Author of the Week: Lyla Fox
This week, we remember and honor Lyla Fox and her two mysteries Snoop: A Small Town Gossip Mystery and Murder on Cinnamon Street (A Shaky Detective Mystery).
Snoop: A Small Town Gossip Mystery is about a writer: a journalist in a small town, Sam Hayes. Designated the town snoop, Sam Hayes is done reporting on recipes and local gossip, and has worked her way to murder investigation when her friend falls victim to an unknown killer. The local sheriff working the case does not seem to have the skill set to solve the case, leaving it up to Sam and her natural curiosity. Despite the concerns from her parents, Sam Hayes is determined to see this mystery to the end, especially after her girlhood crush happens into her life again offering to help her find the killer. The bodies pile up as Sam digs deeper into the mind of a killer.
Read some here:
"I bet she gave her murderer a good fight, I thought. Rumor was that Elli had been a hard-drinking, barroom brawler in her day, but gave it all up a decade or so ago when she found religion. Recently she'd restricted her activities to laying both wallpaper and an occasional beau from her Pentecostal church. "All in God's good graces" she'd say.
People echoed a version of the same sentiment when they heard about the murder in our one-horse, one-stoplight town: "Cotter's Corner is not a place where you'd expect to find anyone, let alone an old woman, strangled and bloodied." I certainly hadn't expected it. I'd moved from Chicago to get away from Yates Logan and the seamier side of life in a big city. Oh and to get away from my job at the textbook publisher which had become boring and cutthroat. When the body of one of the women with whom I worked was found floating face down in the Des Plaines River, her throat slit, I no longer had trouble deciding whether or not to take my dad up on his offer of half the paper for some of Leland's generously doled out lucre. Life had graphically reminded me that you could be here one minute and floating down the river the next."
Murder on Cinnamon Street (A Shaky Detective Mystery) follows the story of another writer, Elizabeth Clary, who suffers from panic attacks but is still working as a detective, at least on paper. When she isn't painting someone's living room at her "real" job, she is writing her mystery novel. For the most part, Elizabeth's life is pretty idyllic with a nice room in an old Victorian located on Cinnamon Street in Camphor, Michigan and a romance with an attractive landscaper. When some of her fellow residents start dropping like flies, will Elizabeth be able to get off the page and into a real mystery?
Here's an excerpt:
"Only when she heard the door open, did she remember she'd forgotten to lock it. For a few seconds, the fear that accompanied her most of her life returned in a surge. Then she saw the figure in the doorway and relaxed. It was always good to see a friend. That's why the first blow caught her totally off-guard and sent her reeling. "Why?" was the question she struggled to utter before another blow rendered the answer irrelevant. Clara was dead."
Lyla passed away in April of 2014 after a courageous battle against breast cancer; however, like many others Lyla's legacy continues to keep her spirit alive through her mysteries and her other accomplishments she achieved in her lifetime.
For over 20 years she taught English ranging from 1st grade to college level classes. She also wrote newsletters, letters-to-the-editor, a children's novel which won a Writer's Digest Honorable Mention, and articles for national magazines such as Newsweek, Forbes, Parents, and other publications.
Lyla is also survived by two children. Her son Tate sent this message to Cozy Cat to express the love his mother had for writing,and how special of a person she was:
"...One of the happiest days in my mother’s life was the day that Cozy Cat Press told her that it wanted to publish Snoop. Once that happened, my mother’s self-perception changed: she was transformed from aspiring (and discouraged) writer intopublished author. Like so many mothers who had writing ambitions, she had long ago tabled her own writing aspirations for decades so she could turn her attention to her family--first staying at home for over a decade to raise her two kids, then returning to work as a teacher in order to help pay for braces, increased car insurance premiums, college tuition, and so many other kid-related expenses."
In honor of Lyla we encourage anyone to comment any stories or articles, or other memories they may have of her, her stories, and her impact.