A Murder of Principle

A Murder of Principle by [Coryell, Susan]

Susan Coryell photoTHE BOOK: A Murder of Principle.

PUBLISHED: March 12, 2018

AUTHOR: Susan Coryell

EDITOR: Alicia Dean

PUBLISHER: The Wild Rose Press, a small, independent publisher in NY—has won the Predators and Editors “Best” e-book publisher every year since TWRP’s existence.

SUMMARY: What happens when an unscrupulous principal threatens to destroy a model high school?

A new principal takes Harding High by storm, wreaking havoc with every executive order, every decision, tearing down the stellar school tenet by tenet. Teachers, other administrators, students, parents—the community at large increasingly react to the tremors shaking Harding High as Principal Wendy Storme churns a destructive path through their traditions, values and protocol. Everyone seems to have a valid motive for murder.

English department chair, Rose Lane, and her rookie sidekick, intern Penny Bright, are determined to move the hurricane force Storme out of Harding for good…except that somebody beats them to it with the decisiveness of murder.

THE BACK STORY: As a 30-year career educator, I taught English in public and private secondary schools. I had excellent principals, mediocre principles, and one real stinker. I wondered: What if someone actually tried to murder her…and succeeded? Thus, my book, which is complete fiction but based on inspiration and ideas from my years in the classroom.

WHY THIS TITLE? A MURDER OF PRINCIPLE plays on words. The murder itself involves the principle of the thing. After all, the new principal was ruining a stellar school day by day with toxic edicts, firings and lies. The principal’s principles, meanwhile, are nonexistent when it comes to the school, students and staff. Her only principle is to move up in the county administration.

Why would someone want to read it? My book has universal appeal. After all, everyone went to school, so everyone can relate on some level. Also, it provides an insider’s view of the machinations behind the peaceful façade of a contemporary public high school. I wrote A MURDER OF PRINCIPLE with some appropriate camp. The names—Principal Wendy Storme, a tornado of a woman; Penny Bright, the doe-eyed intern; Sparky Sparkman, the Superintendent, for example. Wendy herself whirls and hurls, dithers and blusters, touching down to deliver destruction wherever she goes. I had fun writing this one!


“My mom lives off of cozy mysteries. I spend her off days with her (at almost seventy she still works full time, because she’s that awesome) and she’s usually binge watching a cozy mystery on Netflix. ESPECIALLY a cozy from the BBC.

“I write, she watches, and inevitably yells at me for accurately guessing the end (I’m a writer, what can I say?). In that, though, I find comfort. There’s something soothing in knowing that eventually a story will find a satisfying conclusion and more often than not the bad guy isn’t the murderer…but the victim.

“While saying that, A Murder of Principle was the same to me. I almost heard the cozy soundtrack playing in the back of my head as I read it. It was coming home for me. If my mom read often, this would be the sort of novel I would recommend to her.

“A glimpse into the lives of teachers. The good, the bad, and the Wendy Storme. Seriously, this lady was a train wreck and most of the time I wanted to slap her with the coffee bar from her office. It’s not a spoiler as, well, the cover is a dead give away (see what I did there?) but it says a lot about me that I found comfort knowing the principal was the victim from the very beginning.

“Murder amongst a group of quirky and imaginative characters that I felt like I’d met once upon a time. Also, did I mention the mental soundtrack is perfect for the BBC? —  Leslie Scott

Another Review:

“I give this book an A

“A Murder of Principle by Susan Coryell is a real education on how schools work or don’t. It’s obvious this author knows what she’s talking about when it comes to school politics. The book opens with a murder and by the end of the novel, you’ll understand why almost every character wants to do away with the school Principal Wendy Storme. But who killed her and how did she die? Surely, she couldn’t be this bad, or could she?

“I’ve read this author’s books before and her latest is every bit as entertaining, and very humorous. I really liked the characters that populate this book—they’re fraught with human emotion, from teachers and interns and their spouses and significant others to students, parents and school administrators. There’s even a romance. But you don’t have to be a teacher to love this book. A real page-turner, A Murder of Principle has intrigue reminiscent of Agatha Christie. I give this book an A.” — Marilyn Baron

AUTHOR PROFILE: A career educator, Susan Coryell has taught students from 7th grade through college-level. She earned a BA degree in English from Carson-Newman College and a Masters from George Mason University. She is listed in several different volumes of Who’s Who in Education and Who’s Who in Teaching. Coryell belongs to Author’s Guild, Virginia Writers, and Lake Writers. She loves to talk with budding writers at schools, writers’ conferences and workshops. Her young adult anti-bully novel EAGLEBAIT is in its third edition for print and e-book, updated with cyber-bullying. EAGLEBAIT won the NY Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age,” and the International Reading Association’s “Young Adult Choice.”

A RED, RED ROSE, first in a cozy mystery/Southern Gothic series, was nominated for a literary award with the Library of Virginia. BENEATH THE STONES, the sequel, was released in April of 2015. NOBODY KNOWS, the final novel in the Overhome Trilogy was published October, 2016.

A MURDER OF PRINCIPLE released March 12, 2018.

The author has long been interested in concerns about culture and society in the South, where hard-felt, long-held feelings battle with modern ideas. The ghosts slipped in, to her surprise.

When not writing, Ms. Coryell enjoys boating, kayaking, golf and yoga. She and her husband, Ned, love to travel, especially when any of their seven grandchildren are involved.

AMAZON LINKS: A Red, Red Rose: http://a.co/0eoAvPC Beneath the Stones: http://a.co/fVIowQ8 Nobody Knows: http://a.co/aoXACMd Please visit Susan Coryell’s website: http://www.susancoryellauthor.com and her blog: http://www.susancoryellauthor.blogspot.com or contact her on Facebook and Twitter.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Some of my reviewers have mentioned that the behind-the-scenes shenanigans highlighted at fictional Harding High in A MURDER OF PRINCIPLE could mirror the discord involved in almost any workplace of size. It has further been suggested that the chaos ensuing at Harding High from a corrupt, incompetent and malevolent new boss just might parallel the discord in American politics and government today. I leave it to the imagination and insight of my canny readers.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: For a sample chapter, Amazon link: http://a.co/2eWTuEM.”

A MURDER OF PRINCIPLE is available at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, in local retail stores: Gifts Ahoy, Southern Roots, the General Store.

It is available at all on-line book stores, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Price for e-book is $4.99; print $14.99. Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Coryell-Author-149075331807592/

Twitter: @SCoryellAuthor

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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