Every morning, I’m reminded how painfully thin the walls are that divide my side of the duplex from my landlady Ina Carroll’s side. Six out of seven mornings, I wake up to a riotous Irish jig or a mournful rendition of Oh Danny Boy. Even though Ina’s on the upward march to eighty, she hears everything going on inside of my apartment even with her record player set to the sound barrier.

That morning, Ina was at the door before I finished my Pop-Tart. She didn’t bother to knock and used her key to enter. My black cat, Templeton, hissed and ran into my bedroom.

Ina adjusted her green pill hat. “India, I’m glad you haven’t left for the library yet. I need your help.”

This can’t be good, I thought.

“Your parents are holding a rally at Memorial Park.”

I raised an eyebrow. “What’s it about this time?”

Ina thought for a minute. “You know I didn’t ask, but I’m sure it’s important. Anyhow, I need a lift.”

“Ina, I’m opening the library this morning. I need to get there early.”

She waved away my concern. “Ahh, the library can wait. None of those college kids will be up this early, and if they are, they won’t be at the library.”

I sighed. “Fine.” As if there was any doubt that I’d take her.

A half hour later, I dropped Ina off at the entrance to Memorial Park and waved to my parents before peeling away from the curb. I was running too late to learn what they happened to be picketing this week. I’d hear all about it soon enough.

Ten minutes later, I turned my small SUV on to Martin College’s campus. Ina was right. Even though I was a few minutes late, no students waiting outside of the college’s library tapping their feet. I breezed through unlocking the building and slipped into my post behind the reference desk just as the phone rang.

“India,” Bobby McNally, my fellow reference librarian and best friend, said into my ear. “You’re late. I called three minutes ago and there was no answer.”

I rolled my eyes. “When was the last time you made it to the library on time?”

“That’s not the point. Anyways, I need your help.”

“What do you need me to do?” I asked because that’s me, India Hayes, the helper… whether I liked it or not…at least this time no dead bodies are involved. But then again, it was still early.
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You can read more about India in MAID OF MURDER, the first book in the “India Hayes” mystery series. The second book, MURDER IN A BASKET will be released in February 2012.

Amanda Flower’s first novel, MAID OF MURDER, was nominated for an Agatha Award. Amanda is working on her first Amish Mystery, A PLAIN DEATH, that will be released in July 2012.

Visit Amanda at www.amandaflower.com. You can also follow Amanda at Facebook and Twitter.

** Amanda has generously offered to give away an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of MURDER IN A BASKET. To enter, you must leave a valid e-mail address in the comment box with your comment. Please break it up using (at) and (dot), like domain(at)host(dot)com. One entry per person and this is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address. Contest ends on October 24th at 6pm EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified by e-mail and has 2 days to respond. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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