It’s November in Pecan Bayou, Texas and while the town is getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a deadly fire breaks out at the newspaper office. When Rocky, the editor is nowhere to be found, Betsy refuses to believe he has perished in the fire. The entire town is coming down with the stomach flu and Betsy must deal with her husband’s newfound celebrity as an on-air weatherman filling in for an under-the-weather Hurricane Hal. Leo loves all the attention he’s getting, especially from the sexy administrative assistant who works at the station. Is their new marriage in trouble already? Find out in the fifth book of the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series. All the characters you’ve come to know and love are back and you’ll find plenty of the Happy Hinter’s recipes and tips included at the end of the book.
Every end is a new beginning.
“He’s not in there.”
“What do you mean he’s not in there? I left him just a few hours ago. We have get in there and check! Why is everybody just standing around?” Leo and my father didn’t move. What was wrong with them?
I started running into the fire, but felt hands fastening onto my arms to hold me back. The Pecan Bayou Gazette building that had stood proudly on Main Street for sixty-three years now began caving in on itself as the white-hot flames overtook the structure. The repository of Pecan Bayou’s history— the place where everything that happened in our corner of Texas for the past half century had been recorded — was now turning into a pile of burning beams.
Elaina leaned up against her squad car, cell phone in hand. “I’ve called him three times, but still nobody is answering.”
It was all gone, the Pecan Bayou Gazette, a newspaper office that had told the story of our little town from basketball championships to church suppers. Weddings and funerals. It was all stored there, but the biggest loss was the man no one could get through the flames to rescue.
***** I had been in the Pecan Bayou Gazette office earlier in the day searching through some old issues that contained Thanksgiving recipes. Many years ago, Rocky published recipes from a Miss Caroline who wrote a much-loved food column. She wrote about everything from deviled eggs to making pot roast. I had been sifting through previous editions that had contained some recipes for Thanksgiving. Miss Caroline Ogilvy started out sharing some of her church’s favorite potluck recipes. According to Rocky so many people asked her to write down her recipes on cards for them that she believed it would just be easier if he printed them in the paper for her. He did, and they were a big success and pretty soon churches all over Pecan Bayou were cooking up her dishes and calling them their own.
She was retired now, but her recipes were still good stuff. Her culinary delights became so popular that Rocky included them in the paper once a month and once a week during the holiday season. With the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays, I was happy to resurrect Miss Caroline’s gold mine of information to help my readers cook the perfect holiday dinner. “Where did you say Miss Caroline’s recipes were?”
“In the filing cabinet under C for Caroline.”
“Of course, filing by her first name. Who would have thought of that?”
“Miss Caroline will be happier than a tick on a hound dog that you are using her recipes. She told me she didn’t want to continue her column quite a while back, but I think she still misses being a local celebrity. You know she’s a little touched, right?”
“I hadn’t heard about that, but her recipe for cornbread stuffing was so good and was used by so many people that Aunt Maggie said she saw it printed in the paper over in Andersonville.” “I should have known they’d steal my quality copy.”
“Think of it as a compliment.”
“It’s hard to be humble when your stuff is good enough to steal. So how are your two young men liking middle school?” Rocky asked as he peeled an apple from behind the editor’s desk of the Pecan Bayou Gazette.
I sighed and shook my head. The boys had been on my mind a lot lately. Between the new school and all their friends and activities, sometimes I felt like there was so much going on with Zach and Tyler that it was growing out of my control.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Tyler seems to be fitting in pretty well, considering he’s a transplant from Dallas into our little town of Pecan Bayou. Zach, on the other hand, seems to be a little uncomfortable all of a sudden. He’s gone to school with these kids since kindergarten, but he just isn’t fitting in. Does that seem strange?”
“Come on, Betsy. Think about it. Tyler is the new kid in town. Worse than that, he’s a kid from the sophisticated big city of Dallas. He’s still a man of mystery. The spotlight is on him. Once they get used to him, things will settle down and Zach will find his place.”
“I guess you’re right.” I sighed. “I emailed you my latest column on getting water rings off wood. Do you want me to print it out for you so that you can edit it?”
“Don’t you worry about printing it out and having me edit it. I’ve got somebody to help me out with some of the paperwork around here now. I can handle it. One thing I can count on is my Happy Hinter articles. Wish Shorty was as conscientious as you are.”
“You know that huntin’ column he’s supposed to be writing? He hasn’t sent me anything in weeks and here we are at the heart of deer season.”
“Maybe he’s getting ready?”
“Yeah, and maybe he’s passed out in a deer blind somewhere.” Rocky threw his apple core away and then reached into his top drawer and pulled out a pack of antacids.
“Do you always have one of those things right after you eat, Rocky?”
“Not always, but I can already feel a stress induced acid attack coming on. I got the Pet of the Week lady coming in around ten. She’s not too happy with me. I moved her pet picture to the comics page thinking it’s a great place for the kids to be lookin’.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me. Wasn’t it next to the obits?”
“Yes, and she complained that if the little critter didn’t get adopted, then why not just slide that picture on over to the dead column? She feels like I’m not taking in the gravity of the situation.”
“Obviously, she needs to spend a little more time reading the funnies.”
~Shelley’s Book Case wrote:
The mystery is a real page-turner that will keep you guessing until the very end. And the small-town characters are a hoot.
Teresa is a new author to me… I like how she paints the town and the people in your mind so vividly.
~Community Bookstop wrote:
This was a quick and very entertaining mystery that kept me up most of the night.
This book really grabbed and pulled me wanting to know what happened to certain characters. I just enjoyed it so much!!
~Back Porchervations wrote:
I love the town of Pecan Bayou and their involvement with everyone business. The caring of different characters and their relationships to each other. The humor in the book is fun and made me smile a lot.
~Rantin, Ravin and Reading wrote:
Burnout… was a pleasure to read.
~My Recent Favorite Books wrote:
I have been enjoying this series and it has only gotten better with each installment, including this one.
~A Chick Who Reads wrote:
I truly enjoyed all the different characters and story lines in this book!
I absolutely loved this mystery. Pecan Bayou is a place that’s easy to revisit. You’ll love the town and all of its inhabitants and you’ll never guess whodunit!