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Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder at the Mushroom Festival

Time for Spring festivals and this week let’s get into fungi at Murder at the Mushroom Festival. The author, Janet Finsilver was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing process and how she loves to write about dogs with special abilities.  My dogs Martin and Max have special talents. All I have to do is open the refrigerator and they appear like magic from anywhere in the house!


Be sure to look for the prize guy! Today he gives you the chance to enter her giveaway for a digital copy of Murder at the Mushroom Festival.

About the Book

Murder at the Mushroom Festival (A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series

There’s a corpse among the chanterelles!

Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager Kelly Jackson is hosting a cooking class during the Week of the Mushroom festival to attract guests, not drama. But soon after she finishes foraging for an edible mushroom species on sacred Native American land, a local newspaper reporter gets shot dead at the same site. With suspicions spreading like fungi in the quaint Northern Californian community over the culprit’s identity, Kelly and a savvy gang of sleuthing seniors known as the “Silver Sentinels” must uncover the truth about the secluded property before a tricky killer prepares another lethal surprise . . .

A Visit With the Author

 

How did you come up with an idea for your book?

I have a series of books that I call safe whodunits. This means there is no graphic violence and the main characters will return in each one. In the mystery world they are called cozy mysteries. My books all have dogs with special abilities.

Where did the ideas come from? Traditional mystery writers like Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle influenced me. Murder She Wrote was a favorite show I watched. This is where the type of books I write came from.

As for the dogs, years ago I read about a standard poodle trained to detect cancer. That’s where the original idea came from for the dogs with special abilities in my books. I was fascinated and started collecting information about the different ways dogs contribute to our lives. Each of my mysteries highlights a certain skill. Murder at Redwood Cove has a basset hound trained to detect cancer. In Murder at the Mansion two beagles are bedbug and termite finders. Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table has dogs trained in hearing-assistance for people who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as one trained to help people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My most recent book, Murder at the Mushroom Festival, has a diabetic alert dog that also finds mushrooms! These aren’t dog books, but the dogs all have a function in the stories.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

There are many scenes I hope the readers enjoy. I’ve put an excerpt from Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table below.

Mary gave me directions, and I headed out to discover my future. Auntie’s table was off by itself a ways away from the crowd. Summer and a pale man sat across from a woman in black, voluminous clothes, a cloth scarf on her head. She was staring into a small cup, and I could see her lips move.

Suddenly Summer stood up, and even at a distance I could here her loud “No!” She turned to the man now standing next to her and grabbed his arm. She pulled him away from the table, and they headed in my direction.

The man put his arm around her shoulders as they walked by me. “Mom, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s coffee grounds and Auntie’s active imagination.”

I saw tears in Summer’s eyes.

“You don’t know.” She shook her head from side to side and looked stunned.

“Mom, I have no dark secrets from the past that will be revealed,” he said, his voice beginning to trail off as they moved away. “And no one is going to die.”

~*~

Here are some hints for other favorite scenes. In Murder at Redwood Cove, Fred uses his hound abilities to find a missing person. An unusual room is discovered in Murder at the Mansion. An unexpected ride happens at a botanical garden in Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table. My protagonist has to do some quick thinking to save herself in Murder at the Mushroom Festival.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

Right now I’m focusing on my Kelly Jackson series. I have a contract for a fifth and sixth book. The tentative title for book five is Murder at the Marina. It goes to the publisher in June. The next “project” after that will be figuring out what happens in book six!

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

Growing up I enjoyed reading books that had dogs or horses in them. I think it would be fun to do a young adult series involving animals.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

The usual places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016. Book 3, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE was released on March 14, 2017.

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Author Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/janetfinsilverauthor/?fref=ts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanetFinsilver

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/janetfinsilver/

Web – http://janetfinsilver.com/

 

Purchase Links

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Prestige, Privilege and Murder

D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final today…  No, not me. I’m on 28 years of marriage and contrary to what they said at the wedding, I think it will last. Christa Nardi is here today to talk about her new book Prestige, Privilege and Murder and it’s all about an ugly divorce. A peek-through-the-blinds at your neighbor kind of divorce. She was kind enough to answer some questions about the book and be sure to scroll down to find the Prize Guy for your chance at a print copy of this cozy mystery.

How did you come with an idea for your book?

This book started as I sat at a stop light on my way to work and the opening scene popped into my head. For the past year, a friend had been dealing with a situation like Stacie’s pending divorce and trying to get back into the social scene again. I think like our dreams, the stories we create are all somehow related to people and situations in real life. I feel compelled to add here, the friend’s husband is still alive and well!

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

Gosh, that’s hard. I like the scene with Stacie’s father showing up first thing in the morning – as Rick is leaving, looking disheveled.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

I recently published the 5th and last of the Cold Creek Mystery Series featuring a professor turned amateur sleuth.  I am working on a spinoff, with the main character, Sheridan Hendley.  The second in the Stacie Maroni series is also a work in progress.  In between, I co-author a teen/young adult mystery series with Cassidy Salem. We hope the fourth in the Hannah and Tamar series will be coming out mid-April.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

It would be fantasy – to create my own “world” with interesting characters and scenery. I’m not sure how authors like Piers Anthony (Xanth series) keep all the characters and places straight. I may be a bit too concrete for that.

Is there a giveaway or promotion with this book?

Yes! Look for the Prize Guy!

Where can readers leave reviews of your book? Amazon and Goodreads

 

About the Book


Prestige, Privilege & Murder (A Stacie Maroni Mystery)Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published (January 10, 2018)
Print Length: 182 pages
ASIN: B078N1M422

Money isn’t worth killing for, or is it?

When her estranged husband is murdered, Stacie Maroni Noth is quickly identified as the main suspect. With divorce papers not yet signed, she may get a substantial inheritance – a clear motive in the eyes of both Noth’s family and the police. His family and law firm strive to keep up the pretense that all is above reproach and idyllic. In her quest to prove her innocence, however, Stacie discovers she’s not the only one with a motive for murder. Could it be a colleague at the prestigious law firm where he worked? Or is it tied to the victim’s stance on domestic violence? Or maybe even his threats to reveal family secrets? Whatever the true motive may be, it soon becomes clear that Stacie might be the next victim.

Purchase Link

Amazon

About the Author

 

Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery along with romance are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to cozy mystery. She is the author of the Cold Creek Series and co-authors a young adult mystery series with Cassidy Salem.

Author Links

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00G8SBCKK

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257539.Christa_Nardi

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christa.nardi.5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristaN7777

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/christa-nardi

Blog: https://christanardi.blogspot.com

Sign up for monthly newsletter http://smarturl.it/NardiNewsletter

 

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Book Blast Friday: Killer Tied

There are plenty of twists and turns in this cozy mystery and judging from the cover–cute shoes! Lesley A. Diehl is visiting us today to answer some questions about her latest mystery, Killer Tied. 

How did you come with the idea for Killer Tied?

Killer Tied is the sixth book in the Eve Appel mysteries from Camel Press. The idea for the book came from asking myself the question, what if a young woman approaches Eve and tells her she is Eve’s sister? But Eve doesn’t have a sister and her parents died in a boating accident when Eve was nine years old. This woman looks like Eve, but her age is such that she would have been born after the parent’s death. If what the woman says is true, then someone had lied to Eve, and it appeared the person who told Eve the lie is her own grandmother, the woman who raised her.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

In the scene between Eve and her old friend from college, the reader learns how Eve met her former husband, Jerry and reveals that Eve’s friends old grudge against her continues until today. The friend reveals that she knows more about Eve’s mother than Eve does, and Eve struggles with how she can mend the past and get the friend to allow Eve access to records that might tell Eve if her mother still lives. It is a scene where two sassy women do battle with each other, one trying to hurt the other by hiding the truth and the other, Eve, tries to control her usual bold and snarky approach to unearth the truth. But as Eve says, patience is not something she had yet mastered. The reader hopes Eve will finally discover what she must know about her mother, but college friend is more interested in righting a past injustice than helping Eve uncover her past.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

There will be three more Eve Apple mysteries, and I hope to make them a little different from the ones that have gone before. In the seventh book which will be released by Camel Press sometime in the autumn or winter of this year, I bring Eve’s best friend Madeleine’s uncle from Scotland to visit Madeleine and her family. He brings his son, daughter-in-law and grandson with him. The visit should be fun for everyone, but trouble begins when the daughter-in-law runs off the road in the rental car and almost drowns herself in one of the many canals crisscrossing the area. An accident? Perhaps, someone shoots at Madeleine’s uncle and wounds him. Is someone trying to kill him or his family? Eve takes on the case to along with another one and finds herself up to her designer blouse in trouble.

The third book in the Big Lake Murder mysteries will be released this year. Cry Muddy Murder finds Emily Rhodes, retired preschool teacher and present-day bartender at the local country club, participating as a volunteer in a re-enactment of the Battle of Okeechobee. As usual, she stumbles onto a dead body, this one the local principal’s. Set in the Lake Okeechobee, Florida area, Emily and cohorts discover the principal’s past indiscretions may have led to his murder, but the truth is as likely to reside closer to home.

I also write a microbrewing series set in a picturesque river valley in Upstate New York. Hera Knightsbridge owns and operates a microbrewery threatened by drought, hydraulic fracturing, and murder. The other cozy mystery series I write features a college professor as a protagonist. Dr. Laura Murphy finds trouble on her campus with the president’s murder, the pollution of the lake she lives on and the killer antics of a college fraternity. College life is anything but ivory tower academics for Laura.

I also have written a number of short stories featuring Aunt Nozzie and the grandmothers, a family trio of geriatric misfits who just happen to help their niece and granddaughter solve murders. These stories are Thanksgiving themed and appear in Untreed Reads Thanksgiving anthology, The Killer Wore Cranberry, Vols 1-5.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

My protagonists are more romantic than I, so I know I would be terrible at romance, and without a background in law or criminal justice, I don’t have the expertise to write mystery with a lawyer or cop as protagonist. I might try women’s fiction because I could use a lifetime of experience to create my characters. My background as a psychologist might help.

Is there a giveaway or promotion for this book?

There are several giveaways on this tour.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Please leave them on Amazon with each book there.

 

About the Book


Killer Tied (Eve Appel Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series

You Can Find This Book On Amazon

Eve Appel Egret is adjusting to married life with Sammy and their three adopted sons in Sabal Bay, Florida. While still running her consignment stores, she is going pro with her sleuthing by becoming an apprentice to a private detective.

Until her marriage, Eve’s only “family” was her grandmother Grandy, who raised her after her parents died in a boating accident. Now, in addition to her husband and sons, she has a father-in-law who clearly dislikes her. Sammy’s father, a full-blooded Miccosukee Indian long presumed dead, has emerged from the swamps where he’s been living like a hermit, and he isn’t happy about Eve’s marriage to his half-Miccosukee, half-white son.

As for Eve’s family, are her parents really dead? A woman named Eleanor claims to be Eve’s half-sister, born after her mother faked a boating accident to escape her abusive husband, Eve’s father. Then Eleanor’s father turns up dead in the swamps, stabbed by a Bowie knife belonging to Sammy’s father, Lionel. Strange as Lionel Egret is, Eve knows he had no motive to kill this stranger. In order to clear him, Eve must investigate Eleanor’s claims, and she might not like what digging around in her family’s past uncovers.

About the Author

 

Lesley is a country gal through and through, from her childhood on a dairy farm in Illinois to college in a cornfield in Iowa, Lesley creates sassy, snoopy protagonists who embrace chasing killers in country settings. Lesley writes several series: the Big Lake Murder mysteries and the Eve Appel mysteries both set in rural Florida; the Laura Murphy mysteries located on a lake in upstate New York; and short stories, some featuring a few of Lesley’s unique relatives from back on the farm (Aunt Nozzie and the Grandmothers). She is inspired by an odd set of literary muses: a ghost named Fred and a coyote as yet unnamed. Killer Tied is the sixth mystery in the Eve Appel Mysteries. To read more about Lesley’s unusual and humorous cozy mysteries, go to www.lesleyadiehl.com.

Author Links

Visit her on her website: www.lesleyadiehl.com

Blog: www.lesleyadiehl.com/blog

Twitter: @lesleydiehl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesley.diehl.1

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lesley-A-Diehl/522270901254754?fref=ts

 

Cozy Prizes Friday: Southern Discomfort

Ready for a weekend in a cozy B&B in Savannah? Put some cheese in those grits, if you please. Today we have a guest post about the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia written by USA Today Best Selling Author Carole Fardiq who is touring her latest mystery Southern Discomfort. 

 

Savannah—The Squares

 

You can’t visit Savannah, Georgia and not spend time in one of its many squares.  Savannah’s squares are beautiful small parks dotted throughout town, all of them shaded by tall trees, many of them majestic live oaks hanging full of Spanish moss.  Not that Savannah is a particularly bustling city, but it’s nice to be able to sit and relax in a calm outdoor setting as you’re sightseeing, shopping, or working there.  The squares are an especially lovely place to cool off during Savannah’s sweltering summers.  In fact, the fountain area in Ellis Square is often packed with kids in bathing suits, squealing in delight as the dancing jets of water douse them.

 

Originally, the squares served more of a practical purpose.  James Oglethorpe founded Savannah in 1733 and laid out the town in the shape of a grid containing a series of wards.  Each ward would have a square at its center, and the surrounding ground would be divided into either commercial or residential lots.  The squares were intended for use as militia training grounds.

 

Today, the city has of course expanded beyond Oglethorpe’s original plan, but most of the squares have been kept intact and all are kept up beautifully.  As originally intended, the lots surrounding the squares are a nice eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, businesses, and residential buildings.  If you’re looking to visit, the best way by far to see most of them is by horse-drawn carriage tour.  I’ve been on several of those tours!

 

The last time my family visited Savannah, we skipped the carriage ride so I could do some hands-on research of the parks for SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT.  I needed the exact right park as a backdrop to be able to “see” my story in my head.  My poor husband and kids suffered through stopping at square after square for me to get out of the family minivan and spend time at each square, walking the surrounding streets and getting a feel for the area.  Needless to say, after hours of that, I owed them dinner at their favorite Savannah restaurant, The Pirates’ House.

 

Ultimately, I chose Pulaski Square for the setting of SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT.  It’s on the southwest side of the historic district, far enough away from the more touristy areas near the river that I could imagine Quinn, Delilah, and Papa Sal running their B&B in a peaceful setting.  (Other than finding a murder victim a couple of blocks away, of course.)  Pulaski Square was built in 1837 and named after General Casimir Pulaski.  Originally born in Poland, General Pulaski fought with the colonists in the Revolutionary War and died in the Siege of Savannah in 1779.  Although most squares boast monuments to the person the square is named after, Pulaski’s monument is located in Monterey Square instead.

 

Bottom line, if you visit Savannah, make it a point to spend time in the parks.  Sure, Broughton and River Streets are packed with some of the most interesting and unusual shopping and dining you can find, but it would be an oversight to miss the real beauty and history of this wonderful city.

 

 

About the Book


Southern Discomfort: A Southern B&B Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1s in Series
Alibi (March 6, 2018)
ASIN: B071K4DV7W
Will be up on GoodReads soon.

Southern hospitality meets deadly deception in the start of a charming new mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of the Java Jive novels.

Quinn Bellandini loves her life in Savannah, Georgia, where she runs her grandfather’s B&B with her sister, Delilah. From baking fresh scones and serving up grits every morning to ensuring the guests see the best of their historic city, Quinn can’t imagine doing anything else—even if it means dealing with nuisances like the occasional malfunctioning commode. But when Quinn drops by the local restaurant owned by her friend Drew Green, and stumbles upon a murder, her whole world comes crashing down.

Drew’s brother was always a little surly, but Quinn can’t imagine that someone disliked the prickly chef enough to kill him. The police, on the other hand, don’t believe that Quinn was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Before her guests can even digest the next morning’s gourmet breakfast, Quinn learns that she and Drew are suspects.

Drew thinks they should do some investigating of their own. Quinn is pretty sure she’s better suited to playing hostess than amateur sleuth. But with Delilah as her cynical sidekick, Quinn starts looking for the real killer—before she gets put away faster than you can say “sugar.”

About the Author

 

CAROLINE FARDIG is the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig’s BAD MEDICINE was named one of the “Best Books of 2015” by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Social Media

Website: www.carolinefardig.com

Blog: http://www.carolinefardig.com/blog/

Twitter: @carolinefardig

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carolinefardigbooks

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

Don’t miss Caroline Fardig’s thrilling Java Jive mysteries, which can be read together or separately:
DEATH BEFORE DECAF | MUG SHOT | A WHOLE LATTE MURDER | BREW OR DIE | MURDER OVER MOCHAS

Book Blast Tuesday: Six Feet Under

Time to head to Kentucky for some chicken pot pie. Not just any chicken pot pie, but a dish that will be featured on the culinary channel.  Yum. We are honored to be visited by Vivian Lowry, the creator of this scrumptious recipe. She’s a hoot!

Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy! Today he’s giving you the chance at a Ya’ll Tote and Other Mysterious Goodies!

Character’ s Name: Vivian Lowry, number one murder suspect in Six Feet Under

Please tell us about your latest adventure.

Honey, it’s always adventure around these parts. Not that I like to brag on myself, but I do have to tell you that my famous chicken pot pie is being featured on the Culinary Channel. Famous Chef Frank Von Lee is coming to interview little ole me and even taste my food.

Do you have any friends/sidekicks helping you out?

I have scads of friends. But I only cook alone.

Do you have any special skills to fight crime?

If you consider the lash of my tongue….then yes.

Are you a full-time detective or do you do something else?

My daughter, Kenni. . .um. Kendrick Lowry is the sheriff. She’s amazing at her job of keeping order in our little small town, but I’m very active in the community.

What are you most frightened of in this story?

Well….it’s no secret that when Frank Von Lee was found face dead in my chicken pot pie, it does appear that I killed him. I didn’t. I’m telling you I didn’t.

Is there anything funny that happens to you or another character in this story?

Funny? Everything we do in Cottonwood is funny. . .

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?

I’d play myself. No one can do me better than me. We just need one of them reality tv shows to come here.

Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?

I didn’t kill Frank. I’m not saying that he didn’t hurt my feelings with an initial review, but it’s no reason to kill him.

 Let’s give your author a chance to speak. Anything you would like to add?

I’m sorry that Vivian has taken over your interview. She’s a typical southern mama who is very proud of her daughter and she’s a very proud person herself. She can be a little much at times, but we all love her crazy antics in all the books. It just so happens that she’s the star of SIX FEET UNDER.

 

 

About the Book


Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Kentucky

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. And let me tell you, this broth is in trouble. Get ready for a Southern showdown.

The residents of Cottonwood, Kentucky are sent into a tizzy when the Culinary Channel comes to town to film an episode of Southern Home Cookin’ with celebrity chef Frank Von Lee.

Especially Sheriff Kenni Lowry.

Her mama’s award-winning chicken pot pie is what brought Frank to town, and they don’t make hair in the South bigger than her mama’s ego after the news.

When Frank Von Lee is found dead from food poisoning and the most likely culprit is Mama’s chicken pot pie, Kenni’s poppa, the former sheriff, comes back from the Great Beyond to assist in the investigation.

But nothing’s prepared Kenni for such a personal tie to a case, and she finds herself pushing the limits of the laws she’s sworn to protect.

This book’s so delicious it’ll make your mouth water and leave you hankerin’ for more.

My Review 5 Stars

Kenni works as the sheriff in Cottonwood, Kentucky who also has to keep tabs on her mother Vivian who will be featured on a cooking show with her chicken pot pie. When she is accused of murdering the judge, Kenny must solve it to avoid arresting her own mother. There are some very funny moments in this mystery along with plenty of down-home charm.

Click Here to Enter Tonya’s Giveaway of a Ya’ll Tote and Other Mysterious Goodies!

 

About the Author

For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.
Sign up for her newsletter on her website at Tonyakappes.com .

Visit Tonya:
Facebook at Author Tonya Kappes,
https://www.facebook.com/authortonyakappes

Kappes Krew Street Team
https://www.facebook.com/groups/208579765929709/

Website
tonyakappes.com

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4423580.Tonya_Kappes

Twitter
https://twitter.com/tonyakappes11

Pinterest
https://www.pinterest.com/tonyakappes/

Purchase Links:

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Pawprints and Predicaments

Happy Friday! We have a character guest post today from a hunky ex-Navy Seal who is a character in our featured mystery Pawprints and Predicaments. That ought to brighten up your weekend. I really identify with this series because like the main character, Daphne, my daughter has been a pet sitter to work her way through school and well…I knit/crochet sweaters for my dogs.  That’s it. Full confession. Have one on the knitting needles right now.  Here’s a word from our author, Bethany Blake and then let’s listen to what Jonathan has to say.

Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy. 🙂 Today he is offering the chance at the entire Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery Series and some Swag to go with it! 

Detective Jonathan Black is incredibly reserved. In part, it’s because he’s supremely confident. He’s been around the world a few times, saved a few lives—and, as a combat-tested Navy SEAL, lost a few friends. He tends to listen more than talk, because he doesn’t feel like he needs to impress anyone. But I managed to get him to open up, just a tiny bit, to tell you about his life in Sylvan Creek, and his complicated relationship with petsitter and amateur sleuth Daphne Templeton.

I’ll let Jonathan take it from here.

I never expected to live in a place like Sylvan Creek, where everyone, it seems, dresses their dogs in handknit sweaters. I’ve started doing it, myself, for crying out loud.

I don’t dress up my chocolate Lab, Axis. He’d be insulted. But the one-eared, drooling Chihuahua that Daphne Templeton foisted upon me shivers so much in the cold that I actually find myself buttoning him into a free-range, yak hair sweater that Daphne gave him, as a present.

Please, don’t tell Daphne that I ever do that. It’s bad enough that she’s seen me with the dog tucked into my jacket.

When I met Daphne, she was trying to obstruct justice. She has a habit of bumbling her way into situations, then trying to blurt her way out, with varying degrees of success. And, yet, over time, she’s become more responsible. While I’ve gone the other way—to a small degree.

I’m going to be honest. After a life spent moving around the world, first as a military brat, then as a SEAL, myself, I enjoy the order and peace I’ve found in my house in the woods. I spend a lot of time alone by the fire, reading. And thinking. And that’s okay.

But I’ve come to appreciate the openness and chaos that Daphne brings to my world, at least to a small degree. I’ve never met a petsitter with a Ph.D. in philosophy before, and I can’t deny that she brings an interesting perspective to any conversation.

She also drives me crazy by trying to solve crimes, and usually nearly getting herself killed in the process. Thankfully, she has a very intelligent protector, a basset hound named Socrates, looking out for her when I can’t be there. The dog and I also share a negative opinion of canine apparel.

I think that’s enough about me. If you ever come to Sylvan Creek, be careful. A surprising number of people get murdered here. And, yet, I’m glad this is where I’ve ended up, for now. Maybe for a while…

About the Book

Pawprints & Predicaments (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (February 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages

The Tail Waggin’ Winterfest is the highlight of the season in the famously pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. But despite attractions like an ice sculpture display, a dogsled race, and gourmet hot chocolate, Daphne Templeton finds herself annoyed by TV producer Lauren Savidge, who’s filming the festivities. She’s critical, controlling, and as chilly as the January air. Daphne would like to tell her to go jump in a lake—and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what they’re both going to do . . .

It’s the first-ever polar bear plunge in Lake Wallapawakee, and Daphne and Lauren are among the eighty or so people who charge into the frigid water to raise funds for animals in need. Daphne makes it back to shore—with the help of a mysterious St. Bernard—but Lauren is dragged out stone cold dead. Now, with her trusty basset hound Socrates at her side, Daphne intends to assist Detective Jonathan Black in his investigation—whether he wants her to or not . . .

Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

About the Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Author Links

Webpage BookBub Twitter Facebook

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder is a Dirty Business

 

 

Welcome to Cozy Prizes Friday where today we feature Murder is a Dirty Business.  Now, I know you are all itching to start that Spring cleaning, but could you ever be a crime scene cleaner? Granted, there are times in my house where one would think something had blown up, but I don’t think I could stomach a crime scene. Write about it: Yes. Clean it up? Are you kidding me?

Oh, and Prize Guy has a giveaway for you to enter, and he informs me that he too will not engage in cleaning of any sort. Scroll down to find him!

Some questions for Tricia…

 

How did you come with an idea for your book?

Murder is a Dirty Business was hatched during a conference when a crime scene cleaner came to talk to the group. I had been pondering the idea of a high school prank gone wrong and after the crime scene cleaner talk, my main character was born.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

Tricia L. Sanders

 

There are two that I enjoyed writing. The first is the scene where Cece is slinging golf clubs at her cheating husband. The other is where she is making a mess of making coffee for Detective Alder while trying to get information out of him about the murder suspects.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see

 

 in the future?

I had several essays published in Sasee, a woman’s lifestyle magazine. I’m currently working on the sequel to Murder is a Dirty Business and a women’s fiction travel adventure.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

I have an outline for a historical, but the research is boggling. I want to portray my character’s story accurately. I envy historical writers. One of these days I’ll pull mine out and dive in, but for now, I’m enjoying creating mysteries and contemporary adventures for my characters.

 

Is there a giveaway or promotion for this book?

Yes, I’m giving away a Kindle version of Murder is a Dirty Business.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

 

Amazon

Goodreads

 

 

 

Murder is a Dirty Business

by Tricia L. Sanders

Murder is a Dirty Business

Cozy Mystery

1st in Series

 

When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”

After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, her elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.

And that crime—at least, someone else’s—does pay the bills.

 

Tricia L. Sanders writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass. A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign interests. She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction.

Author Links

Website: http://www.triciasanders.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortricialsanders/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36458199-murder-is-a-dirty-business

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXRJSRSmTjg

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Class Reunions Are Murder

 

Class Reunions Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
by Libby Klein

Have you ever attended a class reunion and notice how not only do people not look the way they did in high school, but they vaguely resemble that Facebook photo? Today we have a great cozy mystery, Class Reunions Are Murder.  Not only that, but I got an exclusive interview with Poppy McCallister who will give us the skinny on her class reunion experience.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said skinny. Any girl whose special talent is sniffing out flavors in a Whitman Sampler–needs to come sit next to me! Love it.

Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy.  Enter for the chance to win a print copy of Class Reunions Are Murder!

And now…here’s Poppy

Please tell us about your latest adventure.

I was coerced into attending my twenty-fifth high school reunion at the Jersey shore by my life-long best friend, Sawyer to face off against the cheerleading bullies who made our lives miserable all through high school. One of those bullies ended up dead – through no fault of my own –  and I had the misfortune of finding the body. Now guess who was voted most likely to kill a cheerleader. Yep, yours truly. Man, I just wanted to go home to Virginia, my sectional sofa, and my tubes of cookie dough. Instead, I got stuck in beach hell trying to wriggle out of the clutches of a vindictive cop and prove my innocence.

Do you have any friends/sidekicks helping you out?

I have plenty of friends and sidekicks. I’m not sure how much help they always are. Figaro is my black smoke Persian and he has a way of being a pest in just the right moment. We live with my Great Aunt Ginny. If getting into trouble were an Olympic sport, she’d have all the medals, but she’s sharp as a razor clam and misses nothing. Then there’s Sawyer, she’s my ride or die. We grew up together. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Sawyer, and that’s how I got into this mess at the reunion.

Do you have any special skills to fight crime?

My special skills involve being able to deduce what filling is in a chocolate from the Whitman’s Sampler on sight, and my ability to sense when a coffee shop is nearby. I’m not trying to fight crime, I’m trying to fly under the radar and stay out of trouble. But I do have a way of reading people – an intuition if you will – that helps me detect lies and guilt. Aunt Ginny says I’m just overly suspicious.

Are you a full-time detective or do you do something else?

I’m a full-time couch potato. My husband passed a few months ago and I’m still trying to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve been slogging through life with all the motivation of a manatee. There are some dreams and aspirations I’d still like to see realized in my life. It seems I have my work cut out for me.

What are you most frightened of in this story?

Running into my ex-boyfriend at the reunion and him seeing I’ve chunked out since high school.

Is there anything funny that happens to you or another character in this story?

If there was such a thing as karma, what in the world did I do to deserve the feathery nightmare I had to wear to see people who hadn’t had the chance to judge me for twenty years?

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?

I imagine myself being played by Julianne Moore or Debra Messing. Stop laughing Aunt Ginny. Aunt Ginny would be supremely lucky to be played by Carol Burnett.

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?

Class Reunions is the first in a series. More hijinks are soon to come.

Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?

If you ever get a piece of monogrammed stationary requesting a private meeting with an old enemy at your high school reunion – don’t hesitate. Run over it with the car, tear it into a million pieces, and set it on fire immediately!

Let’s give your author a chance to speak. Anything you would like to add?

Thank you so much for reading the adventures of Poppy, Figaro, and Aunt Ginny. Drop me a line through my website or social media. I’d love to hear from you.


Class Reunions Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (January 30, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496713032
E-Book ASIN: B072HS2JGM

For fortysomething Poppy McAllister, taking a stroll down memory lane in Cape May, New Jersey, isn’t just awkward—it’s deadly.

Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There’s no way on earth she’s attending her twenty-five-year class reunion—especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy’s best friend practically drags her to the event . . .

Using the dreaded homecoming as an excuse to visit her eccentric Aunt Ginny, Poppy vows to leave Cape May with pride and Spanx intact. Too bad Barbie is still the queen of mean at the reunion. And worse, that her dead body is lying right in front of Poppy’s old locker. Singled out as the killer, it’s up to Poppy to confront her past and clear her name. But between protecting her aunt from disaster and tackling a gluten-free diet, can Poppy crack the case before she’s voted “Most Likely to Die” by the murderer?

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

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Libby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.
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Cozy Prizes Friday: Ginger Snapped

I know you’ve probably had your fill of holiday cookies but how about one more? Gail Oust is here today to talk about her new mystery, Ginger Snapped.  She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her book and her writing process.

Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy. Today he’s giving you the chance at an autographed print copy of Ginger Snapped!

 

Friends often accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner for Avon, Pocket, Berkley, and Kensington. It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. Hearing the words, “maybe it’s a dead body,” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series originally published by NAL. In conjunction with Beyond the Page Publishing, the Bunco Babe series has been republished in digital format as the Kate McCall Mysteries complete with new titles and a whole new look. Gail has written five Spice Shop Mysteries for Minotaur/St. Martin’s. Her favorite pastimes are reading, traveling, and hanging out with friends.

How did you come up with an idea for your book?

A great thing about writing a cozy series is that there is a readymade pool of characters from which to draw both possible suspects and potential victims.  This time I reached into the “pool” and pulled out none other than Wyatt McBride, the chief of police.  I thought it would be fun to turn the tables on the lawman and see how he’d react when the shoe was on the other foot so to speak and he was considered a person of interest.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

I think my favorite scene comes near the end when Piper and her BFF, Reba Mae, must be very creative unless they want to be the killer’s next victims.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

In a past life, I’ve had nine historical romances published under a pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner.  Truthfully, I’m not sure where my muse will lead next.  Ideas for my next project are just starting to perk.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

Hmm.  I’d like to stay in the mystery genre but maybe break out of the cozies for a change of pace and try writing a psychological suspense thriller.  That would definitely pose a huge challenge.

Is there a giveaway or promotion with this book?

I’m giving away an autographed copy of Ginger Snapped to one lucky person that will span my blog tour.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Readers can leave reviews at either Goodreads or on Amazon.

Author Links

Webpage – www.gailoust.com, Gail Oust Author on Facebook, and Goodreads.

Ginger Snapped: A Spice Shop Mystery

Cozy Mystery

5th in Series

Minotaur Books (December 12, 2017)

 

Piper Prescott and Police Chief Wyatt McBride might have gotten off on the wrong foot but, over the past year, their interactions have evolved into a friendship of sorts. And when the body of Shirley Randolph is found floating in a fishing hole, their relationship reaches entirely new territory.

Shirley, the town’s Realtor of the Year, was also Wyatt’s suspected romantic interest, and now the residents of Brandywine Creek are speculating that Wyatt is responsible for her death. As the town council moves to suspend the handsome lawman, Piper springs into action to save his reputation and possibly his freedom. She enlists the aid of her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, along with Wyatt himself, to help solve the puzzle and find Shirley’s real killer.

Pointing them toward high-powered real estate tactics and possible affairs, the investigation soon becomes personal when Piper’s shop, Spice It Up!, is burglarized, and she’s forced off the road late one night, narrowly escaping serious injury. Realizing that she must be close to uncovering the truth, and that the evidence against Wyatt is no longer circumstantial, Piper resorts to drastic measures to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice.

 

 

 

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Cozy Prizes Friday: The Body in the Casket

Happy Friday! Today we have none other than Agatha Award-winning Katherine Hall Page visiting us! Katherine answered some questions about her new book The Body in the Casket.  Don’t you just hate it when you have a birthday party and realize one of the guests wants to kill you? Me too! Max Dane is on the case and he’ll find the killer no matter how cold it gets outside!

Don’t forget to find the Prize guy for a chance at a print copy of The Body in the Wardrobe!

And now…here’s Katherine.

How did you come with an idea for your book? 

The Body in the Casket is the 24th book in the Faith Fairchild series that started with The Body in the Belfry in 1990. In order to keep the series fresh for readers—and for me to write—I alternate locales between Aleford, Massachusetts the town where Faith lives after moving from Manhattan as a new bride and the “someplace else” locales. These have ranged from France to Savannah, Georgia. Casket is an Aleford book, so I knew my idea would revolve around familiar territory for my character. She is catering a weekend long significant birthday party in a secluded mansion for Max Dane, a legendary Broadway producer who hasn’t done a show since a colossal flop twenty years earlier. All ten guests were involved in the show and all have good reasons to wish Max dead. The plot brings together my love of theater and country house murders!

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

I hope they will especially enjoy the birthday dinner, starting with the cocktail hour. Not only does the meal bring some startling revelations, but I selected dishes that referenced the title of Dane’s failed show: Heaven or Hell  The Musical. I included Pasta Fra Diavolo, a German dish Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth) that combines apples and potatoes, and others. The fun begins with Fallen Angel cocktails, created in the 1920s at London’s Savoy Hotel bar.

If you were going to cast an actor in the part of one or more of your characters, who would that be?

Michael Caine as Max Dane? Sounds good!

I would immediately cast Michael Caine as Max Dane. I happily watched three of his films again while writing the book since he had come to mind when I started thinking about the character. Well worth tracking down for his performances and the great plots! The Wrong Box (1966), Sleuth (1972 version), and Deathtrap (1982),

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

I have started writing #25 in the series, The Body in the Wake. It’s one of the books that takes place away from Aleford. In this case on Sanpere Island in Penobscot Bay, Maine. I have never been able to write two books at once unfortunately, or even a short story while I am immersed in the current project. Once Wake is done I have an idea for what I hope will be a fun short story in which Faith’s friend and neighbor, Pix Miller, is the narrator—a version of Watson. Short stories, I find, are more difficult to write than full-length novels. I published Small Plates (Wm Morrow), a collection and explain how hard it is in the introduction. Great challenge, though, to compress thought, word, and deed into a small space!

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

I have written for younger readers, the Christie & Company series, also a YA, Club Meds. I also did a series cookbook, Have Faith in Your Kitchen (Orchises Press). I’d like to write another YA or middle grade book, but would love to try my hand at romantic suspense in the spirit of Mary Stewart.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I always enjoy hearing from readers through my website www.katherine-hall-page.org.  Any and all opinions welcome!

Synopsis:

The inimitable Faith Fairchild returns in a chilling New England whodunit, inspired by the best Agatha Christie mysteries and with hints of the timeless board game Clue.

For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts and Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house partyThe Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. “I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me.”

Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain call.

Full of delectable recipes, brooding atmosphere, and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in the Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Number of Pages: 238
ISBN: 0062439561 (ISBN13: 9780062439567)
Series: Faith Fairchild, 24
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

“Have Faith in Your Kitchen,” Faith Fairchild said, answering the phone at her catering firm. She’d been busy piping choux pastry for éclairs onto a baking sheet.

“Mrs. Fairchild?”

“Yes? This is Faith Fairchild. How may I help you?”

“Please hold for Max Dane.” The voice had a plummy, slightly British tone, reminiscent of Jeeves, or Downton Abbey’s Carson. The only Max Dane Faith had heard of had been a famous Broadway musical producer, but she was pretty sure he’d died years ago. This must be another Max Dane.

She was put through quickly and a new voice said, “Hi. I know this is short notice, but I am very much hoping you are available to handle a house party I’m throwing for about a dozen guests at the end of the month. A Friday to Sunday. Not just dinner, but all the meals.”

Faith had never catered anything like this. A Friday to Sunday sounded like something out of a British pre-World War II country house novel—kippers for breakfast, Fortnum & Mason type hampers for the shoot, tea and scones, drinks and nibbles, then saddle of lamb or some other large haunch of meat for dinner with vintage clarets followed by port and Stilton—for the men only. She was intrigued.

“The first thing I need to know is where you live, Mr. Dane. Also, is this a firm date? We’ve had a mild winter so far, but January may still deliver a wallop like last year.”

A Manhattan native, Faith’s marriage more than 20 years ago to the Reverend Thomas Fairchild meant a radical change of address— from the Big Apple to the orchards of Aleford, a small suburb west of Boston. Faith had never become used to boiled dinners, First Parish’s rock hard pews and most of all, New England weather. By the end of the previous February there had been 75 inches of snow on the ground and you couldn’t see through the historic parsonage’s ground floor windows or open the front door. Teenage son Ben struggled valiantly to keep the back door clear, daily hewing a path to the garage. The resulting tunnel resembled a clip from Nanook of the North.

“I’m afraid the date is firm. The thirtieth is my birthday. A milestone one, my seventieth.” Unlike his butler or whoever had called Faith to the phone, Max Dane’s voice indicated he’d started life in one of the five boroughs. Faith was guessing the Bronx. He sounded a bit sheepish when he said “ my birthday,” as if throwing a party for himself was out of character. “And I live in Havencrest. It’s not far from Aleford, but I’d want you to be available at the house the whole time. Live in.”

Leaving her family for three days was not something Faith did often, especially since Sunday was a workday for Tom and all too occasionally Saturday was as he “polished” his sermon. (His term, which she had noticed over the years, could mean writing the whole thing.)

Ben and Amy, two years younger, seemed old enough to be on their own, but Faith had found that contrary to expectations, kids needed parents around more in adolescence than when they were toddlers. Every day brought the equivalent of scraped knees and they weren’t the kind of hurts that could be soothed by Pat The Bunny and a chocolate chip cookie. She needed more time to think about taking the job. “I’m not sure I can leave my family…” was interrupted. “I quite understand that this would be difficult,” Dane said and then he named a figure so far above anything she had ever been offered that she actually covered her mouth to keep from gasping out loud.

“Look,” he continued. “Why don’t you come by and we’ll talk in person? You can see the place and decide then. I don’t use it myself, but the kitchen is well equipped—the rest of the house too. I’ll email directions and you can shoot me some times that work. This week if possible. I want to send out the invites right away.”

Well, it wouldn’t hurt to talk, Faith thought. And she did like seeing other people’s houses. She agreed, but before she hung up curiosity won out and she asked, “Are you related to the Max Dane who produced all those wonderful Broadway musicals?”

“Very closely. As in one and the same. See you soon.”

Faith put the phone down and turned to Pix Miller, her closest friend and part-time Have Faith employee.

“That was someone wanting Have Faith to cater a weekend long birthday celebration—for an astonishing amount of money.” She named the figure in a breathless whisper. “His name is Max Dane. Have you ever heard of him?”

“Even I know who Max Dane is. Sam took me to New York the December after we were married and we saw one of his shows. It was magical—the whole weekend was. No kids yet. We were kids ourselves. We skated at Rockefeller Center by the tree and…”

Her friend didn’t go in for sentimental journeys and tempted as she was to note Pix and Sam skated on Aleford Pond then and now, Faith didn’t want to stop the flow of memories. “Where did you stay? A suite at the Plaza?” Sam was a very successful lawyer.

Pix came down to earth. “We barely had money for the show and pre-theater dinner at Twenty-One. That was the big splurge. I honestly can’t remember where we stayed and I should, because that’s where—” She stopped abruptly and blushed, also unusual Pix behavior.

“Say no more. Nine months later along came Mark?”

“Something like that,” Pix mumbled and then in her usual more assertive voice, added “You have to do this. Not because of the money, although the man must be loaded! Think of who might be there. And the house must be amazing. We don’t have anything booked for then and I can keep an eye on the kids.”

The Millers lived next door to the parsonage and their three now grown children had been the Fairchilds’ babysitters. Pix played a more essential role: Faith’s tutor in the unforeseen intricacies of childrearing as well as Aleford’s often arcane mores. Faith’s first social faux pas as a new bride—inviting guests for dinner at eight o’clock— had happily been avoided when her first invite, Pix, gently told Faith the town’s inhabitants would be thinking bed soon at that hour, not a main course.

Faith had started her catering business in the city that never slept before she was married and was busy all year long. Here January was always a slow month for business. The holidays were over and things didn’t start to pick up until Valentine’s Day—and even then scheduling events was risky. It all came down to weather.

Pix was at the computer. Years ago she’d agreed to work at Have Faith keeping the books, the calendar, inventory—anything that did not involve any actual food preparation.

“We have a couple of receptions at the Ganley Museum and the MLK breakfast the standing clergy host.”

The first time Faith heard the term, “standing clergy”, which was the town’s men and women of any cloth, she pictured an upright somberly garbed group in rows like ninepins. And she hadn’t been far off.

“That’s pretty much it,” Pix added, “except for a few luncheons and Amelia’s baby shower—I think she baby sat for you a couple of times when she was in high school.”

“I remember she was very reliable,” Faith said.

“Hard to believe she’s the same age as Samantha and having her second!” Pix sounded wistful. She was the type of woman born to wear a “I Spoil My Grandchildren” tee shirt. Faith wouldn’t be surprised if there were a drawer somewhere in the Miller’s house filled with tiny sweaters and booties knit by Pix, “just to be ready.” Mark Miller, the oldest, was married, but he and his wife did not seem to be in a rush to start a family.

Samantha, the middle Miller, had a long-term beau, Caleb. They were living together in trendy Park Slope, Brooklyn and Sam, an old-fashioned pater familias, had to be restrained from asking Caleb his intentions each time the young couple came to Aleford. Pix was leaning that way herself, she’d told Faith recently, noting that young couples these days were so intent on careers they didn’t hear the clock ticking.

Faith had forgotten that Amelia—who apparently had paid attention to time— was Samantha’s age and quickly changed the subject to what was uppermost in her mind—the Dane job. “Where is Havencrest?” she asked. “I thought I knew all the neighboring towns.”

“It’s not really a town so much as an enclave between Weston and Dover. I don’t think it even has a zip code. I’ve never been there, but Mother has. You can ask her about it. The houses all date to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I believe there’s a gatehouse at the entrance. It’s an early equivalent of the mid century modern planned communities like Moon Hill in Lexington. Havencrest wasn’t a bunch of architects like that one though. Just very rich Boston Brahmin families who wanted privacy and plenty of space. I wonder how Max Dane ended up there? From what Mother has said, the houses don’t change hands, just generations.”

“I think I’ll check my email and see if there’s anything from him yet,” Faith said. “And maybe drop by to see Ursula on my way home.” Stopping to visit with Ursula Lyman Rowe, Pix’s mother, was no chore. The octogenarian was one of Faith’s favorite people. She turned back to the éclairs, which were part of a special order, and added a few more to bring to her friend.

“I know you’ll take the job,” Pix said. “I’m predicting the weekend of a lifetime!”

***

Excerpt from The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page. Copyright © 2017 by William Morrow. Reproduced with permission from William Morrow. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Katherine Hall Page

Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-three previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery. The Body in the Snowdrift was honored with the Agatha Award for best novel of 2006. Page also won an Agatha for her short story “The Would-Be Widower.” The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic, she has been nominated for the Edgar Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Macavity Award. She lives in Massachusetts, and Maine, with her husband.

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