Guest Chick: Tracee de Hahn (and a giveaway)

We are delighted to welcome Tracee de Hahn, author of the Agnes Lüthi Mysteries! Tracee has kindly offered to give away a copy of Swiss Vendetta and A Well-Timed Murder, so be sure to leave a comment below today to be entered. 


Who is ready to travel? I’d say everyone, whether it is across town to spend an unmasked day with friends and family or to finally, finally embark on the postponed trip of a lifetime.

During the recent non-travel months I’ve relied on memories. I was fortunate to travel far and wide early in life, beginning with a summer in high school when I toured with a band in Europe (sadly, not the Rolling Stones. No call for French horns in rock bands).

Before walking out the door with my suitcase (yes, I’m old enough to have had a suitcase and not a backpack), my mother reminded me that no matter how far I was from home, there were always people watching. This was clearly meant as a reminder to be on best behavior. In retrospect, this could also have been the opening line of a thriller starring Liam Neeson.

On a more recent trip to Paris, I was reminded of my mother’s words while traveling by taxi. My French is decent and as I was chatting with the taxi driver, he asked where I was from. You know the drill. I answered big picture (“the US”) and he wanted more detail, which coast, which state . . . until we arrived at the tiny town where I lived at that time, San Luis Obispo, California.

Why was he so curious? The week before he had another American in his taxi and was captivated by that man’s description of idyllic small town life. (This is where I thought, you must have dozens of Americans in your taxi every month, and it’s a big country.) Imagine my surprise when this American happened to be a close friend of mine, proving that my mother was right: there is always someone nearby who can report back on behavior . . .

After I paid the driver, I couldn’t help thinking, what were the odds that Allan and I had taken the same taxi in a major foreign city six days apart? What were the odds of finding out? If this was a plot point, would an editor believe this coincidence, the kind of coincidence that might have led to an amateur sleuth solving the crime! Books often hinge on a coincidence, maybe two. Something seen, an old acquaintance rekindled at the very moment when, coincidentally . . .

But when is coincidence too much and when is it like life, where odd moments occur? In my current work in progress my heroine inherits a distillery at the very moment she is in need of a fresh start. In creating her story I’m going with good timing, the friend of coincidence. Once she’s settled in and ready to distill (aka my book hits the shelves) I’ll invite you to read and decide for yourselves. Until then, keep an eye open for friendly happenstance in your own lives. Coincidence is actually everywhere, albeit in limited quantities.


Tracee de Hahn is the author of the Agnes Lüthi Mysteries published by Minotaur Books. The first in the series, Swiss Vendetta, was inspired by her years in Switzerland. More recently, A Well-Timed Murder probed the heart of the Swiss watch industry. Degrees in Architecture and European history serve as the inspiration for the sense of place at the heart of her classic tales of intrigue and suspense. Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, she grew up in Kentucky. She currently lives in Virginia. A member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers she is national membership development liaison for Sisters in Crime.

57 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Tracee de Hahn (and a giveaway)

  1. Welcome, Tracee! I’m sure if you wrote that taxi scene into a book (and it got past your editor), readers would say it’s too far-fetched. But I love coincidences like that. It just helps to show how connected we all are.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Coincidences are always interesting to me. When my husband and I were dating I found out we had met prior to our first date. His family and my family were attending a graduation open house of a mutual friend. Although I don’t remember seeing him there, fourteen years later we met again and were married a year later. Happily we have celebrated 35 years together.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. So fascinating. At the end of college, I applied to graduate school. The student assigned to follow up on my application asked me whether I knew of this other person attending my college–I did, because I was dating him!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That is another amazing coincidence! I know these things happen every single day, but since we only get to see our slice of life, it seems a rarity.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Tracee, I have to agree. I don’t think that coincidence would make it past the editor and definitely not the reader. But you are right – it happens all the time. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been somewhere and the person I talk to also went to my college (a very small university) or we have a mutual acquaintance in Pittsburgh. Heck, I found out through coincidence that author Lissa Redmond and I are related by marriage (her aunt by marriage is my father’s cousin).

    Was it Mark Twain who said, “Of course truth is stranger than fiction – fiction has to make sense”?

    Congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Love the family tie. I was at a faculty gathering when my husband took a new position in California (I’m from Kentucky) and in just a few minutes found that one of the other wives and I were distantly related through our “Snoddy” family relatives from Arkansas. With such a family name in our past I guess it had to come out!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Love the family tie. I was at a faculty gathering when my husband took a new position in California (I’m from Kentucky) and in just a few minutes found that one of the other wives and I were distantly related through our “Snoddy” family relatives from Arkansas. With such a family name in our past I guess it had to come out!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. That is an amazing coincidence! I bet that taxi driver thinks all Americans know each other now. Lol. I can’t wait to travel safely and comfortably again. I have only been out of the U.S. once, to England and Scotland. I would love to go back, it was beautiful. Fingers crossed we’ll get there soon.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Love your book covers, Tracee! I’m a believer that sometimes, coincidences happen. Case in point – in April, I was laid off from my day job. I was responsible for maintaining my agency’s accreditation with a national oversight organization. When I started my job search, just for kicks, I checked to see of the oversight organization had any openings. It did – for a position very similar to what I’d been doing at my former agency. Fast forward a few weeks and interviews and I have a job with the oversight organization. Coincidence that they had an opening right when I needed it? It makes one wonder…

    Liked by 5 people

  7. “…would an editor believe this coincidence, the kind of coincidence that might have led to an amateur sleuth solving the crime! ” Who cares? The editor is only one dude, and novels are subjective. The important issue is whether the readers would accept such a coincidence as a basis for the solution of the mystery, and that would depend on the skill of the writer, IMO. Proper foreshadowing would be key. Me, I wouldn’t make the coincidence the determinative clue, but I can see it as an important step along the way to a solution. Just ask any cop how many times luck has factored in to the solution of a case.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Tracee, Adore this post–and welcome to Chicks! I am a true believer in coincidence. The bigger, the better. I, too, am reminding myself that truth is stranger than fiction as I pen my new WIP. I can hear that scolding editor perched on my shoulder, but…what the heck. Your books sound fabulous, and the covers…wow, stunning.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! I agree that the Minotaur team did such a great job with the covers. They remind me of the classic postcards of Switzerland, always featuring some iconic lake or mountaintop (and even better if the artist could miraculously capture lake, mountain and castle!).

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I love coincidences! I always think about the time in college when I was studying abroad in England. On our first weekend in London, I was sitting in a pub with a few new friends and we were watching this couple dancing in front of us, and I looked closer and realized…the woman dancing was my best friend from high school. Who was studying abroad that same summer, but in Italy, and had randomly come to London and randomly chose the same bar. I said it out loud, “That’s my best friend!” and my new friends looked at me like, this girl has had way too many ciders, and then we both squealed and hugged and it was CRAZY. And so fun. 🙂 Also, I’m excited for the chance to win your awesome books!!

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Tracee, happy to have you here on the Chicks today! Your covers are both alluring and mysterious.

    I believe in coincidences, but I also believe in being hyperaware of certain details. For example, when I got engaged, everyone around me seemed to have engagement rings on their left hands as well!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Absolutely! I notice this when looking for certain antiques – my father started collecting scales and suddenly they were everywhere, and I’m sure that before that I would have sworn I’d never seen one in a store.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I do love when coincidences occur in real life (not so much in fiction, though). My wife and I were at a café in Paris some years back when I felt a tap on my back, and it was a Parisian friend who’d since moved away to the south but was visiting for the weekend. Such fun!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Tracee, and congrats on the new book–it sounds terrific! (And by the way, you could have perhaps toured with the Who with your French horn…)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Now this will be on my list of regrets…. I clearly COULD have toured with The Who. Although another memory makes me think I might not have been a good rock band groupie – I was in Venice in 1989 a few days after the infamous Pink Floyd concert. It would have been quite the event in person, but seeing the ‘aftermath’ . . . what a mess! Probably best that I was too late.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Love that you got to see your friend again, Leslie…aww!

      And agree about the French horn potential.

      Your Pink Floyd story just reminded me: one summer, I was studying in Toronto and the Red Hot Chili Peppers gave a free concert on the roof of a store. I completely forgot about that!

      Like

  12. I got into a cab at Grand Central late one night and the (very Southern) cab driver asked me what I’d been taught about the civil war. I replied with what I’d been taught at my Maryland college. It turned out his ex-wife had been a fellow history major and good friend and I even knew his name. We had a good conversation.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We have to believe in six degrees of separation. Or in your case one. That’s a great coincidence. And I’m reminded that it is the little casual conversations that let us know how connected we are (or as my mother would say – remind us that someone is always watching!)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. That is an amazing story!

    I do believe in coincidence, and I’m okay with it in a novel when it is used sparringly. But too much, and I start to roll my eyes. What can I say, I’m inconsistent. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I LOVE coincidences like that. When I was living in NY, someone called looking for Tori Woods. It was a wrong number – my roommate was Valerie Woods – but coincidentally, I knew Tori! I was able to give the person an update on her and her telephone #. Your series looks great, Tracee. I LOVE your cover. Thanks so much for visiting with us today!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’ve had one ‘name coincidence’…. my maiden name is Leigh and when reserving theater tickets in NYC back in the day of calling for a reservation, the seller asked me to spell my name and then said, “Is your mother Janet Leigh?” Clearly a joke, but I replied in all honesty. Yes. They were super flustered and started talking about comp tickets when I confessed she is Janet Leigh but not THAT Janet Leigh. I still think I got an upgrade! (And thanks for the note about the book cover. The folks at Minotaur did a great job.)

      Liked by 4 people

  15. Gorgeous book covers and your stories sound intriguing! I love coincidences in real life but in fiction they always seem like the author didn’t work hard enough. I wonder why I’m so strict to authors but not in real life. Lol

    Liked by 3 people

  16. To think of all the things that had to line up just so for you to be in that particular cab…it’s kind of mind-boggling. Very cool. Thank you so much for visiting us and I can’t wait for your next book! This series is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a pleasure to be here! And, yes, it was literally a one in a (how many people are on the planet) chance. But, again as my mother would say…. someone is always watching!!! (She probably planned the whole thing. Hmmm now that could be in a book. It’s totally believable.)

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Tracee! Welcome to Chicks! What a fabulous post. I’m a big fan (and believer in) coincidences. Mine haven’t been as interesting as yours and the others shared, but there’s still time, right? Congrats on your latest! It sounds (and looks!) amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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