Shhhhh! I have a confession to make. When my best friend and neighbor, Kate McKenzie, was hired on to organize Amelia Nethercutt’s hoarder’s paradise of a mansion, I was jealous. I wanted to see what the inside of the place looked like. I’ve lived in Hazelton, Vermont all my life, and the wealthy Amelia was a hometown girl herself. So when she returned a decade ago with husband number five, and bought the biggest place in town to hold the couple’s fabulous and eccentric collections…Well, let’s just say the rumor mill hasn’t been quiet since. I’ve had ten years to imagine that interior, and Kate, who just moved here six months ago, not only gained a first look, but was getting paid to do so. Well, until the murder of course, and my best friend suddenly went to the top of the police list for favorite suspect.
Kate is an organizational expert. A few months ago, she started her business Stacked in Your Favor, and let me help with little set-up jobs. She always has great ways of doing things that seem so simple you don’t know why you didn’t think about them before, and she shares her ideas with everyone. I’ve started carrying a little notepad around lately, because I have the worst memory in the world, and I’m always forgetting to tell people things they need to know. Kate keeps notes naturally, and I think her brain constantly works in a list format. Because of her I’ve learned slow-cooker recipes that mean breakfast is ready when we get up in the morning, how to streamline laundry chores, and about a million other little ways to make life easier. She just tosses off little hints like they’re no big deal, but I can’t wait to try each one.
Anyway, Kate’s business is all about helping people reduce the clutter and chaos in their lives. Amelia signed on as her first real client, and let’s just say the Nethercutt clutter had reached epic proportions. Kate’s first day in the mansion was just to evaluate if she wanted the job, and determine what tasks the project entailed.
I convinced Kate to let me work part-time if it was bigger than a one-woman job. So while she sorted through the Nethercutt estate, I spent all afternoon in my front yard pretending to work my pitiful too-early-spring flowerbeds so I’d catch her when she arrived home. I’m not the most patient person on a good day, so I’ll admit to being antsy waiting to learn what lay hidden behind the walls. But the job over almost before it started.
Now, the real work begins. Motherhood mixed with murder investigation.
Besides the normal duties of any mothers—I have two elementary aged sons, and Kate has twin six-year-old daughters—we’re busy trying to put a name to the murderer, and figure out if the thefts we’ve discovered since the murder are connected, or secondary to the original crime. The police may enjoy more forensic resources, but we have a few advantages of our own. As mothers, our finely-honed intuitive skills are put to the test. Kate, of course, has the organization and logic necessary to tear down and put right any problem that comes her way. I bring a lifetime knowledge of Hazelton, as well as contacts through my mother, the almost professional club woman. In all, we may not know how to take and identify fingerprints, but if we work together we have a good chance to catch a sticky-fingered thief and point a finger at a cold-blooded killer.
We better be able to, anyway, because the crimes are stacking up and someone keeps systematically putting Kate in harm’s way. To find out if we get all the tasks crossed off our To-Do lists before we get crossed off the killer’s list, grab a copy of Organized For Murder. Besides learning if we solve this crime in time, Kate also shares organizational ideas that will work in most every household, no matter the family size. I need to go now and write down a couple of tips she gave me earlier today, then see if I can uncover some “facts” from my mother the gossip. But don’t tell Mother I said that! Remember, shh…
Organized For Murder, is the first book in the “Organized” Mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. Like all of Gemma’s books, this cozy series is a fun mystery with humor and great characters, but with the added extra of terrific tips woven into the plot to use long after the killer is marking the days behind bars. The novel is available at retail and online booksellers in both print and ebook formats.
Comment on this post by noon, February 25, and you will be entered to win a copy of either the print OR e-book version of Organized For Murder. One winner will be chosen at random.
Meet the author
Ritter Ames lives in a small town in the middle of America, but spends each day dreaming up crimes and creating chaos in her characters’ lives. Organized For Murder is the first cozy in her Organized Mysteries series, and she has another series, the Bodies of Art Mysteries, starting with Counterfeit Conspiracies, also published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. Ritter tries to blog regularly at ritterames.wordpress.com and uses her Pinterest boards at pinterest.com/ritterames to capture great places and ideas she wants to use in both series. Follow her blog and boards to learn more about Ritter and her upcoming books.
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