Tuesday, May 28, 2019



Amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter discovers a coded journal that could crack her small town’s most infamous cold case wide open in this charming cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders.

As the owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, Charley Carpenter supplies retro apparel to the residents of Oakwood, Ohio, but she’s been known to set business aside to play detective when a mystery rears its head. And there’s no bigger mystery in Oakwood than the murder of Regan Fletcher—a case that’s haunted the town for decades.

Regan’s boyfriend, Carter, did time for the crime—until another man’s confession freed him. But did the “real killer” really do it? Or did Carter walk away with blood on his hands? When Charley stumbles on an old journal written in code, it only complicates the case by revealing a blackmail scheme that targeted dozens of Oakwood’s citizens, giving them all a motive for murder. 

Now, with a spate of new suspects to pursue, plus a fresh murder and the abduction of her teenage code breaking expert, Charley must dig still deeper into the past—even as she risks being buried by her shadowy prey. Joining forces with Detective Marcus Trenault and the newly formed Oakwood Mystery Book Club, Charley turns to a classic whodunit for clues on catching a killer—before more lives are lost, and the truth dies with them.

Book Details:

Title: The Codebook Murders

Author:  Leslie Nagel

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Series: The Oakwood Book Club Mysteries, book 4

Publisher: Random House Alibi (May 21, 2019)

Print length: 270 pages 

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could talk to someone (living), who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d love to meet Stephen King. I would ask him out for drinks, get him yakking, then convince him to adopt me and teach me his many secrets. Also, we’d have to rent a camper and drive around Maine.

If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
If I could speak with Dame Agatha Christie, I would ask her about those famous lost eleven days, from December 3-14, 1926. She went missing and never would tell where she went or what she did. Speculation about it has inspired a number of excellent books and movies. The ultimate mystery . . .

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
Whew! I’ve already tried so many things: radio DJ, real estate sales, restaurant manager, marketing VP, wife and mother, Scout leader, special events planner, college professor. I came to writing later than most, not publishing my first book until I was in my (gulp) fifties. And yet, I could not have become the writer that I am without having traveled down all those other paths.

Every single thing I’ve done in my life informs my fiction in some way. Sometimes it’s very explicit, such as the land development and zoning information that forms the basis for The Antique House Murders. More often it’s subtler: my strong ties to family and community, the work ethic I assign to my characters, and of course, Oakwood. My mysteries are set in the small town where I’ve lived all my life. Adding in real places and people (names changed, promise!) isn’t just a blast, although it is definitely tons of fun. It also enables me to deliver an authentic feeling of place and time to my readers.

If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, what authors would you choose to be one before and one below you?
JK Rowling writes a fantastic detective series under the name Robert Galbraith. I’d be so honored to find my book listed after any one of hers. And listed after my bestseller? Tana French, writer of the incomparable Dublin Detective Squad series. That is some seriously good company for any author.

If you could choose a fictional town to live in, what would it be and from what book?
I’ve heard Hobbiton of The Shire has quite a few good pubs. I think I’d enjoy the custom of six meals a day, giving presents for any and all occasions, and naming children after plants and flowers. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien has been a treasured favorite since I first met Bilbo Baggins when I was twelve years old.


5 things you need in order to write:
    •    sticky notes in multiple colors
    •    the Internet
    •    my squashy chair cushion
    •    plenty of strong black coffee

5 things you love about writing: 
    •    The freedom to set my own schedule
    •    the creative outlet (difficult to obtain in most other lines of work)
    •    the opportunity to talk with readers about what they find in my stories
    •    hearing my words narrated in audiobook format

    •    researching obscure methods for murdering someone.
About that last one? I sincerely hope Homeland Security never has cause to poke into my search history . . .

5 favorite foods: 
   Just five? Okay . . .
    •    PIZZA is an entire food category on its own. All those toppings!
    •    I love a juicy burger with lots of extras piled on top
    •    omelets with plenty of sautéed veggies and feta cheese
    •    a stadium dog with all the trimmings—but only if I’m at an actual baseball game
    •    my personal creation: 5-layer lasagna
As I review this list, I’ve made an interesting personal discovery. I like COMPLICATED FOOD. Things with lots of toppings, parts, components. What’s up with that?? And what does that say about me as a mystery writer? Fact is, I love things to be complicated, especially when all the disparate elements come together into a final, delicious, solution.

5 favorite books:
    •    Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
    •    The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
    •    Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
    •    The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie
    •    Still Life With Crows by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
This is a very diverse list, but they all have a common attribute: excellent storytelling, with tight prose and characters that stay with you.


What’s your favorite time of day?
I am a morning person. As one of four children growing up in a smallish house, finding alone time wasn’t easy. I loved the feeling of being the only person in the house, of getting the sofa to myself, of fixing breakfast without having to jockey for position. I still enjoy getting outside at dawn, when my only company are birds and squirrels—they are refreshingly nonjudgmental about morning hair.

What’s your favorite beverage?
You cannot imagine my joy at finding red wine on the list of “20 Foods to Reduce Your Cholesterol.”

What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?

There’s always something to do, especially when you are a writer! However, on the rare occasions when my characters have fallen silent and all other obligations have been fulfilled, I love to read. I’ve been exploring previously ignored genres lately, like YA and fantasy. There is so much talent out there, and so many amazing stories waiting to be discovered.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Pressure Makes Diamonds.” Don’t know who said it, but when I first heard this back in college, I took it for a personal mantra. It applies to so many life situations, from work burnout, to new-parent anxiety, to relationship discord.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
Last summer I helped my daughter move to Washington State. We hiked to the top of Kamiak Butte and snapped a photo of the breathtaking view. What a strangely beautiful landscape! So many shades of green, brown and gold, a crazy-quilt of irrigated farm fields draped over the hills and valleys in every direction. This is the arid eastern half of the state, a climate so very different from my rainy home state of Ohio. That photo is a daily reminder of a special memory shared with my favorite girl, whom I miss every day.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food:  My son has me eating a lot of Indian food, although, unlike him, I remain firmly at the bottom of the spicy scale.
Music:  Classic rock all the way, especially Bowie, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd and the Beatles.
Movie: If you haven’t seen Captain Marvel yet, you’ve missed a fabulous piece of storytelling with a strong feminist theme. This movie breaks a number of superhero tropes, which is a tough one, considering how many of these things have come out in the last few years. Five pink stars.
Book: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It’s tough to find a truly original story; this one fills the bill. Not a traditional mystery, but a thread of whodunnit runs through this haunting and satisfying tale.
Audiobook: Just finished The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor. Creepy thriller with several twists and turns, right up until the final page. An excellent narrator makes all the difference, and Euan Morton’s nuanced reading brings all the characters vividly to life.
TV:  Elementary – this fresh take on Holmes and Watson continues to deliver good mysteries layered with believable personal development of all the major characters. I’m sorry to learn Season 7 will be the last. Thank heaven for syndication.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: The Umbrella Academy took me completely by surprise! Loved the atmospheric tension combined with a hint of the supernatural. Cannot wait for Season 2.


The Book Club Murders
The Antique House Murders
The Advice Column Murders


Leslie Nagel is the author of the USA Today and Amazon bestselling Oakwood Book Club Mysteries series. She lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. In addition to writing about murder, she also teaches writing at a local community college. After the written word, Leslie's passions include her husband, her son and daughter, hiking, tennis, and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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