Books,  Celebrate Lit

Fine Print by Chautona Havig


About the Book


Book Title: Meddlin’ Madeline Fine Print

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Historical, Mystery

Release Date: February 20, 2018

Budding detective, Miss Madeline Brown, has gained quite the reputation for “meddling” in the circa 1900 city of Rockland. With two successful “cases” under her belt, it was only a matter of time before she found something new to interest her insatiable curiosity.

This time, however, the “curiosity” found her.

Challenged by Edward Gastrel, to prove her deductive prowess, Madeline embarks on riddling out the puzzle of a journal left to him by his grandfather. If she can decode the contents, the local gentleman may find himself in the possession of something quite valuable.

As usual, however, things aren’t as they seem, and Madeline finds herself in a race against more than time and ambiguity.


Blow the dust off your dictionary .. or download the dictionary that works with Kindle, cuz YOU’RE GONNA NEED IT!!! The only time I ever see as many words I don’t know is when I’m looking at technical writing. For sure, the vocabulary of this story and the style of writing is far and above the typical fiction writing of the day. Chautona Havig has stepped back in time, and written in a style that challenges our mind and our vocabulary, written the way books used to be written.  I give it 4 stars.

The third in a series about a young woman who is developing her skills in observation, which may or may not lead her into detective work.  The main story is about a disabled man who asks her to help decipher a “treasure hunt” so to speak, set up by his grandfather as part of his legacy.  Along with that is an ongoing relationship between Madeline and her closest friend’s older brother, Russell.  She is very fond of him, but he seems to have fallen in love with her.  So, there’s this flirtatious, kind of teasing between them and for us, keeping us wondering what may happen.  Of course, near the turn of the last century, early 1900s, a 20 year old woman like Madeline, would be considered a spinster in a couple of years, so she needs to make a decision about her feelings for Russell soon!!

And her dear father the Mayor, a widower, may be developing some deeper feelings for the uppity Aunt that is so vexed by Madeline’s very un-lady like behaviors.  There are other very enjoyable characters, Jimmy and Essie, two children that have become Madeline’s friends and the house helpers are also very personable and entertaining.

Overall, I enjoyed the people, the era, the setting and the style of writing and that’s why I gave 4 stars.  (Note to author:  Jimmy and Essie would make a great couple when they grow up.) All those details carried the story to the end.

But … and I hate “buts’ when it comes to giving reviews ….  in the mix of all those good points, I found the mystery part to be tedious and hard to follow.  It’s funny, I usually find myself forgiving somewhat mediocre writing and poor character development if the mystery or main story is really good.  Here, it’s the opposite.  The main plot had a great premise, but was overshadowed by the style and the sub-plots and then it ended up with the resolution being a bit anti-climactic and, in some ways confusing.  I feel like details that seemed significant popped up and were not adequately explained or resolved.  (If I can think of a better way to explain it, I’ll come back and edit this.)

Read it just for the fun of being in another era, the nice people you’ll “meet” and the challenge of reading another style.  And maybe you can do a better job dealing with the mystery details than I did.

About the Author


Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to point readers to the Master Storyteller.

Guest Post from Chautona

Denny’s. “America’s Diner.” It’s also my “office away from my office away from home.” Most nights I write at our local prayer house. But on Wednesday nights for a few hours, and then all night on Saturday, I sit in booth 14 and write.

It was a cold, frosty Wednesday night. With thoughts from Bible Study still swirling in my mind and heart, I ordered my loaded baked potato soup and began brainstorming with my writing and podcasting buddy, April.

She left around midnightish—as usual. And another evening regular began chatting.

Look. I like this guy. He’s a fascinating conversationalist. We have a lot of fun talking books, movies, politics, history, computers… He’s even given me a great idea for a book (without meaning to, but still).

But… that night, I needed to get a bunch done on Madeline and didn’t have time for chatting. So, when he started talking about his evening, I wanted to bang my head on the table. I kept repeating, “People are more important. People are more important. People are more important,” over and over in my head.

I can’t tell you how often this has happened at Denny’s. Employees stop to chat. Regular diners stop to chat. This guy starts a long conversation and always on nights I can’t afford to spend… chatting!

But everything shifted in an instant.

The man said something—what, I can’t remember—and my brain started churning.

I asked a question.

He answered.

The next thing I knew, he’d moved into my booth and began firing questions at me. Suggestions. Most of what he suggested wouldn’t work with the story, but he had no way of knowing that. Still, every time he did I got a new idea. And I’d ask a question. He’d answer, suggest. I’d counter—ask or answer. Ideas blossomed and exploded into seeds of even more ideas.

And right there, at two o’clock in the morning, with Angela the wonder server keeping me in fresh glasses of Coke, Fine Print went from not only my favorite of the Madelines (thus far) but also became much more exciting.

The whole thing taught me a couple of lessons. First, I always say that people are more important than the “stuff” I do. Sometimes, that’s not so easy to live. But the Lord is always faithful, like He did that night, to remind me that it sometimes helps me, too.

Second, sometimes a mid-book brainstorming session is just what I need to keep my excitement high. And, if that means a “wasted” Wednesday night in booth 14, then I’d say it’s worth it.

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Have a wonderful Day, March 19



To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package worth over $50 that includes an antique journal, Pilot fountain pen (gold), Pilot refill cartridges, and a print copy of Fine Print!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


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