Guest Post: Jennifer S Alderson – DEATH BY WINDMILL


We made it to another Friday, my bookish divas and divos. YAY! I’ve always wanted to travel the world and realized at a young age that I could do just that through reading. Although my actual travels have been somewhat limited, today’s guest travels extensively IRL and virtually in her Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries, including the latest Death by Windmill, Jennifer S. Alderson. Ms. Alderson will be giving us a “behind-the-scenes” look into the development of her travel series as well as providing us with a glimpse into Death by Windmill. Divas and divos, I turn the blog over to Ms. Jennifer Alderson. 



My Agatha Christie Challenge and the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries by Jennifer S. Alderson



“Agatha Christie said that most murders were committed for one of four reasons: jealousy, greed, a desire for power, and revenge.” –  excerpt from Death on the Danube

When I began writing the Travel Can Be Murder cozy mystery series, I decided to use Agatha Christie’s four reasons for committing murder as the motives my killers would use to justify their actions.

Like many mystery authors, Agatha Christie was an early favorite of mine. My mother had all of her books and, after I had worked my way through the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I read all of them!

When I was writing book one of my new travel cozy series, Death on the Danube, mentioning Christie’s theory about murder fit naturally into a scene at the spa. And in book two, comparisons between Christie’s poisonous plants garden in Torquay and the one my tourists were visiting in Paris, were also easy to make.

Though I am by no means trying to emulate her style in this series, I thought it would be a fun challenge to work a reference to Agatha Christie into each of my own mysteries. 

However, when I began writing this book set in Amsterdam, I wasn’t able to find a clear link between Christie and the Netherlands and feared that was the end of my experiment. Until I discovered a local establishment, the Pulitzer’s Bar, creates a special themed-cocktail menu each year – and in 2020 the twelve drinks are based on characters in Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Problem solved!

Death by Bagpipes, book four in the Travel Can Be Murder series is set in Edinburgh. From my preliminary research, I won’t have much trouble finding a way to mention Agatha in this one!

In this short excerpt from Death by Windmill, Lana and her tour group are visiting Pulitzer’s Bar:



Lana had not been looking forward to the tour of the Rijksmuseum this morning, but it ended up being the perfect distraction from her current troubles. However, by the time they were finished with the drawing lesson, dark thoughts had taken over again, leaving her feeling restless and distracted.

She followed her group in a daze as they traversed the cobblestoned streets of Amsterdam. Bikes, pedestrians, delivery trucks, and cars all fought for space on the narrow strips of road running parallel to the many canals crisscrossing the city. After almost getting run over by an angry bicyclist, Lana pushed her thoughts aside and focused on getting herself and her group to Pulitzer’s Bar in one piece.

Randy led them to the upscale bar on the Keizersgracht. The elegant space was divided into several small rooms, almost like a home, and each was decorated as if the owner had just stepped out. The art deco furnishings and fixtures made it a timeless and relaxing space.

Her group settled around several small tables in what could have once been the living room. Luckily most were getting along well enough that all she and Randy had to do was take their orders, then sit back and relax. Lana was grateful; her mind was racing through her list of suspects on an unending loop that she couldn’t switch off.

She chuckled when she saw the bar’s cocktail menu was inspired by characters in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Each of the twelve suspects in her mystery had a drink dedicated to them. Lana waffled between “The Gangster” or “The Conductor,” ultimately settling for “The Maid” when she noticed lemon sherbet was one of the ingredients.

The drink list made Lana think of her own group—the cleaner, retiree, personal assistant, social influencer, writer, and advertising executive. What would her suspects’ drinks be made of?






Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam

(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)
by Jennifer S. Alderson



About Death by Windmill




Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Independently published (May 16, 2020)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8646330070
Digital ASIN: B0843K7HNQ


Purchase Links – Amazon


A Mother’s Day trip to the Netherlands turns deadly when a guest plummets from a windmill. Was it an accident or a murder? For Lana Hansen, the answer will mean freedom or imprisonment for someone close to her…



Wanderlust Tours guide Lana Hansen and her mother, Gillian, haven’t seen eye to eye in over a decade, ever since Lana was wrongly fired from her job as an investigative reporter. So when Lana’s boss invites Gillian to join her upcoming Mother’s Day tour to the Netherlands, Lana is less than pleased.



What could be worse than spending ten days with her estranged mother? Lana is about to find out…



The tour begins on a high note when the majority of guests bond during their visit to the Keukenhof flower gardens and a cruise around the picturesque canals of Amsterdam.



Despite her initial reservations, Lana thinks this might be the best group she had ever led. Until she discovers one of her guests—a recent retiree named Priscilla—is the person who destroyed her career in journalism.



All Lana can see is red. But circumstances dictate that she figure out a way to lead the tour, make peace with her mother, and not murder her guest. She doesn’t know whether she can handle the pressure.



Lana needn’t worry. Shortly after their fight, Priscilla falls off the balcony of a historic windmill at Zaanse Schans. Was she pushed or simply careless? The investigating officers suspect murder—and topping their suspect list is Lana’s mom!



Can Lana save Gillian? Or will her mother end up spending the rest of her days in a Dutch prison?




About Jennifer S. Alderson




Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning mystery series—the Zelda Richardson Mysteries and Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries—and standalone stories.


Author Links

Website: http://www.jennifersalderson.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JennifeSAlderson

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jenniferSAldersonauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JSAauthor

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/JenniferSAlderson

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-s-alderson



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July 13 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW 

July 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

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July 14 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW


July 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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July 17 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

July 17 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

July 18 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

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July 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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July 20 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 20 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW 

July 21 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 22 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

July 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 23 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

July 23 – Diane Reviews Books – SPOTLIGHT

July 24 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

July 25 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

July 26 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW




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Book Spotlight: Zelda Richardson Mystery Series by Jennifer S. Alderson





The Lover’s Portrait

Zelda Richardson Mystery Series Book 1

by Jennifer S. Alderson

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense







A portrait holds the key to recovering a cache of looted artwork, secreted away during World War II, in this captivating historical art thriller set in the 1940s and present-day Amsterdam.

When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery – rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer – he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in.

After studying for a year in the Netherlands, Zelda scores an internship at the prestigious Amsterdam Museum, where she works on an exhibition of paintings and sculptures once stolen by the Nazis, lying unclaimed in Dutch museum depots almost seventy years later.

When two women claim the same portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting’s history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer’s concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it.

Her discoveries make her a target of someone willing to steal – and even kill – to find the missing paintings. As the list of suspects grows, Zelda realizes she has to track down the lost collection and unmask a killer if she wants to survive.



Awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion by indieBRAG’s readers in March 2019

Chosen as Chill with a Book’s January 2018 Book of the Month and winner of a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award

One of TripFiction’s 10 Favorite Books set in Amsterdam

Silver Cup winner in Rosie’s Book Review Team 2017 Awards, Mystery category

Readers’ Favorite 5 star medal

One of The Displaced Nation magazine’s Top 36 Expat Fiction Picks of 2016

One of Women Writers, Women’s Books magazine’s Recommended Reads for April 2017.



Set in present-day and wartime Amsterdam, this captivating thriller is not just about stolen paintings, but also the lives that were stolen. This art history mystery also describes the plight of homosexuals and Jewish artists in Europe during World War II, as well as the complexities inherent to the restitution of artwork stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Lover’s Portrait is Book One in the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The amateur sleuth mysteries in this series can be read in any order.





Book Trailer
https://youtu.be/nqe0f5wh7aE










Rituals of the Dead

Zelda Richardson Mystery Series Book 2





A museum researcher must solve a decades-old murder before she becomes the killer’s next victim in this riveting dual timeline thriller set in Papua and the Netherlands.

Agats, Dutch New Guinea (Papua), 1961: While collecting Asmat artifacts for a New York museum, American anthropologist Nick Mayfield stumbles upon a smuggling ring organized by high-ranking members of the Dutch colonial government and the Catholic Church. Before he can alert the authorities, he vanishes in a mangrove swamp, never to be seen again.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2018: While preparing for an exhibition of Asmat artifacts in a Dutch ethnographic museum, researcher Zelda Richardson finds Nick Mayfield’s journal in a long-forgotten crate. Before Zelda can finish reading the journal, her housemate is brutally murdered and ‘Give back what is not yours’ is scrawled on their living room wall.

Someone wants ancient history to stay that way—and believes murder is the surest way to keep the past buried.


Can she solve a sixty-year-old mystery before decades of deceit, greed, and retribution cost Zelda her life?




Awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion by indieBRAG’s readers in December 2018

One of Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews’ Top 20 Books of 2018

Winner of a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, June 2018&

A Women Writers, Women’s Books magazine’s Recommended Reads for March 2018

New Apple’s 2018 Summer Book Awards, Official Selection Mystery/Thriller category

BookLife Prize for Fiction 2018, Mystery/Thriller category, rating 8.50




Art, religion and history collide in this edge-of-your-seat museum thriller, Book Two of the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The novels in this series can be read in any order.








Marked For Revenge

Zelda Richardson Mystery Series Book 3






An exhilarating adventure set in the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, and Turkey about stolen art, the mafia, and a father’s vengeance.

When researcher Zelda Richardson begins working at a local museum, she doesn’t expect to get entangled with an art theft, knocked unconscious by a forger, threatened by the mob, or stalked by drug dealers.

To make matters worse, a Croatian gangster is convinced Zelda knows where a cache of recently pilfered paintings is. She must track down an international gang of art thieves and recover the stolen artwork in order to save those she loves most.

The trouble is, Zelda doesn’t know where to look. Teaming up with art detective Vincent de Graaf may be her only hope at salvation.

The trail of clues leads Zelda and Vincent on a pulse-pounding race across Europe to a dramatic showdown in Turkey that may cost them their lives.




Awarded a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award in June 2019

A Women Writers, Women’s Books magazine Recommended Reads in June 2019

One of Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Top 20 Reads of 2019

Placed at #30 in ReadFreely’s Top 50 Indie Reads of 2019

Chosen as Chill with a Book’s June 2019 Cover of the Month



Marked for Revenge is the third book in the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The novels in this series can be read in any order.








The Vermeer Deception

Zelda Richardson Mystery Series Book 4





An art historian finds – then loses – a portrait by Johannes Vermeer in this thrilling art mystery set in Munich, Heidelberg, and Amsterdam.

When Zelda Richardson investigates a new lead about a missing portrait by Johannes Vermeer, no one expects her to actually find the painting in a retired art dealer’s home in Munich, Germany. Not her parents visiting from America; her boss, private detective Vincent de Graaf; or the rightful owner of the Nazi-looted artwork.

However, Zelda’s jubilation turns to horror when she arrives to pick up the portrait and finds the art dealer dead and several frames smoldering in his fireplace.

Was the Vermeer a fake and its ‘discovery’ a cruel joke played on a Nazi victim? The Munich police, Zelda’s family, and Vincent certainly think so.

Yet the art dealer’s best friend believes he was murdered and the real Vermeer stolen by an underground network of art looters, one established during World War II and still active today. The problem is, no one believes him – except Zelda.

Zelda soon finds herself in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with immoral art collectors, corrupt dealers, and an all-too-real killer who wants her to stop searching.

Can Zelda uncover the truth about the Vermeer before she is painted out of the picture permanently?


The Vermeer Deception is Book 4 in the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The novels in this series can be read in any order.



**On Sale for only $2.99!**









Hi! I am an American ex-pat currently living in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, I moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. When not writing, you can find me in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning my next research trip.

My love of travel, art, and culture inspires my award-winning Zelda Richardson Mystery series, Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries, and standalone stories.

The Lover’s Portrait (Book One) is a suspenseful whodunit about Nazi-looted artwork that transports readers to WWII and present-day Amsterdam. Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Rituals of the Dead (Book Two), a thrilling artifact mystery set in Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands. My pulse-pounding adventure set in the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, and Turkey— Marked for Revenge (Book Three)—is a story about stolen art, the mafia, and a father’s vengeance.

The Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries are a funny new series featuring tour guide and amateur sleuth, Lana Hansen. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly. Book One— Death on the Danube —takes Lana to Budapest for a New Year’s trip. Can Lana figure out who murdered her fellow tour guide before she too ends up floating in the Danube? Death by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris (Books Two) was released in February 2020, and Book 3 will be released in May 2020.

I am also the author of Down and Out in Kathmandu, Holiday Gone Wrong, and Notes of a Naive Traveler.

I have also started a group for readers and writers of travel fiction and non-fiction – Travel By Book. We are a promotion and discussion group active on Facebook with a growing presence here on Goodreads.

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/216133-travel-by-book

Thanks for stopping by!

Connect with me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or my website.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads




“Art-related, Dutch goodies” prize package, includes:

– Playmobil toy of Vermeer’s The Milkmaid (from the Rijksmuseum)

– A notebook featuring Vermeer’s The Milkmaid on the cover

– A tulip pen

– A fabric bag from a local Amsterdam cafe



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