Pernicious Poll: The Thirteenth Penny Weaver Mystery by Judy Hogan
"Pernicious Poll is a mystery full of charming characters with serious intent. Penny Weaver is packing for a trip to Wales when a key figure in a voter’s rights case is murdered. ActNow, a grassroots group working to inform rural citizens about the unfair voter ID bill, gather. Becka’s murder is surely connected to their fight, and Penny sets her mind to solve the puzzle. When her young grandson, Seb, is caught having sex with his even younger girlfriend, Penny is called upon to look after him. Seb soon proves himself to be cut from the same cloth as his grandmother. As the story unfolds, Seb keeps Penny on her toes, and in many twists and turns, plays a vital role in solving the murder."
—Virginia Ewing Hudson, musician, poet, writer
"I thought the book would be about the Voter ID law in N.C. and politics, but it is the background for a much bigger story of one teenager who is white and one teenager who is black dealing with adult emotions before they are old enough to accept adult responsibilities. It offers insight into how to help teenagers deal with the change from adolescence to adult in today’s world. Through the story of Seb and Naomi, we see possibilities for smoother paths through adolescence by offering empathy but at the same time setting boundaries, and the importance of the extended family working together, believing, forgiving, and building trust. What a wonderful ending!"
—Katherine Wolfe. author of Time that Has Gone
"In her thirteenth book in the Penny Weaver Mystery series, Judy Hogan continues her chronicle of race, politics, community, murder, and aging well. This time the sex among fourteen-year-olds, and panic among their parents leaves grandmother Penny supervising her unsupervisable grandson Seb Judd. The battle against North Carolina’s Voter ID law is getting hot locally. The NAACP's attorney is murdered, and Penny and her “cahoots” friends, go to work—with Seb in tow—until it is he who is towing them. As usual Judy combines vivid characters and over-the-top action, with the warmth of hot chocolate and fresh-baked bread, and a steady flow of old friends coming through the kitchen door with clues and crises. A lovely addition to this lovely series."
—Pete MacDowell, political strategist and poet
A few years ago, under the leadership of Governor McCrory, the N.C. legislature voted in the Voter ID bill. Some called it the Monster Voting ID bill. It was aimed at keeping our African American citizens from voting. Voters had to show a photo ID or a passport in order to vote.
The ActNow interracial community group took up the fight, and visited the homes of the elderly in Riverdell and New Springs to make sure they had driver’s licenses or passports or could get to the DMV to get the photo ID.
In the midst of this work, the lead counsel for the NAACP on their court case to strike down this law, was killed on her front doorstep. Penny’s friend Kate Razor takes over the lead counsel role, and Kenneth, for the Sheriff’s Dept, goes with Kate to meetings and events to protect her.
Meantime, Penny’s grandson Seb and his friend Sammie’s niece Naomi discover the joys of sex, alarming the parents and setting off an intense discussion of what to do next.
Judy Hogan is the author of Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16 (Wipf and Stock, 2017). Her first two mystery novels, Killer Frost (2012) and Farm Fresh and Fatal (2013), were first published by Mainly Murder Press in CT. Her third, The Sands of Gower, which is the first one written, was published December 1, 2015, by Hoganvillaea Books. The second one written, Haw, was published May 1, 2016. Nuclear Apples? and Formaldehyde, Rooster came out in September and December 2016. Political Peaches, the reprinted Killer Frost and the reprinted Farm Fresh and Fatal came out in 2018, as well as Tormentil Hall and The Death of a Hell-Razor.
Judy founded Carolina Wren Press (1976-91) and was co-editor of Hyperion Poetry Journal (1970-81). She has published seven volumes of poetry and three nonfiction works with independent presses. She has taught all forms of creative writing since 1974. In 1983 she helped found the North Carolina Writers’ Network and served as its first president (1984-7). She joined Sisters in Crime in 2007 and has focused on writing and publishing traditional mystery novels.
In 2011 she was a finalist in the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic Mystery contest for Killer Frost. In 2015, she decided to set up Hoganvillaea Books, her own publishing imprint, in order to publish more of her mysteries. The Sands of Gower: The First Penny Weaver Mystery was her first release under this new imprint. Her Penny Weaver series takes up interracial community issues. Most of the novels take place in the central North Carolina fictional village of Riverdell, but three take place on the Gower Peninsula in Wales where Penny meets and falls in love with Kenneth Morgan, a Welsh Detective Inspector.
She has written seventeen Penny Weaver mysteries, and will continue to publish them. In 2019, the first of four books about her experiences in Russia and with Russians, Baba Summer, Part One, will come out from Adelaide Books of New York.
The twists and turns of Hogan’s life’s path over the years have given her plenty to write about. She is also a small farmer, a community activist, currently trying to stop coal ash dumping in her community. She lives in Moncure, near Jordan Lake.