Iowa-Based Author Explores the Impact of a Brutal Murder on the Citizens of a Small Iowa Town During World War II in
A Mystery on Church Street

Celebrated historical fiction novelist, Gail Kittleson, is thrilled to unveil her debut cozy mystery novel, A Mystery on Church Street, which released to retail on March 15, 2023 from WordCrafts Press in hardback, trade paperback, and ebook formats.

It’s wartime. From several war theaters, daily dire news accosts the small town of Caroline, Iowa. In the local newspaper office, Madge McQuestion sorts all reports to make sure readers get the full scope of the war, while also reporting tidbits of local life, recipes for rationing, and often humorous human interests stories to help keep spirits up.

But what to make of a brutal murder committed right here in the middle of their tight-knit commmunity…in the basement of her church…and that outrageous Easter bonnet at the core of the investigation?

The town sheriff plies his investigative skills, but as one of the chief suspects, Madge cannot simply sit by and watch. Along with her husband, Bill, and their new fledgling pastor, she sets out to solve this murder behind the scenes.

“I never thought I’d write a cozy mystery, but as often happens in life, I did!” said Kittleson, who has penned more than a dozen historical fiction novels, most set during World War II. “I had fun researching how various angles of a wartime economy and mindset played into this murder. Most of all, I enjoyed developing the characters of Bill and Madge McQuestion, owners of the local newspaper. At this time in history, a newspaper monitored the heartbeat of a small town. Add Bill’s status as a severely wounded, recovering veteran and Madge’s insatiable curiosity, and I couldn’t help but enjoy this story’s twists and turns.”

From the Novel

Sheriff Finley stationed himself at the corpse’s feet. “Well, Reverend, would you care to explain?”

“I found her when I came over to meet the boys. The door was unlocked, and I saw a light, so I came to turn it off. That was when—” A cold tremble overtook him. “She was still alive.”

Finley’s steely stare never wavered. “How do I know you just now found her?” He pointed to some bloody footprints leading away from Vera’s body.

“Those aren’t mine! Why would I—?”

“Step over here.” Granite-faced, the sheriff gestured to a clean space. “Show me your soles.”
Aivars lifted his right foot. His heart sank. Dark red—the same with his left.
“But I didn’t step in the—I mean—”

Sheriff Finley leaned down to inspect the scene, the clock ticked away the minutes. “Okay, Reverend, suppose you tell me everything, right from the start.”

“If readers take away a sense of the sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation and the effort it took to keep it all together during World War II, I’ll be happy,” Kittleson adds. “It seems that new stories and facts keep popping up about this era, and we can never thank those folks enough for what they did to foster and maintain our freedoms.”

About the Author

Words have always been comfort food for Gail Kittleson. After instructing expository writing and English as a Second Language, she began writing memoir.  Now, intrigued by the World War II era, Gail creates women’s historical fiction from her northern Iowa home and also facilitates writing workshops/retreats.

She and her husband, a retired Army chaplain, enjoy their grandchildren and in winter, Arizona’s Mogollon Rim Country. You can count on Gail’s heroines to ask honest questions, act with integrity, grow in faith, and face hardships with spunk.

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