Series Spotlight: Thoroughly Southern Mysteries

25 Feb

Patricia Sprinkle has created a wonderful cozy mystery series, Thoroughly Southern Mysteries, set in a fictional town in middle Georgia.  MacLaren Yarbrough is co-owner of the Yarbrough Feed, Seed and Nursery and, since her husband was shot, serves as the town magistrate. If you like small town fiction combined with a great mystery, this series is for you.

The first two books in the series are When Did We Lose Harriet? and But Why Shoot The Magistrate?. Both were published by Zondervan and may be difficult to find.  If you can locate these two, please start at the beginning.  Otherwise, the third, Who Invited The Dead Man?, would be a good place to start.

Whether handling customer calls at the Yarbrough’s Seed, Feed, and Nursery or close calls while solving crimes, sixty-something Southerner MacLaren Yarbrough knows how to charm her way through anything.

When a local man is found murdered at her husband’s birthday gala, MacLaren sweet-talks clues out of affluent matriarchs, shady drifters, and even a disgruntled parrot to uncover the roots of the crime.

MacLaren Yarbrough succeeds in meddling in the crimes committed in her small town by virtue of her role as magistrate and her relationships with both victims and suspects.  Being from middle Georgia myself, I love the hometown southern feel of her novels, complete with garden clubs, women’s investment clubs, Junior League, etc. As a small business owner, Mac also has to deal with that killer of small town businesses, the big box store.  The series is currently 10 books strong, so it offers many hours of enjoyment.  Check them out today.

About the author:

My folks are North Carolinians, but lived in West Virginia just long enough to have my sister and me while my preacher dad served coal field churches. When I was two we moved to Loray, North Carolina, just outside of Statesville. My little sister and I did a lot of things the children do in my novels The Remember Box and  Carley’s Song. Five years later we moved to Wilmington, where we played in the Atlantic and promised we’d swim to France–tomorrow. When I was twelve, we moved down the coast to Jacksonville, Florida. I decided in ninth grade to become a writer, so after Robert E. Lee High, I headed to Vassar College, which had a great creative writing program.

After college I returned to my folks, by then in Miami, to work long enough to earn money for a serious test of my writing commitment. With $750, one suitcase, two coats and a portable typewriter, I headed to a Scottish Highland village where, at that time, room and board cost $14 a week. They called me “the daft American” because I had come from Miami to spend the winter in the Highlands.

Before the money ran out, I had sold one poem, one article, one short story, and a one-act play. Fortified by that major impact on British literature, I moved to Atlanta and started a series of writing-related jobs. In the next few years I wrote for religious magazines like Guideposts and also wrote a good bit of educational materials on the subject of hunger. But no matter what I was writing, what I was reading was mostly mysteries.

When I met and married Bob, he looked over our budget and demanded, “Why don’t you write a mystery to pay for all the ones you buy?” I immediately knew I wanted to put a body in a building where I’d once worked. However, being over-endowed with the Protestant ethic, I wrote “important” things first and only wrote the mystery in my spare time, so my first mystery, Murder at Markham (reissued by Silver Dagger in 2001), took thirteen years to complete. It took even longer for me to learn that any writing which gives me pleasure is important, whether fiction or non-fiction.

Since 1988 I have written twenty mysteries, four novels, and five non-fiction books. I am grateful to my readers and editors for letting me do what I enjoy most in the world. Bob has concluded that writing is not a profession, it’s an obsession–my favorite vacation is to go to a place where somebody else fixes my meals and where I can write more than I do at home, without interruptions. Thanks, if you are one of the readers who keeps my fingers on the keys. I enjoy spending time with you at conferences, book clubs, and signing events.

Bob is still my encourager and faithful patron of the arts. During our forty years together we have lived in Atlanta (four times), Chicago (twice), St. Petersburg (twice), Mobile, and Miami. Along the way we had two sons. Barnabas is married to Emi and they have two little boys. I’ll be glat to tell you about my grandsons! Our younger son, David, lives in Brooklyn, where he is engaged to Jackie, optimizes web sites in New York City, plays drums and a mean electric piano, and composes beautiful music.

The rest of what you want to know, you’ll find in my books. The people are different, but the basic stories are true. I always figure, why make up anything I can remember instead?

Sprinkle also leads women’s seminars and weekend retreats.  For more information, click here. Or you can reach her at

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