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Art and Murder: Chatting with Author Saralyn Richard

Art and Murder!

Art and murder go hand in hand in Saralyn Richard’s latest novel.

Want to learn more about a writer’s life? Click the link here.


The Author

Galveston Author Saralyn Richard

Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, is a writer who teaches on the side.

Her books, Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, and A Palette for Love and Murder, have delighted children and adults, alike.

A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and continues to write mysteries.

Reviews, media, and tour schedule may be found at saralynrichard.com

Learn more about Saralyn by clicking on any of the following links: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads

Interested in having Saralyn speak at your bookclub or organization? You can reach her at: saralyn@saralynrichard.com.


The Books

Art and Murder

Art and Murder

EVERYONE HAS A PAST, BUT NO ONE IS TALKING.

Welcome to the art community of Brandywine Valley. Detective Parrott’s next case takes us to the world of valuable paintings, famous artists, and dark secrets.

Well-respected artist, Blake Allmond, lives under a black cloud with no umbrella. When two paintings are stolen from his studio, Parrott takes on the case.

Soon theft leads to murder, a treasure hunt, a search for a killer–and then the investigation becomes personal. 

To buy the book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound


Art and murder

Class and Murder

Someone comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket…

A powerful and rich playboy, a rare but naturally occurring poison, a newly divorced woman with an axe to grind, and pressure from the former President of the US—these are just a few of the challenges that African-American Detective Oliver Parrott faces when he answers a routine call for back-up and discovers someone died at a country estate the morning after an elaborate birthday party.

When Parrott learns the deceased is the wealthy former US Secretary of the Treasury and just about everyone at the party had a motive to kill him, he realizes this will be the investigation to make—or break—his career.

To buy the book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound


The Interview

Murder in the One Percent introduced us to Detective Parrott. What was it like diving back into a character you already knew?

As a reader and as a writer, I’m always sad to say goodbye to great characters at the end of a book, and that was the case with Detective Parrott.

Once Murder in the One Percent was out, and finding its audience, I was delighted to learn that Parrott’s work ethic and moral compass was resonating with readers, as well. It was actually Parrott’s fan base who convinced me to write a second Parrott mystery.

A Palette for Love and Murder takes up with Parrott after his successful wrap-up of the high-profile case in the first book, and after he and new wife Tonya return from their honeymoon.

A house in Brandywine

Still in Brandywine Valley (with appearances from a few familiar characters), Parrott begins investigating a simple art theft, but before long, he’s involved with a murder, a treasure hunt, and a mansion full of secrets—and then it becomes personal.

I loved spending more time with Parrott, getting to know him even better. He’s intelligent, patient, thorough, ambitious, and grounded, but, he finds himself facing new challenges that test his mettle.

A Palette for Love and Murder can be read as a standalone mystery, before or after Murder in the One Percent.


Art and Murder

“The art colony, most famously represented by Andrew Wyeth and his family, is well-known for its landscape paintings.”


What drew you to the art world as a setting for murder?

Brandywine Valley, where Parrott serves as detective, has several distinct communities who inhabit its lush landscape, two of which are the horse enthusiasts and the art enthusiasts.

The art colony, most famously represented by Andrew Wyeth and his family, is well-known for its landscape paintings. I’ve visited the Brandywine River Museum of Art several times, immersing myself in the techniques and aesthetics of artists from the area.

Since Murder in the One Percent involved the horse people, I wanted A Palette for Love and Murder to represent the artists.


Secrets are at the heart of all mysteries, and family secrets are a universal phenomenon.


Delving into family secrets fascinates me too, what do you think makes family history so delicious to write about?

Secrets are at the heart of all mysteries, and family secrets are a universal phenomenon. If you think your family doesn’t have any, that just means your family is still keeping the secrets from you.

Both your novels revolve around class issues. How did that become a recurring theme in your work?

I’ve always been fascinated by the ways in which people are affected by wealth, whether they have it, or don’t have it.

Despite society’s emphasis on wealth, many times it is not a determinant of happiness, but, rather, a source of complication, tension, or even burden.

Brandywine Valley is full of contrasts between the residents and the people who serve them, so it’s a natural setting for books about income inequality.

Also, the observations and experiences I’ve had with wealthy and underprivileged people alike have given me an Agatha Christie-ish perspective on the theme.


“There is nothing more rewarding for an author than to connect with readers . . .”


Your first book garnered a lot of praise and won awards. How does that impact your confidence getting ready to release book two?

There is nothing more rewarding for an author than to connect with readers, and I’m utterly gratified by the response to Murder in the One Percent.

As for confidence, I think ultimately all authors are merely storytellers, and every book is its own adventure.

If anything, I’m even more nervous about releasing A Palette for Love and Murder. Not only does it have to compete with other authors’ books, but it has to compete with my previous book.

That said, I love telling Parrott’s stories, and I hope his next case will make an even more impactful impression on readers’ minds and hearts.

What are you working on now?

I have a standalone mystery coming out in January 2021, and I have two more mysteries vying for priority in my thoughts—one another Parrott mystery, and one another standalone.

I’ve been collecting ideas for writing for a very long time. I hope I have time to write them all. (So do we!!)


” . . . the joy of writing becomes the joy of reading.”


Final words of wisdom:

I teach creative writing, so I have tons of advice for aspiring writers.

My most often-repeated wisdom is to have fun while you’re writing.

If you’re not having fun, your readers won’t have fun reading what you’ve written. Worded positively, the joy of writing becomes the joy of reading. Part of every assignment I give is to have fun.


Great interview! Thank you for joining us here on my blog – Can’t wait to read your next one!


Photo of Brandywine: tpsDave on Pixabay, click the link here for more information.

Header photo by freephotocc on Pixabay, click the link here for more information.

Recent Comments

  • Saralyn Richard
    February 23, 2020 - 1:06 pm · Reply

    Many thanks to you, Elena, for hosting me on your amazing blog and sharing your readers with me. I’m a big fan of your writing and your work with International Thriller Writers Debut Authors. I’m so glad to be on this author path with you. Happy trails!

    • Elena Hartwell
      February 23, 2020 - 4:36 pm · Reply

      Love having you here! Such a great read – congratulations on your second Detective Parrott novel! Can’t wait for book number three!

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