Daily Archives: May 3, 2015

A Day in the Life of Helen Binney by Gin Jones

A Draw of Deathas told by Geoff Loring, reporter for the Wharton Times

I’m Geoff Loring, reporter for the Wharton Times. Don’t worry, I’m not the annoying, gruesome kind of reporter. My motto isn’t “if it bleeds, it leads,” but rather “if it bleeds, somebody please call 911 and leave me out of it.”

Here’s my most recent published story related to Helen Binney, as published in the “community events” column:

The Wharton Friends of the Library held a special meeting on Monday to discuss their lecture program in the wake of the murder of its most recent speaker. The meeting adjourned without any official action.

That’s not the whole story, of course.

I always attend the Friends of the Library meetings; they’re usually good for getting a lead on the kind of personal interest story I write. What they’re usually not good for is discussion of a murder investigation.

This one was different. It started when Gail Whyte, who’s taken over the role of annoying know-it-all since the death of Angie Decker, made a motion that Helen Binney should be banned from the library.

“We don’t ban books,” said President Terri Greene, who’s also a popular high school coach who once played professional basketball. “And we don’t ban volunteers either. We need every one we can get.”

“Not if they’re going to sully our reputation,” Gail insisted.

Gail had a point. Helen Binney had been the one responsible for convincing professional poker player, Victor Rezendes, to give a speech at the library on the day before he was killed.

“Helen had nothing to do with the ….” Terri searched for just the right word. “The incident. If anyone’s to blame for not anticipating that our local anti-gaming advocate would heckle Victor into storming off, it was me. Do you want to ban me too?”

Gail couldn’t meet Terri’s eyes, and the rest of the room was equally silent.

“Well, then, it’s settled,” Terri said. “No banning.”

“But what about the murder?” Gail insisted. “That isn’t going to reflect well on us. No one’s going to come to any of our future lectures, and we’re counting on them to raise enough money to meet our budget.”

It wasn’t my place to speak, just to observe. Otherwise, I could have told Gail she was wrong, and that people—most people, anyway, just not me—would probably flock to the next library event, hoping that something equally exciting would happen. Especially if Helen Binney had chosen the speaker.

“That’s just silly,” Terri said. “Victor’s murder had nothing to do with the library event. It didn’t even have anything to do with Helen Binney.”

That was wishful thinking, I thought at the time. Oh, it wasn’t Helen’s fault that the Purple Pig of Professional Poker had been killed early Sunday morning, even if she had been in the group of people who’d found his body. But the murder could well have had something to do with the library event. The anti-gaming heckler could have killed Victor.

I stopped myself before I could follow that train of thought. I didn’t investigate murders or any criminal cases at all. Not my job. I left that sort of thing to Helen Binney. For a frail-looking, middle-aged woman, she had an enviable track record at catching killers. Enviable by the local homicide detective, that is, not by me.

The meeting ended in a stalemate, with half the room inclined to politely ask Helen Binney to stay away and the other half automatically siding with their daughters’ coach.

I wrote up the brief summary and sent it in to my editor. Then I added a note to myself, which was also becoming part of my standard operating procedure: stay away from Helen Binney until she declares herself satisfied that Vic Rezendes’s killer is in custody.

You can read more about Helen and her friends in A Draw of Death, the third book in the “Helen Binney” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. The first two books in the series are A Dose of Death and A Denial of Death.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 11 for the chance to win a digital copy of A Draw of Death. The 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
Gin Jones is a lawyer who specializes in ghost-writing for other lawyers. She prefers to write fiction, though, since she doesn’t have to worry that her sense of humor might get her thrown into jail for contempt of court. In her spare time, Gin makes quilts, grows garlic and serves on the board of directors of the XLH Network. Visit Gin at her website, ginjones.com.

My Musing ~ A Fright to the Death by Dawn Eastman

A Fright to the DeathA Fright to the Death by Dawn Eastman is the third book in the “Family Fortune” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, April 2015

After their flight to Mexico is cancelled, Clyde and her detective boyfriend, Mac, end up snowed in with their families at a supposedly haunted hotel. Clyde’s tarot card reading mother, Rose, is making dire predictions for the weekend, and self-proclaimed pet psychic Aunt Vi is enchanted by the legend of the hotel’s ghost—until the power goes out and a body turns up.

With a hotel full of stranded suspects, Clyde will have to draw on all her skills—both the police ones she’d rather forget and the psychic ones she’d rather ignore—to solve the bone-chilling mystery before someone else gets iced.

I love this series and the main protagonist. Clyde still puzzles about what to do with her life when the answer drops into her lap. As she soul-searches her future, her friend and family are there to assist when both she and Mac find themselves secluded in a castle with a murderer on the loose.

What a fun and well-written and fast-paced drama that kept me entertained and engaged from beginning to end. I love all of the secondary characters who are eccentrically unique in their own right and help to propel this wonderful story. The author did a great job in presenting this mystery in such a way that teased me with a bevy of suspects and clues to help in narrowing down the list of suspects with some intriguing twists that made the story buzz with anticipation as to the identity of the killer. This was a great read, the best, and my favorite in the series thus far. I look forward to the new adventures that await Clyde, Vi and Mac in their next book in this terrific series.

My Musing ~ Neighing with Fire by Kathryn O’Sullivan

Neighing With FireNeighing with Fire by Kathryn O’Sullivan is the third book in the “Colleen McCabe” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur, May 2015

Fire Chief Colleen McCabe is enjoying a quiet summer and her budding romance with Sheriff Bill Dorman. However, her peaceful start to the tourist season is shattered when a tropical storm blows through Corolla and unearths a body buried under a vacation home boardwalk. When callous land developer Denny Custis dies in a suspicious fire, Colleen has a hunch the two deaths are linked.

As she and Bill investigate, they discover that virtually everyone, including Colleen, has had a beef or run-in with Denny and a motive for murder. When Pinky Salvatore becomes the primary suspect, Colleen is determined to clear his name. Despite his and Denny’s well-documented housing development rivalry, Colleen is convinced that the real killer is still out there.

While digging through an ever-widening list of suspects, Bill and Colleen become embroiled in a vicious battle between those committed to saving Corolla’s wild horses, those protecting the endangered piping plover shore bird, and a greedy tour company who would destroy their habitats.

A buried body and an arson death play havoc in the latest adventures featuring Colleen McCabe. Add participation in an employee’s wedding and you have a well-written and wonderful story.

I love it. This book grabbed my attention from the beginning and the beautifully written narrative placed me in the middle of all the action in this evenly paced drama. The tone was very comfortable and I liked that it added to my reading pleasure with a suspense-filled mystery that kept me glued to the pages as the author intended. The author did a great job in setting up the murder mystery with suspects that seemed fitted to being the culprit but as the story moved forward, the list narrowed until there was just one. I also enjoyed watching Colleen come into her own about her growing relationship with Bill and her interactions with her co-workers. I love Myrtle who adds a bit of comedic anecdote to the telling of this tale. Boasting a great cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a feel-good atmosphere, this is my favorite book thus far and I look forward to the next book in this delightfully captivating series.

My Musing ~ Demise in Denim by Duffy Brown

Demise in DeninDemise in Denim by Duffy Brown is the fourth book in the “Consignment Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, April 2015

When Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she’d be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new houseguest.

Having the lawyer who took her to the cleaners in her divorce settlement—and who has been getting under her skin ever since—in close proximity is enough to drive Reagan to distraction. For the sake of her sanity—and Walker’s freedom—they need to put their heads together to find out who is trying to get the lawyer out of the picture . . .

What a fun book to read when Reagan gets involved in the latest dustup involving Boone. The author did a great job in capturing all the nuances that is Reagan and putting me smack dab in the middle of all the excitement in solving this crime. This fast-paced drama kept me glued to the pages watching how everything all played out and I especially loved how it all came down to an ending that I’ve been waiting for a long time. This was a great read and I can’t wait to see what antics Reagan and Boone find themselves attached to in the next book in this delightfully charming series.