Books, Cooks and CrooksI am so lucky. Everything seems to have fallen into place for me. My life in Inspiration Valley is idyllic. I live in a pretty yellow house with periwinkle shutters. My gardens are coming along beautifully, and I love nothing more than getting dirt under my nails while I transform it into my vision of a colorful impressionist garden.

My son, Trey, who is away at college, has grown into a responsible young man, and for the first time in his eighteen years of life I hardly worry about him. My mother and I are getting along wonderfully. Because of her insights on some distressing murders in our town, I respect her powers as the Amazing Althea much more, and no longer regard her pronouncements as nonsense.

Police officer Sean Griffiths and I are very much a couple in love. We aren’t actually living together, but we might as well be because Sean sleeps over as often as he can. Unfortunately, both of our jobs keep us busy so coordinating our schedules to spend time together can be a challenge.

Speaking of jobs, I still adore mine as a literary agent at A Novel Idea Literary Agency. Every day I get to go to work and read. Who wouldn’t love a job like that? My co-workers are great and they are like family to me—Flora Merriweather, the plump children’s book agent; Franklin Stafford, the refined non-fiction agent; Jude Hudson, agent for thriller and suspense; Zach Cohen, aka Mr. Hollywood, my boss, the unflappable Bentley Burlington-Duke, and last but certainly not least, our office manager, Vicky Crump.

This spring, Inspiration Valley is hosting Taste of the Town, a festival of food, and the Novel Idea Literary Agency is sponsoring the Books and Cooks portion of the festival. I’ll be organizing a grand celebrity chef event, complete with cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest. I’m pretty excited about it, especially because I’ll finally get to meet Klara Patrick, a celebrity chef whose TV show I try not to miss.

In the midst of all this activity, my best friend Makayla, barista extraordinaire, has been receiving mysterious notes from a secret admirer. This is the kind of mystery that’s fun to solve!

However, the Books and Cooks events will take up most of my time and attention. I’m looking forward to the festival and hope it will all run smoothly. With the writing contest, I expect to discover some talented new authors to add to my list.

What I don’t expect, however, is an explosion in the test kitchen and a murder…

You can read more about Lila in Books, Cooks, and Crooks, the third book in the “Novel Idea” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Buried in a Book. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on February 20, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Books, Cooks, and Crooks. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Lucy Arlington is the nom de plume for the writing team of Sylvia May and Ellery Adams. As an amalgamated personality, she is an avid reader, cook, and gardener. If she had her way, she’d divide her time between preparing delectables in her kitchen, traveling the globe on her scooter, and sitting in a comfortable chair with a cup of coffee and a paperback until her legs cramped. Lucy is devoted to her husband and children – especially when they ply her with chocolate and gift cards to bookstores. Lucy’s third novel, “Books, Cooks, and Crooks” has just been released. Her first two novels in the Novel Idea Mystery Series, “Buried in a Book” and “Every Trick in the Book” were both New York Times Bestsellers. Visit her website at

Sylvia May is the author of “The Unraveling of Abby Settel” and the soon to be released “Breathing Space.” Visit her website at

Ellery Adams is the author of Books By the Bay Mysteries and the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries and the forthcoming Book Retreat Mysteries. Visit her website at

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