Mothers and Daughters

Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, once again writing about Overkilt, the new Liss MacCrimmon mystery, now available in hardcover and e-book formats.

For the first time since Bagpipes, Brides, and Homicides, where Liss and her mother clashed over Liss’s wedding plans, Violet MacCrimmon is back in Moosetookalook and this time she and Liss’s father have come to stay. After years in Arizona, they have decided to return home. Liss still isn’t sure why.

Okay. I admit it. I based Vi on my own mother and her relationship with Liss on the prickly one my mom and I had. All those annoying little characteristics, like not telling Liss when she needed surgery, never giving a word of praise, and always carping on the “right” way to do things (her way, of course) come straight from real life.

Mom and me, 1980

That’s not to say I didn’t love my mother. There were just times when I didn’t like her very much. The feeling, I’m sure, was mutual. That said, more than twenty-five years after her death, I still miss her, and I wish I’d had the chance I’m giving Liss to work toward a better relationship with Vi.

my favorite photo of my mom, sometime in the late 1960s

On the other hand, their ups and downs, and the observation by others that they bump heads so often because they are too much alike, are providing me with ample opportunities for comic relief. Vi constantly surprised me during the writing of this book, from her reaction to the discovery of the body to a certain unlikely object she has in her possession.

Mom and me before there was any conflict

Look for Violet MacCrimmon to return as one of Liss’s sleuthing partners in the next book in the series (A View to a Kilt, February 2020). Hey, when you’ve got a character with, well, character, it would be a crime not to let her play a bigger role in the story.

Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of nearly sixty traditionally published books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (Overkilt) and the “Deadly Edits” series (Crime & Punctuation) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” mysteries and is set in Elizabethan England. Her most recent collection of short stories is Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are and and she maintains a website about women who lived in England between 1485 and 1603 at

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14 Responses to Mothers and Daughters

  1. Brenda Buchanan says:

    This book is already on my list, and it just moved up. Vi and her conflict with Liss sound like great pre-holiday reading to me!


  2. Lea Wait says:

    Can hardly wait to read it! Relationships between mothers and daughters are certainly not always smooth …. thanks for sharing yours!


  3. Kate Flora says:

    I miss my mom, too. And love this post. How wonderful that you have that photo of your mom holding baby Kathy!


  4. M. E. Kemp says:

    I just learned from your post that I don’t exist! Now there’s a mystery for you! (I think I pressed the “Like” button.)


  5. Gram says:

    I think your Mom and mine must have been sisters. I have come feel that she did the best she could at that time. But it certainly was stressful. I will be happy to watch Liss and her Mom working things out.


  6. bethc2015 says:

    My mom died in May and I am still reflecting on what, for me, was a difficult relationship. Anxious to read A View to a Kilt to get more perspective.


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