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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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Cozy Mystery Review and Giveaway: Murder for the Books

Dust off that library card, because today we find out about Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert. Wouldn’t it be fun to work in a library? I don’t think I would have time for work–just reading. In my case, this rule also applies to donut shops and candy stores.

Yes, the Prize Guy is hidden in this post.  Enter for a chance to win a signed hardcover of A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert with some swag.  

About the Book

Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families… including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A Murder for the Books, the first installment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.

 

 

My Review-5 Stars

When Amy, a librarian, finds herself in the middle of a suspicious murder in town, she also finds that she is attracted to her new neighbor who is a professional dancer. Amy lives with her aunt Lydia and the town is still talking about an age-old story from the fifties when the children of a nearby orphanage were all poisoned. I found this to be a very entertaining mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. The author does a really good job of keeping the action going throughout the telling of the story.

 

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About the Author

Victoria Gilbert

Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director.

When not writing or reading, Victoria likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, and is represented by Frances Black at Literary Council, NY, NY.

Victoria lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. This is her first Blue Ridge Library mystery.

 

Book Blast Tuesday: A Tangled Web

It’s Book Blast Tuesday and today we are showcasing Mike Martin’s A Tangled Web.  This is the sixth book in this series and we are hot on the trail with Sgt. Windflower. I love finding cozies from different places, so today let’s travel to Newfoundland!

Be sure to look for the Prize Guy. Mike’s giveaway is an e-copy of A Tangled Web and he’s giving away one for each blog.

About the Book

Life is good for Sgt. Wind¬flower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing, including a little girl and supplies from the new factory. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web of murder, deceit and an accidental kidnapping that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town and destroy those closest to him. But there’s always good food, good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better in the end.

A Tangled Web
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series

 

 

 

Read an Excerpt of A Tangled Web

“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” said Winston Windflower. The Mountie looked over at his collie, Lady, who wagged her tail at the sound of his voice. If dogs could smile, she smiled back. His world was almost perfect. He had the love of a great woman and a good job as a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling one of the lowest crime regions in the country. Plus, the weather had been mild so far, at least for Newfoundland in early December, and that meant no snowstorms with forced overnighters at the detachment. Life was very good indeed.
He had good friends, including Lady, who was amongst the best of them. And he had a child on the way. His wife, Sheila Hillier, was pregnant and at the clinic for her three-month checkup. He was waiting to hear how both Sheila and the baby were doing. His Auntie Marie had told him the baby was a girl, and if anyone knew about these things, it was his Auntie. She was a dream weaver, an interpreter of not just dreams but of messages from the spirit world. Windflower had recently spent a week with her and his Uncle Frank, another dream weaver, to learn more about the dream world.
Interpreting dreams was part of his family’s tradition. But it was an imperfect tool that gave information, not always answers. Perhaps the most important thing he learned was that dreams do not predict the future. Instead, as his Auntie told him, “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.”
Windflower was contemplating that piece of wisdom when he noticed a very distraught woman get out of her car outside the RCMP detachment in Grand Bank. She ran towards the front door. He walked out to meet her, but the administrative assistant, Betsy Molloy, beat him to it.
“There, there now, Molly. What’s goin’ on?” asked Betsy as she put her arms around the other woman and guided her to a seat in the reception area.
“It’s Sarah, she’s gone,” said the other woman between sobs. “I told her to stay close by the house where I could see her. I went out back to put the wash on the line. When I came in, she was gone.”
“Okay, Mrs. Quinlan,” said Windflower as he knelt down beside the two women. “How old is Sarah?” He didn’t really need to know how old the girl was. He wanted to help the mother calm down so she could give them as much information as possible.
“She’s going to be six next month,” said Molly Quinlan. “She’s growing up so fast. But she’s still such a little girl. And now I’ve lost her. Brent is going to kill me.” She started sobbing again.
“What was she wearing so that we can help find her?” asked Windflower, trying to get information but also trying to help Molly Quinlan feel useful.
The woman stopped crying and said her daughter was wearing jeans and a favourite t-shirt. “It was pink and had sparkles. She said it made her feel like she was a princess. And she had her light blue jacket on with a hood.”
Windflower smiled. “I’m sure she’ll show up soon. But let’s go over to where you last saw her, and we’ll start looking. She can’t have gone far. Leave your car here, and come with me. I’ll drive you over.” The woman smiled weakly at Windflower through her tears and allowed him to take her arm and guide her to his Jeep outside the door.
He returned inside to give directions to Betsy. “Get Constable Smithson in here. I’ll call Frost and get him to come in from his rounds.”
Betsy nodded her agreement, and Windflower went outside to drive Molly Quinlan home.
Meanwhile, it turns out, Sarah Quinlan was fine, perfectly fine. She had wandered a little way from home in the centre of town. She was going to go down to the nearby brook to feed the ducks. She knew better than to go into the water, but she couldn’t see any reason why she couldn’t just look. She’d done it before, and nobody seemed to mind. As long as she didn’t stay away too long, everything was okay.
Sarah had that great fearless attitude of a child who grew up in a small and very safe community. She knew most of her neighbours, and they all watched out for her. She also had the natural curiosity of little children, especially when she saw something new. The truck parked on the roadway above the brook was new, so Sarah went to take a closer look. Even better, the back door of the truck was open, and there was a ramp leading inside. This was certainly worth a closer inspection.
Sarah Quinlan was having fun exploring the back of the large truck when she heard a loud, rumbling noise. She didn’t know it, but the driver had started the engine. It was so loud, and Sarah was so frightened by it, she froze. The next thing she remembered was everything going almost completely black and the back door of the truck slamming shut. She cried out, but by then it was too late. Seconds later she, the truck and the unsuspecting driver were barrelling out of town and onto the highway.
Windflower drove Molly Quinlan to her house and got her to show him where Sarah had been playing. Together they walked through the house to see if the little girl had come home and hidden there. But no such luck. While they were searching the house, they were joined by two of Quinlan’s neighbours who took over Molly’s care and made her a cup of tea. Soon afterwards Constable Harry Frost arrived from his highway patrol.
Windflower gave him a quick update and directed him to go to one end of town to start the search. He would begin the house-to-house search through the neighbourhood when Smithson showed up.
He first checked out back and looked in the storage shed, a favourite hiding place of every little kid and probably where Windflower himself would have taken refuge. But Sarah was not there. As he went to the front of the house, Constable Rick Smithson showed up.
“Afternoon, Boss,” said Smithson. “Any sign of her yet?”
Windflower shook his head. “Frost is doing the big circle search. You and I will start the door-to-door. Ask them if they saw the girl this afternoon. I’ll start from here. You go down to the brook, and work your way up.”
Smithson returned to his cruiser and sped off. Windflower wasn’t worried. Yet. But he knew that the first few hours were crucial in finding a missing child. If they didn’t, then it was almost always something more serious. Not time to panic, but no time to waste. He walked up to the first door and knocked.

About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

 

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Altered to Death

Welcome to Cozy Prizes Friday where we learn that scrapbookers seem to have a lot of tiny paper skeletons in their closets! I love the inspiration Christina Freeburn used to write her latest mystery Altered to Death. How much family history do you really include in those scrapbooks? Which reminds me–time to heavily edit that Christmas letter…

Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy. Today he is offering a chance at a print copy of Altered To Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery).  It would make a terrific Christmas gift!

 

Secrets: What Needs to be Told

Guest Post by Christina Freeburn

The idea for Altered to Death came from a discussion I read on a scrapbooking message board about if it was wrong for family historians (the person who does the memory keeping) to omit some of the details about family life. It was a tossup with half the responders saying it was dishonest not to include everything that happened during the year (vacation, event, etc.), and others who said they felt no need to document the sad or ugly times in their life. Their families cherished the albums and the memory keeper doesn’t want to include things that would make others feel bad or show them in a negative light.

It had me wondering if we have a right to know everything about our relatives and/or about the people we know in life. Are they lying if they keep some of their past to themselves? Are they required to tell all? And then I started to wonder if how we see someone is the actual truth or is our viewed skewed (either good or bad) by our life experiences and what they show to us and not others? I know I’ve been conversations with people about an event and we each have such different views of it, or in the case of an argument who was the one at fault. What happens if we were to learn what we believed the truth actually was not?

I took those what-ifs and had two mysteries about two disappearances—one of the founding family of the town and the other about a dead-beat father—and created the plot for Altered to Death. This book was a little harder for me to write as the questions I was addressing seemed to not have an answer. It is a complicated matter—what needs to be told and what does no one else have a right to be told.

 

About the Book

Looking for a craft cozy so memorable you’ll stay up late scrapping about it? Well, welcome to the town of Eden.

Faith Hunter, who is supposed to be planning her wedding, instead finds herself distracted by the town scrapbook she was commissioned to create. Eden’s oldest mystery, the founding family’s exodus nearly a hundred years ago, remains unsolved.

A search through the family’s abandoned mansion leads to the uncovering of bones on that very property. And then ex-boyfriend Steve Davis announces a surprise heir has staked a claim.

How can Faith not be distracted? Now she’s determined to dig up the truth left behind.

Because scrappers are multi-taskers extraordinaire, Faith can’t say no when family friend Wyatt Buford asks her to look into his deadbeat father’s disappearing act and his connection to the murder.

Her quest for answers unearths secrets past and present that some would prefer stay buried at any cost. Faith’s resolve to present the facts and nothing but about Eden’s history could lead to her own future being cut short.

See what I mean about memorable? Delve in to Eden and you’ll find a cozy you won’t soon forget.

Altered To Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Henery Press (November 28, 2017)
Paperback: 276 pages

 

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About the Author

The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.

Author Links:

Webpage: www.christinafreeburn.com

Blog: www.theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Freeburn-Author/245592138834150

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristinaFreeb1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChristinaFreeburn

Cozy Prizes Friday: Killer Holiday

How is that leftover turkey going? Well, drop that drumstick and get ready for Killer Holiday.   Amy Korman was kind of enough to answer some questions about her latest installment in the Killer Wasps Series.  You know, I think I had an Aunt Eula somewhere down the line. Great character name!

Be sure to look for the Prize Guy for your chance at an e-copy of Killer Punch, another great book in the Killer Wasp Series!

And now our visit with Amy Korman:

How did you come with an idea for your book?

Killer Holiday is the fourth book in the Killer Wasps series, which are lighthearted, modern mysteries in the Agatha Christie village murder genre—with antiques, a basset hound, a country club, and cocktails! The series is centered around antique dealer Kristin Clark, who’s got a group of friends including gossipy Bootsie, stylish Holly, and decorator Joe, and they’re soon joined by Jersey-born Sophie and her personal trainer, the stern Gerda, who’s rarely seen out of workout clothes and does not do makeup. Crime seems to crop up frequently in their quiet town outside Philadelphia.

My idea came from the timeless Miss Marple and Poirot books, my love for antiques stores, and a fondness for books in which small towns are filled with oddball characters both loveable and endearingly annoying. I think I secretly wish for a Gerda in my life who’d force me to lift weights and run 5Ks!

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

Kristin and her friends have a high-school nemesis, Eula Morris, who won a Powerball jackpot in the series’s third book, Killer Punch, and Eula’s that love-to-hate-her character that every mystery needs. One of my favorite scenes is when Eula comes back to town, looking fabulous after a long vacation and with a new boyfriend in tow—who turns out to be Scooter Simmons, a shady lawyer the group tangled with in Killer Getaway. When Joe and Bootsie insist on following Eula and Scooter on a date at the town’s fanciest restaurant, the group crashes Eula’s romantic dinner, drink too much, and offer Eula a lot of unsolicited advice on fashion and her love life.

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

Reese Witherspoon could be Eula!

I’d love to see Reese Witherspoon as Eula! The actress is so likeable that it’s always so much fun to see her playing someone mean.

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

The Killer Wasps series is now on its fourth book with Killer Holiday. I’m hard at work on my new mystery which is lighthearted and centered around a tiki bar in Florida.

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

I love books that delve into the history of a city, or even the story of how a significant piece of artwork a building, or a ship was created, and all that’s happened inside it, a la Dead Wake and Havana Nocturne, an intriguing history of how the Mafia ran Havana in the days before Fidel Castro.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Amazon and Goodreads reviews are greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you! Amy Korman (amykorman.com)

https://www.facebook.com/killerWASPsseries/

Twitter: @killermysteries

Click Here to Enter Amy’s Giveaway and get another Killer Wasp Book: Killer Punch! 3 Ebooks means 3 WINNERS!

 

 

Killer Holiday

by Amy Korman

on Tour October 23 – November 30, 2017

Synopsis:

Killer Holiday by Amy Korman

Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr socialites are ready for a fun and festive winter holiday—one that involves sipping martinis by a crackling yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and Gucci under the Christmas tree. But this year, Old Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store. A stranger dressed in a Santa suit has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters her brother Chip’s car window with a golf club and leaves a threatening note demanding fifty grand. Both are convinced it has to be a mistake. But when Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly. Eula Morris is also back in town for the holidays, more bossy and boastful than ever after winning a mega-jackpot in the lottery. She’s returned from a luxury cruise around the world with a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar…) and a Samsonite suitcase filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the team to track it down. Where is Chip? Why is a vengeful Santa targeting the gang? Who stole Eula’s suitcase? And how are these events linked? The WASPs and Kristen’s basset hound Waffles are on the case—before this white Christmas turns even darker…

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 24th 2017 by Witness Impulse
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062431366 (ISBN13: 9780062431363)
Series: A Killer WASPs Mystery, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Bootsie McElvoy burst through the front door of The Striped Awning, a bag of ice in her right hand and the biggest bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon I’ve ever seen in her left. She dug into her L.L. Bean tote for a bottle of red wine, a shaker of nutmeg, and a bag of fun-size candy canes, all of which she deposited next to a display of 1940s barware near the front of my antiques store.

“Kristin, it’s December fifteenth, which means it’s time for you to start offering shoppers a specialty cocktail the minute they set foot inside your store,” Bootsie told me. “I’m going to mix up a batch of the Delaney family Christmas drink, the Bourbon Blitzen, which never fails to produce a White Christmas vibe. One sip and you’ll feel like you’re singing and dancing with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye at a snowy Vermont inn. This should double your sales totals for the month.”

“Thanks!” I said gratefully, since Bootsie’s family’s boozy drinks are known throughout our village of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, for their potency and tendency to produce unwise purchases.

“The drinks sound good, but you’re also going to need about four thousand more of these pinecones, triple the greenery, and eight hundred additional strands of lights,” Joe Delafield informed me; he’d arrived twenty minutes earlier to help me decorate my store for the Christmas rush.

To lure in passing foot traffic, I’d brought in armloads of holly and spruce branches from my backyard (cost: free, thankfully), spray-painted pinecones silver (the paint was only $5.28 at the hardware store), and added some cheerful-looking blinking white lights. This would probably bring tons of holiday shoppers through my front door!

Joe paused, eyeing the room with his signature critical stare. “The effect I’m going for is that a bunch of HGTV-crazed elves with subscriptions to Veranda magazine snuck in and decorated for four straight days. Gerda, we’re going to need the blinking lights to stop blinking, pronto. Pull the plug, please.”

Joe’s assistant for the day was the eponymous owner of Gerda’s Bust Your Ass Gym, which is housed inside the beauty salon across the street. Since Gerda stands a lofty six feet tall in flats (or sneakers, which is her usual footwear, since fancy shoes aren’t her style), she’d agreed to hang ornaments, bringing her signature grim attitude to the proceedings.

“Cute idea,” Bootsie observed, casting a dubious stare at my front window, which was filled with antique silver-plated candlesticks, flatware, and wineglasses. “Is that your holiday inventory?”

“Nobody going to want that stuff,” said Gerda, who moved here from her native Austria a few years back. Gerda, who’s incredibly muscular and brings in sell-out crowds at her Pilates classes, isn’t the most tactful person in the world. “People want, like, scarves and Fitbits and iPhones.”

I sighed, knowing Gerda was right. Those were the gifts on most holiday wish lists.

“Luckily, I’ve solved all your problems,” Bootsie told me. “I ran into Eddie from the Pub this morning, and he needs a place to hold some late-night poker tournaments this month, so I brokered a deal for The Striped Awning. You’ll be hosting twice-weekly games from 10 p.m. till 1 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays till Valentine’s Day.”

“What!” I erupted, alarmed by this idea. “First of all, that doesn’t sound legal.”

“It’s fine,” she told me, waving away my concerns. “I mean, it’s not like it will be a professional betting operation. Eddie’s limiting each night to ten players and three hours. Some cards, a few drinks, a few small wagers. What could go wrong?”

“A lot!” I said. “They’ll blow cigar smoke and drop Dorito crumbs everywhere. Not to mention get arrested for operating a casino without a license. A lot could go wrong!”

“You worry too much,” Bootsie informed me dismissively. “Plus, he’ll pay you two hundred dollars a night.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Bootsie knew she had me—there’s no way I can refuse an extra four hundred dollars a week, even if it puts me on the wrong side of the state gaming commission.

Just then, though, the front door was thrown open by one Sophie Shields, a tiny blonde who at the moment was looking slightly wild-eyed.

“Ya won’t believe what just happened!” shrieked Sophie. “The Colketts were helping me put up curtains in my new dining room, since Joe here never finished decorating my place—and the curtains are orange silk, by the way, they’re totally Elle Decor meets a J. Lo red-carpet gown. So Tim and Tom Colkett were talking paint colors when I heard a horn honking, so I opened the front door, thinking it was the delivery boy from the Hoagie House. I figured I’d go out and pay the driver, when boom!

“A guy dressed as Santa leaned out of the driver’s seat of a black SUV that had pulled right up in my driveway and aimed a gun at me and the Colketts!” The Colketts are the town’s leading landscape designers, who’ve lately turned their talents to party planning and interior design.

“Then the guy yelled, ‘Hey, Sophie, this one’s from your ex, Barclay!’ and shot my favorite handbag!” Sophie finished. “I was reaching into it to pay for the hoagies, thank goodness, so it acted as a protective shield. Also, I think maybe this Santa guy doesn’t have great aim.”

We all stared at her for a moment.

“Are you sure, Sophie?” said Bootsie finally. “Because this sounds like BS.”

“Yeah, Sophie, maybe you been hitting the wine bottle today,” seconded Gerda. “I know the Colketts are day drinkers. Maybe you been guzzling alcohol, too.”

“It’s true!” Sophie bleated. “Just look at this Ferragamo satchel! If it hadn’t had gold hardware to block the trajectory of the bullet, me and the Colketts would have been toast!”

***

Excerpt from Killer Holiday by Amy Korman. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Korman. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

 

Amy Korman

Author Bio:

Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer WASPS is her first novel.

Catch Up With Ms. Korman On: amykorman.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Burnout: My Thanksgiving Mystery!

I love to write books around the holidays and Burnout is my Thanksgiving book.  Of course, this may or may not be a reflection on my cooking when you look at the title. This is the fifth book in the Pecan Bayou Series and if you are a fan of my character, Rocky, the editor of the Pecan Bayou Gazette, then this book is for you. My very favorite scene to write in this book was when I armed Miss Ruby with a can of Final Net to go after a killer. It’s a hair product and also a deadly weapon!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pecan Bayou Series #5

Pecan Bayou Series #5

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.

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Reviews

The mystery is a real page-turner that will keep you guessing until the very end. And the small-town characters are a hoot.
~Traci Andrighetti’s Blog

Teresa is a new author to me… I like how she paints the town and the people in your mind so vividly.
~Shelley’s Book Case

This was a quick and very entertaining mystery that kept me up most of the night.
Books-n-Kisses

This book really grabbed and pulled me wanting to know what happened to certain characters. I just enjoyed it so much!!
~Community Bookstop

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.
~readalot

Burnout… was a pleasure to read.
~Back Porchervations

I have been enjoying this series and it has only gotten better with each installment, including this one.
~Rantin, Ravin and Reading

I truly enjoyed all the different characters and story lines in this book!
~My Recent Favorite Books

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! ~A Chick Who Reads

 

Click Here to Get Your Copy of BURNOUT From Your Favorite Book Outlet

 

Read an Excerpt

 

ONE

Every end is a new beginning.
~Proverbs
“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.”
“Why?”
“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.”
“Obviously.”

Book Blast Tuesday: Black Arts, Tarts and Gypsy Carts

Erin Johnson is back again and her cozy giveaways just keep on coming.  Helping out at a bakery booth sounds fun, right? If this were me I would live for break time, fill my plate and consume high calories.  Good old Imogen, though, has to deal with a side-splitting creepy magician, a murder and a dear friend who is accused of the crime.  All the elements of a good mystery.  We may need a plate of baked goods, anyway!

Don’t forget to look for the prize guy for your chance at a cute witchy tote bag, four cozy witch mystery books, and a cute witch bookmark.

 

 

$2.99/Amazon

With the Summer Sea Carnival visiting the enchanted island of Bijou Mer, Imogen jumps at the chance to help run the royal bakery booth. It’ll get her out of the palace and allow her to continue avoiding her feelings for a certain engaged prince.

Imogen’s plans to lay low are shattered when the world-famous necromancer, Madame Zerna, is found dead, sawed in half on the dark magician’s table and Imogen’s friend Rhonda is caught red-handed. With incriminating evidence piling up against Rhonda, Zerna’s rival, Imogen promises to help clear her name by finding the real murderer.

But between running the booth, encouraging Maple as she struggles to lead as head baker, and taking spell lessons from the friendly strong man, Imogen’s got her hands full. And it’s no easier getting information from the evasive dark magician or Madame Zerna’s secretive assistant. Even Rhonda’s hiding something.

With the Night of the Dead fast approaching, and Rhonda headed for a maximum security witch prison, Imogen races to unearth the real killer in time to save her friend. But in a mysterious carnival where nothing’s as it seems, will Imogen have the magical powers to keep from being on the chopping block herself?

Purchase Link  – Amazon

 

Click here to enter Erin’s giveaway! A witchy tote bag, four cozy witch mystery books, and a cute witch bookmark.

About the Author

A native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Websitewww.erinjohnsonwrites.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EJohnsonWrites.

Twitter:@EJohnsonWrites