I never wanted to be a detective. I think that broke mom and dad’s heart. After all, the big argument before I was born was whether I’d be named Sherlockia or Agatha, a dilemma mom solved when I was born in a Candy store and she called me Candyce Chocolat. Dad solved it the way he solves everything, by pretending he won. So, as far as he’s concerned, I’m Sherlockia.

They own the big mystery store in Goldport, Colorado, and live above the store, and breathe, think and talk only mystery. I think the only reason I was born was that mom glued pages of some mystery all over herself, forcing dad to pay attention to her. Not that they ever told me this, but that’s sort of the feeling I get.

Anyway, I never wanted to be a detective, and I tried many careers before I was six, though the thing I was most successful at was accidentally setting things on fire or making things explode. Which, now I think about it, I’m still doing, though really what I’m supposed to be doing is refinishing and reselling furniture.

You see, when I got divorced from Alex – All-Ex, couldn’t be any more ex if I’d killed him, something I contemplate doing twice a day, except it would probably upset our son Enoch, whom I call E (in order to save on his future therapy bills. He hasn’t thanked me, yet, but he’s only three. Time will come.) – the only skill I had that brought in a bit of money was refinishing furniture. Which is what I do for a living. However, inexplicably, I keep stumbling on dead bodies. Fortunately, it’s been over a year since I went dumpster diving and found a corpse that had been dipped in lye (Dipped, Stripped and Dead) and over six months since I found a letter inside a piano I was fixing (A French Polished Murder) which not only led to discovering a long ago murder but caused a shoot-out in mom and dad’s store (you’d think they’d be happy with a real-life mystery in their store, but noooo.) That was when Police Officer Cas Wolfe (who in my mind will always be Officer Hotstuff) of the serious crime unit of the Goldport Police proposed to me, and now we’re getting ready for our wedding.

Which would be much easier if my best friend, Ben, and my mom weren’t planning this extravaganza wedding that includes goth-black dresses and – for inexplicable reasons – buttonieres with live mice.

It would also be easier on the nerves if All-Ex weren’t acting all weird about letting E come back from his days at his dad’s.

I think I’ll go refinish that oak table I bought at a garage sale, the one that was weirdly covered in a stain that made it look like bad pine. Why anyone would do that to a nice table is beyond me.

I must not tell Cas about the stain on the table that looks like blood, either. He has these weird ideas that because he’s a policeman he’s supposed to protect me or something. I’ll just make a few discrete enquiries on my own. I’ve survived my parents’ cat trying to kill me, a crazy guy trying to dip me in lye and a batty murderer shooting at me in a store. I’m sure I can handle whatever may come.

What could possibly go wrong?

You can read more about Dyce in A Fatal Stain, the third book in the “Daring Finds” mystery series. The first book in the series is Dipped, Stripped, and Dead.

** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of A FATAL STAIN to give away. Contest open to US residents only. Contest ends October 20. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Meet the author
Elise Hyatt is the cozy-mystery pen name of Sarah A. Hoyt. Ms. Hyatt writes furniture refinishing mysteries featuring Dyce Dare, a busy single mom who often finds herself doing as much sleuthing as furniture rehabilitation. Surrounded by a cast of characters ranging from her eccentric mystery-loving parents to her even more eccentric best friend, Ben, to her precocious toddler, E, and her downright peculiar cat Peesgrass, poor Dyce sometimes feels like she’s going insane. Fortunately the way to madness is paved with laughs.

Sarah Hoyt lives in Colorado with her husband two sons and a clowder of cats. Besides the Daring Finds series, she writes fantasy, science fiction and historical mystery (the later under Sarah D’Almeida.) She blogs at http://accordingtohoyt.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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