Monthly Archives: April 2015

A Day in the Life of Lucy Binger by Anne Canadeo

The Postman Always Purls TwiceMy name is Lucy Binger and it’s definitely not a typical day. Hollywood is coming to town! More precisely, to The Black Sheep Knitting Shop, owned by my best friend Maggie and about to be used as a set for a big budget movie. The cast and crew, along with long limos and huge equipment trucks, pulled into town last night. So I’m up at the crack of dawn on a frigid New England winter morning, searching for my friends in a crowd of fans and paparazzi that are swarming around the little knitting shop. All of us dying to catch a glimpse of the stars as they emerge from their fancy, block-long trailers.

Finally, I find my pals who have saved a primo perch, thanks to Phoebe, Maggie’s assistant. The poor girl waited outside in a lawn chair all night. What a trooper. The rest of my gang, Suzanne and Dana, are there, too. We usually gather at the shop at least once a week to knit and yes. . .gossip. Between the five of us, we know everything going on in town. We’ve even solved a local murder or two. But that’s another story.

Maggie is the last to arrive. Wondering why she agreed to rent the shop in the first place. But as soon as the stars appear, we’re convinced she’s done the right thing.

Jennifer Todd is our absolute favorite – America’s sweetheart. So elegant and beautiful. A hometown success story, born and raised in nearby Newburyport. She has plenty of old friends in the crowd. And maybe a few former acquaintances who aren’t so pleased to see her back?

Even if lovely Jennifer was not enough to get me up this early, Heath O’Hara certainly is. The quintessential heart-throb, if ever there was one. Is he as gorgeous and charming up close and personal as he seems on screen? Check back with me later. I hope to file a full report. Just don’t tell my boyfriend Matt – who gets super jealous when I swoon over Heath. Isn’t that cute?

Well, it would be, if he didn’t go into a daze every time I mention Trina Hardwick. Yes, she’s in the cast, too. You’d think the guy would have better taste. What can you do. It’s just a movie star crush. Even though Trina’s photo pops up if you Google, “Bad Girl.” She’s all that and more, on screen and off. No wonder Trina is trying to make yet another come back, after yet another stay in rehab. We read about it in a celeb gossip blog at our last meeting. Trina is desperate to return to super star status and they say she’ll do anything to get there.

Talking about desperate, let’s not forget world famous director, Nick Pullman who just happens to be married to Jennifer Todd. After a string of recent flops, he’s banking on this film to make back his losses. Banking with his own cash. And Jennifer’s, people say. Not the best way to improve a shaky marriage, I’d say. But who am I to give movie stars relationship advice?

We’re hanging out in the cold with the rest of the fans, when some assistant asks Maggie if she would “take a meeting” with Jennifer Todd. The actress has questions about her role as the shop owner. Somehow, our smooth talking friend, Suzanne wheedles a deal for all of us to go on the set. Can you believe it? Rubbing shoulders– and knitting bags– with real movie stars.

But before I can even ask for an autograph, a strange accident shuts down production. Everyone is shaken. Someone could have been killed; that’s for sure. Nick Pullman storms in, shouting his head off. We’ve heard that the moody director has anger management issues, but he’s positively frightening. He’s barely shouted, “Clear the set!” and we’re herded out the door.

Before we can feel too badly, Jennifer Todd invites us to her trailer for tea! She wants to talk to Maggie, to get ideas for her role. I’m just sitting back, enjoying the exotic, herbal brew Jennifer’s assistant serves us –which I later learn costs several hundred dollars a cup to prepare, and is made from very rare, Panda Bear poop. (Not kidding. Wish I was. )

Jennifer is so sweet and down to earth. She makes us feel very welcome and explains the plot of the film — a juicy, romantic thriller, tangled with a murder mystery.

Which, as usual, gets me thinking. . .

Yeah, I know it’s just a movie. But the more I hear, the more I wonder if the real drama– and danger– is about to happen off screen. Instead of on.

You can read more about Lucy in The Postman Always Purls Twice, the 7th book in the “Black Sheep Knitting” mystery series, published by Gallery Books. The first book in the series is While My Pretty One Knits.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 7 for the chance to win a copy of The Postman Always Purls Twice. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Three lucky commenters will be randomly selected. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Anne Canadeo lives and knits in Northport, New York, with her husband, daughter, and canine office assistant. She is the author of the Black Sheep Knitting mystery series, and writing as Katherine Spencer, she has also authored the popular Cape Light and Angel Island series.

A Conversation With Chris Durand by Barbara Ross

Musseled OutHi. Chris Durand here.

I was born and brought up in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, the prettiest village on the Maine coast. Though most young people leave in search of more opportunity, I never have and I never plan to. Of course, I have to hustle like crazy in the summer to make ends meet, working three jobs–my landscaping business, driving my cab and as a bouncer in the town’s noisiest tourist bar. And I rent out my cabin to a summer family and move onto the Dark Lady, my antique sailboat.

This crazy summer was even more complicated. I fell in love. And I fell hard.

I remember Julia Snowden from Busman’s Harbor High. She was in eighth grade. I was a senior. Our lockers were next to each other. She had braces on her teeth and was skinny in all the wrong places. I was co-captain of the football team. She was so tongue-tied around me she could barely get the words out, but she always asked how I was doing and seemed genuinely interested in the answer. There was something about her, but I had a girlfriend, Julia was too young, and by the next year I had graduated and she was off to boarding school.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into Gus’s restaurant last March and there she was, all grown up. The braces were gone, and now she was skinny in all the right places and filled out in the rest. We started having lunch together twice a week and just like in high school, found we could really talk to one another. Julia was trying to save her family’s clambake business. She was living with her family, working with her family and socializing with her family. There were times when they drove her crazy. I think I was the only person she could talk to about it.

Before we knew it, the season took off and we were working eighteen-hour days, but we did manage to squeeze in some time in together. On top of running the Snowden Family Clambake, Julia solved two murders this summer. She says she simply aided the police with their inquiries, but, in my book, she prevented two innocent people from spending their lives in prison. One of them was me. She’s the smartest, most determined, most honest person I know.

The first time I told her I loved her, she pretended she didn’t hear me. The second time, she took a phone call from a murder suspect right after I said it. It’s ironic after all these years of trying to avoid unwanted entanglements, I’m the one left hanging. What goes around comes around.

I know Julia loves me. But she worries about whether she can make a life in little Busman’s Harbor. She worries about how enmeshed she is with her family, and how that might eventually turn me off. The truth is, I love her relationship with her family, even my former buddy, her pain-in-the-neck brother-in-law. My parents have moved to Florida and my sister’s in southern California. There’s a reason we’re all in opposite corners of the country. I haven’t told Julia about that yet. Her love and her loyalty is part of what attracts me.

There’s another issue, too. My job. Not the landscaping or the cab or the bouncing. The other job–where I go off for days at a time on my sailboat. I can’t tell anyone I’m leaving. I can’t say where I’ve been and I can’t say no. I know she worries I’m doing something dangerous or illegal or both. I’ve proposed a compromise. I quit doing it and we treat it like an old lover, something in the past not to be discussed.

I can tell she wants to get past it. She’s trying and I have to give her credit for that. It’s fall now, and we all have more time. Maybe, if I’m patient enough, she’ll come around, leave the past in the past, and make a life here in Busman’s Harbor with me. Maybe.

You can read more about Chris in Musseled Out, the third book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are Clammed Up and Boiled Over.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 6 for the chance to win a copy of Musseled Out. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Boiled Over was published in 2014, and Musseled Out came out in April, 2015.

Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors. She and her husband own the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where she writes her Maine coast mysteries. Her website is You can like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

A Day in the Life of Carleigh Warner by Amy M. Reade

The Ghosts of Peppernell ManorMy day usually starts in one of two ways:
a) I wake up my daughter, Lucy, in which case she’s grumpy and the day is off to a slow start, or
b) Lucy wakes me up, in which case I’m tired but happy and the day is off and running. Just like Lucy.

After I take her to preschool in Charleston, I usually head straight back to the manor where we’re living right now. It’s called Peppernell Manor and I’ve been hired to restore it to the way it might have looked during the days before the Civil War. The house is beautiful, but it’s been neglected and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on it.

I have a detailed plan for the restoration and I work hard on the floors, the ceilings, the walls, and the trim. You name it, I work on it. It can be a dirty, grimy job, but I love what I do and the reward is seeing an old home get a new lease on life.

So my days are planned and predicable, right?


Something’s not right at Peppernell Manor. The family is divided over its future: Cora-Camille, the Peppernell matriarch, has hinted that she plans to change her will to leave the management of the property to the state of South Carolina. Other members of the family think the property should be administered by a for-profit investment group (the family will stand to make more money that way). I try not to get involved, but emotions run high and sometimes I wonder if Cora-Camille is safe in her own home.

I wonder if Lucy and I are safe here, too. There have been some frightening incidents since we arrived, and I don’t know who’s behind them. I don’t want to leave the restoration of Peppernell Manor unfinished, but protecting Lucy is my top priority.

Cora-Camille’s granddaughter, Evie, is one of my best friends. I love Evie dearly, but on top of everything else that’s going on, she wants me to start dating again. I’ve been anti-men since my divorce (my ex-husband left me for a stripper – that still stings), so Evie is a bit more enthusiastic about my love life than I am. But we’ll see. . .

Add to all of that the house manager who talks to ghosts, and you can see why my days don’t always go exactly as planned.

Did I mention it is hurricane season?

You can read more about Carleigh in The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, published by Kensington.

Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger. . .

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 5 for the chance to win a kindle copy of The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Amy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New AmyRYork City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, and two cats. She writes full time and is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands region of New York. She is currently working on her third and fourth novels, set in Hawaii and Cape May, New Jersey, respectively. She loves cooking, reading, and traveling, and is entranced by the beauty and charm of the South.

Amy can be found online at website, her blog, on Twitter or on Facebook

A Day in the Life of Allie McMurphy by Nancy Coco

Oh Say Can You FudgeHi, my name is Allie McMurphy. I’m the owner operator of the Historic McMurphy Inn and Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island Michigan. The McMurphy has been in my family for over one hundred years and I’m the next generation to run it. I love my job as fudge maker and inn keeper, but recently I’ve sort of branched out into amateur sleuthing. It all started with finding Joe Jessop toes up in the McMurphy’s second floor utility room. With his murder under my roof, I discovered I’m pretty good at following clues and figuring out who is behind the crimes.

Of course I have help from my trusty bichon-poodle mix, Marshmallow—Mal for short. My puppy gets me into and out of all kinds of trouble. Today is no different. We were out for a walk when Mal ran off. I chased after her only to discover a shed was on fire. I got Mal out of harm’s way and called 9-1-1 just before the shed exploded. It seems that the owners were storing lawnmowers and edge clippers and cans of gasoline to fuel them. I managed to turn and tuck Mal under me to shield her with my body from the flying debris. We are safe for the moment.

This explosion is just one in a string of arsons that have been occurring on the island this year. Mal and I have managed to be at the scene of the last few and that means the police are looking at us and the arsonist/killer has to know we are steps behind him. It’s not looking good for our safety.

Arsons aren’t the only troubles on my plate. It’s July on Mackinac and I’m on the Star Spangled Fourth committee. More specifically I’m in charge of the fireworks, which were lost in the most dramatic of the arsonists events. For the first time in over one hundred and fifty years Mackinac Island’s Star Spangled Fourth fireworks celebration might not happen. It seems it will take all my wits, Mal’s ability to find clues and my friends and family’s help to catch the killer and see that the Fourth of July celebration goes off without a hitch.

You can read more about Allie in Oh Say Can You Fudge, the third book in the “Candy-Coated” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are All Fudged Up and To Fudge or Not to Fudge.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 4 for the chance to win a copy of Oh Say Can You Fudge. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
OH SAY CAN YOU FUDGE is the third book in Kensington’s Candy Coated Mystery series by Nancy Coco also known as Nancy J Parra. Inspired by the gentile Victorian feel of Mackinac Island, Nancy asked the people at The Island Bookstore if anyone had ever written a mystery series set on Mackinac Island. The answer was no. Nancy went to work with a poll of Island visitors and locals. If an amateur sleuth lived on Mackinac Island, what would she do for a living? The overwhelming answer was run a Fudge Shop, of course. Mackinac Island is known for its world famous fudge. The rest is history. Nancy’s alter ego, Nancy J Parra has an MA in Popular Fiction and a day doesn’t go by when she isn’t working on a new story or walking her own bichonpoo known affectionately on line as Little Dog. Visit Nancy at

Author Showcase ~ Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Gathering Prey
They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes—they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.

Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.

Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger—but just may change the course of his life.

Release: April 2015
Series: Prey #26
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 29 for the chance to win a copy of Gathering Prey. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
John Sandford is the pseudonym for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. He has been a reporter at The Miami Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories about a Midwestern farm family. He is the author of twenty-five Prey novels; four Kidd novels; The Night Crew; Dead Watch; eight Virgil Flowers novels, most recently Deadline; and a Young Adult novel, Uncaged, co-written with his wife, Michele Cook. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For more information go to

My Musing ~ Musseled Out by Barbara Ross

Musseled OutMusseled Out by Barbara Ross is the third book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, April 2015

The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing–the “Mussel King” of upscale seafood restaurants–is sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles.

When Thwing is found sleeping with the fishes beneath a local lobsterman’s boat, the police quickly finger Julia’s brother-in-law Sonny as the one who cooked up the crime. Sure, everyone knows Sonny despised the Mussel King. . .but Julia believes he’s innocent. Proving it won’t be easy, though. It seems there’s a lot more than murder on the menu, and Julia needs to act fast.

I love this book. Julia is on the case when her brother-in-law is implicated in a murder and in the pursuit of justice, Julia learns more about her family, her friends and herself.

I love how the author uses the narrative to let me visually see the town and the people of Busman’s Harbor from Gus’ restaurant, from Morrow Island, the multi-use police building, the fresh salty air and just walking the streets in the small town. I so want to visit this coastal town. The author did a great job in serving up multiple mysteries that grabbed my attention and kept it going until the last page was turned. This fast-paced drama had me caught up in all the action and it was fun watching it all come together, especially with that surprising twist that I did not see coming. Boasting an eclectic cast of characters, good conversation and a small town feel, this is my favorite book in the series. I really like the direction this story is taking and I’m looking forward to more exciting new adventures with Julia and her friends in this delightfully charming series.

Thank you, Barbara, for the appearance of my name in the acknowledgment section.

My Musing ~ Manhattan in Miniature by Margaret Grace

Manhattan in MiniatureManhattan in Miniature by Margaret Grace is the 8th book in the “Miniature” mystery series. Publisher: Perseverance Press, April 2015

Perhaps Manhattan, like Christmas, is best seen through the eyes of a child. Gerry Porter provides both magical experiences for granddaughter Maddie when a SuperKrafts manager takes them to New York City for a huge crafts fair. They get to work on both making miniatures and solving crimes, the detecting duo’s favorite pastimes. All this, plus Rockefeller Center and Radio City, too! But a crafty murderer wants to make sure they don’t make it safely home again to California.

I loved it. It was fun watching Maddie take in Manhattan with her grandma and Bebe by her side giving her the experience of a lifetime. I love how they both became involved in two mysteries and with keen observations were able to help in solving the crimes. The author did a great job in the telling of this story, placing me right in the middle of all the non-stop action. There were one tense moment when I was feeling the emotions that Gerry was feeling in trying to reach Maddie, but it all worked out well in the end. This is by far, my favorite book in this delightfully entertaining series. I can’t wait to see what awaits Gerry, Maddie and friends in their next miniature adventures.

My Musing ~ The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James

The Return of the Fallen Book ClubThe Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James is the third book in the “Hollis Morgan” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, May 2015

Hollis Morgan is a survivor. She married young to flee an unloving family and ended up in prison, paying the price for her charming husband’s embezzlement. After finally obtaining a California judicial pardon, Hollis has climbed the ladder from paralegal to probate attorney at a respected law firm in the Bay Area. Unfortunately her first two cases are trials by fire. One involves a vicious family dispute over a disinheritance of family members who seem ready to stop at nothing to get their share. The other is the murder of her former parole officer, Jeffrey Wallace, whose will and family trust she is retained to file with the court. Too many people have motives and family mourners are few, so she resists processing the estate.

Without Jeffrey, Hollis’ successful reentry into society would never have been possible. It was he who introduced her to the Fallen Angels–his other white-collar ex-parolees seeking a second chance. The book club they formed was a comfort and a distraction, until two murders forced them back under the scrutiny of the law. The group disbanded during the ensuing investigation. Now, realizing their debt to Jeffrey, they come together once more, determined to uncover the truth.

Although Hollis has met a great guy–a police detective who knows about her past yet accepts her unconditionally–she is afraid to trust again. Naturally he doesn’t want to see her put her life in danger for the sake of a case, but he also knows she won’t stop until Jeffrey’s murderer is discovered. As both cases heat up, Hollis finds that probate law can bring out the worst in people and sometimes expose a killer.

This was very enjoyable. I like the way the story flowed easing me into a drama that quickly accelerated as time was running out and the need to know what was behind the murder was top of mind. I like the premise of an attorney and friends who are white collar ex-cons getting together to help the police solve their friend’s murder and of course there’s more going on that is uncovered as the story progresses. The author’s use of the plot twists that appeared gave me pause and made the telling of this story much more rewarding, especially the widow’s reason for why she did what she did. I like the way the author portrays Hollis a strong and determined protagonist; guarded yet shows a vulnerable side which keeps her grounded. This fast-paced, action-filled drama propels you to the end in this exciting mystery that leaves you wanting more. This was a great read and I hope there are more exciting challenges to come with Hollis and her friends.

From The Personal Journal Of Kathy Briscow by Anne Louise Bannon

Fascinating RhythmDecember 8, 1924

What a tiresome day this has been! I am very glad that I decided not to work tonight and went to see Lady Be Good instead. (Mem – Adele Astaire was very good. And I think the composer, a George Gershwin, also composed that Rhapsody in Blue experiment that was so talked about last spring.)

I suppose I shouldn’t complain so much. I know plenty of women at Healcroft House who would be thrilled to be editing, even with their bosses getting the credit. But Mr. Selby decided not to come in to work again today, and on a Monday, of all days! I had to call him to remind him about the editors’ meeting and he said I should cover it. Well, of course, I should cover it. I’m the one doing his work! Sadly, I didn’t think Mr. Healcroft would agree. At least the old goat let me stay at the meeting.

But he is getting suspicious about Mr. Selby (who is almost never at the office these days, I wonder what he does all day?) And after fighting Mr. Trimble this afternoon about the Keller print run, I am very close to telling Mr. Healcroft what is going on.

Maybe after I finish editing The Old Money Story. Mr. Little (or his ghost writer) has written such a wonderful novel. I have no idea how Mr. Selby acquired that for the firm (could he really be working when he’s gone after all?), but I’m glad he decided I should do the work on it. It’s pure joy to work on, even if the story wanders off track. That will be easy to fix. Well, we’ll have to see what Mr. Little writes back in response to my letter.

I just hope I can keep Mr. Healcroft from finding out about me until after the book is printed and selling well. I should go to bed. Tomorrow will be upon me far too quickly as it is, but maybe I’ll do a few quick edits on The Old Money Story. Maybe I’ll get lucky and Mr. Selby will find himself out of a job and I can finally take credit for what I’m doing.

You can read more about Kathy Briscow in Fascinating Rhythm, the first book in a NEW series featuring Kathy and millionaire author Freddie Little, published by Robin Goodfellow Enterprises. Look for the sequel Bring Into Bondage to come out this fall.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 1 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book copy of Fascinating Rhythm–winner’s choice. The print giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
Anne Louise Bannon is an author and journalist who wrote her first novel at age 15. Her journalistic work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Wines & Vines, and in newspapers across the country. She was a TV critic for over 10 years, founded the YourFamilyViewer blog and created, a wine education blog, with her husband, Michael Holland. She also writes the romantic fiction serial She lives in Southern California with her husband and various critters. You can find out more about Fascinating Rhythm and Anne’s other mystery novel Tyger, Tyger at