Saturday, October 8, 2022

Exchange with Susan Juby on Mindful of Murder

After reading Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby I wrote to her and she has replied. Thank you for your response Susan. Our exchange is below.


Dear Susan

I enjoyed reading Mindful of Murder. A copy of my review from my blog Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan is below.

In reading I am most drawn to mysteries in two ways - an interesting sleuth and an interesting setting. When they appear in the same book I am captured.

I consider Helen Thorpe a great character who could be a sleuth in a long series of mysteries. I saw a reference online that you wanted Helen to be a character you would be glad to spend a lot of time with for a series. Yet I have not seen whether there will actually be a series. Will there be a series featuring Helen? If so, have you started a second book? I read it took 5 years to write Mindful of Murder. I would be glad to see another Helen Thorpe mystery sooner.

Mysteries set on southern B.C. islands are always inviting to me. They have been locales for excellent crime fiction I have read in recent years. In Michael Christie’s book, Greenwood, and the later books in the Arthur Beauchamp series by William Deverell island life plays important roles in the plots. 

I have noted in your book and the books of Christies and Deverell that quirky characters populate the fictional islands. Were you inspired by strong minded real life islanders in creating your characters?

I thought you were inspired to make Helen Thorpe a butler. My wife and I have good cruising memories of butlers helping us. Below is a link to a post I wrote about your fictional butlers and Oceania Cruises butlers. I would be interested in what experiences you have had with real life butlers. In rural Saskatchewan I have never encountered a butler.

My contacts with real life butlers are that they are definitely mindful. I try to be mindful but, even though I am 70, find myself as easily distracted as when I was 20. Might you be a mindful person?

If you are able to reply and willing to have your response published I would be glad to post your response with this letter.

All the best.



Hello Bill,

Thank you for your message. I'm glad you enjoyed the book and I'm a little jealous that you've enjoyed the services of real life butlers! I have to figure out my Google password to access your blog post, but I look forward to reading more about your experiences with butlers on ocean liners.

HarperCollins has asked me to write two more books about Helen Thorpe, so it will be a series. I believe the second one will be out early in 2024 and the third a year after that.

My characters are inspired by real people and are a product of my fevered imagination. I often write the people I'd like to meet one day.

As for your final question: I try to be a mindful person, but am often wildly distracted. Regular meditation practice helps, but we live in highly distracted times.

Thank you again for your note and I hope this finds you well.



Mindful of Murder and Butlers in Fiction and Real Life


  1. Thanks, Bill, for sharing this exchange. I agree with you that setting and interesting characters make for an irresistible read, especially when combined in the same book! I'm glad there will be a series, and I'm pleased HarperColllins has offered a contract. I'll be interested in seeing how the series develops.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I meant to reply sooner. It is amazing how authors come up with memorable characters. I look forward to the second in the series.

  2. Bill, I read your two earlier posts related to Susan Juby's book, and I have been meaning to go back on comment on them. I was so taken by your description of the book and the job of being a butler that I have added Mindful of Murder to my wishlist and plan to get a copy soon.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. It is a special book. I look forward to a review from you. In just over two weeks Sharon and I will be on another cruise with a butler!