Cozy under the Snow Moon

Welcome to On the Prowl.

Feburrrary has certainly lived up to it’s name this year. To keep warm and cozy, I have a few things to charge your hibernating synapses. We’ll begin gazing at the moon, of course, then dive into a true story that is crazier than fiction. Grab a pencil for a quick little puzzle before you tap into a preview of the next Mysteries to Die For. We finish up with a couple new releases from Down and Out Books. Warm thoughts! TG

The Snow Moon has lived up to its name here in Northeast Indiana. While officially not arriving until 3:17am EST on Saturday, February 27, Cold temperatures have kept the snow around, giving us the perfect winter coat. According to my favorite source, The Farmer’s Almanac, February’s moon is also knowns as the Bald Eagle or Eagle Moon (Cree), Bear Moon (Ojibwe), the Black Bear Moon (Tlingit), Raccoon Moon (Dakota), and Groundhog Moon (Algonquin).

I thought it curious to see bears in the list. This city girl thought bears hibernated in winter. According to the Almanac, this is the time when cubs are born. If cub birth is anything like child birth, there ain’t no sleeping through that!

A few more days left on the Suicide Squeeze Promotion. Click on the image to register for your chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Down the Rabbit Hole: The Affair of Poisons

This month, researching the background for one of the Mysteries to Die For stories took me down the rabbit hole of French history. Check out this crazy sh*t: the “affair of poisons” was a twist of murder, conspiracy, alchemy, and witchcraft. It started with the 1675 trial of Marie Madeleine Marguerite d’Aubray, Marquise of Brinvilliers, accused of conspiring with her lover in the poisoning of her father nine years prior and two of her brothers five years prior. She later confessed under torture and was sentenced to death. (Her lover had died of natural causes some years before her arrest.) The trial was sensational and had all of Paris’ aristocracy talking…talking about other mysterious deaths. People got nervous, even King Louis XIV. Paris Police Chief Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie was given the job of getting to the bottom of things.

The unraveling began with the arrest of a woman, Magdelaine de la Grange, on charges of forgery and murder. La Grange cut a deal, not so different from today, and gave information on other high crimes in exchange for her life. In Paris, there was a black market for poisons, impossible to detect, to aid in securing early inheritances and cleaning up family matters. The fortune tellers and alchemists of Paris were rounded up by the chief of the Paris police. Several confessed under torture and gave up some very connected names in the highest circles.

The name most associated with the affair of poisons was midwife Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, referred to as La Voisin. Incriminated by a poisoner, La Voisin herself implicated several courtiers- which is to say companions or advisors to a king or queen. Her declarations were especially noteworthy because they included King Louis XIV’s lover Madame de Montespan, mother of 7 of his 9 children.

The Paris Police Chief La Reynie established a special court, the Chamber Ardente (the burning court), to judge the cases. The king eventually disbanded the court reportedly to avoid the risk of scandal. A quote from Reynie showed what he thought of it all: the enormity of the crimes proved their safeguard. (The 17th Century equivalent of a bail out?)

Are you ready for the crazy? By the numbers, the Affair of the Poison implicated 442 suspects. A total of 367 arrests were issued and 218 carried out. Of those found guilty, 36 were executed, 23 exiled, and 5 sentenced to the galleys (rowing for the French navy). Some people were punished without a trial. A total of 65 men and women were imprisoned for life at different Chateaus and other places. Others died in police custody by torture or suicide. An unreported number were imprisoned or committed to mental institutions by their families disgraced by the offender. And we thought 2020 was nuts (ok, it was, even by 17th Century Parisian standards). Reference:


Begin with the word SNOW, then roll it around by changing 1 letter and rearranging to create the defined word. Example: that thing two inches in front of you: NOSE (SNOW – W + R)

Answers are at the end

Let’s Start! SNOW

Change 1 letter and rearrange for a word meaning a graceful white bird: ________

Change 1 letter and rearrange for a word meaning to fade way: ________

Change 1 letter and rearrange for a word meaning Pig Pen’s antithesis: ________

Change 1 letter and rearrange for a word meaning a pleasant sound: _______

Change 1 letter and rearrange for a word meaning to go all in: ______

Change 1 letter and rearrange for a word meaning what we all hope to be at the end of 2021: _____

Mysteries to Die For. Season 2: The Originators

Mysteries to Die For combines storytelling and original music to put you in the heart of murder, mystery, and mayhem. This season features adaptations of some of the first stories to be considered mysteries. Episodes drop every other Friday.

New to podcasts? An easy way to start is through my website. Click PODCAST

S2 E3 The Human Affect Drops Friday March 5

Every man has a guilty pleasure, his was haunted houses. Our detective had seen through smoke and mirrors to the human hand before. Now he’s turning his talents on the home were the housekeeper died with her eyes open.

An adaptation of The House and The Haunters by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

S2E4 T. Sawyer, Esquire Drops Friday March 19

They say poor old Uncle Silas kilt that ornery Jubiter Dunlap, be we know he didn’t have nothing to do with it. Our lawyer ain’t worth nothin’. Not to worry. With Tom Sawyer on the case, the real killers ain’t getting away.

An adaptation of Tom Sawyer, Detective by Mark Twain

Down & Out Books is the publisher of my mystery series and supports Mysteries to Die For. Check out these new releases on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ask for them at your favorite book store.

Midnight Lullaby by James D.F. Hannah


A missing woman. A suitcase full of drug money. An ex-cop with nothing to lose.

A roadside shooting ended both his career and his marriage and sent ex-state trooper Henry Malone back to his childhood home in Serenity, West Virginia. A request to look into the disappearance of a young mother becomes a second chance, an opportunity to redeem himself.

But Malone finds the unexpected as he scratches beneath his hometown’s surface: Crooked lawyers. Meth cooks. A hair-triggered sheriff. A beautiful legal secretary. And a seductive yet deadly white supremacist. It is a dangerous mix that leads Henry and his well-armed AA sponsor, Woody, down onto a wild and deadly road. A missing-persons case becomes the struggle for both men just to stay alive.

D&O is reissuing James Hannah’s award winning Henry Malone Series over the course of a year. Jump in now to keep up with the twists and turns that keep Malone on his toes.


State of Shock by M. Todd Henderson

Available Now

When Jante Turner is murdered just days before she takes the mantle as new dean of Rockefeller University Law School in Chicago, Royce Johnson is approached to help solve the murder. Recently released from prison, the ex-FBI agent has his own problems. Still, he takes the job.

Soon, Johnson finds himself at the intersection of higher education, Chicago politics, big money, and murder. Johnson traces a river of corruption running from deep-pocket donors of the University to North Side developers and a South Side alderman who is heir to the throne in City Hall. In his desperation, he turns to the one lawyer who can help him—the former Rockefeller student whom Johnson mistakenly framed for murder on his last case.

Amazon: State of Shock

Look out for the Next Edition of
On the Prowl

March 28, at which point we should be into the “lamb” part of the month

Snowball Answers

A word meaning a graceful white bird: SWAN

A word meaning to fade way: WANE

A word meaning Pig Pen’s antithesis: NEAT

A word meaning a pleasant sound: TONE

A word meaning to go all in: ANTE

A word meaning what we all hope to be at the end of 2021: SANE

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