Dervla Alarms the Nanas

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
306 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2024
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Author Biography

I've been a writer since second grade, when Samantha the Martian came down to Earth to teach school. Since then I've killed off meanies in a mariachi murder series, a wine cellar in Italy, and, more recently, a bedroom blocks from my house in Tucson, Arizona. (Dervla Alarms the Nanas) Because I love to travel, I’ve sent characters to Asia, Europe, Mexico, and my hometown of Springfield, Illinois. For music fun I moonlight with a mariachi band, but by day, I teach writing at the University of Arizona. (Have to support that travel habit somehow!) I've recently ventured into the world of audiobooks with Party Wine.

When I lived in Mexico back in the 1980s, I had a teacher friend who started having mysterious pains. They were so debilitating that she would have to stay in bed for a couple of days at a time. Her incident sparked a key plot point in Dervla Alarms the Nanas. A couple of incidents with my cousin in New Orleans gave me the impetus for the main character and her special skill. I drafted the novel during the first fall of Covid. Perhaps that’s why Dervla is sometimes a bit sarcastic. It was a difficult time period, and that came through via the characters.

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Nino Lobiladze for Readers' Favorite

Dervla returns from her New Orleans vacation to learn that her long-time boyfriend and business partner, Emil, is leaving her for another woman. Heartbroken and outraged, she finds solace in the unconditional support of Emil's grandmother, Lula, and his great-aunt, Mari, also known as the Nanas. They give Dervla a little voodoo doll to get rid of negative emotions. Dervla doesn't believe in magic but plays along. Soon, she learns that Emil is under arrest for the alleged murder of his new girlfriend, Twinkle. The Nanas beg Dervla to investigate the case and help get Emil out of custody. Not happy with their plea, Dervla doesn't have the heart to upset the elderly ladies with her refusal. But the subsequent events turn her reality upside down. Dervla Alarms the Nanas by D.R. Ransdell is for fans of mysteries and detective novels with a paranormal twist.

D.R. Ransdell's Dervla Alarms the Nanas is a smooth and light read, thanks to a detail-oriented, witty narrative, clear writing style, and excellent character development. Dervla is a down-to-earth person who has to deal with the unknown. Dervla's strong personality, practical thinking, and loyalty to the Nanas add to the complexity of her character. Lula and Mari enchanted me with their astonishing abilities, kindness, and readiness to protect their loved ones no matter what. The arrogant Emil is a perfect example of a cheating boyfriend. Ransdell strengthens the storyline with a touch of Mexican lore and superstitions. The author builds a clever intrigue upon the darkest human emotions and offers an engrossing ending with a hint of dark humor. I hope to read more about Dervla's adventures.