Swap, by Nancy Boyarsky

The Swap: A Mystery is my first novel. The plot was inspired by a month my husband and I spent in England, swapping houses with a London couple.

Before our house swap, I spent months thinking about what might go wrong. Would the other couple be respectful of our property or would they trash the house? They’d agreed to care for our two cats, but would they really make sure Molly and Edna stayed inside, safe from the busy streets of West Los Angeles? Clearing out a few bureau drawers and closets for our guests turned into a massive spring cleaning in anticipation for the exchange. Surely I couldn’t leave my cupboards and closets untidy. By the time we left for England, the preparations had been so extensive and disruptive that my husband vowed we’d never do another house swap.

As it turned out, my worries were for nothing. The house in Chiswick was quite nice with just as many amenities (TV sets, kitchen appliances, a car for our use, etc.) and messy closets as we had at home. Still, there was something a little spooky about the place, which I could never put my finger on.

We had a great time seeing what life was like in London from the native’s point of view: grocery shopping, using the tube, making arrangements and enjoying the wealth of cultural events available in that great city. And, to my great relief, the arrangement went smoothly on both sides — except that we broke one of their collection of teapots, and they broke the top of our lone teapot. After we arrived home, I began wondering what would have happened if the London couple had failed to turn up in Los Angeles. Thus began The Swap. It took a couple of years for the plot to gel, and I actually began putting it down on paper.

"The Swap: A Mystery"
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I was born in Oakland, California, and grew up with my parents and two sisters in the flatlands of East Oakland. When I was around eight—in a world that was a lot safer that today— I was allowed to roam the neighborhood by myself, and my visits to the tiny Alandale Public Library were the highlight of my week.

I attended public schools in Oakland. My father opposed the idea of sending girls to college, being of the opinion that they would be better off working as waitresses to prepare them for their life’s work as housewives. I ignored his advice and went on to UC Berkeley, where I supported myself working in the campus library. In addition to the pleasure of working around books, the job had an added benefit of allowing us student clerks to disappear into the stacks and read when work was slow. I was married at 19 between my sophomore and junior years of college. I majored in English literature and graduated from Berkeley with honors.

My first job was as an associate editor for a small, long-vanished publishing house in San Francisco. When our two daughters were born, I stayed home and began writing freelance articles for a local paper, as well as teaming up with my husband on magazine articles.

We lived in Sacramento for ten years, then moved to Los Angeles when my husband joined the staff of the Los Angeles Times. Once my girls were in their teens, I gave up freelancing and returned to full-time work, first as associate editor of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine and later as communications director for political affairs for ARCO. I quit ARCO when the first of our two granddaughters was born. Since then, I have devoted myself to writing and editing. 

My primary hobby is painting portraits and images from old family photos dating from the early 1900s. I love reading fiction, the theater, films, and travel, especially to the UK, where the theater and books are a national passion.

I have just finished a new book, Family Recipes for Gastroenteritis, a tragicomic memoir of growing up in Oakland in a family at the far end of disfunctionality. Family Recipes will be available on Amazon early next year. I am now working on a sequel to The Swap, which follows Nicole’s further mishaps and adventures.

Nancy Boyarsky 

My review of Swap.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher and definitely enjoyed it. It is the story of a house swap, with as much excitement as any thriller. Nicole, the heroine, is a rather naive young woman who after moving into the house in London suspects her husband of straying and gets caught up in a twisted path of murder, starting with a car bomb that might have been meant for her. From that time on she becomes suspicious of many, finds herself in peril many times, doesn't know whom to trust and often misinterprets what is happening. I suspect that if any of us ordinary folks found ourselves in the same predicaments as Nicole we might make some of the same mistakes. This was a fast moving adventure, and definitely a page turner.


Love how you came to the idea of your book, hope it does very well.

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