Blog Tour: An Excuse for Murder by Vanessa Westermann

As a former bodyguard, it should be easy for Gary Fenris to kill, especially when the motive is revenge. But Gary has made two mistakes in his life. The first was letting the woman he loved die on his watch. The second was thinking vengeance could bring him peace.

Local bookstore owner and amateur lock pick Kate Rowan loves nothing more than a good mystery. Her curiosity soon leads her down a trail of blackmail, obsession and death. Despite the risk – or maybe because of it – Gary finds himself drawn to Kate. When danger strikes, Gary is forced to face the fact that he used love as an excuse for murder. And he’s got one last score to settle.

Book Info


It’s not very often that a mystery novel is a great mix of tension, romanticism, and dark fae-like etherealness. Westermann weaves a delicate narrative full of love, assassinations, revenge, dusty book shops, and ghosts in white. An Excuse for Murder is quite different than any other mystery book I have read recently. It was difficult to put down.

Each of Westermann’s characters has a clear voice but what is really cool is that each of them also carries with them a new mood into the story. Gary’s chapters are dark, often told through a haze of sadness and anger. Kate’s chapters are told through a voice of an amateur sleuth – picking locks and getting herself way in over her head. Both stories echo off each other in a very interesting way creating a feeling of two worlds bleeding into each other.

If you are in the mood for a quick read which mixes some of the best elements of classic and contemporary crime fiction you should pick up An Excuse for Murder today.

About the Author

Vanessa Westermann is a former Arthur Ellis Awards judge, and has given a talk on the evolution of women’s crime writing, at the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime. While living in Germany, she attained an M.A. in English Literature and went on to teach creative writing. An avid reader of crime fiction, Vanessa’s blog features literary reviews and author interviews. She
currently lives in Canada and is working on her next novel.

Vanessa Westermann Recommends…

Ngaio Marsh is one classic crime fiction author who inspired my writing. Marsh was a New Zealand writer and one of the Golden Age “Queens of Crime”, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham. I discovered Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn Mysteries while writing the first draft of An Excuse For Murder. Her prose is elegant and imbued with the subtle humor you might find in a comedy of manners. Inspector Roderick Alleyn is a charming and suave gentleman detective, with apologetic ways. The cases he investigates are often solved during a final theatrical reproduction of the crime, meant to trap the murderer into revealing their identity – an homage to Marsh’s role as theatre director.

In An Excuse For Murder, Kate Rowan’s copy of Ngaio Marsh’s Artists in Crime ends up lying splayed open on a dead man’s chest. The imagery in the last chapter is still fresh in her mind as she stands over the corpse. Kate can almost smell the chalk from the drawing, feel the delicious thrill of foreboding as though she’d been in the artist’s studio herself. Kate is a bookstore owner with a passion for crime fiction. But fond as she is of Roderick Alleyn, Kate doesn’t need a handsome detective to solve the crime for her. She’s more than capable of doing the sleuthing on her own… And her curiosity soon leads her down a trail of blackmail, obsession and murder.

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