I’m a store; there, I said it. I was built to be a general store, and I’ve been one my whole life, about a hundred and forty years or so, give or take a decade. I hope to remain a store until my walls crumble to dust. That being said, I may be old, but there’s a lot of life left in the old gal yet.
Let me tell you about my typical day.
I don’t get up that early. Back in the day when I was also the local post office I’d be up at the crack of dawn, but not anymore. Valetta Nibley (she’s the town pharmacist) unlocks my creaky old doors about eight fifty or so, in time for her to get organized at her pharmacy counter in the back. Mr. and Mrs. Klausner, whose family has worked with me for almost a hundred of my years, then arrive. Not every day, though. More often than it used to be a gal named Jaymie Leighton arrives and her and Valetta have a good chin wag – they being best of friends – and then Jaymie gets down to business. I like it when she works. She’s a wee bit on the plump side, but oh, my stars is she energetic! She gets up on stools and cleans my rafters, and crawls under counters to clean up the dust balls.
That tickles, you know… the cobweb cleaning and dusting, with the feather duster especially!
But my favorite time of day is morning tea break. When Jaymie is working her and Valetta get a big mug of tea and sit out on my porch, watching the good folks of Queensville go about their business. They say howdy, wave, talk to all the dogs being walked, maybe play with Jaymie’s little three legged Yorkie Poo Hoppy, if she brought him to work and has him in the puppy pen by the porch. Or she and Valetta just have a grand gossip about everyone and everything going on in their lives.
I love hearing all the news, so that is a wonderful day. It reminds me of the good old days, when I was the hub of the town and everyone dropped in for a game of checkers on the pickle barrel, or just to gossip with the proprietors and every other soul with time on their hands.
Ah, but times change. I’ve seen a lot of changes in Queensville Michigan over all my years. But once in a while – every Christmas, especially – I get to relive the old days. Valetta and Jaymie will decorate me with cedar garlands, and folks dressed in Victorian garb stand outside around a bonfire and sing carols.
At the end of a long day Jaymie turns out all the lights as Valetta closes down her pharmacy counter, and they’ll lock up so I can nap. I watch the stars come out, and fall asleep listening to the St. Clair river slip past, down by the docks.
About No Mallets Intended:
Jaymie Leighton is excited and a little nervous about her current big venture, completely redoing the kitchen at Dumpe House—now the Queensville Historic Manor—in time for the December opening. But the house is mired in controversy, a challenge to the heritage society’s right to own it, and questions about the author hired to write a pamphlet detailing the Dumpe family history and that of the house.
None of Jaymie’s business, so she keeps her head down and her focus on the exact color right for the kitchen, and assembling all the accouterments, including a Hoosier cabinet! She’s also got lots to think about in her personal life with Daniel acting a little odd, and her friend Heidi dragging her in to the trouble between her and her fiancé, Jaymie’s former boyfriend Joel.
But a late night whack on the head with one of the antique mallets Jaymie has been cataloging for the society and a dreadful murder right on the house’s doorstep draws her once again into murder and mayhem. Jaymie faces her most cunning and dangerous opponent yet, but with Valetta and Hoppy by her side and the police chief’s approval, she must figure out whodunit before they do it again!
You can read more about the Queensville Emporium in No Mallets Intended, the fourth book in the “Vintage Kitchen” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is A Deadly Grind.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 25 for the chance to win a copy of NO MALLETS INTENDED. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
About the author
Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.
Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!
Visit Victoria at www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com.