Unringing the Bell
by Judy Higgins


GENRE: Mystery



In the small town of Goose Bend, Pennsylvania, people don't forget. 
Especially something as sensational as 12-year-old Jacob Gillis burning down the town. 
Nineteen years later, Jacob returns, hoping for redemption. 
Instead, he finds himself entangled in a murder investigation. 
The prosecutor, taking advantage of Jacob's involvement with the victim's beautiful sister-in-law, 
threatens Jacob with loss of career and reputation if he doesn't play by his rules. 
Only by outwitting the prosecutor can Jacob save his future.



When Jacob Gillis was twelve years old, he burned down the town of Goose Bend, Pennsylvania. 
The fire didn’t actually consume the entire town – only two blocks of the four-block business section 
went up in flames – but when the folks in Goose Bend spoke of the incident, they persisted in saying 
that Jacob Gillis, abetted by his friend Charlie Garrett, burned down the town.

Jacob watched Laskey walk back to the Sequoia, his limp barely detectable, and for the thousandth 
time he wondered why his friend kept what had happened to his foot a secret. But there were some 
places Laskey didn’t go – formidable Laskey with his gruff manner and hard-muscled body. 
He was a private person and sometimes a grizzly bear, but he had a goose-down heart which he 
tried like heck to hide. But Jacob knew.

Laskey grasped the arms of his chair and pushed his feet hard against the floor to contain himself. 
For a brief moment, the thought had rushed through his head that a jail term for assaulting a DA would 
be worth enduring for the pleasure of smashing Inglehook’s head against his desk.

Laskey squared his shoulders, turned around, and looked Jacob in the eyes. “Don’t get yourself in a 
mess, Jake. Extrication isn’t always possible.” He started for the door.
“Give back the painting,” he called over his shoulder. “And Jake,” he paused and twisted around. 
“Don’t ever mistake pretty wrappings for the quality of the gift inside.”


Author Interview
1.      What would we find under your bed?
Dust bunnies. Just don’t ask about the skeletons in my closet.

2.      What was the scariest moment of your life?
Shortly after Thanksgiving in 2012, I received a call from my daughter. 
Her son, my oldest grandson, had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma. 
This is the cancer that Ted Kennedy’s son had and from which he lost a leg. 
Other young people aren’t so lucky; they die. My grandson spent almost a year in and 
out of the hospital – more in than out – enduring rounds of chemo and all the other things: 
spots on his lungs that had to be biopsies, medications that made him terribly sick, tests, and tests, and more tests. During this very scary year, I learned the importance of having a network of close friends and family. Everyone jumped in to help keep his spirits up. He has been cancer-free for five years now.

3.      Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?
The thing about music is that I can’t shut it out, so I neither read nor write with music in the background. Nor do I play tennis to music even though one tennis pro tried to get me to once. Music has its own rhythm which doesn’t coincide either with the words I read or want to write, nor with the tennis ball bouncing on the court. However, I can do math, solve  Soduko puzzles, or play Solitaire while listening to music. Often, in the late afternoon, I ask Seri to play Mozart while I play several rounds of Solitaire. Or sometimes it’s Chopin. Occasionally Schubert. 

4.      What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing next year?
I want to finish, to my satisfaction, the book I’ve been waiting twenty years to write:  
Call me Mara,  which is based on the story of Naomi in the Bible. It has taken me that long 
to realize what the focus of the book should be. (I’m not telling that here, 
because I want it to be a surprise.) I want to then start on the third book of the Bucks County Mysteries series, Death by Oboe. The story involves a mother-daughter relationship and 
has a dark ending. As far as writing skills go, I’m still working on not being so wordy. 
There are many things I’d like to improve, but wordiness is at the top of the list.

5.      How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me a long time to write Unringing the Bell because I had to do so much in-writing. The idea came to me seventeen years ago while I was still living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. My first efforts didn’t work, so I put the story aside and went off to live in the Middle East (Qatar) for eight years. When I returned to the United States, I began The Lady. Only when that was 
finished, did I go back to Unringing the Bell. I struggled with the plot and characters for a long time. I believe it was when Detective William Laskey “walked into the story,” that it began to gain traction. But I still wasn’t sure that it worked until an agent offered me a contract to represent me, saying that he really liked it.  At the same time, he suggested that I make the book 
part of a series. Thus, was Bucks County Mysteries born.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Judy Higgins was born in South Georgia where she grew up playing baseball, reading, and taking 
piano lessons. To pay for her lessons, she raised chickens and sold eggs to neighbors. 
She attended Mercer University for two years, and then Baylor University from which she graduated 
with a BA in German. She received her MA in German literature from The University of Michigan. 
After teaching German for several years, Judy decided to become a librarian and earned an MA in 
Library Science at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.
Judy’s life took an exciting turn when she left her teaching job in Pennsylvania to be Head of Library 
at the Learning Center School of Qatar Foundation. She lived in Qatar for eight years, enjoying the 
experience of living in a different culture and traveling to exotic places during every vacation. 
Recently, she returned to the United States and lives in Lexington, KY. Judy has two children, 
Julia and Stephen, two children-in-law, Jim and Erin, and four grandchildren: Kyle, Jon, Karina, 
and Addy.

Judy’s first book, The Lady, was a finalist in the 2012 Amazon Break-out Novel Award. 
The first two novels of her Bucks County Mysteries, Unringing the Bell and Bride of the Wind 
are available March 1, 2018. The series is set in an imaginary small town in Bucks County, 
Pennsylvania. Call me Mara, the story of Ruth and Naomi, is scheduled for publication in March, 2019.

In addition to writing, Judy’s passions include travel, tennis, elephants, and playing the piano.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudyHBooks

Amazon author page URL:    https://www.amazon.com/Judy-Higgins/e/B00FZQOZPU

Barnes and Noble Author URL:  



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