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Taffy.Cannon

Taffy Cannon grew up in Chicago, graduated Taffy Cannonfrom Duke University in North Carolina, then passed through Texas on her way to Southern California, where she has felt entirely at home for the past quarter-century. She is the author of fourteen published novels in which a great many people die, often unpleasantly.

Her work includes both series and standalone mysteries, an Academy Award-nominated short film, and Convictions: A Novel of the Sixties.  Her books have been finalists for Best Novel in the Agatha, Macavity, Left Coast Crime Western Regional, and San Diego Book Awards. Her Booked for Travel mystery series, written under the pseudonym Emily Toll, has visited Sonoma Wine Country, California Gold Rush country, Autumn in New England, and the Florida Keys. She completed The Tumbleweed Murders, a Claire Sharples Botanical Mystery begun by her friend and colleague, Rebecca Rothenberg, who died in 1998.

She has worked a multitude of odd jobs from carnival barker to professional feminist, but intends her epitaph to read: “She Never Waitressed.”  She once correctly wagered everything on a Women Writers Daily Double as a Jeopardy contestant.

She lives in Southern California, where she runs a Friends of the Library Bookstore and was recently honored with a President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Award for giving over 4000 hours of community service to the library.

Read an interview with Taffy.

Four titles from Perseverance Press are currently available in e-book format and more are coming soon. To purchase Taffy’s books:

Books written as Emily Toll:

Keys to Death

Keys to Death- Cannon

Murder follows travel agent Lynne Montgomery and her twenty-something daughter Jenna to the Florida Keys on what is supposed to be a simple vacation at a resort recently acquired by old friends Peggy and Rick Parker.  Things have been going wrong at Dos Hermanas Resort—power outages, slashed tires, bleach poured into a tank of exotic tropical fish.  When Lynne discovers the body of Darcy Gainsborough on the boat ramp,  matters become more complicated.  Darcy lived in the adjacent mobile home court and had some secrets of her own.  Pirates, parrots, drug smuggling, diving and death combine to produce an unforgettable vacation.


Fall Into Death

Lynne Montgomery is checking out the sights for a future Fall Foliage Tour in New England, and checking in on her mother, who plans to open a New Hampshire bed-and-breakfast to accommodate those tour guests. The old place needs a lot of work—but wood rot becomes the least of their problems when Lynne discovers human bones in the basement floor. The Maple Leaf Inn becomes a crime scene and Lynne takes her stressed-out mother and twenty-something daughter on the road. But they’re not alone on those scenic New England highways. While seeking clues to a thirty-year-old murder, Lynne’s entourage is followed by somebody who wants the past to stay buried.


Murder Pans Out  

Passion, greed, deceit and murder surface when plant pathologist Claire Sharples discovers a skeleton buried beside the Kern River and finds herself drawn into events of a half-century earlier. This evocative botanical mystery moves between past and present in California’s Central Valley, exploring the worlds of oil, cotton and country music. Claire tries to unravel the mystery of the singing Cherokee Rose’s lost love with the help of enigmatic Ramon Covarrubias and his eccentric journalist cousin Yolanda, in a story dictated as much by the nature of the land as by the character of its inhabitants. These are secrets someone is willing to kill to protect, and Claire’s quest puts her own life in danger.


Murder Will Travel 

A widow in her mid-fifties, Lynne Montgomery has rediscovered her first love—travel. With the money from her husband’s insurance policy, she buys the travel agency that she works for. But guiding tour groups of well-heeled vacationers becomes more than an educational experience, when murder adds itself to the itinerary. It’s off to the Sonoma Wine Country for Lynne and fifteen tour guests as they make their way to the charming Villa Belladuce. There they will be treated to all of the finer things in life—and death—when Lynne stumbles across the body of the vineyard’s former owner. Though she tries to protect her guests from the grisly details, an investigator suspects that one of those very guests could be the killer—and there is plenty of bottled-up bitterness for the departed vintner.


Books written as Taffy Cannon:

Blood Matters

Blood Matters - Cannon

Best Mystery/Thriller, San Diego Book Awards

Now a new detective in the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Roxanne Prescott (Guns and Roses) is part of the team investigating the mysterious murder of the beloved Sam Brennan. The founder and head of Adoption Central, Sam spent his working life creating families and his spare time collecting the toys that represented the love he hadn’t received in his deprived childhood. Who could have wanted to hurt the man who did such wonderful things for so many grateful people? Roxanne must wrestle the shadow of her own past tragedy still hanging over her, along with rookie nerves and a killer determined to hide a different past.


Paradise Lost

The private calm of Paradise Plaza, a posh Santa Barbara health spa, is shattered when two guests are kidnapped during an early morning hike. Stanford junior Holly Constantine and hot TV star Vanessa Wyatt form an uneasy alliance in their sensory-deprived captivity, while an unorthodox Internet ransom demand from a group of eco-nuts calling itself Parks for People seeks public contributions to create California parks in unlikely locations. Holly’s parents, Beverly Hills entertainment lawyers, hold the media at bay as they coordinate the ransom funding. A determined stalker, old secrets, and a murder complicate the race against the clock.


Open Season on Lawyers

Somebody is killing the sleazy attorneys of Los Angeles. LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detective Joanna Davis matches wits with a serial killer who tailors each murder to a specific abuse of legal practice. They call him the Atterminator… and he likes it. Political and press pandemonium ensues, and tensions in the Southland rise even higher when the murders escalate. Then the killer begins to take a personal interest in stopping Joanna’s investigation.


The Tumbleweed Murders 

Passion, greed, deceit and murder surface when plant pathologist Claire Sharples discovers a skeleton buried beside the Kern River and finds herself drawn into events of a half-century earlier. This evocative botanical mystery moves between past and present in California’s Central Valley, exploring the worlds of oil, cotton and country music. Claire tries to unravel the mystery of the singing Cherokee Rose’s lost love with the help of enigmatic Ramon Covarrubias and his eccentric journalist cousin Yolanda, in a story dictated as much by the nature of the land as by the character of its inhabitants. These are secrets someone is willing to kill to protect, and Claire’s quest puts her own life in danger.


Guns and Roses

Agatha and Macavity Best Novel Nominee

Strange things are happening on the History and Gardens of Virginia tour. Are they odd misadventures? Harmless pranks? Or does somebody have murder in mind? Ex-Texas cop Roxanne Prescott thought she’d moved into a more genteel line of work, leading educational tours for the well-heeled for her aunt’s travel agency. But as the group (which she mentally nicknamed the Guns and Roses tour) moves from Mount Vernon to Monticello, a practical joker targets the tourists. In Colonial Williamsburg, the pranks escalate with deadly results. Roxanne must figure out which of her group is a killer hiding behind a genial facade, and save her aunt’s business at the same time.


A Pocketful of Karma

“Cannon’s first Nan Robinson thriller will leave readers eager for a sequel. Nan, an attorney employed by the State Bar of California, is disconcerted when she tries to contact Debra LaRoche, a secretary who’d left her three years before, since Debra’s phone machine plays an outdated message. Nan’s search for Debra plunges her headlong into a world of rock groupies and past-life hypnotists, particularly those affiliated with the Past Lives Institute… Nan doesn’t believe in hypnotic regression, but she can understand the attraction it might hold for Debra, whose 18-month-old son was killed in a car accident… When Debra’s body is discovered in the trunk of her car at the Los Angeles airport and Debra’s estranged husband seems to have killed himself, Nan and the police believe the case is closed. But then Nan finds Debra’s journal and becomes a target herself. Cannon’s skeptical heroine and her elusive villain stake out the wilds of L.A. in an auspiciously flavorsome foray.”

—Publishers Weekly


Tangled Roots

“In quite traditional fashion, this title begins with the murder victim’s last moments, then turns to an unjustly accused suspect. By the time series heroine Nan Robinson appears, the lines of battle are clearly drawn: her brother-in-law Adam, framed and jailed, finds himself ostracized by the victim’s powerful father (who also raised Adam’s lawyer) and by the townspeople of Floritas, California, where Adam and his wife raise and sell flowers. Cannon heightens suspense by side-stepping into discussions of the flower business, by describing characters, and by alternating groups of players. Tense, entertaining, and satisfyingly thorough.”

—Library Journal


Class Reunions Are Murder

When L.A. attorney Nan Robinson flies to Spring Hill, Illinois, for her twenty-year high school reunion, the last person she expects to see is Class Tramp Brenda Blaine. But there she is, in all her glory. The stars are out, of course: Class Clown Wally, Cutest Couple Jim and Mary Lee, solemn Edwin, clever Janis, and all the rest. But when someone murders bad girl Brenda, Nan must look at her classmates in a blinding new light. For among old rivalries and secret passions, one of them may have graduated to become a cold-blooded killer…


Young Adult Mystery:

Mississippi Treasure Hunt

Vangie Bradley expects a lame vacation when she and her brother Jason fly from California to spend the summer with their dad. Minnesota isn’t exactly a hotbed of fun for thirteen-year-olds, especially ones who like to streak their hair a different color every day. Then Dad’s eccentric great-aunt leaves him her estate, and the family takes off for Prestonburg, Mississippi, where it seems nothing has changed since the Civil War. It’s beyond boring… until they find a secret letter hidden in an old desk, with clues that may lead to a fortune. The key is a hundred-year-old test of knowledge. Suddenly Vangie is discovering all sorts of things she never knew existed. And though it’s really hard, she refuses to give up. After all, how many people get the chance to find a genuine buried treasure?


Mainstream Fiction:

Convictions: A Novel of the Sixties

Prentiss Granger and Laurel Hollingsworth grew up privileged in the South, met in private school and became best friends. Through the political upheaval of the 1960s, the two young women grapple with their own beliefs as the civil rights and antiwar movements explode around them. Then, in a single irrevocable moment of violence, everything changes. Caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, Prentiss finds herself on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and trapped in the political underground. Laurel must balance her own convictions as she struggles to help her lost friend while she moves forward with her own life.

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  1. Pingback: Taffy Cannon | Thalia Press Authors Co-Op Blog - September 25, 2011

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