SCENE STEALER by Elise Warner, Book Review & Interview

Scene Stealer – Elise Warner


Elise Warner’s debut novel Scene Stealer is a cozy mystery with attitude.

“For a moment our eyes met; his were frightened, seeking help. Was it my imagination gone wild? No. After all those years of teaching elementary school, I knew this child was afraid.”

After a chance encounter on the subway, Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired schoolteacher living in New York’s Greenwich Village, is determined to help the police in the search for missing nine-year-old child actor Kevin Corcoran. Never mind that she has no training in law enforcement-she spent decades teaching. She knows when someone is lying.

Once set upon a course of action, the indomitable Miss Weidenmaier cannot be swayed-or intimidated. Facing down megalomaniacal business executives, stuck-up celebrities, pushy stage mothers and a rabble-rousing talk show host, Miss Weidenmaier will stop at nothing-not even the disapproval of one Lieutenant Brown of the NYPD, who does not take kindly to amateur sleuthing-to bring young Kevin home.

Book Review

I thoroughly enjoyed Scene Stealer – one of the best cozy mysteries I’ve read this year actually.

When we decide to read a cozy mystery we are looking for the warm and fuzzy elements that come with this genre – an amateur sleuth we will barrack for, bad guys that have sinister intentions but somehow are still safe enough to confront without a weapon, and a satisfying conclusion where good triumphs over evil! Elise Warner has combined all these ingredients in a refreshing way in Scene Stealer.

I simply adored spunky protagonist Miss Augusta Weidenmaier – the feisty spinster who does not let age, lack of experience, or any well meaning policeman stop her from solving the mystery and saving the world from abuses of the English language while she’s at it.

She swiveled her chair toward the desktop computer then back toward me. “Can I help you with something?”

“May I, dear.” I could not resist correcting the woman.

“Can means ‘am able’. Do not confuse the word as a substitute for may. I would suggest the purchase of a book titled The Elements of Style. An invaluable purchase for a person in your position.”

I really enjoyed Warner’s writing style – smart and witty while still remaining very accessible. The humour used really struck a chord with me, and I found myself grinning while reading on several occasions.

I highly recommend Elise Warner’s Scene Stealer to fans of cozy mysteries – it was a fun and entertaining read. I look forward to reading the next Augusta Weidenmaier mystery!

BOOK RATING: The Writing 4 / 5 ;  The Story 4 / 5

BOOK DETAILS: Scene Stealer is available in Kindle ebook format from Amazon (very keenly priced).

Genre: Mystery, Crime-Detective, Thriller

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Author Interview – Elise Warner

The cosy mystery Scene Stealer is Elise Warner’s recently released debut novel, but Elise is no stranger to the arts and having her works published.

Elise, you’ve had a raft of your writing published (magazines and newspapers) and performed (plays), what made you decide to write your first novel?

I was travelling to Lincoln Center via the subway to pick up tickets for a performance when I noticed a rather scruffy looking man and a young, well-dressed little boy. They seemed like an odd pair and they stayed in my mind. My imagination took it from there and developed into my cozy.

Did it take long to find a publisher that was right for you? What made you choose to publish via the electronic medium, and now the audio medium before the traditional hardcopy?

I chanced upon a notice that said Carina Press (the first digital publisher I tried) would read new novels, sent Scene Stealer off and forgot about it. A few months later, I received a telephone call from Angela James, the Executive Editor of Carina Press telling me they wanted to publish my book. One of the best phone calls I’ve ever received. Ebooks have joined traditional hardcopies; giving book lovers another choice. I believe there is room for all. Of course, the dream would be to have a book published in every medium.

Given your theatre background it seems no coincidence that this novel centres on actors with much of the story’s action taking place inside an old theatre. Are there elements of yourself in spunky protagonist Miss Augusta Weidenmaier?

Miss Weidenmaier is loosely based on a character actress, I toured with some years ago. She was a tough, no-nonsense lady. She passed away some years ago but I hope she knows and approves.

I notice the Scene Stealer cover subtitle is ‘An Augusta Weidenmaier Mystery’. Have you started writing the next novel in the series?

I began a novel about a dancer who was found murdered gangland-style and the lives he affected as soon as I finish that one, I will begin the next Augusta Weidenmaier Mystery. She keeps poking me.

I read somewhere you have travelled to Australia in the past. Where in our great country did you have the opportunity to visit?

Melbourne – with a side trip to Ballarat which inspired an article about the gold mining that took place there and another side trip to see the smallest penguins returning from a day’s fishing- another article. We visited the Opera House in Sydney, the Rain Forest and the Reef and traveled on the Ghan to Alice Springs. An unforgettable experience. Our first trip was made because my husband’s father grew up in Australia-we fell in love with the country.

I’d like to thank Elise for sharing these insights with us and I encourage readers to check out her novel Scene Stealer and Elise’s personal blog on her life and travels.

My receiving this book free of charge for the purpose of review did not in anyway influence my expression of my honest thoughts and feelings about this book.