Jolie Gentile, that lovable sleuth, never disappoints. She’s the protagonist in Elaine Orr’s Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series. It takes place in and around Ocean Alley, a fictitious town on New Jersey’s coast.
In BEHIND THE WALLS, Jolie stumbles into a mystery and a murder when she buys a chest of drawers from an auctioneer for her newly purchased home blocks from the Shore. A drawer is missing, and that’s not all. Jolie encounters smooth-talking Clive Dorner, fresh from the city and hoping to scarf up bargain homes in Sandy’s wake. Meanwhile, when Jolie and Scoobie find hidden treasures behind a wall in her new home, the plot thickens.
In addition to Jolie, there are the usual cast of characters I’ve grown to love—Aunt Madge, the cranky Sergeant Morehouse, Scoobie, Lester, and George, Jolie’s erstwhile flame. And I won’t soon forget Elaine Orr’s depiction of the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy, bruised but not beaten, a character in its own right, adding a strong sense of place to this series. Of course my favorite character is Jolie Gentile, real estate appraiser with a facile mind and sparkling wit who cannot let go once she’s gotten hold of a mystery.
Adding to the character list is a memorable cast of animals including Pebbles the skunk (devoid of scent glands, thanks be) who befriends a homesick Jazz, Jolie’s cat. But the animals in Behind The Walls aren’t just window-dressing—they reflect what Jolie’s feeling and have a special role to play toward the end of the story.
BEHIND THE WALLS is light, captivating, entertaining and wonderfully written. It swept me away to a place I love. Throughout the book, I could hear the waves and the gulls and taste the taffy. Be careful, though, the story, which never strays from being a cozy, still has sudden twists and turns, destruction and death. And although the mystery is solved in the end, the story leaves us guessing about the fate of George and Jolie. Will they ever get together again?
From the first page I delighted in this whodunit, in watching endearing characters struggle or romp through Elaine Orr’s magical words onto pages full of humor, suspense and surprise. If you like tightly plotted cozy mysteries, don’t miss this series. I’ve read four of them and plan to read the rest.
My rating: 5 Stars
About the author: Elaine L. Orr has written, edited, and published for more than 30 years in business and popular fields. In addition to writing, she also does presentations on writing-related topics such as
electronic publishing and using social media to promote books.
Fiction includes short stories, novellas, and novels. The Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery series debuted in 2011, and the five books in the series have garnered good reviews (and sales!). Elaine has also written screenplays, and her play, Permission to Hope, received a staged reading at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Biding Time was one of five finalists in the National Press Club’s first fiction contest, in 1993.
Nonfiction book-length works includes Monett (Arcadia Publishing), Caring for Treasures: Helping Your Parents Through Life and Death and Words to Write By: Putting Your Thoughts on Paper. Caring for Treasures was revised and reissued in 2012. In 2011 she published Orr, Campbell, Mitchell and Shirley Families: Descendants of Paul Orr and Isabelle Boyd in Ireland and America.
A disciplined freelance writer and editor, Elaine’s more recent nonfiction can be found on Yahoo Voices.
Elaine graduated from the University of Dayton with a BA in Political Science and from the
American University with an MA in Government. She has done journalism coursework at the
University of Maryland and taken many fiction courses from The Writer’s Center in Bethesda,
MD, Georgetown University’s Continuing Education Program, the University of Iowa Summer
Writing Program, and Midwest Writers Workshop.
She is a member of Sisters in Crime.