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Jan McCanless to sign new mystery book April 5

SALISBURY — Janet McCanless will sign copies of her new Beryl’s Cove mystery, “The Choir Loft Murders,” April 5, 5:30-8 p.m., at Literary Bookpost, 110 S. Main St. It is the sixth book in her series and is published by AuthorHouse.

Steve and Suzanne Thomas are in their mountain retreat when someone kills the choir master and choir members of the congregational church of Ridgeville. The first murder occurs in the Nest O Rest Lodge, just up the path from the Thomas home, so the heroes are going to investigate. Steve’s best friend from Navy days is visiting his sister’s lodge and is called upon to help with the investigation, and add his own insights and zaniness to the proceedings.

When two more murder victims show up, the plot thickens, with a twist that sends the town reeling. When the hometown gang from the Cove show up for the 4th of July festivities, more adventure ensues as they end up stranded late at night on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Things are never quite settled, even when the amateur sleuths return home. There is unfinished business and some shady dealings afoot.

McCanless is a retired high school teacher from Rowan County. A writer for many years, her works have appeared in national magazines and newspaper columns. Married for more years than she cares to count, she’s a mother of three children and nine grandchildren.

She recently received the Mother Vine short story award for 2013 from Barnhills Books in Winston-Salem for her book “Wyatt Earp, GAP Pickles, and Thoughts of Home,” a compilation of her Salisbury Post and Senior Savvy columns, as well as humorous articles for other publications nationwide.

Hillsborough’s Jill McCorkle’s “Life after Life,” her first novel in 17 years, was officially released March 19 and is already garnering favorable comments from reviewers and readers. On “Bookwatch,” she talks about the Pine Haven Retirement Center, where the book is set, and its residents, staff, family and visitors who become the characters whose stories drive the book’s plot and will move its readers. McCorkle visits “North Carolina Bookwatch” at noon today and Thursday at 5 p.m.

The program will also air Wednesday, April 3 at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner 172 or 4.4). In addition, airing at 11:30 Wednesday on UNC-MX will be a classic “Bookwatch” program featuring Ron Rash. Earlier this year on “Bookwatch,” Rash told us about his latest novel, “The Cove,” about Laurel Shelton, a young mountain woman who lives with her brother in a back cove near Mars Hill.

“The Cove” has been a success. So has Rash’s recent book of short stories, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” These two books follow Rash’s blockbuster, “Serena,” which also featured that combination of violence, raw settings and stark beauty.

Next year, when “Serena” the movie is released, there will be a burst of publicity about Rash. Everybody will be talking about him, and you will be able to say that you heard about him long before the movie made him famous.

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