The Death of a Hell-Razor: The Ninth Penny Weaver Mystery. Nov. 5, 2018. $16 with tax; $19 to be mailed. Presales now.

In The Death of a Hell-Razor, Penny is teaching remedial English under a new and more enlightened administration at St. Francis College. The new president set up a summer boot camp in English and Math for students not ready for college, encourages them to work as interns and assistants with various maintenance staff at the college, and the Drama teacher is putting on Fences by August Wilson, which is a morale boost for both serious students and those trying to slide by. The reforms are helping many, but some students are still selling and taking drugs, failing their classes, and engaging in sexual abuse. Penny has several students making Ds after having failed Reading and Pre-Composition several times already. When one of them is killed, suspicion falls on a 30-year-old ex-con, who had served many prison terms, but he is working hard to do well at the college, and Penny believes he is sincere and would never have killed another student. Even Penny’s friends, Sammie and Derek, believe Mitchell is guilty, although there is no evidence. It rests on Penny and Mitchell’s few supporters to find the real killer.


With the immediacy of almost continuous dialogue, The Death of a Hell-Razor focuses on relationships instead of violence, and on who needs support rather than on who’s to blame. It centers around the dark question of a murder, a simple reality in the cold, cruel, imbalanced world we already know, but the murder isn’t the point of the story–the love is. What makes this story surprising is the dream of an invested, concerned community built around that question, inspired by its fierce, respected, intuitively brilliant elder heroine, whose wisdom and patient unconditional support of everyone–whether or not they believe in themselves–is so compelling. I feel almost lonely without her.
    – Mindi Meltz, Author of Lonely in the Heart of the World.

The Death of a Hell-Razor is a fictitious journey through the lives of staff and students at an Historically Black University (HBU). With all of its challenges and high drama, the characters are real and rich, with hearts as big as Texas. The journey brought smiles, tears, and sorrow. But at the end, the reader will come away with some serious soul food with a sprinkling of HBU pride. Great read.
    – Gary Tyson, Former Siler City, NC Police Chief


Tormentil Hall: the Eighth Penny Weaver Mystery is due out March 1, 2018. Paperback, $15. ISBN-13: 978-1542441469 ; E-book, $2.99.

Poet Penny Weaver and her Welsh policeman husband Kenneth Morgan persuade their close friends Sammie and Derek Hargrave to accompany them to their beloved Gower peninsula in Wales, where they spend several months a year away from their home in Riverdell, a central North Carolina village.  Even before they arrive at Kenneth’s sister Gwyn’s B&B in the village of Pwll du, Sammie panics at how her lively colors and exotic clothing is causing even the proper British to stare at her.  There are few African Americans on Gower.  The next day the visit turns into a nightmare when an obnoxious woman guest dies after falling down the stairs. Derek, who was the only one awake in the house, is accused of pushing her and soon arrested.  Kenneth normally works for the Swansea CID when he and Penny are in Wales, but his chief is on holiday, and xenophobic substitute Chief Investigator Williams wants to pin the death on the visiting African American cop.  


Tormentil Hall is like a visit with an old friend. Penny, Kenneth, Derek and Sammie Hargrave, are drawn into a murder when a fellow guest is found dead and Derek is arrested. Penny and Sammie work to find the real murderer. Well-developed, familiar characters, with new and interesting ones, lead the reader, clue by clue, to the solution. Vivid descriptions of Gower, fascinating historical anecdotes transport the reader to Wales.
    – Pat Dawson, owner of Paperbacks Plus, Siler City, NC

Fans of Judy Hogan’s mystery series will be satisfied with this latest challenge to Penny’s sleuthing skills, set again on the Gower Peninsula of Wales. Hogan presents the fears of characters who have built a multi-racial community in an historically divided society only to experience anxiety among provincial people who have rarely seen people of color. We search for a murderer while enlarging our understanding of these all-too-human characters.
    – Sharon D. Ewing, author of Nocturnes for the Right Brain Alone

Judy Hogan and Penny Weaver share with the reader their love of the Gower Peninsula--its beaches, cliffs, and green land–one of five “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty” in Wales. A wonderful setting for this latest mystery and its complex human relationships.
    – Helen Atwood, Coventry, U.K.


Political Peaches: The Fifth Penny Weaver Mystery, published June 1, 2017

Penny Weaver and her friends are engaged in a tense political campaign to elect new Commissioners in imaginary Shagbark County, N.C. One of their opponents' campaign managers is killed, and their own leading candidate, African American Rick Clegg, is arrested. Then the campaign turns nasty. Their computer files are stolen. A big public relations firm is hired by Phoney Alway, Rick's opponent, to print sleazy postcards. Penny and her friends differ radically about how to deal with their opponents' below the belt and illegal behavior. The Sheriff's lead detective is baffled, so Penny and her friends solve the murder.


Greed undercuts the friendly, diverse community of Shagbark County, North Carolina. Guarding their way of life, leaders emerge and discover that playing in local politics is like kissing a buzzing wasp nest with sunburnt lips on a summer afternoon. There is wisdom and warmth in the heroes and heroines of this tale. Novelist and poet Judy Hogan's new mystery, Political Peaches, is a tasty "cobbler" and treat you will enjoy.
    – Karl Kachergis, former Chair Chatham Democratic Party, 2007-11.


Formaldehyde, Rooster: The Fourth Penny Weaver Mystery was published December 1, 2016. Paperback $15. ISBN-13: 978-1534816381. E-book $2.99.

Penny Weaver returns home after a relaxing summer, newly married to Kenneth Morgan, a detective inspector with the Swansea police.  She learns: her daughter Sarah has left her husband and moved into Penny’s room; Ralph Andrews, an unsavory politician, has taken over their community group, ActNow; and the local particle board plant’s formaldehyde pollution is making people sick. After a forum with the Department of Air Quality Penny learns Andrews was killed by a massive dose of digitalis administered in his coffee, and her dear friend Cathy Clegg is suspected because she served the coffee.


Formaldehyde, Rooster is a lovely mystery seasoned with a warm local community, love, family crisis, activism, and murder. Not only has the ActNow group been taken over by a car salesman, but Riverdell is dealing with serious air pollution. Penny Weaver shows us again the strength of the soft power of detection based on acute observation and deep understanding of the politics and culture of her community.  She reminds us that nicely drawn characters do not have to be dark and twisted creatures. Every new chapter has been a high point of my day.
    – Pete MacDowell, community organizer and poet

Hogan’s new mystery affirms that people who are self-serving and provoke conflict reap the consequences and good people don’t die although they may struggle.  Penny notes that the middle class life may seem more secure but security can’t be bought against things that hurt human beings so much.  Besides the actual murder, Shagbark people are slowly dying from formaldehyde emissions. Enjoy this mystery with a twist and many interesting turns. 
    – Mary Susan Heath, Goldsboro writer and poet


Nuclear Apples? The Third Penny Weaver Mystery, published September 1, 2016. Paperback $15, ISBN-13:978-1530409506; E-book: $2.99. 223 pages. $16 with tax to pick up; $19 to be mailed. Checks to PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559-0253.

Penny Weaver, a mid-50s unconventional poet/activist takes on a nuclear plant CEO who has political clout. Against a backdrop of environmental racism Penny Weaver sticks her neck out to free her friend, Riverdell's community leader and nuclear scientist, who is accused of murder. Will Penny and her housemates’ dream of an apple orchard be defeated by the cataclysm of nuclear fire? Two of the plant's public relations directors who secretly offer information to the community group are shot. Penny copes with a slit tire, being followed, her room vandalized, and police brutality at a sit-in, but still the real killer eludes her. Suspects include Penny's skinhead neighbor, the plant's CEO, who instigates violence against the demonstrators, and a pro-nuclear power supporter.


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Judy Hogan was involved in a real-life citizen movement to keep high-level radioactive waste from being shipped from around the Carolinas and stored at a nuclear plant near her home. She has turned that successful struggle into a thrilling whodunit. This book captures the feeling of community and empowerment that came from neighbors banding together for the common good, and it reminds us that the same courage and solidarity are still needed today to guide the conscience of corporations, governments and the medi
    – Jim Warren, the Director of NC WARN

In this compelling story of community activism set in 1992, Penny Weaver stands firmly with others concerned about the dangerous storage of nuclear waste in close proximity to her neighborhood. It becomes apparent that those who control the nuclear plant will stop at nothing to undermine those protesting. Including murder.
    – K.M. Rockwood, author of the Jesse Damon series.


Haw: The Second Penny Weaver Mystery was published May 1, 2016. Paperback: $15.00 ISBN-13: 978-1518818141 E-book: $2.99. 190 pages. $16 with tax to pick up; $19 to be mailed. Checks to: PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559.

Penny Weaver, living in a shared house to save money, finds her unsavory, sex-obsessed landlord dead the day after Christmas. An unusual snow storm, a housemate undeterred by detective orders from moving his inordinately large number of possessions, certified and uncertified maniac suspects, which include her housemates, the neighbors, and both the landlord's wives, make it difficult for Penny and her Welsh lover to find love-making time, much less solve the mystery. Despite the Sheriff's detectives arresting two innocent people, while keeping Penny in the dark, she collects the key information, and stops the killer when he finally panics.


Haw is a good follow up to The Sands of Gower. I enjoyed seeing Penny in her home environment of North Carolina. Even better was when her Welsh fiance Kenneth Morgan comes to visit for Christmas. Penny and Kenneth try to solve the murder of Penny's landlord with too many suspects involved. Then Penny's intuition takes over. It's a good read with a whodunit to solve before the satisfactory and funny ending.
    – Gloria Alden, author of the Catherine Jewell mystery series.

Jerry's managed to annoy lots of people. The dysfunctional roommates in the house he rents, and their friends. His discontented wife and irate ex-wife. His former neighbors. But who was angry enough to kill him? Why? And who would have selected such a unique murder weapon? Penny and her fiance Kenneth need to figure this out before someone else becomes a victim. Maybe Penny herself.
    – K.M. Rockwood, author of the Jesse Damon series.

An icy Christmas night; a crowded boarding house; a murdered landlord; warm fires; the smells of baked bread and roast turkey; thirteen suspects (including wife, ex, and the dog); and details fed like kindling to a smouldering fire, make Judy Hogan's latest Penny Weaver mystery a mesmerizing and deeply satisfying read. Her masterful plot unfolds with perfect timing as her spirited heroine leads us through the murky light of the human heart to an ending that warms our own. Once you get started, you won't put it down.
    – Walter Bennett, author of Leaving Tuscaloosa


The Sands of Gower: The First Penny Weaver Mystery was published under the imprint Hoganvillaea Books. December 1, 2015. Paperback: $15.00 ISBN-13: 978-1515191063; E-book: $2.99. 194 pages. $16 (with tax) to pick up. $19 to be mailed. Checks to: PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559-0253

Penny begins a new and lively stage of life, her children raised, with a powerful erotic attraction, and the freedom to cross lines that usually hold people apart. The Sands of Gower is set in a Bed and Breakfast on the Gower peninsula near Swansea, Wales. Penny Weaver, luxuriating in her two-month vacation, is disturbed by the murder of a German guest. Penny's independent, outspoken American lifestyle contrasts with the more conservative ways of the village's pensioners. In the process of solving the crime, Penny and Detective Inspector Kenneth Morgan are powerfully attracted. This, plus the British post-World War II continuing distrust of the Germans, complicates their investigation.


I'm such a fan of Killer Frost and Farm Fresh and Fatal that I jumped at the chance to read The Sands of Gower. Penny Weaver is a protagonist you'll never tire of and to learn about her life two decades ago was a treat.
    – Lane Stone, Tiara Investigations Mysteries

Distinctive characters, lyrical writing, and an appealing Welsh setting distinguish this charming tale of an introspective poet's unexpected immersion in murder and romance.
    – Carolyn Mulford, author of Show Me the Ashes, the fourth Show Me mystery.

You are a master storyteller. Intricately woven relationships between well-drawn characters whom I cared about greatly add depth to this well-crafted, "keep you guessing" mystery.
    – Katherine Wood Wolfe, writer and poet.


Farm Fresh and Fatal, Judy's seventh novel in her Penny Weaver series came out October 1, 2013 from Mainly Murder Press. From Judy, $17 to pick up, $20, mailed. $15.95, trade paperback; $2.99 e-book. Locally available in independent bookstores, and on line from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and as e-book also through Untreed Reads worldwide.

When Penny Weaver joins the new Riverdell Farmers' Market, things go from bad to worse. The county's poultry agent is poisoned, apparently after drinking fruit punch provided by the abrasive market manager, who claims innocence but is arrested. The state ag department threatens to close the market. Penny and her friend Sammie work to uncover the real poisoner. Kent is unpopular with the quirky farmers, with the exception of the genetically modified seeds man and the baker/jelly maker. Penny and Sammie discover that the poison was black nightshade, but which farmer grows it and who put it in the punch?

In Winter 2014 issue Small Press Columnist Betty Webb said:

In Judy Hogan's Farm Fresh and Fatal, a small group of North Carolina vegetable farmers take their organic wares to Riverdell Farmers' Market. Well, make those wares mostly organic. There are a few outlaws among the crowd, such as Giles, who has raised a genetically altered crop, and Kent, an obnoxious poultry inspector who never saw a hormone additive he didn't like. While the characters in this mostly easygoing mystery couldn't exactly be described as eccentric, some are definitely odd - especially the argumentative Herman, who describes himself as a "paleo-conservative." As a group, they embody a small village of mainly like-minded people, but when Kent is poisoned on market day, the infighting begins. Told from the point-of-view of Penny Weaver, who spends part of the year in Wales, with her Welsh husband, we watch this formerly close-knit group fall apart. This mystery is fascinating for several reasons. One, the personal and political infighting that takes place after a murder are indicative of how society at large functions. Two, although the reader first looks at the community as a whole, individuality quickly emerges. And three-but definitely not last-is the fact that vegetables turn out of be a lot more interesting than we'd ever guessed.


Farm Fresh and Fatal features an appealing protagonist, an intriguing background, and well-realized characters. Readers will enjoy these characters and empathize with their successes and failures. In the tradition of Margaret Maron.
    – Carolyn Hart, author of Dead, White, and Blue.

Hogan serves up a complex dish that is flavored with community and family drama. It is spiced with intrigue, finished with mystery and delivered right off the vine.
    – Lyle Estill, President, Piedmont Biofuels and author of Small is Possible

Judy Hogan delivers again in her fearless Farm Fresh and Fatal. Through a story built on a strong foundation of research she tackles difficult issues, all the while giving us a first-rate read. And that authentic voice her readers have come to expect shines on every page.
    – Lane Stone, author, Tiara Investigations Mystery series.


Judy's debut mystery novel, Killer Frost, the sixth written, the first published by Mainly Murder Press came out Sept 1, 2012. $15.95 in trade paperback $2.99 in e-book on Nook and Kindle (Barnes and Noble and Amazon, also worldwide through e-book distribution by Untreed Reads). Order from Judy for $17 (includes tax) if you pick it up and $20, if mailed. You can also buy it directly from Mainly Murder and receive a discount.

Penny Weaver, hired to teach composition at historically black St. Francis College, falls in love with her boss, whose passion to save their ill-prepared students makes her protective when he's accused of murdering the Provost.


A charming puzzler of a traditional mystery, this classic academic mystery debut is a pageturner populated with layered, interesting characters. My hat is off to Judy Hogan on a stellar debut. I look forward to the further adventures of Professor Penny Weaver at St. Francis College!
    – Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times Bestselling Author of One Was A Soldier.

Killer Frost deserved to be short-listed for the Malice Domestic prize. It is a fine first effort. I think we'll be hearing more from Judy Hogan and her protagonist, Penny Weaver.
    – Louise Penny, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Three Pines mysteries and winner of four Agathas.

Judy Hogan's debut novel set in the world of academia gives us a hint of what we might expect from this author in the future. Her insight into what's happening to today's youth, her concerns and her empathy are directly reflected in her characters-be they good guys or bad.
    – Kaye Barley, Blog Master at


To order, send check ($20 if mailed; $17 if you'll pick up)  to Judy Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC, 27559-0253

Note:  Penny Weaver mysteries in order:  Not yet published:   (2) Haw, (3) Nuclear Apples?, (4) Formaldehyde, Rooster, (5)  Political Peaches,
Published:( (1) The Sands of Gower, 6) Killer Frost, (7) Farm Fresh and Fatal,
Not yet Published: (8) Tormentil Hall, (9) Death of a Hell-Razor, (10) Bakehouse Doom, (11) Fatality at Angelika's Eatery; (12) Don't Frack Here (13) Pernicious Poll, (14), A Teen's Christmas in Wales, (15) Sickness Unto Death, (16) Coal Ash Bourne.


Judy’s contact info:


PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559-0253
Hoganvillaea Farm:  7598 Moncure-Pittsboro Rd.

Updated:  Nov. 19, 2017

Classes Mysteries