Thursday, September 20, 2018

Can You Ever Escape the Past? A guest post by Daniella Bernett

RHYS BOWEN: I met Daniella when I was in New York for the Edgar celebrations this year, and I promised her a visit to Jungle Reds when her book came out. So here she is, talking about a checkered past. I expect many of you have had one. I know I have!
. Welcome, Daniella.

Daniella Bernett   Jungle Reds Blog post 

Past Crimes: The Fatal Trespass

I would like to thank Rhys Bowen for inviting me to Jungle Reds. After admiring her writing for such a long time, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting her in person in April at the Mystery Writers of America’s pre-Edgar Awards gathering at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York. Rhys, you were gracious and charming. I hope I didn’t gush too much as I basked in the glow of your presence. And now, here I am once again rubbing shoulders (figuratively) with all of the Reds, each bringing her own engaging style to the mystery world.

I’m delighted to let everyone know that A CHECKERED PAST, the fourth book in my mystery series featuring journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon, will be released on September 29 by Black Opal Books. The story is set in contemporary London, but it bears the scars of shameful betrayals of decades that have come and gone.

This begs the question: Can you ever truly escape the past? Isn’t it the shadow that stalks your footfalls? Doesn’t it rise from the ether like a mist’s moist caress to send a frisson slithering down the spine? This is when danger can strike without warning because the past holds the key to everything one feverishly struggles to keep locked away. But the past drags one back.

My story was inspired by sheer, unadulterated fury and a desire to ensure that we, as a civilized society, should never forget the dark sins perpetrated during the Holocaust. It is inconceivable to me that in 2018, well into a new century, survivors and their families must endure lingering indignities as they continue to fight to have the property stolen from them restored. Some say that I’m overly sensitive and take things too personally. Perhaps, I do. But what is the alternative? Numb indifference and that is unacceptable.

In A CHECKERED PAST, I sought to put a personal face on this heart-breaking tragedy, which is still very much alive for so many. When treachery and lies are someone’s modus operandi, confronting ugly truths can be a lethal endeavor as Emmeline learns while pursuing an investigative series on looted Nazi art. Her research and uncomfortable questions stir up a cauldron of trouble when a Constable painting belonging to a prominent Jewish family that she knows is discovered in the collection of Max Sanborn, the chairman of the company that owns the Clarion newspaper where she is employed. Her reporting quickly garners Max’s ire. To complicate matters, Emmeline stumbles upon a disturbing connection between the painting and a sinister IRA collaborator named Doyle.

Gregory, a criminal with a sense of honor, is just as resolute in his efforts to prevent Emmeline’s
quest from becoming a perilous obsession. Through his shadowy contacts he seeks to help her, but his own illicit choices in life keep getting in the way and threaten to destroy everything they hold dear.

If you’re haunted by a checkered past, you’re living on borrowed time and soon there will be no place left to run. The day of reckoning must come. But when desperation is laced with fear of justice long-delayed, the only way out is murder.

If A Checkered Past piques your interest, don’t miss Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy and From Beyond The Grave, the first three books in my series, where Emmeline and Gregory put their lives at risk when they’re thrust into imbroglios involving Russian spies, stolen diamonds, duplicity and blackmail. 

Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America New York Chapter. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy and From Beyond The Grave are the first three books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure. Visit www.daniellabernett.com or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008802318282 or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/40690254-daniella-bernett.



40 comments:

  1. Welcome Daniella. And congrats on the new book. I’ll put it in my pile

    Last morning in Oxford and off to the Cotswolds in a bit. Cheers

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    1. Ann,

      Thank you for your good wishes. I'm delighted that book has piqued your interest.

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  2. Congratulations on the new book, Daniella. “A Checkered Past” sounds quite intriguing, and I’m looking forward to reading your timely story.
    Recently there was a local news report about a stolen painting found and finally returned to the family to which it belonged.
    You are right: we must never forget the horrors of the past [or we run the risk of allowing them to happen again], and we must do everything possible to right those wrongs . . . .

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    1. Joan,

      Thank you for good wishes. Sadly, you are right. We see these stories all the time in the papers. Each one another black mark of shame that this horror was allowed to happen.

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  3. Welcome, Daniela! And congratulations! Sounds like a book that I want to read. I was reminded of a Father Brown episode where the jewel thief falls in love with a Holocaust survivor ( they met before or during the war and he witnessed her arrest by the Nazis?).

    Diana

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    1. Diana,

      Thank you. I haven't seen that Father Brown episode. I will have to find it. I've all been interested in history. It's important to know the past so that we understand why things are the way they are today and so that we do not repeat tragedies.

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  4. No, a past can never be escaped. It can be evaded, but it will catch up with you. What a thrill, to have met Rhys in person!! I am sad to say I had not heard of you until this morning, but am intrigued by your posting, and descriptions of your books, to pursue this further!

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    1. Anne,

      Yes, indeed it was such a thrill for me to meet Rhys. I'm also tickled pink that my essay has piqued your interest in me and my books. I hope you enjoy them.

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  5. This sounds terrific! Congratulations. Tell us about your research… Where did you go and what did you do and was it fun? Welcome!

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    1. Hank,

      Thank you for your good wishes. In terms of research, I have always been interested in history. There many, many articles about this topic. Also, I listened to the family stories, which put a face on tragic issue. My book is set in London, which I've visited a number of times. I've been an Anglophile since I was a little kid, so when I began writing my series my characters had to be British and my stories had to be set in London and the UK. LEAD ME INTO DANGER, Book 1, also takes place in Venice. London and Venice are my two favorite cities.

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  6. Good to "meet" you Daniella! I'm always intrigued by the "criminal with a heart of gold" character, so I must add your books to my TBR pile.

    And yes, you really can't escape your past, can you?

    Mary/Liz

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  7. Congratulations on your new release. I love your garden author photo. Where was it taken? No, we never escape our past.

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    1. Margaret,

      Thank you for your good wishes. My photo was taken in the gardens of Crathes Castle in the Scottish Highlands. It's absolutely beautiful.

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  8. Mary,

    Nice "meeting" you as well. I've always had a soft spot for the criminal who is not quite a bad guy and the delicate balance between law and crime. With such as a character, there are so many possibilities for an author. I'm delighted that you intend to dip into my books. Happy reading!

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  9. Hi, Daniella! You are a new-to-me author, as well. Thanks, Reds, for the introduction.

    My husband always says I have a "varied, but not checkered" past, which sounds a great deal duller than what we usually think of with that term! No illicit activity in my personal history, just a lot of career changes. But it's fun to read about others who have.

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  10. Karen,

    Hello. Indeed, everyone's past, comprised of the situations one experiences and the people one meets, shapes our natures and our views, and makes us unique. Alas, most of us don't have an intrigue in our lives that's why it's so deliciously exciting to read about it.

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  11. Hi Daniella - so glad to know about your books. I'll have to take a look. This latest does indeed sound fascinating. Yes, I think that many of us are constantly amazed at the stories that are still coming out about the WWII era and earlier. So many things were hidden. Best of luck with the new book and thanks for telling us about your series. I love the sound of it!

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  12. Kay,

    Thank you for your good wishes. Yes, I feel this is an important issue that must be kept in the public eye.

    As for my series, my smile this morning is growing more and more to hear that you and the others are interested in my books.

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  13. Daniella, Your story sounds fascinating - and it's obvious you have real passion behind it. It IS important that people realize that much of the repair that needs to be done hasn't been finished. Also how relatively recently this happened - so NOT ancient history.

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  14. Hallie,

    Yes, I am passionate about this issue, as everyone should be about injustice. This is definitely not ancient history.

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  15. This world has been permanently altered by the Holocaust, and the damage continues in one way or another, including the selling of artwork misappropriated by the Nazis. (I’m also shocked that there are still people who claim the Holocaust never happened.)

    I hope this book awakens interest in the looting issue. I do plan to look for all your books ASAP.

    DebRo

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  16. Deborah,

    Sadly, the Holocaust is an ugly stigma upon what humanity should be. That's why it makes be furious when people continue to deny that it ever happened and that its victims are "greedy" for attempting to have THEIR property returned.

    I hope you enjoy my books. Happy reading!

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  17. The "hidden past" idea is fascinating, and extends far beyond the bounds of the Holocaust. How many white Americans are benefiting from a long-forgotten legacy of slaveholding? How many are making money from land that once belonged to indigenous people? How many Europeans haven't been touched in some way by a legacy of colonialism?

    It's an interesting and uncomfortable idea - that we owe the past a debt. Congratulations to Daniella for tackling such a complex subject.

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  18. Julia,

    Thank you for your kind words. I simply attempted to keep the issue alive and to show the how it reverberates today.

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  19. Hi Daniella! This topic is so interesting and, unfortunately, still timely. I love the idea of a thief with a conscience and an interesting set of values. I'll have to find your first book in this series. Congratulations on the latest!

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  20. Pat D.,

    Thank you for your good wishes. Yes, a "good" thief presents a contradiction in terms. But who better than a criminal to understand a fellow criminal's mind. Enjoy my books.

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  21. To so many the atrocities of the Nazis and the Holocaust are just a part of history they study, and sadly, not even enough of that anymore it seems. It's gone, it's past, it's over. But, as your book demonstrates, Daniella, that is so far from the truth. It's still and forever will be a part of who we are, those who personally suffered and those of us who grew up in a world formed from the ashes of that suffering. But, it is the loss that continues that should concern us all, and now the resurgence of the hate we thought we'd defeated. The art that was stolen from Jewish families is such a quagmire of provenance that it is a sweet victory when the original Jewish family or their descendants regain a treasured piece of art. Your book sounds fascinating, Daniella, and it is the sort of book that I would love to see a part of a school curriculum. Having formerly taught English, I'm a big fan of supplementing learning history with novels.

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    1. Kathy,

      You have eloquently expressed all the churned up emotions that this issue awakens in me. The suffering and those that would deny that such atrocities and betrayals occurred make me angry. In addition, the resurgence of such sentiments terrifies me. We cannot forget what happened and we must fight to ensure that it never happens again.

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  22. Hi Daniella and congratulations on your book. Of course I love anything set in London and anything with ties to WWII. I think it's much easier for Americans to forget the war and the Nazis atrocities--the British live with reminders every day.

    As to your thief with a conscience, I wonder if you read Elizabeth Peter's Vicky Bliss books, with her wonderful John Smythe?

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    1. Deborah,

      Thank you for your good wishes. Yes, the British live with constant reminders, but so too do those who escaped to the United States for a better life. I am the daughter of immigrants. My sister and I are first-generation Americans. Although my parents are both Romanian, they met and married here in New York in the 1960s. They lived, and suffered, through the war. So these are no just stories for me, it's life.

      To answer your question, I haven't read Elizabeth Peter's Vicky Bliss books, but thank you for the recommendation. I will definitely pick them up.

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  23. Daniella, I sent a copy of The Tuscan Child in German to a German friend and got a letter back saying "Why do you have to keep rehashing this. The war is long over. Let us forget it and live for the future." I replied that I felt it was important that we never forget. When we see parallels in white nationalism alive and well today, plus the treatment of immigrants, we need to remember how easily that can lead to a situation we can no longer control.

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    1. Rhys,

      Yes, it is so true. We have to remember. The war is never over for those who suffered, and continue to suffer, because of the injustices perpetrated against them. If we don't remember, humanity's soul will be condemned in perpetuity.

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  24. Nice post, Daniella. What a great subject for a mystery. You're so right, we should never forget the Holocaust.

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  25. Kathleen,

    Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. It's an issue I feel strongly about.

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  26. Hi, Daniela! Fascinating post - especially these days when the past seems ever present thanks to the Internet. Congratulations on your new book!

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  27. Jenn,

    Thank you for your kind words and good wishes.

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  28. Daniella,

    Congrats on the soon-to-be-released novel. It sounds like a meaningful work.

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    1. Jacqueline,

      Thank you for your good wishes.

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  29. Daniella,

    Congrats on the soon-to-be-released novel. It sounds like a meaningful work.

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  30. Thanks to Daniella for keeping the issue of the Holocaust in front of us. As she reminds us in THE CHECKERED PAST, the issues of hate and genetic supremacy are alive whether we recognize it or not. Aside from the loss of family treasures, we have lost the wisdom and the children of all who perished.

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