Oliver Wright WWII Mysteries, Writing



Rave Reviews Book Club’s


Announcing the winners of my block tour stop!

3 Audiobooks of Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery

Charles Jones, Janay Mack, Marlena Smith

$25 Amazon Gift Card

Nonnie Jules

I have posted a selection from Shadowed by Death. Sophia and Marek are Polish resistance fighters who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising and are in Point Richmond, California. The year is 1944. I hope you enjoy it and that you win a door prize for stopping by. (At the end of the selection, you will find a quiz about first lines of famous books, just for fun!)

Chapter Six

The World of Good Memories

Sophia scowled at the bowl of hot chocolate as if she were willing it to curdle, to form a scum, to do something besides torment her with its deep chocolate smell, the smell that reminded her of flannel nightgowns and her father reading to her by the fire. She swallowed her pain and the saliva that flowed unbidden into her mouth.

“Eat, Sophia. For you to be hungry will not help anyone.” Marek chided her gently. “Do you not know to eat when you can?”

“Only when food is scarce, not…” She gestured around the cafe. Captain Buonarotti had sent them to the Cafe Avellino to meet his aunt, Mrs. Forgione, who had welcomed them as if they were guests in her home.

The cafe was designed to satisfy appetites. Pastry filled a glass case, plates of pasta and greens sat on tables, and the steaming espresso machine gurgled and hissed. The patrons may have had luxuries like butter and sugar rationed, but their faces were rounded and healthy. Some had even left food on their plates.

She looked out the window into the night, but the aroma of abundance was as substantial as the sight of it. Perhaps more so. The smells, the food, the inlaid marble floor and tables reminded her of Europe. Maybe that was why Captain Buonarotti had sent them there. Maybe he thought they were homesick, but you can’t be homesick when you no longer have a home, only heartsick. She caught herself going down that bitter path of regret and longing. Stop it, Sophia. Accept what is good.

She cleared her throat. “We could be in Paris, Marek. Or Vienna. Before the war.”

“Yes. We will be there again one day. After the war.”

“After the war.” She knew he had seen the bitterness in her smile when he shook his head at her. How could he still be optimistic?

“Eat.” He gestured at the chocolate and the bun beside it. “We are in civilization, so we will behave in a civilized manner. I will buy pastry to bring to our host.”

“I am certain Andrew will not expect us to bring him anything but good news.” Her mouth twitched. “Buy the pastry. At least we will not disappoint him completely.”

While Marek chose pastry, she swallowed the chocolate and ate the bun. The smells of garlic and spices had stirred memories of being in Rome with Ary, memories of romantic dinners in Trastevere, coffee in the Piazza Navona, a stormy day at the Pantheon watching their children tilt their faces up to the opening in the roof, waiting for raindrops to fall on them. That’s where she had to live to survive. In the world of good memories.

Marek set a white box tied with string on the table and smiled when he saw her empty plate. He helped her with her coat and pushed through the cafe doors into the foggy night where Christmas lights swayed in the wind and danced above the wet pavement.

She took his arm, and they walked along as if they were lovers, as they had been taught to do, even when they thought no one was watching. In Warsaw, they had learned to behave like ordinary people in an ordinary city, to forget they were the hunted, to hide their eyes of pain, to keep up their guard, no matter how safe they might feel.

“How quiet and peaceful it is,” she whispered, then glanced behind her at the sound of a motor accelerating. Lights flashed on and blinded her. “Marek!”

He pushed her toward the building. The car struck him, then sideswiped a row of garbage cans and sent lids clattering along the street. Brake lights flared in the dark, and the car reversed and fishtailed toward them. It hit the curb and bounced back into the street, wide of its target. Marek lay motionless half off the sidewalk. Sophia crawled to him and tried to drag him to safety. She heard the car accelerate toward them again.

Then gun shots.


First Lines Quiz

It is a truth universally acknowledged––to steal a line–– that good writers are well-read. Fellow writers (and readers) see if you are able to match the first lines with their titles and authors. The first lines are numbered; the authors are lettered (scroll down); and the answer key is at the bottom. Some of the selections were inspired by the famous question on the quiz show You Bet Your Life: “Who was buried in Grant’s tomb?”  It was hosted by Groucho Marx who also said,

            Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

  1. “Where’s Papa going with that axe” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
  2. You better not never tell nobody but God.
  3. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
  4. A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
  5. It was a pleasure to burn.
  6. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
  7. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.
  8. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
  9. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.
  10. I am an invisible man.
  11. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
  12. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
  13. Call me Ishmael.
  14. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
  15. Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
  16. In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
  17.  I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.
  18. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
  19. The pretty little Swiss town of Mayenfield lies at the foot of a mountain range, whose grim rigged peaks tower high above the valley below.
  20. If you are interested in stories with happy endings you would be better off reading some other book.


A)  E.B.White, Charlotte’s Web.  B)  JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. C)  George Orwell, 1984 D)  Graham Greene, The End of the Affair. E)  Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 F)  Nabokov, Lolita G)  Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea. H)  Lemony Snickett, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I)  Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote. J)  Charles Dickens, David Copperfield. K)  Alice Walker, The Color Purple. L)  Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. M)  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. N)  Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man. O)  JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit.  P)  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. Q)  Herman Melville, Moby-Dick. R)  Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game.  S)  Johanna Spyri, Heidi T)  Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca   (Bonus question: Who played Rebecca in the movie of the same name?)


1-A;   2-K;   3-B;  4-D;  5-E;  6-G;  7-I;  8-J;  9-L;  10-N;  11-C;  12-F;  13-Q;   14-M;   15-T;   16-O;   17-R;   18-P;   19-S;   20-H. (No one. She was dead before the movie began.)


Once again, thanks for stopping by. Please share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY!


(If you would like to read my reviews of some great RRBC/RWISA Indie books, click here.)




59 thoughts on “”

  1. D.L. Finn says:

    I loved the excerpt and the book, Mary. It left me hungry, too. I had fun with the quiz and even knew a few:) Fun post

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Denise. There are books that make me hungry. In the Bruno series by Martin Walker, Bruno cooks with duck fat and vegetables from his garden and it is all so french and fresh and easy, and all about friends and community.

  2. Gwen Plano says:

    What a marvelous post! Your writing is truly captivating, a delight to read. As for the quiz, it was a challenge. I only knew a few, but I had fun trying to match first lines with authors. I must read more! 😀

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Hi Gwen. Thank you for your comment and your continuing support. There were some lines I wouldn’t have known including #20 which I loved. Sending you good wishes. 🙂

  3. Charles W Jones says:

    I love your writing style it pulls me in quickly. Great quiz. Have a great day!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Charles. What a lovely compliment. Thank you for coming by.

  4. Forrest Stepnowski says:

    Hi Mary,

    What a wonderful post today! I have your book on my TBR list already, but your excerpt moved your book up.the list a bit. It sounds amazing. I loved the trivia today. What a great idea! Hope you have a wonderful Block Party Day!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      The block party has been great fun. I love learning more about the other members. Thank you for playing, Forrest.

  5. Jan Sikes says:

    Oh, Mary! I SO enjoyed this post and the excerpt from the book left me gasping! Wow! I have to know what happens next. And because of that need to know, your book is up next on my TBR list! The trivia was fun. I have to admit I was only able to guess a few correctly, but it was great fun! This was a great party stop!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Jan, I didn’t hit reply the first time, so I am doing it now so you know I appreciated your coming by. (I never know how these things work.)

  6. Mary Adler says:

    I’m so happy you enjoyed the stop, Jan, and thank you for your wonderful reaction to the excerpt. I hope you win an audiobook of Shadowed by Death and you will be able to listen to it as you travel to all the festivals and concerts that continue to fill your life with music. I appreciate your support.

  7. Lizzie Chantree says:

    What an enthralling excerpt! I need to add your book to my TBR to find out what happened next. The quiz was great fun too. Enjoy the party today.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Lizzie, for coming by. I am happy you enjoyed the excerpt! The block party is one of my favorite events mostly because we get to know more about the members and their writing. 🙂

  8. Ronald Yates says:

    Fantastic post, Mary. I loved that quiz and you picked a great part of the book to share. That first paragraph is classic! Happy to come to the party. Did you notice, I was wearing a lampshade on my head. 😁

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Ron, I am chuffed by your comments about the excerpt. Thank you, Chanticleer Grand Master! I thought you might be wearing the lampshade to hide the fact that you might be old enough to remember YOU BET YOUR LIFE. 🙂

  9. Cassidy Salem says:

    Excerpt enticing. Loved the trivia quiz (only wish I could have done a better job of matching authors to first lines).

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Cassidy! It was wonderful of you to stop by. The quiz was not easy. I love Charlotte’s Web, but didn’t recognize the first line when I was scouting around to put the quiz together. Enjoy the party but stay away from the punch. You, too, might end up with a lampshade on your head.

  10. Mary Adler says:

    Thank you, Cassidy! It was wonderful of you to stop by. The quiz was not easy. I love Charlotte’s Web, but didn’t recognize the first line when I was scouting around to put the quiz together. Enjoy the party but stay away from the punch. You, too, might end up with a lampshade on your head. 🙂

  11. Wendy Scott says:

    Such wonderful food descriptions, Mary, I was salivating!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Hi Wendy, Maybe my focus on food in my writing explains how I came to have Cheetos in my keyboard! Thank you for dropping by.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you for stopping in, A. M. 🙂

  12. suzanne burke says:

    This excerpt is tantalizing in so many ways! You selected a perfect way to end it. Bravo, Mary. Loved the quiz, but only managed to recognize a few. Great post and a wonderful stop on the tour! 💕

    1. Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Mary, your story shows how life can change in an instant. And why must you torture us with this quiz? Just kidding. Seems you gave us the answers.

      I’m a little tired after a long day, so will revisit again.

      1. Mary Adler says:

        It is scary how quickly life can change, Shirley. This moment is the only moment we are sure we have so we must enjoy and appreciate it. At least that is the way I try to remember to live my life.

    2. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Suzanne. I tried to include some clues within the lines but I agree it was a difficult quiz. I hope all is going well with you. I particularly appreciate your kind words. You are one of my favorite writers. 🙂

  13. Janey Mack says:

    Great excerpt. My favorite line: She took his arm, and they walked along as if they were lovers, as they had been taught to do, even when they thought no one was watching.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Janey. Sometimes I wonder where those special phrases and lines come from. :). I suppose all writers do.

  14. Yvette M Calleiro says:

    I could feel Sophia’s heartache jumping off the post! Great job! Thanks for sharing that excerpt with us. The quiz was fun as well. 🙂

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Yvette. It pleases me beyond measure that Sophia’s heartache felt real to you. It is the greatest compliment when a reader feels what the character is feeling. Hope you are enjoying the Block Party!

  15. Bernard Foong says:

    Love the quiz, Mary. Not to mention The World of Good Memories. Great post!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you very much, Bernard. I’m happy you could make it all the way from Hawaii!! 🙂

  16. Beem Weeks says:

    This is a wonderful post, Mary! And the quiz is icing on top. I got a few of them. Best wishes to you.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Beem for your kind words. 🙂

  17. Rhani D'Chae says:

    Hi, Mary. This was a wonderful post to stop and interact with. I enjoyed the excerpt and had a blast with the quiz. I even knew some of the books/authors! 😁

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thanks, Rhani! I’m happy you enjoyed the quiz.

  18. Mark Bierman says:

    Exciting book excerpt, Mary! I enjoyed the quiz, too. Did okay with it, but I’m always up for learning. All the best!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you for visiting, Mark. I think the quiz might have been too difficult. There are clues within some first lines like the ones from Lolita, Mrs. Dalloway, Don Quixote, and The Old Man and the Sea. Next time definittelyt more clues.

  19. Ted D. Berner says:

    Awesome! Tough quiz by the way 🙂

  20. Mary Adler says:

    Thank you for stopping by, Ted. The quiz was definitely too tough! Enjoy the party.

  21. Nonnie Jules says:

    Loved this, Mary! Especially the quote!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thanks, Nonnie! I love that quotation too. Congratulations on setting up a GREAT Block party.

  22. John howell says:

    Great quiz Mary. Sorry, I’m a little late but your post was terrific.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thanks, John! You are always welcome. 🙂

  23. Karen Black says:

    Great quiz; what fun!

  24. Karen Black says:

    The quiz was great fun!

  25. Karen Black says:

    Really enjoyed the quiz!

  26. Karen Black says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but wanted to say hi and let you know I really enjoyed the quiz!

  27. Karen Black says:

    Yikes! My computer is possessed. It kept telling me my comment wasn’t published, then published all of my attempts. Sorry. . .

    1. Anonymous says:

      I understand! I’ve had that experience and added it to all the other weird things that happen that I don’t understand. Thank you for coming by, Karen. 😊🌺

      1. Mary Adler says:

        Like being anonymous on my own site!!!

  28. Mar says:

    A great post, Mary! Loved the quiz. I recognized quite a few of those lines. Hope you enjoyed your day!!

  29. Mary Adler says:

    Thank you for coming by, Mar. The Block Party has been fun!

  30. Susanne Leist says:

    After reading your excerpt, I need to read your book. I’ve been reading mysteries since I was ten years old. I haven’t read one about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Since losing a lot of my family in the Holocaust, the topic is important to me.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Susanne, I am so sorry about your family. The book is based in northern California but Sophia speaks throughout the book about some of the more important events that happened in the Warsaw ghetto. I based her character on the memoirs of two Jewish resistance fighters from the ghetto. One issue in the book is how the world, including the US, stood by and did nothing although they knew what was happening. It makes me furious and disgusted. The memoirs are in the bibliography https://maryadlerwrites.com/sbdbibliography/. Long ago I read two novels about the Warsaw Ghetto — The Wall, by John Hersey, and Mila 18, by Leon Uris. They are powerful novels and tell the story of the Warsaw ghetto accurately. It is heartbreaking and defies belief. Another book you might be interested in is Jan Karski’s “Story of a Secret State.” I tell part of his story in Shadowed by Death, also. Thank you for coming by,

  31. Joy Lo-Bamijoko says:

    Hi, Mary, I haven’t read most of those authors so, I will not venture to take the quiz. You did a great job putting it together, though. I’ve read and enjoyed your books.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Joy. I have read and enjoyed your books also. 🙂

  32. Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

    Congrats to the winners at this stop including Ms. NJ who won big! lol

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