D-L Nelson, Mystery Writer

Reviews & Readings

 
MURDER IN ELY - Kirkus Review

"Nelson combines another fine modern-day mystery with historical information ..."

A writer’s visit to Britain lands her in multiple difficulties.

Though she’s American by birth, Annie Young-Perret has spent most of her life in Europe. Her language expertise makes her a nice living as a translator, but history is her passion. She and her bridegroom, French police detective Roger Perret, are visiting England for a book signing for Annie’s newly published historical biography and staying with Janet and Rod MacKenzie, their friends in Ely. When Roger suddenly has a heart attack and needs bypass surgery, Annie is happy to have the MacKenzies’ support—until Rod’s partner in their computer business, Simon Bartlett, is found murdered on his boat and Rod is a suspect. To add to her workload, Annie’s publisher has talked her into doing another history novel on St. Etheldreda, and she agrees despite the tight deadline. She loves the research but doesn’t warm to her subject and despairs of finishing. When Rod takes off, the police are sure he killed Simon. So Annie and Janet look for ways to prove his innocence. The Ely murder is bumped from the news by a massive hacking attack that takes down the world banking system. Although Annie and Janet don’t connect Rod and Simon to that incident, a soldier of fortune does and is determined to track down Rod. Annie struggles to get Roger used to the prospect of retirement, support Janet in her attempt to run Rod’s business and finish the book on time—all while dealing with the aftermath of Simon’s murder.


MURDER ON INSEL POEL - Publishers Weekly

"
Nelson has produced a must-read for fans of historical mysteries ..."

Nelson’s enjoyable fifth Third-Culture Kid mystery (after 2013’s Murder in Paris) finds technical writer Annie Young visiting Insel Poel, a sleepy German island in the Baltic, several weeks before Christmas. A local museum hires Annie, a multilingual “third-culture kid” who was born in America but raised mostly in Europe, to translate a history of the island. While exploring Insel Poel’s wintery beaches, she discovers the bodies of two young Asian women who were murdered. Willful Annie goes against the wishes of her fiancé, Roger Perret, a French police chief, and starts snooping around for clues. Though Annie’s modern-day story is intriguing enough, Nelson intertwines it with two WII-era tales, set in Germany and Britain, respectively. The German segment’s engaging young protagonist, Hilke, deserves her own book. Nelson has produced a must-read for fans of historical mysteries or previous series entries.




Author D-L Nelson reads excerpts from Murder on Insel Poel. Click on the video to view. If video does not play, click here for the YouTube version.

MURDER ON INSEL POEL - Kirkus Review

"A small island off the coast of Germany provides the picturesque setting for some nasty murders.... The fifth in this capable series includes alternating World War II subplots about a half-Jewish woman and an RAF pilot with a connection to Insel Poel."

A small island off the coast of Germany provides the picturesque setting for some nasty murders.

Annie Young makes a comfortable living as a multilingual tech writer, but her preference is historical research and translation. American-born but raised in several European countries, she’s engaged to a French police officer who’s none too happy with her penchant for getting involved in murder(Murder in Paris, 2013, etc.). Annie’s current job doing translations for a small museum on the island of Insel Poel is rudely interrupted when she finds the dead bodies of two Asian women on the beach. The ambitious local police officer is not interested in Annie’s opinions about his unidentified corpses, and her fiance warns her to stay out of it. In between finding bodies, she gets involved in the problems of one of the museum workers whose teen daughter, Greta, hates her stepfather, leading Annie to suspect the possibility of abuse. When Greta runs away, Annie helps find her. Trouble continues to come her way as she pokes into the murder investigation.

The fifth in this capable series includes alternating World War II subplots about a half-Jewish woman and an RAF pilot with a connection to Insel Poel. Although the main mystery is wrapped up, readers are left to wonder whether those other stories will continue in the next installment.



Author D-L Nelson reads an excerpt from Murder in Paris during Switzerland's largest literary festival. Click to video to view.
MURDER IN PARIS - Publishers Weekly

"Engaging ... a satisfyingly untidy resolution."

The heat of a Paris summer provides the backdrop for Nelson’s engaging fourth Third-Culture Kid mystery (after 2012’s Murder in Geneva). Tech writer Annie Young’s determination to take a freelance job documenting an archeological dig run by her Italian lothario ex-lover, Luca Martinelli, causes enough friction to end her engagement to Argelès-sur-mer police chief Roger Perret. Luca is not only leading the excavation in Paris’s Latin Quarter but is also sharing her borrowed apartment. When attractive but not-well-liked team member Amelie LaFollette is shot to death at the dig, police detective Marie-Claude Du Pont investigates. Suspicion is cast on the amorous Luca as well as other coworkers with access to the site and its potentially valuable contents.

Flashbacks to a 13th-century monk-in-the-making, Jacques Fournier, enrich the contemporary storyline, which builds to a satisfyingly untidy resolution.





"Stoller has a boat?!" D-L Nelson reads a section from
Murder in Geneva. Click the video to view. If video does not play, click here to link to the YouTube post.

Murder in Geneva – Gumshoe Review

“An accomplished writer, Nelson holds the reader's interest … she provides insights into fascinating people and especially into strong women.”

The third Third-Culture Kid mystery featuring Annie Young, a free-lance writer and translator. She visits Geneva, once her home, to assist old friends in preparing a glossy catalog of an upcoming art auction. When a nasty professor of art history turns up dead, suspicion falls on her friend, his former mistress.

This alternates between two different, but related stories. One takes place in 16th century Geneva during the time of John Calvin. Elizabeth, a young woman and a talented artist, lives with her paternal uncle who manages her inheritance and keeps the rents from the farm. She is treated like a servant. When she falls in love with a young man, her uncle refuses to consider his proposal. Then she becomes pregnant.

In the contemporary story, Annie Young learns of her friend's pregnancy and who the father was. Her friend, Mireille, is determined to have the child and to finish her thesis. She found some drawings she thinks are 16th century and may be valuable. After showing them to the professor, he told her they were worthless, but he kept two of the sketches.

No one liked the professor. He had taken credit for students’ work, bullied them, lied about the value of various artworks, mistreated his wife, and his mistress.

Annie is an astute observer and knows two of the people suspected of the murder. Her lover, Police Chief Roger Perret, wrangles a short-term appointment to Geneva to be near Annie and ends working on the murder case. He finds the officer in charge is narrow-minded and fails to follow the clues.

An accomplished writer, Nelson holds the reader's interest. While she doesn't place Annie in extreme jeopardy, she provides insights into fascinating people and especially into strong women. The tragic story of Elizabeth shows a community at its worst although a few members reveal that even among extremists, good people exist.


Murder in Geneva – Kirkus Review

“… a pretty puzzle on two levels, past and present.”

A young freelance writer who specializes in history must solve both a very old puzzle and a brand new murder.

Annie Young arrives in Geneva to find her friend Mireille pregnant by Dr. Urs Stoller, her brilliant but much disliked thesis advisor. No one is terribly upset when Stoller’s body washes up on the lakeshore. His wife, a chemist, is more concerned about problems with the blood thinner she’s working on and the fact that her lover is moving his family from England.

Stoller, who was not above stealing work from his graduate students, has even given Mireille false information about some old drawings she’d asked him to appraise. Annie’s in town to work on a catalog for a big sale a local auction house is hosting, but she gladly takes on the task of tracking down the artist who executed Mireille’s drawings, a woman struggling to express herself in the restrictive Calvinist society of 16th-century Geneva. Annie’s fiancé, Roger Perret, a French police chief on an exchange program in Geneva, is at odds with the local police, who arrest Stoller’s wife for his murder. Also in Geneva are Annie’s American parents, who have taken in Stoller’s teenage son, a longtime pal of Annie’s, while their determined daughter works to help find a killer and uncover the fate of the talented young woman whose story so fascinates her.

Multicultural Annie’s third (Murder in Argeles, 2011, etc.) presents a pretty puzzle on two levels, past and present.

 

Murder in Argeles – Harriety Klausner, #1 Hall of Fame

“ … an engaging mystery starring a wonderful TCK heroine … D-Lightful story line deftly merges the investigation with historical tidbits … Readers will enjoy this exciting thriller starring an American in Argelès.”

Thirtyish American expatriate technical writer Annie Young completes a business trip in Zurich. Afterward she returns to her apartment in Argelès-sur-mer, France. Following her coming home, Annie goes to see her friend Père Yves to discuss the research he is doing in Rennes-le-Chateau, but instead she finds his dead body on his church floor.

Annie calls the police though that means dealing with her former boyfriend, Chief Roger Perret. He accompanies Annie back to the church, but no body is anywhere. His staff believes she placed a false alarm to see Roger, but the police chief knows Annie would never do that as he wants her back, not the other way around; and besides there is blood on a broken statue. Thus he assigns his staff to find the missing corpse.

The latest "Third Culture Kid" whodunit (see Murder in Caleb's Landing) is an engaging mystery starring a wonderful TCK heroine. The D-Lightful story line deftly merges the investigation with historical tidbits. Roger is a terrific cop who wants a second chance with Annie while his daughter encourages him. Readers will enjoy this exciting thriller starring an American in Argelès.


Murder in Caleb’s Landing - Publishers Weekly

“The action moves at a fast clip to a dramatic and surprising conclusion.”

In this intriguing first in a new series from Nelson (Running from the Puppet Master), Annie Young, a 33-year-old contract tech writer born in the U.S. who's spent most of her life in Europe, returns to the States with her Geneva-based parents after her father inherits a house in Caleb's Landing, Mass. There her father and some of his friends persuade Annie, a passionate historian, to make a CD about "the founding of America the way it really was," but the program she produces, previewed at the town's elementary school, offends many with its evenhanded depiction of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. 

Meanwhile, in the basement of their new house, Annie and her father discover a skeleton dressed in pre–Civil War rags and a diary written by a runaway slave.

Later, Annie and her mother try to save a young woman from an abusive husband. The action moves at a fast clip to a dramatic and surprising conclusion.

 

Chickpea Lover: Not a Cookbook – Booklist

“Fans of such books as Fanny Flagg's enduring Fried Green Tomatoes … will also go for this witty and warm vegan title.”

Peter might dress up like a vegetable, but he's the man-of-her-dreams for popular nursing college professor Liz Adams. Unfortunately, she's still married to David, a cold, ambitious attorney more attached to his cell phone than to her. When Liz finds out she's pregnant, she has to decide between the two men. 

Lots of humor balances out the more serious themes of this novel, including the sexual harassment of college students and the role of misogyny in academic power struggles. Fans of such books as Fanny Flagg's enduring Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe will also go for this witty and warm vegan title.


Chickpea Lover: Not a Cookbook – Harriet Klausner

... readers will enjoy the metamorphosis of Liz from cowardly victim to willing dragon slayer.

Though unhappy with her married life as her spouse David is never home, Fenway College nursing professor Liz Adams says nothing, avoiding conflict as if it is a deadly disease. Her business mogul spouse never offers salutations let alone words of affection. In fact his only discussions with Liz are soliloquies criticizing her for some alleged fault or error or ordering her to do something for him.

Peter owns a Middle East food stand near the college. Liz is one of his better customers as she enjoys the palate and how Peter and his employees dress up as vegetables. Peter and Liz become friends and soon lovers. She becomes pregnant and asks David for a divorce but he is a vindictive man who is trying to destroy her for betraying him. Other problems surface, but with Peter at her side, Liz faces the dinosaurs of her college and the nastiness of her ex-spouse with dignity (and a wrongful firing suit) though knowing she will probably lose.

Though at times this engaging contemporary relationship drama slows down to pontificate, readers will enjoy the metamorphosis of Liz from cowardly victim to willing dragon slayer. Liz makes the plot work though the secondary cast adds depth by enabling readers to understand her and easily accept how she changes as adroitly designed by D-L Nelson.


The Card – Booklist (*Starred Review*)

“Nelson expertly captures the essence of each era … poignant and witty … readers who enjoy such emotionally textured books as Iris Rainer Dart's Beaches … will love Nelson's novel, too.” 

Every Christmas, for 20 years, two former college roommates, Diana Bourque and Jane Andrews, exchange the same card, summarizing their lives that year in one sentence. The two friends couldn't be more different. Jane is domestic, and pins her hopes on becoming the wife of handsome medical student David Johnson. Diana is the adventurous one, hoping someday to take over her father's newspaper.

After graduation, each woman discovers that dreams and real life often take two entirely different roads. Although men, employers, and the world in general spin out of control, Jane and Diana hold fast to the knowledge that they will always have their friendship, no matter what. 

As time passes, Nelson expertly captures the essence of each era with a few well-chosen, tantalizing details. Poignant and witty, this story drives home the point that although everyone's feelings and experiences seem unique, they do share universal patterns. Readers who enjoy such emotionally textured books as Iris Rainer Dart's Beaches (1985) or Kathleen Gilles Siedel's Till the Stars Fall (1994) will love Nelson's novel, too.

 

Family Value - Booklist

“Nelson has painted a sympathetic portrait of families with problems and issues … her keen eye for detail makes this novel a richly textured, realistic view of the modern American family.”

 

The house at 392 Chestnut Street is a duplex occupied by the DiDonatos and the Marshes. Life isn’t perfect for either family. Jay Marsh, an attorney, is dealing with his dying, estranged adoptive father. Jay’s wife, Carol, a probation officer working with juvenile offenders, oversees a kid who has become a neo-Nazi, and Carol’s whole family is put in harm’s way. Tony DiDonato, an unemployed college professor, has turned to salvaging and refurbishing furniture. His wife, Laura, a safety engineer, has found out that her company’s dangerous chemicals violate the law, but if she turns the company in, she’ll lose her much-needed job.

 

Nelson has painted a sympathetic portrait of families with problems and issues—many of them major. Her keen eye for detail makes this novel a richly textured, realistic view of the modern American family.

 

Running from the Puppet Master – Booklist (*Starred Review*)

“Nelson has written a fun-to-read thriller … a real, Hitchcockian nail-biter.”

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. Leah Stockbridge has achieved all of her dreams. She is an accomplished artist. She has two beautiful children with her husband, Jean-Luc Perroset, one of the richest, most powerful men in Europe. She can have any luxury she wants. There’s a golden tether tying her to her husband and limiting her freedom, but she tolerates it, even as she longs for her old life as a free-spirited artist.

But, little by little, Leah learns how her husband has manipulated her life, much the same way as he manipulates his collection of rare puppets. Worse yet, she discovers that not only is her husband evil and corrupt, he is also a murderer. Now he knows that she knows, and Leah must run for her life. Jean-Luc’s influence is worldwide, so the prospects of finding a safe haven are bleak.

Nelson has written a fun-to-read thriller with odd details about life in America (remember tonettes and A-bomb drills?), Paris, and Switzerland from the 1960s to the 1990s and a real, Hitcockian nail-biter.


Running from the Puppet Master – Publishers Weekly

Born in 1945 into a privileged New England family, Leah Stockbridge, the engaging heroine of this initially sluggish novel of romantic suspense from Swiss-American author Nelson (The Card), defies her parents' wishes by enrolling in a Boston art school instead of attending a liberal arts college. After a devastating personal tragedy, Leah moves to Paris to fulfill her desire to paint in the City of Light. There, she falls under the spell of a handsome Swiss banker, Jean-Luc Perroset, whom she eventually marries. Leah sets aside her artistic career to become the perfect Swiss wife, mother and chatelaine of a massive estate. 

The pace picks up as mysterious incidents start to befall Leah, and her fairy tale life with Jean-Luc unravels. Flashbacks to Leah's youth growing up in New England help heighten the suspense.

Website Builder