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McGuire Murder Mysteries

Judi's Blog

Secrets and Places Behind the Murder in Blount County Mysteries‚Äč

Judi's New Book Release - April 2019 

January 9, 2019

     Homer Yancey, a beloved character in the first two Murder in Blount County novels remains one of the leading personalities in Murder in Blount County:  Cliff Hanger.  Homer is in his late sixties and although very wealthy, lives a humble lifestyle in Oneonta, Alabama.  His first experience as an investigator was solving the murder of his half-brother, Rufus Whetstone. A few months later he stumbled upon evidence pertaining to his aunt's unsolved murder which occurred years ago. Using this evidence and with the help of a teenage-friend and local law enforcement, Homer was able to bring closure to this eighty-year-old mystery. 

     Within a matter of months, Homer suffered the loss of someone for whom he cared.  Her name was Misty Dawn Madison, and her untimely and suspicious death drew Homer back into the detective world.  Homer's ability to solve murders, has gained him the trust and access to the top law enforcement officers in Blount County.  Oneonta Police Chief Charles Clifton and Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon are keenly aware of Homer's reputation as an investigator and on numerous occasions have called on his expertise to help solve a cold case murder.

     In the novel, Murder in Blount County - Cliffhanger, Homer meets three men who are investigating a cold case regarding a disappearance and suspected murder.  Homer volunteers his experience in solving crimes in exchange for their help in solving Misty Dawn's death.  The unexpected benefit to the arrangement is the development of close friendships as Homer sorts through his feelings towards Misty Dawn and her demise.

     In this third book in the Murder in Blount County series, you will meet new characters, but the description of Blount County landmarks will remain deeply embedded in the novel.  You will discover new and interesting locations that make our beautiful county one of Alabama's best-kept secrets.

     It's time we get started!  So, grab a beverage and a notepad to write down a few clues.  After you plop down in your favorite comfortable chair, see if you can solve this sixty-two-year-old Blount County (fictional) murder mystery. 

                                                                                                   Judi McGuire                                                      

Book Club Questions

February 14, 2019

Is there really a bunkhouse for men on Sawyer Mountain?


Why was it important for Homer to have a lot of walkie talkies?


Can anyone climb the fire tower at Palisades Park?


What kind of vehicle does Homer drive?


What is a "Cooter"?


Where do Mary Alice and Tyler live?


What kind of test were Homer, Tyler and Tom studying to take?


Who is the maid/cook?


Why does Tyler like Coca Cola?


What is the name of the team?

Meet The Main Characters

March 11, 2019

Homer Yancey: Homer Yancey, a beloved character in the first two Murder in Blount County novels remains one of the leading personalities in Murder in Blount County:  Cliffhanger.  Homer is in his late sixties and although very wealthy, lives a humble lifestyle in Oneonta, Alabama.  In this novel, he teams up with a group of men to solve a 62-year old mystery full of intrigue.


Tyler Frye:  A newcomer to the Murder in Blount County series, Tyler is twenty-one-years-old, and having just earned his criminal justice degree, he is the team's lead detective.  He leans heavily on Homer's expertise and together with two others, they desperately want justice to prevail.


Tom Lynch:  Tom, a former FBI Agent, is Head of the Criminal Justice Department at Jacksonville State University.  He joins the team to investigate the 62-year-old case he has known about since his childhood in Blount County.  His knowledge and background in law enforcement proves beneficial to the team.


Zach Thomas:  Zach's uncle, Tom Lynch, invites him to join the team.  Zach has just earned his law degree from Birmingham School of Law and not only uses his knowledge of the law to help the team, but joins the investigation.  He is 24- years-old, single, and has a keen sense of humor.


Margaret Frye:  Is an 82-year-old lady who lives in Oneonta and grandmother of Tyler Frye.  She lives across the street from her long-time friend, Homer Yancey. Tyler's investigation is based on his grandmother's story.


Mary Alice:  Mary Alice is the daughter of Margaret Frye and the mother of Tyler Frye.  She is anxious to meet someone she has always loved but has never met. Who is that person?  Mary Alice's character adds humor to stressful times.

Judi's Blog

Secrets and Places Behind the Series 

Sand Valley Quarry 

January 15, 2019

Sand Valley Quarry is no longer in operation, and the lake no longer is filled with water. However, in order to enjoy the spectacular view of the quarry cliff, simply follow U.S. Highway 231 North and turn right onto Sand Valley Road. The view of the quarry cliff is at the end of the road. When you read the novel, you will know why this location is a "must see." 

Palisades Park

February 14, 2019

Palisades Park is located on Palisades Parkway in Blount County.  The park, situated on a 1,300 ft. elevation, offers rock climbing, nature trails, picnicking, playgrounds, historic buildings of days gone-by, lodges and pavilions.  See if you can find where significant clues were found.

Our Reader's Favorite Quotes from Cliffhanger 

April 1, 2019

"We've gotta do this,, you know."  The Killer

     "Bobby, where are you?  Please come home."  Margaret

"Burden-bearing, laughter-sharing, forever-caring, friends."  Margaret

     "Well, I'll be dadgum."  Homer

"Are you kidding me?"  Zach

     "Right now we're about as useful as a steering wheel on a mule."  Homer

"Let's do it."  Tom

     "How did you know that, Homer?"  Detective Keith Atkinson, Oneonta Police Department. 

     "We might just have found us a dad-blame clue."  Homer

"Well handsome, now ain't you the brave one."  Babs

     "I'm not quitting over a little ole shotgun pointed at me!"  Zach

Judi's Blog

Secrets and Places Behind the Series 

Millers Soda Shoppe

January 15, 2019

Miller's Soda Shoppe, owned by Chuck and Cindy Morrison is located at 212 First Avenue, East in downtown Oneonta.  Chuck recently added a coffee and pastries shop.  Miller's Soda Shoppe is the most frequented "watering hole" in Oneonta.  Homer thinks the chicken salad sandwich is the best in the South.

Oneonta Police Department

February 14, 2019

Oneonta Police Department is located in the Danny B. Hicks Municipal Complex, 302 Second Street North, Oneonta, Alabama  35121.  The Police Department has been serving the Oneonta community since 1918.  Chief Charles Clifton would enjoy meeting you.

Blount County Memorial Museum 

March 15, 2019

The Museum is located at 204 Second Street, North, in Oneonta, the county seat.  The Museum records, archives and displays the artifacts of Blount County's history and heritage.  The Museum is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Look for the information that was available for the investigative team.

Judi's Blog

Secrets and Places Behind the Series 

Fun

January 15, 2019

Sprinkled throughout this intriguing fictional murder mystery are delightful lines of humor.  With a Southern rural setting, the author uses humor as a means of allowing the reader to see herself/himself clearly, and helps us to both understand and accept human nature.  Two main characters use humor effectively; Mary Alice and Zach.

     To quote Mary Alice, "Regarding the investigation, I feel about as useful as a screen door on a submarine."  And, on another occasion, the reader catches a glimpse of Zach's humor.  When he is told that he is going deep into the forest, while a shotgun is pointed at him, we read these words, "Still not utterly a word, he followed orders and marched, thinking to himself, 'Sure why not, I haven't got anything else to do.'"

How to Solve a Mystery

By Homer Yancey

February 14, 2019

     I reckon the way I done learnt how to solve murders is to look at the means, opportunity, and motive.  I done solved three murders, and this here is what I learnt to do.

     "Means" seems to be the easiest to figger out.  It is how the murder was done and the autopsy report will tell you this.  Sometimes it's not always easy to work out how the victim died, like when my half-brother was killed, - because at first the police done think it was an accident.

     You gotta figger out how they were killed.  Was they shot, stabbed, drowned, poisoned?

     Next thang, I do is look fer "opportunity,."  Where was the victim when they was killed and when?  Once ye know where and when, you can mark off your list the folks who have an alibi.

     Which brings me to "motive."  Why was they killed?  This here can be the easiest and hardest to solve.   Ye are just gonna have to talk to everyone.

     I hope you enjoy Mrs. Judi's book.  See if you can figger out whodunit.

McDonald's

March 15, 2019

McDonald's in Oneonta is located at 718 Second Avenue, East (Hwy 75).  This is where Homer introduced his fellow team members to the hot Caramel Latte with whipped cream.  Come on by and enjoy a cup.  You may even see Homer!

Judi's Blog

Secrets and Places Behind the Series 

Future:

April 1, 2019

Judi McGuire's next novel is currently in the research stage.  The fictional mystery will bear the title, Murder in St. Clair County - The Canadidate  You will be challenged to unlock the mystery surrounding the death of an elected official and explore the enlightening discoveries of Homer Yancey's investigative skills. 

Fiction:

February 14, 2019

This novel is blending a great plot with the feeling of playing a game.  Can you find the solution to the murder before it's revealed?  Judi writes with the belief that you could solve the case.  That's not to say that you actually can solve the mystery, just that you could if you spend time thinking about it.  The fact that Homer Yancey recognizes clues when you may not be able to, is what makes his character impressive.

Facts:

March 15, 2019

The author, Judi McGuire's use of creative nonfiction merges seamlessly with fiction.  This remarkable novel includes real locations in Blount County and accurate investigation and forensic techniques to solve a fictional murder.

Judi's Blog

Secrets and Places Behind the Series 

Mary Alice Kenley

January 15, 2019

I wanted humor, a little bit of sassy, and a whole lot of compassion for the character, Mary Alice.  She is the epitome of my best friend, Mary Alice Kenley.  She has taught me that life is funny and sometimes we take ourselves too seriously.  My friend Mary Alice enjoys funny Granny quotes that are filled with inspirational life lessons.  In both real life and this novel, Mary Alice is a person who has confidence in herself and her abilities and offers encouragement to those around her.  She was definitely the right choice for this character.  I am confident, that even in trying circumstances we all can learn from her unique perspective on life.

Ben Davis

February 14, 2019

I knew from the beginning, who would be the perfect character to help Homer solve the crime in Murder in Blount County: Cold Case Reopened.  I know Ben Davis quite well.  He is intelligent, gifted, and meticulous - yet an adventurous teenager.  You will learn that opposites do indeed attract as you read how Ben and Homer combine their strengths and abilities to solve a rather complicated eighty-year-old murder.  The unlikeliness of their friendship is a perfect fit because the real Ben Davis I know posses the fine talent of making friends with everyone he meets.

Wrae Fowler

March 15, 2019

I chose a spunky, energetic ninety-seven-year old friend as the ideal person to cast for the lead character in Murder in Blount County.  In real life, Wrae still travels internationally, teaches a weekly Bible Study, and is our church's beloved matriarch.  She was raised Wrae Marsh and worked in the famous family-owned Marsh Bakery. Wrae's humorous personality is the perfect quality I needed to pair with the book's need for a determined yet sometimes quirky detective.  In Murder in Blount County, Wrae Fowler decides to turn sleuth when she learns of the mysterious death of her friend, Margaret McBrayer and her friend's son, Rufus Whetstone.  I believe when you get to know Wrae, she will not only keep you laughing, but wanting to turn the page to help her figure out whodunnit.