by Frankie Bow
Book 1: The Musubi Murder
Newly single and far from home, Professor Molly Barda wants to focus on her job and stay out of trouble until she gets tenure at remote Mahina State University. But her life is upended when fast-food entrepreneur Jimmy Tanaka, founder of Merrie Musubis, pledges a huge donation to Molly’s college, and then disappears. Molly’s bottom-line-obsessed dean tasks her with locating the missing musubi mogul, a quest that lands her in a stew of old grudges, whispered scandals, and murder.
Along the way, Molly starts to fall for Tanaka’s competitor, the too-good-to-be-true Donnie Gonsalves. Donnie seems to like her for all the wrong reasons–and has a few secrets of his own.
“The behind-the-scenes descriptions of university politics are hilarious. The depictions of the academic quicksands of funding, tenure, political maneuvering, academic (dis)honesty, and political correctness are spot-on.”
“A fun, quirky murder mystery. It has a great plot, suspense and comedy.”
“Great fun and a great romp through academia! Characters are fun, and I enjoyed their adventures. Highly recommend.”
Available on Amazon (including in audio book) and iTunes
Book 0 (prequel): The Case of the Defunct Adjunct
When the lecherous Kent Lovely, Mahina State’s one-man hostile work environment, collapses face-first into his haupia cheesecake, the faculty retreat goes from dull to disastrous. Now Professor Molly Barda has to fight to keep an innocent out of prison—and herself off the unemployment line.
“From the first page, I couldn’t stop chuckling. This annoyed my wife no end because the bed kept shaking every minute or so. She finally told me to read another book, preferably something like Tom Clancy, or go sleep in the guest room. Frankie’s strength is getting things exactly right. Her descriptions of academic politics and her ear for local speech patterns and her descriptions are spot on.”
Book 2: The Cursed Canoe
Professor Molly Barda investigates a mysterious paddling accident, and realizes it isn’t just business majors who cheat to get what they want. Whether it’s moving up in the college rankings, getting a seat in the big canoe race, or just looking out for themselves, some people will do whatever it takes-including murder.
“The writing is clever and very entertaining. I find the main characters (Molly, Emma, Pat) quirky and likable.”
“It has plenty of believable characters, funny moments, and a twist in the tale.”
Book 3: The Black Thumb
When a violent death disrupts the monthly meeting of the Pua Kala Garden society, Professor Molly Barda has no intention of playing amateur detective. But Molly’s not just a witness–the victim is Molly’s house guest and grad-school frenemy. And Molly quickly finds to her dismay that her interest in the murder of the stylish and self-centered Melanie Polewski is more than just…academic.
“Molly’s friends, family, fiance and acquaintances provided an entertaining and exasperating support cast to make this book a page turner – good plot and pace.”
Book 4: The Invasive Species
Professor Molly Barda is thrilled to be included in a grant to investigate attitudes toward biotechnology. But she immediately finds herself embroiled in the deadly fight between big biotech and anti-GMO activists. When Molly and her best friend Emma Nakamura stumble onto the scene of a brutal murder, they realize that everyone has something to hide–and there are some questions you don’t ask.
Book 5: The Blessed Event
Professor Molly Barda is looking forward to a quiet summer in Mahina, Hawai`i working on her research and adjusting to married life. But when a visit from her new husband’s relatives coincides with a murder, Molly wonders what she’s married into–and realizes she might have a killer under her roof.
CIR: What is the main character like?
BOW: Professor Molly Barda got her Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from one of the top ten programs in the country, only to find that there were no jobs for someone with her credentials. So had to readjust her expectations and broaden her search. She finally got a job teaching business communication in the College of Commerce at remote Mahina State University in Hawaii. Her dissertation advisor was horribly disappointed in her for “selling out” (a business school? The horror!) but after a year of fruitless job hunting, Molly was happy to have health insurance and a living wage. Molly is a privileged, persnickety big-city girl, but living in Mahina has forced her to become more flexible.
CIR: Are any of the characters based on people you know?
BOW: Haha of course not, the very idea! (Glances around nervously.)
CIR: If you could create the perfectly specific genre title for this series, what would it be?
BOW: My friend and fellow mystery author Leslie Karst came up with the term “snarky cozy” to describe the kind of mystery we both write and enjoy.
CIR: Who would you cast as the main character if this were made into a movie?
BOW: Eliza Dushku. She’s beautiful and has a great comic sense, and like Molly Barda, she’s Albanian-American.