A Day in the Life with Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

Maggie DoveThe trouble began with the oak tree on my front lawn. Not that the tree itself caused me any difficulty. That lovely tree gave me nothing but pleasure. My father planted it when I was just a girl, more than 60 years ago. I played on it, my late daughter climbed on it. Over the years its sweeping grace has brought me a great deal of comfort and joy. Unfortunately, my neighbor hated it. He said it blocked his view of the Hudson River.

My name is Maggie Dove and I live in a small village in New York, right on the shore of the Hudson River. There are only about 6,000 people in Darby-on-Hudson and I know most of them. I love most of them, and I hope most of them love me. One of the pleasures of living in a small village is that people get to know who you really are. There’s no hiding. Reputation matters. People still remember how I set off the fire alarm in church 20 years ago because I steamed up the oven when I was teaching my Sunday School class how to make pretzels. The whole church had to file out, and that was right during the minister’s stewardship sermon. So embarrassing. But beyond that, I have a good reputation, or I did, up until Marcus Bender bought my old friend’s house next door to mine.

You know how some people just drive you crazy?

I knew, even as I fumed at Marcus Bender and his antics, that it was all petty. So what that he set up a soccer net right alongside my hydrangea bush, so that every missed ball crushed one of its blooms. Or that his daughters kept stealing my snow shovel during storms? Petty stuff, and I knew it. But then he went after my tree. He explained that he wanted an unobstructed view of the river and my little oak tree blocked a portion of it. He offered me money to buy a new tree, and plant it somewhere else, and I said no. My best friend Winifred told me to take the money and move to a condo in Florida, but I don’t want to move. My home is in Darby, in my house, with my tree.

Then, the other morning, I went down to say hello to the tree, as I often do, and I noticed its leaves were dropping off. It smelled wrong. I bent down to look at the dirt and smelled lye’s sharp tang. He was poisoning my tree. I went to his front door and pounded on it and told Marcus Bender that if I found him on my lawn, I’d kill him. Afterwards I was horrified with myself. What was anger doing to me? What was sort of person was I becoming? I vowed that I would never talk to anyone like that again. I had to let my anger go.

The next morning, I found Marcus dead under my tree. It looked like a heart attack, but it wasn’t. It turned out someone poisoned him.

No one seriously suspected me of the crime, but the prime suspect was an outspoken, quarrelsome man who used to be my daughter Juliet’s fiancé. Now I’m not going to say Peter Nelson was an angel. He was the worst Sunday School student I ever had. But he’s been a devoted friend to me, looking after me in the years I’ve mourned my daughter, and I knew absolutely he was not guilty. I’d do anything to protect him. But as I began looking into the crime, I was hit with a disturbing realization. Whoever killed Bender was someone I knew. That meant that someone I love is a murderer, and I doubt this killer’s going to stop with one death.


Maggie Dove is the first book in the NEW Maggie Dove mystery series, published by Alibi/Random House, June 2016.

Susan Breen introduces a charming new series heroine in this poignant and absorbing cozy mystery with a bite. Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.

Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.

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Meet the author
Susan Breen’s first mystery, Maggie Dove, is to be published by a digital imprint of Penguin Random House on June 14, 2016. The sequel, Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency, will be published on October. 18, 2016. Susan’s short stories have been published by a number of magazines, among them Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and American Literary Review. One of her stories was selected for inclusion in Best American NonRequired Reading. She is also a proud finalist in the Writers Policy Academy Golden Donut story competition. Susan’s first novel, The Fiction Class, won a Washington Irving Award. Susan teaches creative writing at Gotham Writers in Manhattan. She lives in a small village in the Hudson Valley with her husband, two dogs (cockapoos) and a cat. Her three grown children are flourishing elsewhere.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Maggie Dove and a tote bag. The giveaway will end June 21, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

28 responses to “A Day in the Life with Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

  1. Lynne Moody

    Wow this book sounds Awesome !! Love me some pretzels, had the best in the DC airport while traveling home 🙂 Thank you for a chance t win the eBook and tote bag 🙂

  2. Doward Wilson

    Sounds like a great read!

  3. Maggie Dove sounds like someone I would like to know. Looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the chance to win.

  4. Sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  5. I found Maggie Dove a very appealing character. She drew me in and I want to know if she saves her tree and helps Peter. You giveaway is very nice and thank you. I bet the Sunday School class learned a lot. I never thought of baking in Sunday School. She sounds fun. Thank you. The book and tote bag are fantastic’m

  6. MarilynDenler

    This sounds like an awesome book with characters I’d like to meet. Thanks for this chance to win a great sounding book.

  7. Oh my goodness, this totally caught my interest – hook, line, & sinker! Something about Dove just seemed to resonant with me & now Ifeel like I need to know what happens! Thank so much for offering the opportunity to win this book! I’m going to keep my fingers crossed! 🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀📕🍀

  8. WTH? I’m really sorry! That was not suppose to happen! It wasn’t showing up, just meant to put each once & I have no I’ve why it showed up so big!!! Loops! Obviously, I’m new at this.lol

  9. This sounds like an interesting book and new series to read!

  10. I found “Creating Your Dream Kitchen” by Susan Breen at my library, but not this one. I’d love the tote.

  11. Gail Arnold

    I love books about spunky older women as I am one! I’d love to meet Maggie Dove.

  12. wow. Sounds great. Thanks for a chance to win.

  13. Sounds like Breen has really captured the small town/secrets vibe. We have a huge old oak tree in our side yard, can just imagine Maggie’s! Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. Barbara Hackel

    I used to have a friend who was passionate about trees-and they weren’t even her own trees. So relating to Maggie is easy for me. It sounds like an enjoyable small town mystery. Thanks Dr for today’s feature. Thanks to Susan for the chance to win a copy plus more! Very generous! 🙂

  15. Jan Johnson

    Can’t wait to read this one! Sounds amazing!

  16. Having been raised in a smaller town than Darby-on-Hudson, I know how Maggie feels. I love the sound of this cozy.

  17. Mary Jane H.

    I grew up on a farm and the community was somewhat like this village. I would love to win this one! It sounds delightful.

  18. It sounds like a really good read and series, small town and so sad that murderer will be someone she knows, a must read it sounds like, would love to win

  19. A Sunday School teacher turned detective is a real twist for a plot. Thanks for including Maggie Dove’s story on your blog and also for offering a giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  20. Would like to get to know Maggie Dove. Book sounds like a great read.

  21. new author and series – thanks for the introduction.

  22. This book sounds like one I would love to read, so hope for a chance to win a print copy. Thank you.

  23. WOW, this sounds like a great book. I can’t wait to read it.

  24. Marilyn Watson

    I love ebook contests..yay…..and the synopsis sounds wonderful. We had a case of a poisoned tree here at Auburn…a rival Football fan took it out on Toomer;s corner. So I would be especially interested…
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  25. Peggy Hyndman

    Sounds like a great read! Thank you for the chance to win a digital copy of “Maggie Dove” and a tote bag.

  26. Amy Baldridge

    Already hooked. This is going on my must read list!

  27. Yes, please!

  28. Would like to give this book a read….
    Thank you for the giveaway….