The new Sparrow Falls Mystery novel is here!


“I LOVED YOU the first time I saw you.  It feels like I have always loved you, as though even before my life began, I was meant to love only you.”  The handsome young man on bended knee clasped the woman’s hand tightly.  She gazed into his startlingly blue eyes, and sighed.  The romance of it all!

So begins the first chapter of the highly anticipated new novel by Donna McLean.  The Butterfly Caper: a sparrow falls mystery #4  is available now on Amazon and B&N!

Summer is drawing to a comfortable close in cozy Sparrow Falls, North Carolina, even while unnerving and mysterious thefts are taking place in small towns throughout the southeast. When a bold thief hits Addie’s wee carriage house – and dares to do so even in the middle of the day – senior sleuth Tilda MacArdan is determined to find the perpetrator of this rude and dastardly deed, with or without the help or approval of the local police force. Her efforts send her on a merry chase to find a painted butterfly in a golden frame, and lead her to some revealing discoveries about her own family’s surprising past.

Book #4 of the popular Sparrow Falls Mystery series is a lighthearted caper with a touch of romance that is sure to please readers far and wide.  In response to many requests from her readers, Donna McLean has written a delightful “mystery without a murder” that delivers equal elements of suspense, surprise and humor.

Please visit the BOOKS page for more information on this popular cozy mystery series.  Thank you, and happy reading!

News on the New Novel! a sparrow falls mystery #4

First, thank you to all who have emailed, tweeted and otherwise let me know how much you are looking forward to reading the new Sparrow Falls Mystery novel. Book #4 (title and cover art to be revealed soon!) will be ready for preorder within the next few days, and more information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

I offer my sincere apologies for making y’all wait so long for this one. As some of you know, I was a caregiver for my father during a long terminal illness, and after his passing I found myself overwhelmed, not only with grief, but with all the exhaustion and delayed emotions that happen to those who are blessed with carrying their loved one’s burdens during that most difficult phase of life. Thank you, genteel readers, for your patience with me during this past year. I hope you will check this website often for updates on the new novel, sign up for notifications on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and I sincerely thank you, again and again, for your interest, wonderful feedback and thoughtful encouragement! It does a writer’s heart good to know that her wee books are making such a heartwarming impact on the lives of readers across the globe.

SecoUh Oh!nd, while you are waiting to see what happens next in the lives of Tilda, Addie and Pearce Allen, I hope you will enjoy reading a little book that I put together and released simply as a heartfelt “thank you” to the genteel readers who have been so supportive and encouraging while the Sparrow Falls series was finding its wings. Merry Mishaps: a lighthearted life began as a collection of humorous human interest stories based upon my life in the small southern towns in which I have lived. Some articles were originally part of my newspaper column, some are short fiction that never saw the light of day, and there are even a few wee stories written simply to amuse my friends, who later urged me to share them with the world because “everyone needs a good laugh, or a reason to keep smiling and make it through another day”. And so I did a little rewriting, put this short book together (100 pages of wholesome LOL fun!) and re-released it as an Amazon paperback and a Kindle exclusive, and I hope it tides you over until the new novel is available.   Please let me know if it brightens your day. I love to hear from my readers!  (Click the smileys to see the Amazon page.)

Thank you again, and happy reading!


Quilting Cousins

Donna, sparrow falls mystery series:

Such a lovely quilt! I enjoy sewing but quilting is one thing I have yet to attempt. My hobbies run along the lines of making doll clothes from antique patterns to making baby dolls clothes that are strictly for the enjoyment of the tots to which I give them. Oh, and reading and writing cozy mysteries.

Originally posted on Crafting Mysteries & Suspense:

Recently, a stunning quilt top was handed off – from cousin Linda (in Prineville, OR) to cousin Gary (who played delivery guy) to cousin (me). Fingers fumbling, I opened the box, ready for a first glimpse. I unfolded it and caught my breath. Gorgeous! And what a treat to partner with Linda Gholson, quilter extraordinaire, in this part of my novel journey with Abingdon Press.

Tail in the Rail Quilt

“Tail in the Rail” Quilt

My upcoming “Quilts of Love” mystery, A Stitch in Crime, features Thea James stitching on this very quilt in her spare time. (Not that she has much of it. Too busy trying to figure out whodunit.)

I’ve named the quilt “Tail in the Rail” because the pattern consists of Fence Rail blocks, floral sashing, and Aunt Elena’s Nine Patch variation of a kitty-cat to represent Betty, the feisty calico in the story. It’s my own design, along with…

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The Cat, The Vagabond And The Victim by Leann Sweeney

Donna, sparrow falls mystery series:

So I haven’t read this (yet!) but I like Sweeney’s books and the cover of this one is so pretty! The colors are lovely and the kitties along the yellow brick road, complete with that interesting phrase “Heir of the cat”, piques my interest. Getting now, reviewing to follow.

Originally posted on Carol Mann Agency:

81nKsjjkzsLNational bestselling author of The Cat, The Mill And The Murder returns with another feline-friendly novel: The Cat, The Vagabond And The Victim centers around Clyde the cat. When Clyde travels two hundred miles back home only to find his former owner dead, the story makes national news. While everyone seems eager to tell Clyde’s incredible tale, someone needs to step up to care for him. Because the media attention is creating chaos at the local shelter, cat quilter Jillian Hart agrees to foster the loyal orange tabby, hoping his location is kept secret.

But while the media circus around Clyde continues, Jillian learns the real story behind his owner’s death—he was murdered. Why would an elderly man already dying from a serious illness become a murder victim? As the local police search for an answer, Clyde makes another escape. Jillian is drawn into the case when she finds Clyde has returned…

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Serling on the Shelf: Rescuing Rod

Donna, sparrow falls mystery series:

Exciting News for Twilight Zone Fans!

Originally posted on Shadow & Substance:

I have on my shelves a dog-eared paperback edition of Rod Serling’s 1967 book “The Season To Be Wary.” It sits near similarly worn copies of several other books that he either wrote or edited. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you one bit, but WHY I have them might.

Serling Promo2

It’s not because I love old books (though I do). It’s because when I first began acquiring copies of Serling’s volumes, they were out of print.

You don’t have to be an obsessive fan like me to be struck by that fact. One of the most famous writers of the 20th century, and his books were less accessible than James Patterson’s? As Serling might say, file that under “L” for “literary crime.”

Enter Rod Serling Books.


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The Black Orchid Novella Contest for Writers!

There must be a way to share other writer’s blog posts on my page, but I’m still new at this and have yet to figure out how to do that.  So I’m just going to include a helpful link for those who are interested in contests for writers, and I hope it will show up as a nice, pretty blog post from one of my favorite sites on the web,, featuring Danna’s post about the 2014 Nero Awards and the current Black Orchid Novella Contest.  If it doesn’t show up here, don’t worry, it’s all my fault…but at least the link is included, or you may choose to google it and find out for yourself.  :-)  Here goes:

REVIEW: Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear

Sharon Dunn

Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear by Sharon Dunn gets five stars from this reviewer for two aspects of a genuinely good novel:  a solid mystery in the classic tradition, and humorous elements that really are laugh out loud funny.  Clues and red herrings are skillfully placed, providing a fun challenge to those genteel readers who enjoy piecing together the puzzle, and I am happy to say that this book does not follow a typical “ACME Mystery Writing Formula” that is easily spotted and used by far too many cozy writers today.

Best of all, there really is a six-foot teddy bear in the book!  Thus, not long into the story, the genteel reader begins to encounter such delightfully zany sentences as The bear nodded at her, crossed his legs, and picked up a newspaper.  The characters are people we would love to spend time with, inside the book and out.  The Bargain Hunters Network, as they call themselves, are four genuinely nice ladies with real quirks and endearing traits that may remind you of someone you’ve known in the past, or the kind of friends you have today.

There are a couple of smaller storylines on the side, but these do not distract from the mystery at all.  Kindra, youngest of the bargain hunting gal pals, has an interesting romance with a fascinating character, and the conclusion of this part of the book provides for some interesting insight into what real love is, or at least what it should be.  Spunky senior citizen Arleta does some soul searching and comes to a surprising, but satisfying, conclusion on the direction her life has taken.  Ginger, the real heroine of the bargain hunter novels, has many hilarious misadventures, a few heartbreaking ones, and finally discovers that her priorities may need some slight readjustments.  These sidelines are brief but enjoyable, and add to the cozy friendship feeling of the novel.

Sharon Dunn has written two other novels in the Bargain Hunters Mystery Series, and this reviewer hopes to read many more.  Her most recent series is the Ruby Taylor Mystery Series.