabeth C. Bunce′s second novel in her Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries series, How to Get Away with Myrtle.  As a result of prioritization by distributors and national shipping companies of food and other staples due to the pandemic crisis response, How to Get Away with Myrtle will now join the first book in the series, Premeditated Myrtle, to launch together as Fall 2020 releases, debuting October 6 (both are now available for pre-order here at Amazon).  “I didn’t think I could love a cover more than Brett’s first for the series, and then… Wow!  Here we are with the cover for Book 2 already,” said Elizabeth.  “We shared some ideas back and forth through the Algonquin publicity team.  I love the complimentary color orange following that purple theme from Book 1.  Putting that great locomotive out front sets the stage for this adventure, along with the image of the seaside resort as if it were pulled right off the brochure for the excursion service referenced in the novel.  And, of course, Peony the Cat sneaked her way onto the cover again!  Now that we have two paintings from Brett, it’s really fun for me to see both covers side by side.”

As readers over the past decade at borg know, Elizabeth C. Bunce is one of our frequent contributors.  I feature her first novel, the national award-winning bestseller A Curse Dark as Gold, here every October as a recommended Halloween read.  Premeditated Myrtle, which has already garnered several enthusiastic institutional industry reviews, is the first in a new mystery series in the tradition of Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Miss Fisher, Flavia De Luce, and… Quincy, M.E.  You may recall last October we revealed Brett’s cover for that book here at borg.  I, your humble editor and Elizabeth’s husband, have been watching with excitement as Elizabeth has built her mystery series from the ground up–the third book in the series is getting the final touches right now as we and much of the world do our part to shelter at home, and the fourth mystery is already getting plotted out!  I know you’re going to love the adventures of intrepid twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle and her similarly intrepid cat Peony.

Myrtle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science.  Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England, in the year 1893.  In Premeditated Myrtle, her neighbor dies under Mysterious Circumstances, prompting Myrtle to investigate.  With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove it was murder and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.  In How to Get Away with Myrtle, we catch up with Myrtle on what is supposed to be a relaxing travel excursion with her aunt Helena, her governess, Miss Judson, and cat, Peony, in tow—on a fabulous private railway coach headed for the English seaside.  But before the train reaches its destination, a rare and expensive tiara and an important passenger on the train vanish.  Myrtle and Peony discover a dead body in the baggage car—someone has been murdered—with Aunt Helena’s sewing shears.  The trip is derailed, the local police are inept, and Scotland Yard is in no rush to arrive.  What’s a smart, bored Young Lady of Quality stranded in a washed-up carnival town to do but follow the evidence to find out which of her fellow travelers is a thief and a murderer?


From the publisher: With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other. (361 pages)  In How to Get Away with Myrtle before the train has left the station, England’s most accomplished new detective already is on a suspect’s trail, and readers will be delighted to travel along.  (352 pages) 

You can find out more about the series at Elizabeth’s website, and she’s breaking up the monotony of everyone’s isolation with updates on the series and other surprises every Monday as part of #MyrtleMondays, including today’s cover reveal (originally to be unveiled at Planet Comicon Kansas City 2020, which has been postponed by… well, you know).  You’re invited to join her on her Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to follow along.

Look for Elizabeth C. Bunce′s first two Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle here at Amazon (taking pre-orders now) and other bookstores, shipping October 6!

Congratulations, Elizabeth–I can’t wait for everyone to meet Myrtle!

C.J. Bunce

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