I was sipping a cup of tea the other morning, minding my own business, when my daughter, Barbara, a hotshot Realtor, decided it was time for her to list my house and move me to the Golden Hills retirement center. Shoot. I’m only eighty-eight, practically a spring chicken. I’m not moving anywhere. But she decided to go out and walk my ten-acre property anyway.
One minute Barbara was there. The next minute she’d up and disappeared. Well, the first thing I did was call my granddaughter. Laurel had been right in the middle of practicing a dance with the Sassy Saloon Gals for the annual Wagon Train parade that comes through town every year. She jumped in her car and raced to my house, still clothed in her costume, looking a little like a hussy (and a lot like a Kardashian). A crew of appreciative firefighters was right behind her.
It turns out Barbara had fallen down a mine shaft, not an unusual occurrence around here. We live in Placerville, California, formerly known as Hangtown, one of the more notorious gold rush towns. When Barbara realized she might be sitting on a pile of gold, her spirits really perked up.
Once the rescue crew reached her, they discovered that instead of sitting on a pile of gold, she was perched on top of a pile of bones. And since the skeleton was found with an antique bullet inside him, we kind of assumed he must have been murdered. But by whom?
It didn’t take long before the police determined the victim was George Clarkson, my great-great- granddaddy’s mining partner, who’d disappeared one day without a word. Then the historical society began telling everyone my great-great-granddaddy killed old George. If Laurel and I can’t prove his innocence, our family name will be tarnished forever.
Of course, Laurel has her own problems. Her ex-husband, Hank, was just arrested for murdering Darius Spencer, a prominent politician, who was strung up right where the old Hanging Tree used to stand. What makes it even more complicated is that Laurel’s boyfriend, the head of homicide for the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, is the one who jailed her ex. Heck of a way to woo a woman!
My great-grandchildren are devastated by their father’s arrest, so Laurel needs to find out whodunit mighty quick. That might not be easy because the victim, a pillar of the community, was not as popular of a pillar as one might think. It seems like the entire town had a reason to off him. Laurel will need to figure out how to juggle her two kids, her new job, her love life, and solve these murders.
I think she’s gonna need my help. And something to stimulate both our thinking caps. I better whip up a batch of my famous toffee chocolate chip cookies. If that don’t energize us into solving these cases, I don’t know what will.
You can read more about Gran in Dying For A Dude, the fourth book in the “Laurel McKay” mystery series. The first three books in the series are Dying for a Date, Dying for a Dance, and Dying for a Daiquiri.
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About the author
Cindy Sample is a former mortgage banking CEO who decided plotting murder was more entertaining than plodding through paperwork. Her national bestselling humorous mystery series, described as Erma Bombeck meets Agatha Christie, features single soccer mom, Laurel McKay. The series, set in the California gold country, includes Dying for a Date, Dying for a Dance, Dying for a Daiquiri, and Dying for a Dude. Cindy is a three-time LEFTY finalist for Best Humorous Mystery. Dying for a Dude is also a finalist for the 2015 Next Generation Indie Award for Best Mystery. She is currently working on Dying for a Donut, which may prove to be her most dangerous research yet! You can contact her at www.cindysamplebooks.com or Facebook.