A Real-Life Mystery

Lois Winston 2USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Tsu at http://www.tsu.co/loiswinston, on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/anasleuth, and on Twitter @anasleuth. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.MyAuthorBiz.com/ENewsletter.php?acct=LW2467152513

I often get many of my plot ideas from real-life events I’ve read about or seen on the news. My latest release, A Stitch to Die For, Book 5 in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, is no exception. I’ve woven several recent news stories into the book.

Shortly after I finished writing A Stitch to Die For, our little suburban commuter town made national news. A short walk from my home is a house that is being stalked by someone calling himself The Watcher. Or so the owners claim. Here are the facts:

In June 2014 the house, built in 1905 and located on a street that has been designated historical, was sold for 1.35 million dollars. (By contrast, my little bungalow, built in 1927, is valued at less than a third of that!) The sellers had lived in the house since 1990. The new owners made extensive renovations to the house but never moved in. Last month they filed a lawsuit against the former owner for not disclosing that the house had been stalked for decades.

According to the new owners, the seller received a letter from The Watcher several days prior to settlement but failed to disclose it. Three days after settlement the new owners received the first of three letters from The Watcher. The Watcher claimed the house “has been the subject of my family for decades” and that he was put in charge of “watching and waiting for the second coming” after his father and grandfather before him. He went on to make threats against the new owners’ three children. No letters were ever received after mid-July of last year. Meanwhile the new owners went ahead with their renovations.

The Watcher House

The Watcher House

The new owners turned the three letters over to the police who investigated but found nothing. No letter addressed to the former owner has surfaced, and she hasn’t admitted ever having received any. Other former owners have stated there was never any problem regarding the house and all had happy memories of living there.

In February of this year the new owners put the house up for sale without ever having lived in it. The lawsuit claims they haven’t been able to sell the house, even after repeated price reductions, because of The Watcher. However, no one knew anything about The Watcher and the letters until the lawsuit became public record last month when it was filed.

Home disclosure laws vary from state to state. In some states the seller would have had to disclose information about The Watcher prior to closing. Not in New Jersey. Here the seller only has to disclose prior physical problems such as a fire or flood. And who’s to say the seller had even heard of The Watcher, let alone ever received a letter from him? That’s only on the word of the new owners, and how do they know the seller received a letter?

I have my own theories about all of this, but I’ll leave that for Book 6 in my series. It’s so nice when a plot just falls into your lap! For now, though, I hope you’ll find the real-life inspired plot of Book 5 interesting.

A Stitch to Die For
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 5

A Stitch to Die ForThe adventures of reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack continue in A Stitch to Die For, the 5th book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Lois Winston.

Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.

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(Other books in the series include Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, Death by Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, and three mini-mysteries: Crewel Intentions, Mosaic Mayhem, and Patchwork Peril.)