FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It is my pleasure to welcome Mary Marks to the blog today. Mary is a new author for me and I have truly enjoyed getting to know her.
Women of a Certain Age
By Mary Marks
What I want my readers to know is this: I not only write about “women of a certain age,” I am a woman of a certain age. So there are certain things I want to get off my chest.
For example, older women tend to be written off and become invisible in today’s society. Being patronized is the worst. Who hasn’t been asked by some snot-nosed kid, “How many years young are you?” Really? Like being over fifty is so awful? Do you think you’re giving me a complement by overlooking all the years of experience and wisdom I possess? I could whup you in the knowledge department even before my morning cup of coffee.
What about being called “we” as in “How are we today?” Again, really? I don’t know or care how you are, but I’m pissed off. Do you think I’m not worthy enough to be recognized as a separate, viable individual? Get over yourself.
Okay, end of rant.
In my mysteries, Martha Rose sometimes encounters these attitudes. She confronts them with honesty and fierceness—unless it suits her purpose to remain invisible. People talk freely if they think no one of consequence can hear them. So there are times when Martha and her friends uncover important information simply by looking harmless and smiling.
Anyone who’s experienced a hot flash knows the challenge of the physical changes that happen around menopause. Ageing women slow down, put on weight, develop aches and pains, and lose the battle with gravity. Martha struggles with all of these issues but she would rather poke her eye out with a fork than resort to plastic surgery. She’s constantly trying new ways to lose weight. She’s plagued by migraines, fibromyalgia, and the occasional hot flash. But through it all she accepts herself with a sense of humor, and never wishes she were younger. Just thinner.
Where did the concept come from that romance ceases to exist over the age of fifty, or that older people are not interested in a physical relationship? Martha Rose explodes that perception. She is still a vibrant woman, and is sometimes surprised to discover how attractive she is to the opposite sex. She’s not immune to the charms of a suitor, but after a divorce and a couple failed relationships, she’s no starry-eyed youngster. Martha’s a wee bit cynical and finds it difficult to trust.
One of the positive advantages of ageing (aside from all those neat senior discounts) is that a lifetime of experience can bring deep understanding and wisdom. And in Martha’s case, her comprehension of the world has led to a deep compassion and a drive to fix what’s wrong. Her strong values compel her to respond to the social ills of abuse, injustice, and corruption. On the other hand, Martha is not above looking the other way if she thinks she’s on the side of right.
Martha’s intelligence certainly hasn’t diminished with age. Her insights and keen intuition about human behavior help her to solve the murder mysteries that seem to follow her around. She’s not infallible, however. She sometimes guesses wrong. But in the end she does unravel the tangled stories of love, hate and deception. And she does it with humor and courage. Even though she’s a woman of a certain age, Martha Rose is a character people of all ages can root for.
Mary – as someone one who is about to celebrate that first birthday of a certain age – I adore you! Well said! I loved meeting you and Martha Rose and look forward to reading more about her adventures.
Knot In My Backyard
(A Quilting Mystery)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (November 4, 2014)
A diamond brocade pattern is more quilter Martha Rose’s style than a baseball diamond—especially when it comes to the new eyesore of a stadium ruining her lovely San Fernando Valley neighborhood. Martha doesn’t know a bunt from a Bundt cake, but when she stumbles upon the battered body of baseball coach Dax Martin, she doesn’t need a scorecard to know it’s foul play. LAPD homicide detective Arlo Beavers is convinced one of her neighbors is responsible. But Martha and her fellow quilters Lucy and Birdie soon discover a whole field of suspects who might have wanted to take the coach out of the game permanently…
My thoughts: As I mentioned, I’m new to this series. I’ve really got to stop reading new to me series, my overflowing must read list is just getting out of control. But I just can’t seem to help signing up for Great Escape Book Tours. Lori just keeps introducing me to wonderful new authors.
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump of late. For the last month or so, most of what I’ve been reading has felt like a chore. Not this book. If I had not had to go to school and teach young children about library skills, I would have finished this book in one sitting.
Mary has created some delightful characters that I believe will appeal to all mystery lovers, not just those of us of a “certain age.” Martha is both feisty and no-nonsene. She is certainly a loyal friend, the kind I would want on my side if I got into trouble. And Arlo Beavers better wake up and smell the coffee – Martha just might be too good for him. Another character I really like is Crusher. I hope we see more of him. Maybe I liked him so much because my husband rides a Harley or maybe it’s because I pictured Crusher as the character that Trace Adkins played in the movie “The Lincoln Lawyer.” Either way Crusher was a wonderful addition to the story. I appreciated the way Mary showed that not all bikers are scary.
Mystery lovers who enjoy quilting will appreciate the quilting tips, but I’m confident that non quilters will enjoy this book as well. I plan to go back and read the first installment in this series and I’m looking forward to the next.
Visit the tour page for the tour schedule and information on opportunities to win a copy of this book.
About This Author
Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011.
She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.
Readers can visit her at