Saturday, June 11, 2022


Welcome to New Oslo! – by Rosalie Spielman 

My book, Welcome Home to Murder, first in the Hometown Mystery series, was released Tuesday. My main character, Tessa, is a recently retired U.S. Army officer, returns to her hometown, which is chock full of interesting characters—including a murderer. Knowing how it is to meet a new community in a book, I thought it might be helpful to have a character list for those reading! I would like to introduce you to:

New Oslo. This tiny town was founded by Scandinavians (in case that’s not obvious) and it is a mere three blocks long. They have school through high school and a police station that is manned by a county sheriff’s deputy. There are a variety of shops, a log yard, and a town memorial park. It is roughly based on the town where my parents lived when I was born. (Note I do not say “the town I was born in” as the hospital is in the next town over, the larger and non-fictional Moscow, Idaho.)

Tessa Treslow. Tessa is in her forties, having just retired from a career as a United States Army officer. She left New Oslo right after high school. She’s a mechanic; a tough, tattooed girl on the exterior and a soft, hurting inside (sort of a pain pretzel, if you will) after the death of her fiancĂ© and other heartbreak from her years as a soldier. She loves nothing more than to restore classic vehicles with her aunt and had been looking forward to working on cars with her while figuring out her next step.

Edna Harridan. Edna is Tessa’s seventy-something year old aunt. She is also a veteran, having served as a WAC in Vietnam. She is a mechanic—Tessa learned much of what she knows from Aunt Edna—and runs the town auto shop, which is attached to the general store, both of which are owned and run by her family. Aunt Edna also has a few tattoos, including a matching one with Tessa, crossed wrenches with “We Can Do It,” which pays homage to Edna’s mother, who was a WWII wartime factory worker.

Petunia “Freddie” Frederickson. Freddie is Tessa’s oldest friend. They escaped New Oslo together to join the army, but Freddie returned home after her initial enlistment to join the county sheriff’s department. She is the deputy in New Oslo.

Joe Eriksson. Joe is the fourth of five Eriksson boys, and Tessa’s high school sweetheart. She broke his heart when she left for the army, and he refused to consider a long distance relationship. He is now the county sheriff and in charge of the murder investigation. The former couple had not spoken since the day she left, and Tessa’s worried about his ability to stay professional and not hold the breakup against her.

Frank and Agnes Treslow. Tessa’s parents. Agnes and Edna inherited the Harridan Old General store, the HOG, and garage from their parents but are struggling to keep it open in the tiny town. Frank is a farmer but helps his wife out in the store when needed.

Nick Hunt. Nick is a former infantryman who now works at the high school as a math teacher. He annoys Tessa greatly with his screechy brakes and good looks.


Minor characters:

Jezebel (Jessie) St. John. Tessa’s oft-married nemesis from high school.  

Jeff Eriksson. The baby of the family, Jeff is a jack of all trades. He occasionally works at the HOG and does work for people around town.

Sergeant Robert White III. Sergeant White is Freddie’s sergeant in New Oslo. He has the unfortunate luck of his father being Tessa’s classmate in school and being given a nickname that then was passed down.

Sean and Lindsey Bimbeau. The Bimbeaus have lived in New Oslo for at least a decade but are still considered “newcomers.” They own The High Octane cafĂ©, a refurbished gas station.

Ginny Prunn. Older of the two “eternally old” Prunn sisters. Ginny is a retired kindergarten teacher known for her sparkly outfits. Tessa and Freddie refer to the sisters as the “Prunes.”

Olive Prunn. Retired math teacher and principal of the high school. Favors fascinators as headwear. Together the sisters run the Historical society and attached antique shop.

Hank and Hollis. Two old men who sit on the bench in front of the Historical Society all day and watch the traffic go by. They prove to be a good witness when paired together, as one is hard of hearing and the other doesn’t see well.

Magnus Olafson. The owner of Cheese and Thank You, a main street cheese shop.

Katy Olafson. Magnus’ daughter who works at Cheese and Thank You.

Becky Baker. The town hairdresser who owns Becky’s Good Hair.

Princeton Proudfoot. A “scrooge” with a soft spot for Aunt Edna.

Forrest Sherwood. Proprietor of Sherwood’s Hardware.

Jamie “JJ” Juarez. A Vietnam vet, now folk singer and ranch owner. JJ runs a program on his ranch for veterans called “Let’s Moooooove Out!”

Augustus “Auggie” Toat. The murder victim. Auggie is from Paradise Ridge, but his grandmother worked at the HOG with Agnes and Edna’s mother.

Detective MacDonald. Detective with the sheriff’s department who was put in charge of the investigation to avoid any conflict of interest with Sheriff Eriksson. Oft-described as “Lurch” from the Addams Family.

Vince. Tessa’s boxer dog, modeled after my own.

Magnus. A bull moose that Tessa comes in contact with on more than one occasion. She also spots Minnie Moose in town as well.

I hope this is helpful. Do you like it when books come with a list of characters?


  1. This sounds like a great read - especially for someone like me who lives in moose country - Northern Maine for me. We call our resident moose Darcy. She introduces us to her calves every year. So cute. Looking forward to spending time in New Oslo.

  2. Love the moose element and list of characters. Yes, I appreciate a list of characters, particularly when several generations share the same name (Joe Bob, little Joe, old Joe, Big Joe).

  3. So fun to meet your friends, Rosalie! Best of luck with your new book.

  4. Sounds like a rich and colorful cast of characters placed in a fascinating setting.