Culbertson, Judi: An Illustrated Death


Title:  An Illustrated Death

Author:  Judi Culberton

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date:  October 1, 2013, (ebook only) by Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins

Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.



Cover ~ An Illustrated DeathWhen bookseller Delhi Laine gets the opportunity to appraise the late Nate Erikson’s personal library, she jumps at the chance. It’s not every day a bookseller gets to peek into the mind of a famous illustrator, not to mention his fascinating collection of rare books. Invited to spend time with the artistic Erikson clan at the family compound in the Hamptons, Delhi is intrigued by their eccentric and eclectic ways.

But when death visits the family once more and another Erikson is found dead, dark family secrets come to light—including the death of Nate Erikson himself. Surrounded by the charmed family not quite as idealic as they once seemed, Delhi is determined to solve the murders once and for all. But digging up truths can get you dirty…and Delhi is about to discover how far some will go to keep them buried.

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About the Author:

Author Picture ~ Judi CulbertsonJudi Culbertson graduated from Hampton DuBose High School in Florida, and majored in creative writing at Wheaton College in Illinois.  After two years in Philadelphia she moved to Long Island where her son Andy was born.  Here she published GAMES CHRISTIANS PLAY (Harper & Row, 1967), followed by THE LITTLE WHITE BOOK ON RACE (Lippincott, 1970) with a friend, Patti Bard.

In 1970 Judi began working for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, working with families at risk, children in foster care and, finally, in the Court Unit where she wrote petitions to free children for adoption.  During this time she was writing articles for Glamour, The New York Times, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Working Mother, and others and travel stories for major newspapers.

In 1986, after a trip to Paris, Judi and her husband, Tom Randall, wrote a travel story that developed into PERMANENT PARISIANS,An Illustrated Biographical Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris, published in 1987 by Chelsea Green Press.  This was followed by four more: PERMANENT NEW YORKERS; LONDONERS; CALIFORNIANS; and ITALIANS

After earning an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Vermont College, Judi published THE NURSERY  (St. Martin’s Press, 1996).  By then she had started speaking professionally on a subject that had long fascinated her, people’s attachment to stuff.  This led to two books: SCALING DOWN, Living Large in a Smaller Space, written with Marj Decker (Rodale 2005) and THE CLUTTER CURE (McGraw-Hill, 2007).

Judi left social work in 1999 to pursue her interest in selling used and rare books on the Internet.

It is this background that helped create the Secondhand Prose Mystery Series.   A NOVEL DEATH is the first book, published by Avalon Books in June 2011. AN ILLUSTRATED DEATH will be published on October 1, 2013 by Harper/Collins.  When not writing, she and Tom travel extensively and enjoy their twin grandchildren, Andrew and Emily, as well as the three cats they live with: Ignatz, Vladimir, and Pangur.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Goodreads


Tour-Wide Giveaway 

Ten (10) ecopies of An Illustrated Death.  Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.

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The dead man smiled up at me.

I stared back sadly. Then I read the newspaper clipping on my worktable one more time.

llustrator, Granddaughter Drown in Family Pool

Tragedy struck an artistic dynasty in Springs yesterday morning when Nate Erikson, 67, and Morgan Marshall, 4, drowned in a swimming pool on the grounds of the family’s estate. The victims were rushed to Southampton Hospital, where efforts at resuscitation failed. A police spokesman stated that Mr. Erikson had been attempting to rescue his granddaughter, but succumbed himself.

Because I make my living selling used and rare books over the Internet, I spend a lot of time in the ancient barn behind my house, cataloging new finds and shipping them around the world. The story about Nate Erikson had lain next to my computer for the past three months. Whenever I read it I felt the same emptiness I’d had when John Updike and Robert Parker died. But my connection to Nate Erikson went back even further, to my childhood and Bible Stories for Good Children.

I was not a good child, but my Methodist parents took the title at face value, never noticing the wry twists Nate gave to the illustrations. Instead of the cliché image of Noah leading pairs of docile animals onto the ark, the patriarch was shown about to lose his temper with two recalcitrant lion cubs. Isaac was pictured after the sacrifice attempt, looking at the knife in his father’s hand with disbelief.

Care for another walk up the mountain, son?

You’re kidding, right, Dad?.

My parents suspected nothing until they found my twin sister, Patience, and me trying to raise our little brother from the dead.

“Don’t breathe,” Patience commanded. “Don’t breathe until I say, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ ”

“Jon, I can see your stomach moving,” I accused.

Bible Stories for Good Children disappeared from the room we shared.

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