Let’s get one thing straight: The mystery novel is the highest form of literature. At least it is for me. Nearly all the big moments in my literary life seem to have hinged on mysteries.

When I was seven and realized I could read a “real” book – one without pictures on every page – that book was The Secret of Larkspur Lane, by Carolyn Keene, featuring the immortal Nancy Drew.

When I was in my twenties and wanted to write a novel that showed psychological understanding, I happened upon Death and the Joyful Woman, by Ellis Peters. The proverbial light bulb went on. “Wow!” I thought. “It’s possible to write a book that’s fun to read and still has psychological understanding.”

When I was thirty-five I wanted to write something that was firmly grounded in my own culture, and I discovered that Tony Hillerman had laid out a map for the regional novel that any writer would be proud to follow, and he did it in the form of the mystery story.

This web site, I hope, will introduce new readers to the books of JoAnna Carl and Eve K. Sandstrom and will give veteran readers of their books a peek at the books’ backgrounds.

The 14th book in the Chocoholic series, The Chocolate Clown Corpse, was published in November 2014. This time Lee accidentally gets an odd phone call about the death of Moe Davidson, operator of a clown-themed shop in Warner Pier. Law officers believe Moe was killed by Royal Hollis, a would-be burglar, and they already have Hollis in custody. But the caller says this can’t be true. Then Joe, Lee’s husband, is named Hollis’s court-appointed attorney. Between Lee’s desire to buy Moe’s building, an attempt on his widow’s life, and a mad chase after a scary clown on the back stairs of a hospital – well, things get pretty hairy for Lee and Joe before they sort it all out.

The Chocolate Book Bandit, 2013’s hardback, came out in a paperback edition in the fall as well.

The 2015 hardback, The Chocolate Falcon Fraud, is scheduled for publication next fall. In this one Lee’s former stepson (introduced in The Chocolate Bear Burglar) turns up at a festival celebrating the Noir books and novels on the 1940s. Once again the young man gets in a lot of trouble and needs his ex-stepmom to bail him out.

My grandmother in her later years became a big fan of “Gunsmoke.” When I asked her why, she said, “It always has a good moral.”

That’s how I feel about mysteries, at least the kind I write. You can count on them to end right. All the questions raised in the story are answered. The good are rewarded, the bad punished. The story has a beginning, a middle, and an end – and it’s not ashamed of it. Mysteries engage the intellect, but still allow us to escape our daily troubles and tribulations.

Add a little chocolate, and you’ve got literary heaven.