Sunday, November 27, 2011

MWW Day 3 - Pat Browning's Penny Mackenzie

Day 3 of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour that W.S. has so graciously volunteered my expert interviewing skills. She also is offering a chance to win A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES to some lucky commenter. I should be more upset but today’s featured author is one that really gets around. I mean, when W.S. has me looking at things, I see Pat Browning’s posts on several blogs. I appreciate someone who says it like it is. Kind of like yours truly here. Today’s guest is from Pat’s ABSINTHE OF MALICE. Again, a book I’ve read many good reviews for and have a certain kinship with Penny Mackenzie who joins us today. Welcome Penny. You and I share a similar background at least we both are reporters for newspapers but I understand you cover more fluff pieces. Why did you become a reporter?

Penny: A reporter’s job on The Pearl Outrider was the only job open that sounded halfway interesting when I got out of college. Pearl, California is a very small town. My parents were part of the power structure, such as it was, and they put in a good word for me with the publisher, Walter Wynd.

Walter was a good man and his employees repaid him by referring to the paper as The Weekly Wind. It was mostly a good-natured jest. Walter’s only fault was that he never printed any bad news, just the local fluff, which was made to order for my job as Lifestyle Editor.

I cover the crime beat and have been known to solve a crime or two. I hear you tripped over an old murder? Can you tell me about it and maybe I can use my master reporting skills to help you solve it?

Penny: Sweaty business, murder. Ordinarily I would just look for the person who does the most sweating, but in this case … well, I shouldn’t tell you who the murderer turned out to be. I didn’t have to do much detecting, just a whole lot of snooping and putting two and two together and getting five. The best tool in a reporter’s tool box is curiosity. I had my share and then some.

Sorry about your friend Maxie. In A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES I had to solve the case of who killed the homecoming queen who was pretty sweet on me. I’d returned kicking and screaming to my hometown. Maybe you don’t want to know about that. Tell me about Pearl, California. I know at times it felt like the whole town was out to get me. Do you feel like that?

Penny: Nah. I went to school with half the people in town and knew all the gossip about the other half. I felt as if the whole town was looking over my shoulder, egging me on.

Penny, I can see you are a girl with some intelligence. Any chance you would want to have a drink with me and discuss reporting techniques? (Wink, wink)

Penny: Well, such invitations are scarcer than hen’s teeth in a town like Pearl, but I don’t drink and I’m spoken for – again. This time I think it may work out.

Penny, it has been a pleasure getting to know you and would really like to have that drink. Any plans for another adventure where we might cross paths?

Penny: Sorry about the drink, Mitch. Stop by the newsroom for a cup of coffee sometime. I’m in the middle of a really big adventure this time, working title METAPHOR FOR MURDER. Somebody’s been messing around in the old Chinese cemetery, especially around China John’s grave. China John’s been dead for 70 years so why all the interest now? And who was he anyway? He was a real mystery man. Stay tuned …

For more on ABSINTHE OF MALICE, read an extensive excerpt at Google Books

Buy the book at
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Amazon, print and Kindle -

Pat Browning was born and raised in Oklahoma. A longtime resident of California's San Joaquin Valley before moving back to Oklahoma in 2005, her professional writing credits go back to the 1960s, when she was a stringer for The Fresno Bee while working full time in a Hanford law office. Her globetrotting in the 1970s led her into the travel business, first as a travel agent, then as a correspondent for TravelAge West, a trade journal published in San Francisco. In the 1990s, she signed on fulltime as a newspaper reporter and columnist, first at The Selma Enterprise and then at The Hanford Sentinel.


  1. That was great fun! Thanks Wendy and Pat. Having read both of your books, it's like learning more about old friends.


  2. Marilyn: You are such an early riser. Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm enjoying the Mystery We Write Blog Tour so much and I am getting to know people so well.

    Pat: I am so happy to host you on Day 3. I just brought your book the other day and can't wait to get started in it but have two ahead of it. I hope Mitch didn't give Penny to hard of a time. She handled him well.

  3. What a great conversation! These two investigative reporters really hit it off.

  4. Thanks for stopping by John

  5. Penny handled Malone with real class, something she has a lot of and he's a little short of. That's my girl!

  6. Thank you for such a great post! I enjoyed it!

  7. Great interview with Penny, Mitch. I look forward to reading Metaphor for Murder.

  8. Now, Earl, don't be too hard on ol' Mitch. I kinda like him -- typical reporter, always moving, always ready to seize the day. Wendy has him down to a T.

    Wendy, I have A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES sitting here beside the computer. Will read it ASAP.

    Thanks to you and Mitch for hosting me today.

    Pat Browning

  9. Great interview, Pat and Penny are great characters togehter. Again wonderful interview, looking forward to getting and reading your books.

  10. WOW, Penny and Mitch--what a duo! Great interview, can't wait to have more time to read!


  11. Great post, Wendy and Pat.

    And Mitch and Penny.

    (Is it just me or do their individual character traits just shine?!)

  12. Great interview, Mitch and Penny. Pat, I loved ABSINTHE OF MALICE, and am fully ready for another Penny story. So get on it before I have to go up there and beat you with a stick, 'kay?

  13. Wow, I step away and things get hot. Not sure why I'm not surprised. Tempers always rise around Mitch!

    Earl: I think your bias is showing and Mitch is nothing if not unbiased!

    Carol, MM, Anne, Alice and Jean: Thanks for stopping by. I will see Jean tomorrow.

    Pat: Thanks for sticking up for Mitch. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES.

    Kit: I hope you will let me know what you think of Mitch after reading about his antics.