Open for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
by Mary Angela

About Open For Murder

Open for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 24, 2020)
Paperback: 207 pages
ISBN-10: 1516110722
ISBN-13: 978-1516110728
Digital ASIN: B085LTP1XH

Deep in the heart of touristy small-town Spirit Canyon, South Dakota, former journalist Zo Jones runs the Happy Camper gift shop, where she sells everything from locally made souvenirs to memorabilia. She even rents out mountain bikes, and dabbles in the adventure industry—and sleuthing . . .


It’s Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, and for Zo that means the return of summer shoppers. It also means the return of her good friend Beth, who’s moved back to the area to reopen her family’s premier hotel, Spirit Canyon Lodge. Beth and Zo spent many childhood summers there and Zo can’t wait to reconnect and celebrate the Grand Opening. But the festivities go from bad to worse when a power outage knocks out the lights—and morning reveals a competitor’s dead body found on the premises . . .


Soon enough, Beth is the prime suspect in the suspicious death. Fortunately, Zo isn’t afraid to put her investigative skills to work and prove her friend’s innocence. To start digging for information, she appeals to Max Harrington, a local Forest Ranger and unlikely ally. Though they’ve argued about Happy Camper’s tours, in this case they agree on one thing: Beth isn’t a murderer. Stranger things have happened than their collaboration. After all, this is Spirit Canyon. But as the list of suspects grows, Zo will have to keep her guard up if she doesn’t want to be the next lodge guest to check out . . .


About Mary Angela

What initially got you interested in writing?

Reading was my gateway to writing. I found more in common with characters in the books I was reading than the people in my own life. The same holds true for writing. I enjoy creating worlds with characters I like spending time with.


What genres do you write in?

I write cozies mysteries and edgier short stories. I’ve also started an historical mystery.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?

I like cozies because I don’t like graphic violence. I do, however, like the puzzle of a classic mystery. The amateur sleuth poses an interesting dilemma. How challenging is it for a “real” person to solve a crime? How would one do it without professional help? It’s fun to figure out.


How did you break into the field?

I submitted my Professor Prather series to a small press. They were willing to help me learn how to revise. With my next series, I used what I learned and found an agent, who was able to submit my work to larger presses.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

I hope they find joy in the setting, the characters, and the mystery. South Dakota is my native state, and I like sharing it with readers. My Professor Prather series is set in the eastern part of the state, and my Happy Camper series is set in the Black Hills National Forest. They’re very different topographies, which I hope readers will appreciate and find interesting. I always love learning about new places when I’m reading.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?

The work itself is rewarding for me. I enjoy writing and spending my days on something I find worthwhile. When readers send me messages or emails about my stories, it feels good. If I can contribute joy to the world right now, it means a lot.


What do you find most challenging about writing?

Writing in anxious times is challenging. I find it hard to focus when I’m stressed about my family or loved ones.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

Join a professional organization and learn about the craft and field before you start submitting. Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Authors Guild are great organizations for mystery writers. Joining one is something I wish I would have done earlier.


What type of books do you enjoy reading?

Cozy mysteries, historical romances, historical mysteries, and biographies.


Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I’m married, I have two daughters, two pets, and I’m a fifth generation South Dakotan.


What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?





Twitter: @maryangelabooks







Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather and Happy Camper cozy mystery series. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at

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Twitter: @maryangelabooks



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1 Comment

  1. Mary Angela

    Thanks for hosting my author interview! I appreciate it.

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