Kathleen Delaney’s first book “Dying For a Change” [America House]
is a murder mystery set in a small town facing the challenges posed
The heroine, Ellen McKenzie, heads home to Santa Louisa after her
divorce and hopes to start a new career in real estate.
She finds the owners of a large chain discount store have chosen
her city as its next location and residents are divided about the
prospect. McKenzie is drawn into the drama when she discovers a man’s
body in a closet of the first house she is showing. The dead man is
the town’s most prominent contractor and the new store’s most ardent
“You almost never find a real-estate theme,” Delaney said about
why her book stands out from other mysteries on the shelves. “I think
it leaves it open to a wide variety of people she can meet and she
can become involved in many types of experiences.”
The heroine is in her 40s, but she isn’t sure of herself or sexy,
like other authors try to portray their characters, Delaney said.
“She’s starting a career for the first time in her life,” she
said. “She has lost a lot of confidence after the divorce and she is
trying to rebuild that.”
A Glendale native, Delaney also works in real estate. The book
isn’t autobiographical, she said, but some of the events do mirror
what happened when larger stores started to move into Paso Robles,
where she lives now.
“I watched people become nervous that they would lose their
businesses, and others worried the town would not survive without the
discount store,” she said.
But the results were positive, she said, and the new stores have
kept downtown Paso Robles vibrant and alive.
Delaney was born at Glendale Memorial Hospital and was active in
theater arts, dance groups and social clubs before graduating from
Glendale High School in 1954.