The Friday Night Mystery Club

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Wouldn’t you just love to be a part of a Friday Night Mystery Club? Good food, good wine, good company. This group would also be pretty handy when a real life mystery happens, too. Today we have a visit from Joanna Campbell Slan, a lady I’ve done a few anthologies with in the past!

About The Friday Night Mystery Club

The Friday Night Mystery Club (Friday Night Mystery Club Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Illinois

Decatur, Illinois/1986 – A nasty divorce leaves Cragan Collins with a mountain of bills and her grandmother to support. She takes a job as an ad salesperson for The Gazette. The market is tough, but Cragan finds a mentor in business reporter, Robert Smithson. One icy January day, Robert is found dead in a city park. His murder is dismissed as gay-on-gay crime. Cragan asks The Friday Night Mystery Club to find justice for Robert. Will Cragan’s quest for the truth land her on the obituary page?

And now let’s hear a little from Cragan Collins…

Food, Friends, and Books: A Winning Combination

By Joanna Campbell Slan

The year is 1986. My name is Cragan Collins, and I live at 512 Green Street, Decatur, Illinois, in an older Craftsman-style house that’s been divided into four units. My housemates are all keen mystery readers, so it was only natural that we got to discussing what we were reading. Eventually, it made sense for us to set aside Friday nights to discuss books. Thus, the Friday Night Mystery Club was born.

My co-worker, Winnie Roper, crashed our get-together. Since Winnie brought a scrumptious dessert, we let her stick around. Since then, she’s been the designated dessert-bringer. She also uses our meetings as opportunities to sell us whatever product she’s currently shilling. This week it’s Tupperware, but she’s hinted that she’s moving on to Shaklee Products soon.

With dessert taken care of, the rest of us take turns providing a main course, a salad, and a side. Originally, we took turns bringing wine, but Pru Davis, the exotic dancer ( aka “stripper”) who lives on right-hand side apartment on the second floor, has taken over as Booze Queen. She’s able to buy liquor at costs from the “gentleman’s club” where she works.

We all look forward to the nights when Rosie Sanchez cooks, as Rosie is Hispanic and she makes fabulous Mexican dishes. Rosie and her ten-year-old son, Julio, live on the second floor, right across the hall from Pru. Rosie owns a small café and gift shop. Zahara “Zee” Johnson’s apartment is on the first floor, opposite side of the building from mine. Zee works at First National Bank. She can cook, but she’s not thrilled by doing so. When she does, she usually brings fried chicken or fried pork chops.

As for me, I have a limited repertoire. Meatloaf, baked chicken, and soups are my specialties.

We’ve found that eating together makes our discussions more fun. Or maybe it’s the wine that makes things lively? Who knows? I mean, you can’t really get a better combination than the one we’ve got going: good food, good friends, and good mysteries.

You can find The Friday Night Mystery Club on – Amazon

About Joanna Campbell Slan

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Currently, she writes six fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), the Tai Chi Mystery Series (featuring a mature female amateur sleuth!) and the Friday Night Mystery Series (set in Decatur, IL in 1986 with a spunky female heroine.)

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at or visit her website at

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You can find The Friday Night Mystery Club on – Amazon

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