Delaney, Kathleen

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Delaney, Kathleen


Born in CA; children: five. Hobbies and other interests: Breeds and shows national-winning Arabian and Half-Arabian horses.


Home—Gaffney, SC. E-mail—[email protected]


Author. Worked as a real estate broker for thirty years.



Dying for a Change, PublishAmerica (Frederick, MD), 2002.

Give First Place to Murder, PublishAmerica (Frederick, MD), 2004.

And Murder for Dessert, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2007.


Kathleen Delaney grew up in Glendale, California, then moved to other areas of southern California after she got married, including Cypress, Chino, La Habra Heights, and Costa Mesa. She raised five children in a series of neighborhoods that resembled each other, and it was not until most of her children were grown that she set out to earn her real-estate license and become a broker. Delaney ultimately worked thirty years selling houses. She was based in Paso Robles, where there were more wide-open spaces and plenty of room for her to indulge her love of animals, especially horses. However, writing was always something that interested Delaney, and so when it came time to retire she picked up and moved to the atmospheric town of Gaffney, South Carolina, choosing a one-hundred-year-old house with an old-fashioned porch that wraps around the front—the perfect place to dream up stories. Delaney began writing full time, working diligently on her series of "Ellen McKenzie" mysteries.

Delaney's first mystery novel, Dying for a Change, which she actually wrote prior to her retirement, was a finalist in the St. Martin's Malice Domestic contest when it was still in manuscript form; it was published soon after. The book kicks off when Ellen McKenzie, a fledgling real-estate broker with Harper Land Sales, discovers a body in the closet of a house she is preparing to show. Ellen's clients appear minutes later, and together they call the police. Among the officers who show up is Police Chief Dan Dunham, a childhood friend of Ellen's, but as curious as Ellen is about her old friend, she is more interested in learning about the dead man. The corpse turns out to be Hank Sawyer, an area contractor who was apparently planning to sue one of Ellen's coworkers at the real-estate office. An investigation turns up a mysterious limited partnership, complete with a potentially major land deal. Ellen sets out to determine how the land deal linked back to Hank, and why anyone would want him dead. Ron Miller, in a review for the Columnists Web site, remarked: "Delaney does a good job of taking us into the real estate business, the backdrop for her mystery, and successfully plants quite a few credible red herrings on her way to the windup." critic Susan Anderson commented that "the characters are well-drawn and three-dimensional and the relationships and interactions are completely believable."

Give First Place to Murder is the second installment in the "Ellen McKenzie" series. In this book readers get to learn a bit more about Ellen's previous connection to Dan Dunham, as well as enjoying another murder mystery. Delaney mines her interest and knowledge of show horses in this book, which begins at a horse show where Ellen discovers a man in the barn who has been murdered with a pitchfork. When the dead man turns out to have been using crystal methamphetamines, Dan suspects that the horse shows are a cover to move drugs. This theory seems more plausible when, at another show, Ellen discovers yet another body—this time a horse trainer she has been following. He, too, was using meth. As Ellen gets closer to solving the mystery, the suspense increases, culminating when Ellen and her daughter are kidnapped by the killer. Midwest Book Review contributor Harriet Klausner praised the book, noting that "there are plenty of suspects, red herrings, and unexpected twists so that readers will not be able to successfully bet on who the killer is."

The third "Ellen McKenzie" book, And Murder for Dessert, finds Ellen and now-fiancé Dan Dunham heading off for a romantic evening at the Harvest Festival Dinner. However, when one of the attendees is found dead in a wine-fermenting tank, their quiet evening is turned on end. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews found the mystery easy to solve, but concluded the book is "an enjoyable addition to the cozy scene."



Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of And Murder for Dessert.

Library Journal, June 1, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of Dying for a Change, p. 200.

Publishers Weekly, May 27, 2002, review of Dying for a Change, p. 42; May 14, 2007, review of And Murder for Dessert, p. 35.


BookLoons, (January 8, 2008), Mary Ann Smyth, review of And Murder for Dessert.

Columnists, (January 8 2008), Ron Miller, "What a Way to Start a Career in Real Estate!," review of Dying for a Change.

Gotta Write Network, (January 8, 2008), review of Dying for a Change.

I Love a Mystery Newsletter, (January 8, 2008), Caryl Harvey, review of And Murder for Dessert.

Kathleen Delaney Home Page, (January 8, 2008).

Midwest Book Review, (January 8, 2008), Harriet Klausner, review of Give First Place to Murder; Theodore Feit, review of And Murder for Dessert., (January 8, 2008), Laura Strathman Hulka, review of And Murder for Dessert.

Mysterious Reviews, (January 8, 2008), review of And Murder for Dessert.

Reader Views, (January 8, 2008), Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson, review of And Murder for Dessert., (January 8, 2008), Susan Anderson, review of Dying for a Change.

Roundtable Reviews, (October 29, 2004), Tracy Farnsworth, review of Give First Place to Murder.

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Delaney, Kathleen

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