While on a power- walk in her hometown of Oakwood, Leslie Nagel gained more than exercise, but the inspiration to write her first novel.
The remoteness of the train tracks turned hiking trail under Patterson Road revealed itself to be an opportune spot for a murder. From there Nagel’s creative mind took off on a sordid path filled with unexpected twists culminating into ‘The Book Club Murders.’
Questions that Nagel asked herself to prompt the writing, all reverted back to the creepy trail. “Who would have the nerve to commit a murder down here? And why would they do it? Would the reason be sufficing enough to provoke a second murder? A third?” said Nagel.
The answers to such questions can be found in ‘The Book Club Murders,’ which follows Charley Carpenter, who owns a clothing store in Oakwood, and joins a book club as a way to further connect to the town's elite residents. Charley’s interest rises after two women associated with the book club are murdered, and she realizes the crime scenes closely resemble murders from the books the club recently read. Charley convinces the detective to use her as an inside informant for the case. Secrets are exposed and the case must be quickly solved before anyone else, including Charley, becomes the next victim.
A lifelong reader of anything she could get her hands on, Nagel has always yearned to be a writer. She does teach a college level business writing course, but that is much different than completing a novel. After years of being dedicated to the project, she is excited about its release, but also worried as her inner most creation gets exposed to the world. “When I first began writing The Book Club Murders,’ I never really expected that anyone besides my family would ever read it. Now that it’s about to launch, I am both proud and terrified. It’s more than just another line on my resume; it’s affirmation of many years of hard work. And in this crazy world, affirmations can be hard to come by,” she said.
The book club in the novel is called ‘The Agathas’ which is named after Agatha Christie, an author that Nagel admires. Her reading of Christie’s novel, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,’ opened her eyes to the magic of a finely crafted mystery. “That book flat out blew me away. I discovered the delicious possibilities of an author toying with her reader, of laying out a trail of breadcrumbs for the reader to follow. Nothing hooks me harder than a well-plotted mystery with plenty of red herrings,” said Nagel.
Following in the footsteps of Christie, Nagel is proud that so far no one has guessed the identity of the murder until the reveal. She hopes that all the future readers are captured by the mystery and kept guessing. In addition to solving the crime, those familiar with Oakwood will also enjoy recognizing some local landmarks as each murder is committed at a real place. In addition, Charley’s clothing store is located near Ashley’s Bakery on Park Avenue, and the detective works out of the Safety Building across the street.
‘The Book Club Murders’ which was released on September 27 is available digitally on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks. Links can be found at www.leslienagel.com.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.