The Testimony of Lucy Campion by Susanna Calkins

The Masque of a Murderer[Testimony recorded by at the Court of Assizes, Spring Session 1667. Lucy Campion, Witness]

Judge Hale: State your name and occupation for the record.

Witness: My name is Lucy Campion and I was born in the year of our Lord, 1647. When I was fifteen, my mother sent me into service, and I worked for several years in the household of Master Hargrave. I believe you know him, sir?

Judge Hale: Note for the record the witness is referring to Thomas Hargrave, former member of the King’s Bench, and currently a magistrate in the City of London. But he is not your current employer?

Witness: No, sir. I am now apprenticed to Horace Aubrey, Master Printer.

Judge Hale: A female printer’s apprentice? Surely, the Stationer’s Guild has not licensed you to learn the trade?

Witness: [Long pause]. No, sir. Master Aubrey was good enough to take me on after the Great Fire, when he was trying to get his presses going again. I was looking to leave my current position.

Judge Hale: Why is that? Was Master Hargrave not treating you well?

Witness: [With fervor]. Oh no, sir! Master Hargrave treated me more decently than most servants could dream. But when his wife, my mistress, died in the plague—God rest her soul—and then his daughter left with the Quakers, I had no lady to serve. I could not well be a lady’s maid with only Master Hargrave and his son Adam to attend. Would not be decent.

Judge Hale: From lady’s maid to printer’s apprentice. Indulge the court, if you would. How did such a fantastic occurrence come to be?

Witness: [Smiling]. I discovered I had a skill at setting type and calling the stories.

Judge Hale: Surely such tasks require the ability to read and write. How did you learn such skills?

Witness: I did attend a dame’s school for a short while, when I was not helping my family with tasks on the farm. Afterwards, when I worked at the Hargraves, I admit that I learned from listening from behind the curtains to the tutors who came to teach their daughter Sarah. [whispering]. I practiced on my own at night.

[Uproar in the courtroom. “She should have been beaten!” many of the people began to shout, including several of the jurors].

Judge Hale: [Banging gavel]. Settle down! Let us move on. Miss Campion, it was in this capacity, that you did witness the theft by the defendant.

Witness: Yes, Master Aubrey’s other apprentice Lach and I had spent the morning setting the type for a new piece. I remember it was called “Strange News from Kent: The True Story of a Monstrous Dog Born With Two Heads.” Lach and I had been arguing about whether a dog with two heads would need to eat twice as much. I said not, but Lach said—

Judge Hale: [interrupting]. Please Miss Campion. We are concerned with what happened later in the afternoon. What you witnessed at Covent Garden market.

Witness: Of course, sir. My apologies. I just meant that Master Aubrey told us he could not abide our bickering and he sent me out with a piece we had set the day before. A ballad called “A Cuckolded Husband Murders His Wife.” Set to the tune of “Where Is My Love?” Told me to go to Covent Garden, since so many people still are camped there, waiting for the City to rebuild their homes.

Judge Hale: Did you see the defendant, Christopher Beale, at the market?

Witness: Yes, I had climbed up on an old stump, not too far from the vegetable sellers. When I began to sing my story, it didn’t take too long for a goodly crowd to gather. “Everyone loves a good murder,” Master Aubrey always says, and it’s true. Even people who can’t read can remember the words from the pictures. Besides, they’ll likely paste it up on their walls when they get home. So I knew it would not take me long to sell the lot. It was then that I saw that man [witness pointed at the defendant] milling in and out of my crowd.

Judge Hale: And what was Mr. Beale doing?

Witness: He was stealing! Taking pockets from people gathered there. I could see him, weaving in and about. I know his type you see. I’ve seen such thieves in the market before. Tricky one, he was.

Judge Hale: What did you do?

Witness: It was what he did next. I saw him push a little boy over, to get to his mother’s purse. ‘Thief!’ I cried! And that is when a good group of men did jump on him. And here we are. The stocks I suppose? Let a few turnips land on his head. That would be the right and proper punishment. I am sure you would agree?

Judge Hale: [coughing]. Thank you, Miss Campion, for your testimony and, er, unexpected counsel. That will be all.

You can read more about Lucy in The Masque of a Murderer , the third book in the “Lucy Campion” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first two books in the series are A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate and From the Charred Remains.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on April 24 for the chance to win a copy of The Masque of a Murderer. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
Susanna Calkins has been intrigued by murder ever since she first stumbled across murder ballads while working on her PhD in history. The idea that people used to sing about murder and other strange tales became the premise of her historical mysteries featuring Lucy Campion. Set in 17th century England, her novels have been short-listed for the Macavity (Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award), the Lovey, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award. Her third novel, THE MASQUE OF A MURDERER, will be released this April. If you’d like to know more about history, mystery, writing, or her books, visit her website and blog at Feel free to connect with her on Facebook (Susanna Calkins, Author) and Twitter (@scalkins3).

May 2015 Books


May 1
Pattern of Betrayal by Mae Fox & Amy Lillard – Vineyard Quilt #2

May 4
14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson – Woman’s Murder Club #14

May 5
The Corpse With The Sapphire Eyes by Cathy Ace – Cait Morgan #5
Desperate for Death by Judy Alter – Kelly O’Donnell #6
Some Like It Witchy by Heather Blake A Wishcraft #5
Seven Threadly Sins by Janet Bolin – Threadville #5

Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs – Tea Shop #16
Deadly Desire at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison – Honeychurch #2
Hiss and Tell by Claire Donally – Sunny & Shadow #4
A Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum – Seaside Knitters Mystery #9

Don’t Go Home by Carolyn Hart – Death on Demand #25
Killing Weeds by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Peggy Lee Garden #8
One Foot in the Grape by Carlene O’Neil – Cypress Cove *new series*
Neighing with Fire by Kathryn O’Sullivan – Colleen McCabe #3

Flourless to Stop Him by Nancy J. Parra – A Baker’s Treat #3
Fillet of Murder by Linda Reilly – Deep Fried *new series*
Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson – Allison Campbell #3
Checked Out by Elaine Viets – Dead End Job #14

May 8
The Final Reveille by Amanda Flower – Living History Museum *new series*
Bite the Biscuit by Linda O. Johnston – Barkery & Biscuits *new series*
Murder With A Twist by Tracy Kiely – Nic & Nigel *new series*
Come to Harm by Catriona McPherson

May 12
Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver – Kathryn Dance #4
Dollar Daze by Karen Karin Gillespie – Bottom Dollar #3
The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page – Faith Fairchild #22

May 15
Soul Surrender by Kathi Daley – Zoe Donovan #14

May 19
Bone To Be Wild by Carolyn Haines – Sarah Booth Delaney #15
Skies of Ash by Rachel Howzell Hall – Lou Norton #2

May 26
Radient Angel by Nelson DeMille – John Corey #7
Death by Coffee by Alex Erickson – Bookstore Cafe *new series*
Death of a Cupcake Queen by Lee Hollis – Hailey Powell Food & Cocktail #6
Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell – Gilded Newport #3
Farmed and Dangerous by Edith Maxwell – Local Foods #3

Officer Stacey Milligan’s Dilemma by F.M. Meredith

Violent DeparturesI’m going to be perfectly frank here, because I’m not quite sure how to feel or what to do.

My husband, Doug, and I both work for the Rocky Bluff P.D. If you aren’t familiar with the town of Rocky Bluff, it’s a small beach community in Southern California, located between Ventura and Santa Barbara.

I’m a patrol officer and Doug is a detective. We both love our jobs even though the department is understaffed and underfunded.

For the most part our marriage is great. Doug has become a great father to my son, Davey. But something has happened that’s really bothering me.

We need to find a bigger house. At first Doug was looking at homes damaged by a recent earthquake. He enjoys fixing up houses.

The problem is he’s found a house that he wants to buy. Without discussing it with me, he’s already told the realtor Rocky Bluff House 4that he wants it. That bothers me. Before I even had a chance to see it, he acted like it’s already a done deal.

To be honest, it is a perfect house. Much larger than the one we live in now—the house Doug lived in with his first wife. The realtor told Doug we could rent it until escrow went through.

Because Doug’s teenaged daughter is coming to live with us this weekend, he’s already planning the move.

I couldn’t help but wonder why, since the house is in such good shape and the price low, what could be wrong with the house.

When I finally had the opportunity to visit what is likely going to be our future home, the next door neighbor told me what the problem is. The house may be haunted.

What would you do if you found this out about your soon-to-be home?

(As told to F. M. aka Marilyn Meredith)

Blurb for Violent Departures:

College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.

Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.

Twitter: @MarilynMeredith

I’m heading over to where I reveal what inspired Violent Departures.

About the author
MarilynMF.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.

Kate Mertz’s Life with Her Grandma by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Dead Girl BluesI think I’m an average eight-year-old girl.

I’m better in reading and math than some kids. But that’s because my Grandma makes me study math and read every night. I’m lucky to have her – luckier than most people know – because my Grandma is a ghost.

She’s still the same Grandma I’ve always known and loved. She’s harder to see sometimes, but Lucas – that’s the sorcerer who lives with us – has been showing her some tricks. I guess ghosts aren’t always sure what to do.

Lucas isn’t quite sure who he is either. My Mom says he can’t remember parts of his past and that’s why his magic doesn’t work right all the time. But he’s okay. He’s really good at keeping up with the laundry and making pancakes. What more can you expect from someone?

That’s what my Mom says anyway.

She’s unusual too, for a Mom. She died right after my Dad was killed in a car accident when I was five. But she made a deal with a man named Abe to stay alive for twenty years until I’m grown. She isn’t a police officer anymore. Instead, she drives Abe’s Taxi for the Dead.

I’m not really sure what that is.

My Mom apologizes because we have a weird home life. She says I can’t bring my friends to the house because she’s afraid someone else will find out about us. But I’m proud of her and my Grandma because they take good care of me. She wasn’t happy when I told her I wanted to grow up to be a police officer like her and Daddy. She’s okay with me doing almost anything else, except for being a sorcerer like Lucas.

Sometimes, my Mom is sad. I know it’s because my Dad is gone. She’s looking for the person who killed him because she doesn’t believe it was just an accident. I hope she finds the person soon. I know it won’t change things for me, but I’d like to see her happy again.

You can read more about Kate and her family in Dead Girl Blues, the second book in the “Taxi For The Dead” paranormal mystery series, published by Joyce Lavene. The first book in the series is Broken Hearted Ghoul.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 23 for the chance to win a copy of Dead Girl Blues and Broken Hearted Ghoul. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications.

Ava Oosterling, a Cinderella with a Prince on his way! by Christine DeSmet

Five-Alarm FudgeMy grandpa Gil is always getting me in trouble and this time he’s invited a fudge-loving prince from Belgium to visit us in Door County, Wisconsin.

The prince is excited about a legend of a nun who may have hidden a divinity fudge recipe during the Great Fire of 1871 that swept our region and killed a thousand people or more. It happened on the same dates as the Great Chicago Fire.

Grandpa insists the prized recipe is hidden in a local church. He’s told the prince that I’ll make the fudge from that recipe. Talk about pressure! I bet the real Cinderella didn’t have to worry about this sort of thing before the ball.

Grandpa and I own Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer. Everything in Wisconsin ends with “and beer.” Our town of Fishers’ Harbor is on a peninsula in Lake Michigan known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” because of its rustic beauty and tourism.

PinkFudgeMy signature recipe is Cinderella Pink Fudge, which is a vanilla-cherry fudge made with our famous Door County cherries.

The locals are very excited that the Cinderella fudge lady might become a real Cinderella. My boyfriend, Dillon Rivers, is amused, though I sense a bit of jealousy, too.

Grandpa believes the divinity fudge recipe is hidden in a church in Namur, Wisconsin, a few miles south of our shop. Namur is near where I grew up on a farm near Brussels. The early settlers named the local towns for their villages back home.

A true legend here speaks of Sister Adele Brise, a Belgian nun who taught school children when the Belgians first settled our county in the 1850s and beyond. If you look her up on the Internet, you’ll find that even the New York Times wrote about her. Why? Because the Catholic church says she’s the only person in the entire United States who has experienced a credible sighting of Mary, mother of Jesus. And that sighting happened here in the 1800s near where I live.

The five-alarm trouble for me started when Grandpa told the prince about that legend. Grandpa has been doing research on our ancestry and he insists we’re related to the royal family. He’ll do anything to please the prince. Now it seems all of Belgium is excited about me finding that fudge recipe and making “the” divinity fudge. I’m in a divine mess!

My girlfriends, Pauline and Laura, and I have looked high and low in the quaint, little church in Namur where Grandpa is sure we’ll find the recipe. But nothing pops up in all our searches but old coal dust—until we find a dead body.

Then a series of fires in the church and in the places I frequent begin to turn my life to cinders.

Dillon doesn’t like the threats on my life. He doesn’t like how it’s changing me. He sees the stress. He tries to help. He’s a construction guy who knows the secret hiding places inside buildings. He and his hunting dog, Lucky Harbor, find intriguing surprises but not before more of my dreams go up in smoke.

Grandpa believes this fudge recipe is worth millions. But is it worth my life?

You can read more about Ava and her prince in Five-Alarm Fudge, the third book in the “Fudge Shop” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first two books in the series are First-Degree Fudge and Hot Fudge Frame-Up.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 22 for the chance to win a print copy of Five-Alarm Fudge. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Christine is a writing teacher at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies where she mentors writers of ChristineDeSmetnovels, screenplays, plays, and short fiction. She directs the “Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Retreat” every June. Her other publications include Spirit Lake, a romantic suspense novel. Christine is a past winner of the Slamdance Film Festival and optioned that screenplay to New Line Cinema. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Writers Guild of America, and Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum.

First-Degree Fudge enjoyed 10 weeks on the Barnes & Noble mystery bestseller list.

My Musing ~ The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio

The Readaholics and the Falcon FiascoThe Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio is the first book in the new “Book Club” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, April 2015

Amy-Faye Johnson’s book club, the Readaholics, enjoys guessing whodunit in mysteries like The Maltese Falcon. But when a murder happens in their midst, they discover that solving crimes is harder that reading about them.

Amy-Faye has always loved her idyllic Rocky Mountain town of Heaven, Colorado. Her event-planning business is thriving, her fellow book-obsessed Readaholics are great, and her parents live only a few blocks away. But lately her hometown has felt a little less heavenly. First, she agrees to plan a wedding without realizing the groom is her ex-boyfriend. Then, Ivy, one of her fellow Readaholics, dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances.

The police rule Ivy’s death a suicide by poisoning, but Amy-Faye and the remaining Readaholics suspect foul play. Amy-Faye soon discovers that Ivy was hiding dangerous secrets—and making deadly enemies. Taking a page from her favorite literary sleuths, Amy-Faye is determined to find the real killer and close the book on this case. But finding the truth could spell her own ending.

This was a very enjoyable debut novel featuring Amy-Faye and her friends. When a friend dies unexpectedly, Amy-Faye does not believe that it was a case of suicide, but rather murder and it is her strong conviction that forces the handsome detective to look more into her friend’s death. The author did a great job in presenting this evenly paced mystery that quickly became a page-turner as the unfolding drama was hard to put down. The ensemble cast of characters, each with their own unique style, meshed wonderfully in their efforts to help Amy-Faye and her pursuit of finding the truth. This was a good mystery and I enjoyed how it all played out with the apprehension of the killer. Amy-Faye is very likable and I applauded at the action she took towards one of the event she was hosting. This is a welcomed addition to the cozy genre and I look forward to more adventures with Amy-Faye and her friends.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

My Musing ~ Threads of Deceit by Mae Fox and Jan Fields

Threads of DeceitThreads of Deceit by Mae Fox and Jan Fields is the first book in the new “Vineyard Quilt” mystery series. Publisher: Annie’s, April 2015

Former antiquities bounty hunter, Julie Ellis, is on the run, trying to stay one stiletto step ahead of her past. She accepts a position as manager of the Quilt Haus Inn in Missouri wine country, thinking it the perfect place to keep a low profile and start a new, less-dangerous career. It is—until Daniel Franklin walks through the door and asks for a room.

Daniel claims he’s come to Straussberg in search of a famous sunken ship that he believes is buried in a nearby farm field. Julie finds the handsome historian’s story odd at best, but when a dead body is discovered at the proposed dig site, it becomes clear somebody else believes the theory and doesn’t want the ship or its secrets exposed. Who in the town would possibly care about the old shipwreck? As frightening things start to happen at the inn—all seemingly connected to the hunt for the missing ship—Julie and her quilting friends must unearth the truth before someone else is buried.

I like it. More than a sunken ship is discovered when a dead body is found and seeking some excitement Julie plays amateur sleuth and uncovers a whole lot of holes let to be dug up. I love the writing style and the comfortable tone in this whodunit that was enjoyable. The author has a way with the written word that let me play along with the characters. The mystery was good as it kept me closely watching all the action as one-by-one the suspect list was narrowed to a few with some twists that caught me unawares. Julie is very likable as is her BFF Hannah. She is surrounded by Millie who may have sporadic appearances, Shirley who I adore, Inga who just needed the right moment and of course I hope we get to see more of Daniel. This was a fun read and I can’t wait to read Pattern of Betrayal, the next book in this delightfully charming debut series. Bonus quilt pattern is included.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog