The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries By Heather Haven

When I started the humorous mystery series revolving around the Alvarez Family, I wanted to show a family that wasn’t the traditional husband, wife, two kids, station wagon, and dog. Even when it starts out like that, life happens. At the very least, your car breaks down and your dog gets fleas. What we discover along the way is you need to hold on to what you have with a lot of love, humor, and flea powder.

Also, as a child, I heard stories of how hard life was for my Italian ancestors who immigrated to this strange but beckoning land during the early part of the twentieth century. My grandfather had two dollars to his name when he stepped off Ellis Island! Can you imagine? Not speaking the language, not knowing anything about the culture, but having the guts to seek out a better life, with only two bucks to your name? But he not only survived, he thrived. This determination was and is shared by many ethnic groups. I wanted to highlight one of the current ethnic groups making inroads into the fabric of American society, the Latinos from Mexico.

Everything I’ve said so far sounds serious, right? But humor is built on serious subjects. So enter a ½ Latina, ½ Palo Alto Blueblood, but 100 percent detective, the quirky Lee Alvarez. She’s bright, funny, loving, and driven half mad by the members of her family that own a detective agency in today’s Silicon Valley. It’s sparkly, humorous, and positive, with always the thrust on the family unit that makes her nuts, even when Lee's falling over dead bodies.

The first book of the series, Murder is a Family Business, won the coveted Single Titles Reviewers Choice Award 2011. The second, A Wedding to Die For was a finalist for the EPIC and Global Best Mystery of the Year Awards 2012. Death Runs in the Family, the third of the Alvarez series, won the Global Gold for best mystery novel, 2013. DEAD…If Only, taking place in New Orleans, Won Global Silver, 2015. I am currently working on the fifth of the series, The CEO Came DOA. The Alvarez, Family. I love ‘em.

I am proud to say Murder is a Family Business, Book 1 of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, is included in Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries. The lineup of the other nine authors is impressive. It includes Lois Winston, Jonnie Jacobs, Judy Alter, Maggie Toussaint, Camille Minichino, Susan Santangelo, Mary Kennedy, RP Dahlke, Vinnie Hansen, and yours truly. We are a murdering lot, but fun!

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…

Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.

Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy AlterReal estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.

In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.

The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends' funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn't realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.

Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan SantangeloCarol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.

Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME's On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.

A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP DahlkeWhen her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.

Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather HavenJust because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.

Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie HansenWhen the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.

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Bio: After studying drama at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, Heather Haven went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, novels, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, which were produced at Playwrights Horizon and well-received. Once she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.

One of her first paying jobs was writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week but promptly came down with the flu. Heather wrote "The Sands of Time" with a raging temperature, and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Her stint at New York City’s No Soap Radio - where she wrote comedic ad copy – helped develop her long-time love affair with comedy.

Heather lives in the foothills of San Jose with her husband of 34-years and her two cats, Yulie and Ellie. She is currently writing her ninth novel.



Great post. It's always interesting to find out how/why a series starts!
Lois Winston said…
Thanks for featuring Sleuthing Women today, Marilyn!
Still laughing over your comment that we're a murdering lot, Heather! And I love your fancy picture. That color blouse looks smashing on you. Thank you, Marilyn, for showcasing our new anthology here.
Heather Haven said…
Thanks so much for having us at your blogsite. It's a very fun spot!
jonnie jacobs said…
I agree, Heather. Humor is a necessity, both in life and fiction - even serious fiction about serious stuff. Love the way you wove humor into your piece. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Marilyn for hosting Sleuthing Women today.

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