Cover Image: Death on a Deadline

Death on a Deadline

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Member Reviews

I am really enjoying this series, particularly Irene and her investigative skills (although her calling her soon-to-be father-in-law “dad” is kind of weird and confusing, especially when she’s with him and her mom).   Irene is smart, savvy, and kind.  She’s easily relatable and I love her integrity. The story itself was well-paced and kept my interest the whole time. I also really liked the headlines at the beginning of each chapter that put the time period in perspective.  I highly recommend this series.  Looking forward to the next in the series.
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As much as enjoyed the mystery. I couldn't stand the heroine. And in a mystery series the heroine tends to be the one solving the mystery. And if a reader can't stand the heroine it's going to be a long book.
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Dollycas's Thoughts

June 1942 - Many folks including Irene Ingram's fiance, Bill, and father are doing their part in the war effort, her father as a news correspondent, and Bill is still in training and waiting to be deployed. On the homefront in Progress, Pennsylvania that means Irene has stepped into her father's shoes as editor-in-chief of The Progress Herald and Rally Johnson 4F and ineligible to serve has been hired to take Bill's place at the police station. Irene's future father-in-law is the chief of police and is missing Bill as well but both are kept very busy by the happenings in Progress.

In tandem with the county fair this year, there is a war bond drive complete with a visit from some movie stars from the Hollywood Victory Committee. Ava Dempsey hears all the scuttlebutt and is only too happy to share that Clark Gable is going to be one of those stars. Apparently, her "source" was wrong because Freddie Harrison, a B-list actor is the headliner for the Progress event and his appearances are cut short when he is found dead in the dunk tank.

Turns out there are plenty of suspects. His wife Angel who just happens to be Ava Dempsey's sister and an actress traveling with the war bonds group tops the list. Freddie was absolutely clueless when she left him after finding out he was having an affair with Belinda Fox, a young starlet also traveling with the group from Hollywood. Truthfully anyone in the group could have killed the man. Irene wants to get the scoop on the murder so using her reporter skills she digs in to find the truth. She just needs to meet the paper's deadline before she reaches the killer's . . .


Irene Ingram is an excellent protagonist. She is smart, thoughtful, and well-liked by almost everyone she meets. She takes her obligations seriously and excels at running the newspaper showing critics that she is a strong woman capable of doing the same job as a man.

The author has surrounded Irene with a great cast of secondary characters. She works with her best friend and sleuthing partner Peggy, who is dating one of the other reporters. Her cousin also works for the paper. He was upset that the top job went to Irene instead of him but is coming around to see she was the right choice. She lives with her mother and sister and they rent one bedroom out to a boarder. But the relationship I love is the one between Irene and Police Chief Walt Turner (Dad), her future father-in-law. They work together and exchange information and ideas to solve the case. They are so comfortable with each other. They try to have lunch together often but most times his work or hers pulls them away.

The Hollywood crowd was interesting in their own right. All were cleverly written and all of them had secrets to be revealed. Irene had trouble getting a true read on them because, let's face it, they are actors. One person slipped into a different character every time they talked. One was very entitled and another tried to be helpful but Irene really didn't know who to trust.

The mystery was a fun one to follow. Freddie Harrison was a conniving man who made a lot of enemies. A key piece of evidence firmed up the real suspects and their motives. Then it took more sleuthing to make the clues fall into place. I did enjoy the reveal! The part Irene played had me nervous but then I was cheering.

The author includes a newspaper headline at the start of each chapter. Those and the talk in the newsroom and the assignments of articles to each reporter keep readers grounded in the fact that while there may be excitement in Progress there is a war happening in the world. In this story, the war comes home to Progress when Western Union arrives with the dreaded news no one wants to hear. It is easy to see the author did her research because she captures the happenings and lifestyles of the time so well.

Strong, realistic characters, a very intriguing mystery, and a true picture of small-town life all make Death on Deadline is a fantastic addition to this series. It kept me fully entertained from the beginning to the end. While this book can be read as a stand-alone I do recommend reading Front Page Murder first to get to know these characters from the start.
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Thank you for the opportunity to review this new novel.

I haven't read the first book in the series but that was totally ok, there was no problem to get into the story. It was a good cozy mystery with the author doing something different by placing it in 1942 in Progress, PA. I liked that and the mystery kept me guessing, which was good.
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Death on a Deadline Earns 5/5 Headlines…Entertaining & Clever! 

It’s June, 1942, with war rages on in Europe, and the small town of Progress is preparing to do their little part: a war bond drive. However, the bigger news, or rumor, is film star Clark Gable will be attending the event. Ava Dempsey assures Irene —, the editor in chief of the local paper, the information is not rumor, but she’s the town’s biggest busybody. Can she be trusted! Ava’s sister Angela, one few recall and who prefers to be called Angel, is an actress in Hollywood, married to Freddie Harrison who Ava paints as a popular up and coming star, and know all about Clark Gable who chairs the Hollywood Victory Committee. Well, don’t “hold the presses” yet…Irene is skeptical that Angel’s “might” is not a “definite.” Angel is pure Hollywood from her looks to her uppity demands, but Irene was right to be reticent. Clark Gable is a no show, but Angel’s own animosity is on full display when B-listed actor and her cheating husband shows up…and that, unfortunately, is the final credits for him! 

Joyce St. Anthony has brought her second book set in WWII era into the world of cozy mystery: Victory Gardens, war bonds, fifty-cent lunches, front lines, home front, and families praying Western Union passes them by. She’s included a strong female lead in Irene, a fascinating career in journalism, small town dynamics, and lots of tension to make this a “couldn’t put down” experience. The mystery is well-developed, clever, and easy to read with all the usual suspects with their particular grudges against the victim who himself is a less than admirable character in thought and deed. Too many suspects would rather see the curtain literally come down on him: scorned wife, protective father, competing actor, a mistress. But, don’t overlook anyone waiting in the wings or secret grudges waiting to be exposed! 

Joyce’s write style is very entertaining, descriptive with engaging dialogue, and adding to the chapter leads, a current headline was a unique walk down “history” lane sending me to Google to learn more. I love my mysteries to be of another era, and with many references to World War II, 1940’s society, and various historical figures, it was obvious Joyce did her research. Fun. Compelling. Satisfying surprise. This is definitely a book cozy fans should put on their TBR list.
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3/5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers, and Joyce St. Anthony for allowing me to read and review this book.

I enjoyed the WWII backdrop of this series. I love the how historically accurate it is with the rationings, war bonds, and women working men jobs. I loved how it showed the divide between younger women liking and wanting to continue working once the men come back and the older women telling them not to stay with it when the men return- because women are supposed to be housewives and moms.

The main character is the head of the local newspaper while her father is away. Although she faces some difficulties in being a woman in charge, she starts gaining respect of some of the other workers there. Her soon to be father-in-law is the police chief, her fiancé and her father are away fighting in the war. 

The mysteries in these books are good and keep you guessing until the last chapter. The characters are lovable, and it is a good cozy mystery in a small town, even with the war looming overhead. 

You don't have to read the first book in this series, but it does help you learn more about the background and the characters you are following. This is a good book for anyone who wants a cozy mystery set in war time or to see women gaining power and status in communities.
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"Death on a Deadline" is the solid second entry in what will hopefully be a long series from Joyce St. Anthony. It's 1942 and Irene is helping hold down the American homefront by taking over from her father as editor of the local newspaper. In her initial outing, Irene helped uncover a spy ring set on sabotage. This time, it's war bonds and murder, Rumors swirl that Clark Gable will attend. While this proves false, a prodigal daughter returns to progress and sets off a chain of events that lead to another case for Irene to solve. 

The mystery is complex enough to keep the reader guessing, but where these books really shine for me is in the way they show what it was like in a smaller American community during WWII. It would be easy to think that the "We Can Do It" attitude wasn't that prevalent, but it really does seem to have been a time where most people pulled together for the common good. The relationships between the characters are wonderful to read about, too. Irene and her cousin are beginning to work together, instead of against each other, and Irene has earned the respect of the other men on the newspaper. She did butt heads with her future father-in-law, the police chief, in this book, which was surprising, and he gave her more leeway than he should have, considering she committed a B&E while looking for evidence. It was a bit of a letdown, since I felt like he was just there to enable her sleuthing, rather than being a strong character on his own. We have several years left of the war, though, so there's plenty of time for the characters to grow and develop.

4 out of 5 stars. 

I received an advance copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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I received a free epub copy from NetGalley for an honest review!

I felt like this was a well rounded cozy mystery.  The setting of it being during WW2 was important for the characters of the story but it didn't overwhelm the plot and the characters still felt modern to me, with the way they spoke and the banter between them.  The only things that changed was being able to eat at a diner for 50 cents.  

The mystery of this one was strong, I wasn't able to figure it out to the end.  It wasn't that obvious but felt like it concluded well.  

I'm not generally a big fan of historical fiction but the way this one used the history made it work for my liking.
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June 1942. It is time for the County Fair at Progress which is hosting a War Bond Drive. Unfortunately for Irene Ingram, Reporter and Editor-in-chief of the Herald, she discovers a body of one of the actors from the Drive. She assists Police Chief Walter Turner with her own inquiries. Can either discover the motive, and so the killer before any one else is killed.
A well-written and entertaining historical mystery with its likeable and varied characters. It is a good addition to this series which can easily be read as a standalone story.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Death on a Deadline is my first book in the series. Reading the first one will be on my list to read. I really enjoyed it. The Editor-in-Chief, Irene's character appealed to me partly because I have always wanted to write for a newspaper. This book was a big hit with me because of the era and its historical format despite the war that was going on.. There was a lot of variety and character development among all the characters. I loved Irene's amateur investigation into the death of a B-star actor. There were many suspects in the case that I enjoyed reading about.

Thank you Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for the ARC of this book. This was a honest review.
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Irene Ingram lives with her mother, younger sister, Lily, and a boarder, Katherine Morningside, though Katherine is in New York, currently. Irene is Editor-in-Chief, running the local newspaper owned by her father. She is also engaged to the son of the local police chief but he is away at war as well as her dad. In Death on a Deadline the residents of Progress, Pennsylvania, are holding their annual fair and this year they are raising funds for their soldiers overseas. Town gossip, Ava Dempsey is telling people that Clark Gable will be among the participating stars in the war bond drive. Instead of Gable, the headliner is Freddie Harrison, a B-movie star. When Freddie turns up dead in a water tank, Irene gets involved.

I liked the calm, earnest and plucky Irene and I appreciated the inclusion of the newspaper headlines which make you feel as if you could be there, back in 1942. An all-round, great, solid cosy read.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel, at my own request, from Crooked Lane via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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The first book, Front Page Murder, in A Homefront News Mystery, was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed.  In  book 2, Death on a Deadline, we have another winner.  Well written with engaging characters and a storyline that will hold your attention up to the last page makes this series a winner.

In this book, Ava's sister, Angela, an up and coming actress,  comes back to town for the yearly fair.  This year, celebrities are coming from Hollywood and are attending the fair to raise money for the war effort by selling war bonds.   Ava is telling anyone who will listen that one of those celebrities will be Clark Gable but it turns out its not Clark Gable coming but Angela's estranged husband and actor, Freddie Harrison.  When he turns up murdered, Irene investigates and there are no shortage of suspects.

I love both books in this new series by Joyce St. Anthony and look forward to the next one. I recommend this series to all cozy mystery lovers.
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If you’re a fan of historical cozy mystery books, you will really enjoy this captivating new title in the Homefront News Mystery series. Death on a Deadline is the second book in the series, but it can be read as a stand alone. I do recommend you read Front Page Murder though as you get to know the main characters much better in the first book. Here’s a quote from my review of that one:

"Front Page Murder is the first book in the Homefront News Mystery Series, so it’s the perfect choice for those of you who like starting at the very beginning. Front Page Murder has wonderful characters, a bewildering mystery, and lots of cozy elements. It really did make me feel happy! I hope it does the same for you!"

Death on a Deadline  has Irene once again caught up in a murder, only this time some of her main suspects are ones with whom she’s well-acquainted!

It’s summertime and the small town of Progress, PA is holding its annual fair. This fair is different this year in that the town is raising money for the soldiers fighting in WWII by selling war bonds; and celebrities, who are touring the country to support the war bond initiative, have descended upon Progress. Unfortunately, the fair becomes much different when Irene, the town’s newspaper editor-in-chief, finds one of those celebrities dead in the dunk tank. You’ll need to read the book to find out why Irene has some locals on her list of suspects.

There are a lot of secondary characters, and that’s one reason I recommend reading the first book before this one. You may find it hard to keep track of everyone with the celebrities in town. Since I read the first book, I knew who the locals were, and it was easy for me to separate the main characters from the “guest” characters. Irene’s spunky and persistent characteristics shine through once again in Death on a Deadline. It’s a good thing the chief-of-police is her future father-in-law because she can easily ascertain info from him, and she can tell him things she’s found out in her “investigating.”

Both the plot and the mystery’s intrigue kept me engaged while reading Death on a Deadline. If you read a lot of cozies, you may figure out who the killer is early on in the book, but you may also change your mind a couple of times as you gather clues with Irene. I enjoyed the titles of the chapters, many of which contained WWII information that I didn’t know before reading this cozy. That’s one reason I enjoy historical cozy mystery books. The authors do their research which makes the books all the more exciting. I’m looking forward to what the author has for us next! I give Death on a Deadline 4 solid stars and think you cozy mystery lovers will enjoy it like I did!
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Happy Publication Day to Joyce St. Anthony for the publication of Death on a Deadline, book 2 in A Homefront News mystery series. Thanks so much to @netgalley and @crookedlanebooks for the ARC. This is such a great historical mystery, especially set during WWII on the homefront.

“As World War II rages in Europe and the Pacific, the small town of Progress is doing its part for the soldiers in the field with a war bond drive at the annual county fair. Town gossip Ava Dempsey rumors that Clark Gable will be among the participating stars. Instead of Gable, the headliner is Freddie Harrison, a B-movie star. When Freddie turns up dead in the dunk tank, Irene Ingram, editor-in-chief of The Progress Herald, starts chasing the real headline.”

If you like strong heroines and a strong sense of time and place, I recommend this series. I love the small town and the relationship Irene has with the Chief of Police (he’s her future father-in-law). I was sorry to see it end. If you like the way the Darling Dahlias series is written, this would be comparable. So fun.
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This second book in the series does not disappoint! Irene is still running the local paper and the annual fair is happening, along with a bond drive for supporting the troops. This step back in time is very realistic and filled with all the things that would have gone on, including a soldier's death. But the real problem is a cheating actor husband who gets murdered before the fair can begin. Irene digs for the truth and finds herself in the middle of secrets and blackmail. A great read! I hope this series continues.
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I really enjoyed the first book in this series but found that I had a difficult time really getting into this one. There were so many characters and suspects and I didn't really care whodunnit when it was all said and done. Hopefully the next one will perk my interest like the first.
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Death On A Deadline is the second book in the A Homefront News Mystery series by Joyce St. Anthony.

Irene is settling in well after taking over as editor-in-chief of the Progress Hearld from her father, who has become a war correspondent in the Pacific.

The planning committee for the war bond drive is meeting and learns from Ava Dempsey, owner of the local beauty shop, that Clark Gable will be coming from Hollywood with other movie stars in support of the war bond drive held in conjunction with the county fair.

Irene is at the fair's opening when she sees the Hollywood Victory Committee has arrived, but Mr. Gable isn’t in the group.  Those that made it are Ava’s sister Angel, Freddie Harrison, Ava’s estranged husband, Kirk Allen, a rising star who had gone to school with Irene and no one recognized.  His appearance has changed since he was in high school—also Belinda Fox, an aspiring actress and Freddie’s mistress will be joining the stars.

When Freddie doesn’t show up for the group's rehearsal, Irene decides to walk the fair to check out the booths and to keep an eye out for Freddie.   Soon she sees a piece of blue material stuck on the dunk tank and goes to check it out and finds Freddie’s body floating in the tank.  Once the body is removed from the tank, it is apparent that Freddie was struck on the head with a hard object.

The reporter in Irene sets her off to search for the person who killed Freddie.  His wife, Angel, will become the prime suspect, but Irene has doubts.  Irene will soon learn that there is no shortage of suspects.  Just about all the members of Hollywood personalities have nothing good to say about him.  Irene wonders if Ava might have ended Freddie’s life for how he has treated her.  Angel’s father becomes a suspect as he threatens Freddie with a rifle.  Gossip columnist, Greta, will come under suspicion.  Irene wonders why a prominent gossip columnist would come to a small community like Progress.

I love this series, and the characters are well-developed. I would love to call them my friends. St. Anthony adds headlines depicting WWII events. Anthony has researched and provided the reader with a historically accurate book.

I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in this exciting series.
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Set in 1942 in the small Pennsylvania town of Progress, Irene is holding down the fort running her father's newspaper while he is overseas covering the war. Getting ready for the Summer fair and the war bond drive has the town jumping. The gossip mill, fueled by local gossip, Ava, is abuzz that the likes of Clark Gable will be the headliner. The reality turns out to be a B-list actor, Freddie Harrison, who is married to Ava's sister, Angel. He's a real jerk and has more than a few enemies. Is one of them his own wife? Whoever it is wants him dead and Irene finds herself investigation another murder. Her future father-in-law is the Chief of Police and he is none too pleased with her poking about into police business. 
This is a well crafted period mystery with a great cast of characters and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the last chapter and the unmasking of the evil doer.
My thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Hollywood has come to Progress for a WWII bond drive but at least one of the stars isn't leaving.  This second in a nice Homefront cozy series features Irene, an intrepid young woman who has found herself running her father's newspaper and solving crimes, not always with the approval of her future father in law Police Chief Walt.  Freddie Harrison was a b-list actor and b-list human, a man who had a number of enemies and who was cheating on his wife Angel, sister of Ava, the town gossip.  Irene finds herself sorting through rumors and old hurts to find the real villain.  She's got a good friend in Peggy and her family helps as well.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  This will be fine as a standalone because there's enough back story to get you up to date.  It's a classic cozy set apart by the Homefront atmospherics. A good read.
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I fell in love with this series with the first book and was eager to get into the second one which was set in summer during fair time when the rally was on to buy war bonds. Since they didn't have any huge name stars coming, they did get a few what we might call B or C listers now. When one of said stars was found dead, the obvious thoughts were that one of their own did him in. The guy had lotsa secrets he was keeping and what's this...he was blackmailing for some of those secrets.

There were plenty of suspects although one of those I never really considered as a suspect, but I did keep wavering on which of the others was the killer. The person whodunit was on my list though. I loved the showdown and what Irene was able to do to the perp. They had the whole story explained by Walt eventually or at least the parts they didn't all already know. I get a kick out of Peggy and Irene sleuthing, but it was fun that crazy Sylvia from the first book was included too. She was always a hoot! One of her particular talents was really useful for this case.

I'm not sure how many more books are planned but the war went on plenty long enough for maybe a few more. I'd love to see Bill and Irene's Pop get home! The story about the hometown boy shot down in the battle of Midway was pretty sad especially when his good friend (one of the stars, another hometown guy) gave a little memorial speech about him at a bond rally. Hoping for a next book to look forward to!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
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