Friday, August 25, 2023

Long and Short Reviews Anniversary Bash Features Hidden Gem: the Secret of St. Augustine

Fun for one and all—LASR is celebrating its 16th anniversary with books of all kinds and loads of prizes. Today my award-winning mystery: Hidden Gem: the Secret of St. Augustine is spotlighted. Read all about it, answer a question and enter to win!

Quirky romance, a murderous stalker, a mysterious map, cruciverbalists, and treasure—all in the oldest city in North America—what more could you ask for?

Here’s the link:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Long and Short Reviews Anniversary Bash Features Mrs. Spinney’s Secret


Fun for one and all—LASR is celebrating its 16th anniversary with books of all kinds and loads of prizes. Today my delightful mystery Mrs. Spinney’s Secret  is spotlighted. Read all about it, answer a question and enter to win!

How would you feel if Hollywood came to your little village in Maine to make a movie…and corpses began to show up? 

Here's the link:

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Long & Short Reviews Anniversary Bash Features The Wishing Tree


Fun for one and all—LASR is celebrating its 16th anniversary with books of all kinds and loads of prizes. Today my latest cozy mystery The Wishing Tree: Love, Lies, and Spies on Chincoteague Island is spotlighted. Read all about it, answer a question and enter to win!

Who’s stealing documents from the top secret facility? The handsome stranger who's tapped into her heart could be a spy, or even a murderer.

Here's the link:

Thursday, August 17, 2023

A Visit with Arlene Culiner and The Turkish Affair

Please welcome Arlene Culiner, who is going to tell us about her fabulous mystery/romance The Turkish Affair. 

The words Romantic Mystery often conjure up serial killers, car chases, shoot-outs, and gun-packing super heroes and heroines. I, however, prefer reality. When finding myself in terrible danger, do I contemplate romance? Can I count on the sudden appearance of a sexy secret agent who puts all villains out of commission? Of course not. Instead of all that action, I transport readers to unusual places, give them unconventional intelligent heroes and heroines. In The Turkish Affair, Anne Pierson is a former American journalist who, after a scandalous affair with the wrong man, lost her job and her reputation. For the last ten years, she’s been hiding in backwoods Turkey and working as a translator. My hero, archaeologist Renaud Townsend, is passionate about his work and ancient history, but he’s determined to keep his independence.

Like Anne, I once lived in a small community in central Turkey, and I worked as a translator (then later, as a belly dancer—but that’s another story altogether). I was in Turkey at a difficult time: the police were corrupt, there was political unrest, and there were frequent arrests. Several times I found myself in danger, and once, as related in The Turkish Affair, a brave young woman rescued me. I was also present when archaeologists were called in to identify stolen coins, and the thefts from an archaeological site did happen in the way I describe them.

   Of course Anne’s story is very different from mine. And one morning, while passing through an archaeological site, I caught sight of a man ambling in the direction of a tumble of ruined pillars. He was lean, supple, and the torrid sun caught the golden blaze of his hair. He became Renaud Townsend, the hero of The Turkish Affair.


Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal.

But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.


The sound of insistent knocking penetrated through heavy layers of sleep. Anne fought her way out of the world of dreams and back into consciousness. The knocking persisted. It was real. Louder. Longer. Someone out in the street was hammering on the door of this house. What time was it? Not morning. This didn’t have the feel of morning. Beyond the skimpy curtains imperfectly covering the windows of her room, the sky was black. So it was still night. Anne’s fingers fumbled blindly, searching for the little clock on the table to her left.
      Two o’clock? What was going on? She lay still in her warm bed, fearing the unknown. There was nothing to do but wait. Durmuş, the male head of the family, would attend to the matter. He was the only one qualified for such a job; here, one conformed to strict rules.
      The knocking stopped. She strained her ears, desperate to know what was going on. Silence. It was probably nothing at all. Perhaps someone—a relative, a neighbor—was ill and needed to call a doctor. Not everyone, particularly older people, possessed a telephone out here. Perhaps it was something simple: a burst pipe, a birth? Perhaps a cousin, an uncle and aunt had just arrived from distant place like Germany. Or France. She stopped speculating and tried to calm herself, well aware of how tense and frightened she was.
      One never knew what was really going on in this part of the world. This wasn’t a major city like Istanbul or Ankara; this was nothing like the south coast with its tourist hotels, foreign-owned apartments, and the modern dwellings of middle-class Turks. This was the backwoods where everyone relied on rumor, speculation, or mumbled stories. Too many of those stories told of arrests and interrogations—arrests that often took place at hours like this, when everyone’s guard was down.
      Pointless, ignoring the reality of life. Yes, people here were kind and generous, and the countryside was outstandingly beautiful. But there were dangers. The political situation was unstable. There was no check on police power, and human rights barely existed. Everyone, even those from upstanding families, feared the knock on the door. And she, a foreign, unattached woman, could always be deemed a bad influence in this conservative society.
      “Anne?” Durmuş was outside her door, calling her softly. “Anne, wake up.”
      As if she could have slept through such a din. Leaping out of bed, she raced to the door, opened it. Durmuş’s pale, lined face didn’t look particularly anxious. That, at least, was a good sign.
      “Some people want to see you. It’s urgent, they say.”
      Of course it would be, at an hour like this. “Who?”
      “Yıldız, from the Tourist Board. The police.”
      “The police?” Her heart caught.
      “Another man, too.”
       “I’ll get dressed.” She closed the door with trembling hands and hastily scrabbled around for clothes—how did shoes manage to hide themselves when you needed them most?—then headed down the corridor toward the vestibule. Under the naked bulb, she saw Yıldız Bey and the police officer. The third man…
      Her astonished eyes met Renaud’s apologetic ones. “Sorry for waking you at this ungodly hour, Anne,” he said quietly. “I would have telephoned, but no one seems to have a number for you.”
      “I don’t have a cell phone.” She preferred being well off the world’s radar.
      “Well, that’s the answer then.” He smiled faintly. “We couldn’t wait until morning. Mr. Yıldız was good enough to bring me here, and we have to get going.”
      “Going? To where?”
      “We’re driving to Denizşehir where you’ll be doing some translating. I’ll give you the details when we’re on the road. Pack an overnight bag, just in case we have to stay longer.”
      “Denizşehir?” That city was hundreds of miles away, down on the coast. What did Denizşehir have to do with her? With Renaud and the police? And why leave now, at this crazy hour? How unreal everything seemed at this time of the morning—or was it night?      She was hardly in a position to protest. This was an emergency of some sort, or Yıldız Bey wouldn’t have brought Renaud to this respectable family home where she lived.
      Back in her room, she stuffed essentials into a traveling bag. A blouse, light skirt. What else would need? A nightgown. A dress—something elegant, pretty, and feminine, just in case they would be seeing important people down on the coast…unless this was pure coquetry on her part. The thought made her smile.

What they say about The Turkish Affair

Glittering descriptions, magical settings, and enviable characters. Culiner’s mastery of the English language and sentence combinations form an enchanting read for lovers of romance and adventure. Readers’ Favorite


Work has gone into making sure the historic facts and archaeological details are spot on. This is an excellent book that was an easy read. The pace was steady and the mystery kept me gripped to the unexpected ending. Whispering Stories Book Blog


Buried pasts and questionable reputations, vulnerable hearts, fragile feelings, suspense, fear, and intrigue—they are all here. I didn’t want to put it down. J Livingstone 


Purchase Links:

About the Author


J. Arlene Culiner

Writer, social critical artist, and impenitent teller of tall tales, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a mud house on the Great Hungarian Plain, in a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, a haunted house on the English moors, and on a Dutch canal. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest where, much to local dismay, she protects spiders, snakes, and weeds.

Observing people in cafes, in their homes, on trains, or in the streets, she eavesdrops on all private conversations, and delights in hearing any nasty, funny, ridiculous, sad, romantic, or boastful story. And when she can't uncover really salacious gossip, she makes it up.

Social links: