This Vacation is Going to Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater

My husband Roger, my college-aged daughter Judy, and I came up to Breckenridge to have a nice relaxing ski vacation after the trouble with Enrique in Colorado Springs that almost ruined Roger’s and my marriage. But I don’t want to talk about that. You can read about it in Beth Groundwater’s book, A Real Basket Case, if you really want to know. Let’s just say that I’m extremely grateful Roger didn’t end up in prison.

Along with spending some time with Judy (I miss her since she went off to college!), I was going to make and donate a gift basket to the Summit Foundation fundraiser’s silent auction. Now I’m too rattled to even think about how to construct that relaxing spa-themed basket. Not when I have to throw together a sympathy basket instead!

Here’s what happened. I was a little upset when I found out that Judy’s boyfriend Nick’s family was “magically” going to be here at the same time (those two planned it, I know!), but I can go with the flow. Then an absolutely horrible thing happened when we three went skiing with Nick’s sister Stephanie yesterday. She was an excellent skier. But somehow she crashed into a tree on the ski slope and suffered a massive head injury that killed her. I can’t imagine what her parents and her brother must be going through!

I didn’t see it happen because I’m not in great shape. I can ski the expert slopes every now and then, but they really make my knees ache. It was hard to keep up with the girls, and I could tell Judy was getting impatient with me. I told them to go ahead. If only I’d been able to keep up with them! Maybe then…

I feel so guilty. I should have insisted we stay on blue intermediate slopes. The ski patrol claims it was an accident, but I don’t believe it. None of us actually saw Stephanie hit the tree. Afterward, I saw ski tracks in the snow that showed someone deliberately hit her and forced her to crash into that tree. But before I could point the tracks out to anyone, the ski patrol obliterated them with the rescue sled, so now no one believes me.

I just met Stephanie yesterday, but she seemed like a lovely girl, poor thing. I wish Nick’s family hadn’t come. Then poor Stephanie might still be alive. But you know, there’s something fishy about that family, and I’m afraid Judy may be in danger, too. I just want to leave Breckenridge and take her with me, get her out of here.

But Judy is the definition of stubborn, barely listens to what I have to say, then ignores my advice and does what she wants. Three months ago, I worried that she would do something stupid in France during her spring semester art study program, like starting to smoke pot or heaven forbid, getting a tattoo or piercing. Fortunately, nothing so far! But she’s showing all the signs of having fallen in love with Nick. She refuses to talk about leaving him, even for a short while.

I’ve got to convince Detective Silverstone of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office that Stephanie was murdered and that my Judy needs protection. Oh God, I’m scared to death that she’ll be hurt. And when one of my kids is threatened, my Mama Bear claws come out!

An icy demise snowballs in book 2 of this Agatha Award-nominated series. Gift basket designer Claire Hanover is reluctantly enjoying a spring ski vacation with her family in Breckenridge, Colorado, when a bloodcurdling scream cuts the frigid air. Claire is appalled to find the sister of her daughter’s boyfriend dead on the slopes. Others assume the girl’s death was an accident, but Claire notices another pair of ski tracks veering dangerously into the victim’s path. To protect her daughter as incriminating clues surface, Claire unravels a chilling conspiracy.

** Beth is giving away one (1) autographed copy of TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET. Contest open to US residents only and ends November 15. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the author
Bestselling mystery author Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents and Wicked Eddies). The third books in both series will appear in 2013. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website:

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

29 responses to “This Vacation is Going to Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater

  1. sounds like a fun book!!!
    thanx for the giveaway!!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  2. I like the sound of this book. I put the author’s name on my list so I can keep up with her. This seems like my family. My husband and I will plan a vacation and bad things will happen and we argue and so on and so on, but not murder. HAHA. I can’t wait to read this book. Thank you Dru for bringing out authors for me to read. saba121167(at)usa(dot)net

  3. Would love to win a copy of TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET.

  4. Nancy Hill Bradford

    Sounds GREAT! Would love to win.


  5. would love to win!

    • Hi Sarah,
      I drew your comment number from, so you have won the book. Please send your mailing address to me at beth07 AT and let me know if you would like me to personalize it to you or someone else. Congratulations!
      – Beth

  6. Lynette Kutzke

    Glad there is going to be a third book in the series.


  7. Looking forward to adding these books to my to be read pile. Happy Veterans day to all and thank you! elisanabby at gmail dot com

  8. I read the first book in the series (it was the only one the library had). I would love to win this one and start collecting them as they are re-released.


  9. I would love to add this book to my collection. Thank you for the chance to win.

  10. A cozy that involves the whole family – sounds terrific!

  11. I love Beth’s books, and would love to win this one!
    lovesdogsandbooks (at) yahoo (dot) com

  12. I was not familiar with this basket series and am so pleased to see the post on Readers. I not only love to read but I am a basket weaver. I DO give gift baskets BUT I also weave the basket from reed first! I have woven baskets titled “Basket Case” and “Hell in a Handbasket”. This series is PERFECT for me. I am making a trip to the bookstore for the first book and would love to win this 2nd book in the series.

  13. Wow, this book sounds great. Hope I win it

  14. Hi,
    I think I’d better find the first one in this series, but I’d love to win this one!
    Dee grammyd01 (at) comcast (dot) net

  15. Count me in for the drawing. I’ve seen her posts on MMC and read some of her blogs (I think she did one on jury duty that was entertaining). I expect her books are good too. dz87507 at

  16. Thanks, everyone, for your comments and contest entries! Lynette, I’m so happy, too, that the third book in the series is coming out next year (finally!). Nora, I’m glad you enjoyed A Real Basket Case. Have you filled out a patron request form at your local library, requesting that they buy a copy of To Hell in a Handbasket to go with it? Even when libraries are under tight budgets, they try to fulfill the requests that their readers submit.

    Karen, only one person in Claire’s immediate family is not in this book, her son (who very well may be featured in a future book!). Claire’s brother and mother appear in the third book. Family is very, very important to her–which is why she gets involved in so many murder cases. 😉 Carol, I’m so glad you enjoy my books. Thank you!

    Dee, I agree that it’s probably best to start with the first book in the series, A Real Basket Case, which is readily available in 3 formats, hardcover, trade paperback and ebook, and is shelved in many libraries, too. Now, does anyone have a question for Claire?
    – Beth

  17. Just delighted to actually be able to enter a contest for a drawing instead of doing the drawing for a change! ha Beth, you know I’m a fan! 🙂

  18. I want to see what the conspiracy is!

  19. You’ve certainly chosen a great setting and it sounds like lots of mystery results. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  20. I’m going to look for the first book, but sign me up for the contest. Thanks.

  21. Interesting title, lol, there have probably been a few vacations like that.


  22. My mother always used the expression – To Hell in a Handbasket—so I’d really like to read this book—just for memories.

  23. Thanks for your comments, everyone, and thanks for the vote of confidence, Denise! It’s nice to know that my writing in my blog posts encourage folks to try my books, too. Jenny, thanks so much for your ongoing support. Lisa, the conspiracy is definitely a surprise! Judy, thanks for your interest in A Real Basket Case, too, and I hope you like it enough to read To Hell in a Handbasket, too, even if you don’t win the contest. 😉 Wendy and Suekey, the history behind the expression, going to hell in a handbasket, is an interesting one:

  24. Thanks Beth and Clare for stopping by and telling us about your vacation.

  25. Hi everyone,
    I’ll wait a few more hours today to draw the name of the contest winner, so if there are any folks who still want to enter this morning, please leave a comment!

  26. Sarah Parks, please contact me at my website, You are the winner!

  27. contest is closed.

  28. I was going to enter because I saw it ended today but evidently the winner was drawn two days early!