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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.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

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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

 

 Enter Below for Your Chance to Win a Print Copy of ALTERED TO DEATH

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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 🔗!

Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder by the Barrel

Cheerio! Time for a good old-fashioned British cozy mystery.  This week we head to Steeple Martin to attend the beer festival, but watch out, there are some pretty rotten things afoot. I’m reviewing this one, and also–look for the Prize Guy. Enter Lesley’s giveaway for your very own e-copy of Murder by the Barrel. 

 

 

A new title in the popular cosy crime series by bestselling author Lesley Cookman

When the sleepy village of Steeple Martin announces its first beer festival, the locals are excited. Beer, sun and music, what could possibly go wrong?

But when an unexpected death shakes the village, it’s up to Libby Sarjeant to solve the puzzle.

Was it just another rock star death or is there something more sinister afoot?

Available at– Amazon  B&N  kobo

 

My Review: 5 Stars

This is a cozy mystery in the sleepy village of Steeple Martin in England with a beer festival and rock concert. When one of the performers is murdered, Libby Sarjeant is on task to figure it out. This mystery reminded me of all things good about British Mysteries. A small town, a festival, and Cookman even threw in a few witches. Great suspects and good murder mystery plotting. I did not guess the murderer but I should have. Great read.

About the Author

Lesley Cookman

Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. Since she’s been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she’s written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories from Accent Press in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign.  The Libby Sarjeant series is published by Accent Press, who also publish her book, How to Write a Pantomime, with a foreword by Roy Hudd.   Lesley is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

Webpage – Lesley Cookman

Twitter – https://twitter.com/lesleycookman 

 

Click Here to enter Lesley’s Giveaway: An E-Copy of Murder by the Barrel

Book Blast Tuesday: Of Spice and Men

So, what’s going on over at the Flip Side Pancake House? Find out in Of Spice and Men where a movie crew has come to town and things really heat up, and I’m not talking crepes.

Here is a description of the book, but don’t forget to scroll down and find the Prize Guy.  Today’s giveaway is for an e-copy of Sarah’s book- Of Spice and Men!

 

Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Exciting and intriguing. A good book to curl up with in front of a fire.
~Laura’s Interests

Actually I’d have to say Sarah Fox and Marley are winners. Of Spice and Men is a 5 star read!
~My Reading Journeys

It is a fun yet suspenseful story–you’ll find humor, mystery, romance, and a look at what happens when a movie crew comes to town.
~Book Babble

OF SPICE AND MEN is a solid addition to the series providing an intriguing, well thought out mystery.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I like Marley as the main character. Not just that she’s both plucky and nosy, but also the way that she has taken on the changes in her life and made a new life for herself in a new place with new (and interesting) people.
~Reading Reality

Sarah created a world that combined movie making, and rumors run amuck all placed in a small town setting where everyone knows that gossip rules the day.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Click Here To Enter Sarah’s Giveaway: Of Spice and Men in E-copy format.

 

Sarah Fox’s addictive Pancake House Mysteries can be enjoyed together or à la carte:
THE CRÊPES OF WRATH | FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS | OF SPICE AND MEN

 

About The Author

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

Author website http://www.authorsarahfox.com/

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/authorsarahfox

Twitter: @thewritefox

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14950357.Sarah_Fox

Book Blast Tuesday: Scrapbook of Murder

Calling all Scrappers! We have Lois Winston here today with her latest Anastasia Pollack scrapbooking mystery, Scrapbook of Murder.  I worked with Lois on one of the Happy Homicides Anthologies, and I’m so happy to have her here today.

Once you get all that glue off your fingers, be sure to scroll down and find the Prize Guy.  He’s giving away an e-copy of Scrapbook for Murder. 

About the Book

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but “normal” deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.

 

 

 

Click Here to Enter the Giveaway: An E-Copy of Scrapbook of Murder

 

About the Author

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Author Links

Website: www.loiswinston.com

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/anasleuth

Twitter at https://twitter.com/Anasleuth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston 

Newsletter sign-up: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z1z1u5

Purchase Links 

Amazon  Kobo

Paperback

iTunes

Nook

 

Cozy Prizes Friday: Seashells Spells and Caramels

Welcome to Cozy Prizes Friday! I’m a little late today, but don’t worry our visiting author brings us a recipe! Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy. We are rich in prizes today! Let’s start with some rave reviews for Seashells, Spells & Caramels.

This is delightfully delicious fantasy with romantic overtones. A combination of the popular televised Great Bake-Off shows and catty reality dramas…
~Laura’s Interests

Its not the typical cozy, which makes it unique, but it also has some of the elements I like in a cozy mystery, baking and food!
~A Chick Who Reads

This was such a great story. I didn’t want to put it down. I loved the magical elements that made this story truly unique.
~Brooke Blogs

Absolutely wonderful cozy mystery!!! This is some of the best world building I have read in quite some time.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

This was an absolutely delightful read!
~Valerie’s Musings

“Seashells” is a very engaging and entertaining book. I was hooked from word one.
~Back Porchervations

WOW, just WOW! This book is Harry Potter meets Master Chef, and I just couldn’t get enough! I loved everything about this book, except for the fact that it had to end.
~The Montana Bookaholic

This is a story of magic, friendship and murder, entangled with some very interesting characters and some weird enchantments that made me glued to this book till the last page!
~Varietats

 

Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.

When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.

Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom’s big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.

It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.

With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it- because it just might.

You found the Prize Guy!

Click Here to Enter Erin’s Giveaway!

Featuring a witchy tote, a print copy Gina LaManna’s Hex on the Beach (signed), H.Y. Hanna’s Dark, Witch and Creamy, and Amy Boyles’s Scared Witchless. PLUS a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Seashells, Spells & Caramels, and the sequel, Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts.

Getting hungry? Check out this wonderful recipe!

Edible flowers!

And now here’s a little about our 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.comFacebook: www.facebook.com/EJohnsonWritesTwitter:@EJohnsonWrites

Purchase Link

Amazon