For all of us who have been sneaking off to watch those early Hallmark Christmas movies, Hollyberry Homicide is the book for you. Learn more about this yuletide mystery and don’t forget to scroll down and find the prize guy and enter the giveaway!
About Hollyberry Homicide
Hollyberry Homicide (A Berry Basket Mystery)
5th in Series
A cold wind is blowing off Lake Michigan, and murder is scaring the dickens out of everyone . . .
Considering her name, Marlee Jacob is an obvious choice for the role of Jacob Marley in Oriole Point’s production of A Christmas Carol. It’s just sad that the role has opened up because of the death of the elderly actor who’d originally been cast.
But Marlee, the proprietor of The Berry Basket, will do her best to keep spirits high—that is, until clues start mounting that there’s danger behind the scenes. There are accidents on set, the tree in the village square topples over, and worst of all, a body is found with a sprig of holly draped over it. If Marlee can’t wrap up the case, she may not have a berry merry Christmas . . . Includes Berry Recipes!
But wait…there’s more! And now a visit with Marlee Jacob, the proprieter of the The Berry Basket! It’s a cold snowy afternoon and we’ve sat down with a couple of cups of cocoa just to have a chat.
Please tell us about your latest adventure.
It’s Christmas week in my scenic small town along the shores of Lake Michigan. Which means I’m over-decorating my store and my home since this is my favorite season. I’ve also been drafted to take part in our local production of A Christmas Carol after the elderly actor cast as Jacob Marley was found dead. You wouldn’t normally think a 30-year-old woman would be the first choice to replace him. But because my name is Marlee Jacob, the theater group found the idea of me stepping into the role to be irresistible. (I blame my Dickens’ loving mother for this.) I hoped the experience would be fun, except it’s not only starting to look a lot like Christmas. It also looks like the former Jacob Marley may have been murdered.
Do you have any friends/sidekicks helping you out?
My best friend Tess invariably finds herself playing Honey Wheeler to my Trixie Belden. And my friend Natasha is a current houseguest, so she’s been drawn into the mystery just by her close proximity to me. Because my boyfriend Kit Holt is a sheriff’s deputy, he once again proves to be a source of comfort and information. And my shop employees – Gillian, Dean, Andrew, and Theo – not only help me run The Berry Basket, their gossipy tidbits about the townspeople turn out to be most helpful.
Do you have any special skills to fight crime?
I’ve learned that all the information I’ve acquired about berries helps me to understand the crimes that occur at the berry-themed events in Oriole Point. In addition, I have some prior experience with murder. I used to be a TV producer of cooking shows in New York City. After one of my celebrity chefs murdered another, my testimony was required at the resulting trial which riveted the nation for months. That notorious year convinced me to return to my hometown for a quieter life as a shop owner. Only fate had other plans in store for me. But my experience with the chef murderer did teach me about the criminal mind, which has come in handy.
Are you a full-time detective or do you do something else?
Despite my involvement with several local murders, I am definitely an amateur sleuth. Indeed, I am the proud owner of The Berry Basket, a berry-themed shop in the lakeshore village of Oriole Point, Michigan. And often my day job has been an asset when it comes to solving the mysteries. Although I could do with a little less danger.
What are you most frightened of in this story?
I always worry that my friends or family will be put in harm’s way because of my often unwilling involvement in a local crime. And I was right to worry in this story because all that stood between two of my friends and the murderer was me. That is a responsibility I hope I don’t have to shoulder again.
Is there anything funny that happens to you or another character in this story?
Stepping into the role of Jacob Marley didn’t go quite as planned. It turns out I don’t have the ability to memorize a script in record time. Also I’m a pretty bad actress. So I have no desire to repeat the experience. Everyone in the theater group is most grateful.
If I were to choose an actor or actress to play your part in a movie, who would that be? Do you see any other characters in your story as actors or actresses that our readers might know?
Since my family always tell me that I look like a younger Sandra Bullock, I’d choose Sandra to step into my shoes. My former fiancé Ryan was a dead ringer for Ryan Gosling, ironic considering they share the same name. Piper Lyall-Pierce, head of the Visitors Bureau and the mayor’s wife, would definitely be played by Cate Blanchett. As for my staff, Gillian is a doppelganger for actress Mia Wasikowska, while Rami Malek seems the spitting image of my baker Theo Foster.
Do you have other mysteries you would like to tell us about? Is this the first book in the series, or have you cracked a few other cases?
While ‘Hollyberry Homicide’ is the fifth book in the Berry Basket series, all of them take place during one of the many festivals that Piper organizes. And because we live in Michigan’s Fruit Belt, the events focus on berries. In Dying for Strawberries, our town celebrated June’s Strawberry Moon with the Strawberry Moon Bash. Blackberry Burial spotlighted the Blackberry Art School centenary, which concluded with the Blackberry Road Rally. Blueberry season took center stage in Killed on Blueberry Hill, where the fun activities held at the state fairground for the Blueberry Blow-Out turned out to be less fun than deadly. Finally, Mulberry Mischief unfolded during Halloween week, which didn’t stop Piper from hosting a Haunted Halloween Harvest Health Fair. Despite her good intentions, the health fair provided us with more tricks than treats. Along with an eccentric woman in desperate need of mulberries to protect her.
Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?
Don’t forget to look over the recipes that I include at the end of every story. Both my baker Theo and I have tried all of them out in the shop kitchen first. One of my favorite parts of the job.
Let’s give your author a chance to speak. Anything you would like to add?
This novel is my way of saying ‘thank you’ to Charles Dickens’ for A Christmas Carol, which is my favorite Christmas-themed story. I hope the reader has as much fun reading it as I did writing it. I also hope it puts everyone in an early holiday mood, which seems more needed than ever. And may God bless us everyone.
Amen to that!
About Sharon Farrow
Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award-winning author Sharon Pisacreta. A freelance writer since her twenties, she has been published in mystery, fantasy, and romance. Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series for Kensington. The series debuted in 2016 and is set along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline where she now lives. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.
Author Links –
WEB PAGE http://sharonfarrowauthor.com/