I live in a small town nestled just inland from California’s central coastline. It was here that I grew up, married my high school sweetheart, taught middle school home economics, and buried my husband. I’ve watched my town change from one grocery store to several major chains, from the Emporium, which sold everything from ladies wear to calf halters, to a major big box store, from our major industry of barley and cattle to grapes, wineries and tourists.
Some things, however, never change. Folks fall on hard times and need help, children need playgrounds, libraries need new books, and Christmas, Easter, the 4th of July all have community celebrations that need to be organized. Somehow, I end up doing a lot of the organizing.
Most of our functions go off without incident, but once in a while. . .
The day of the Christmas Extravaganza began with no hint of what was to come. The decorations on the houses on Maple Street and the live pageants on many of their lawns went up on schedule, the animals arrived without incident at the large crib scene on St. Theresa’s lawn where the Posada would end and Mary would lay her babe in the manger, the choirs that would follow the Posada and later serenade the new born babe from the church lawn were tuning up and people were pouring into town from all directions. Only, this year, there was a dead man in the manger, a black and white puppy beside him, and two of the local children saw the murderer leaving the crib scene. What was worse, he saw them.
It took some doing to divert the Posada and finish the Extravaganza, but we managed. Finding out who killed the old veterinarian, why the puppy was beside him, if the children were in danger and how to protect them, was considerably more difficult.
That I wanted to keep Millie, the cocker spaniel who turned up at my house, unexpectedly homeless after her owner became the second victim took no thought at all.
The day the children and I discovered the murderer almost ended my life and theirs, and isn’t a day I’d care to repeat, but Millie is still with me, and I have related all of the events of those few harrowing days while I tried to protect the children and exposed a murderer in “Purebred Dead”.
In the meantime, the can tree food drive was a huge success, and my committee and I are getting ready for St. Mark’s annual spring rummage sale. This year we are holding it in conjunction with a pet adoption. Many days have gone into the planning, we are prepared for almost any contingency, and nothing will go wrong.
Or, will it?
You can read more about Mary in Purebred Dead, the first book in the NEW “Mary McGill and Millie” mystery series, published by Severn House Publishers.
About Purebred Dead
This lively cozy, set in smalltown California, is the first in a brand-new dog mystery series
Pillar of the community, Mary McGill has a finger in every pie, a place on every committee. She’s the one the townsfolk can count on when they need help. Everything Mary organizes runs smoothly – apart, that is, from the town’s traditional Christmas pageant. For the festivities are rudely interrupted by the discovery of a blood-stained corpse lying in the manger. Cowering beside the body is a small black-and-white puppy.
Two local children report seeing a shadowy figure fleeing from the scene – but there are no clues as to the murderer’s identity. If Mary could only find out what the puppy was doing there, she would be one step closer to finding the killer. As someone who knows nothing about dogs, purebred or otherwise, Mary had better learn – and fast – before she and the children become the next victims.
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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 14 for the chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Purebred Dead. 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.
About the author
Kathleen Delaney is a retired real estate broker. She lived and worked on California’s central coast, where she wrote her first three novels and, during her day job, specialized in horse ranches, estate properties, wineries and vineyards. The mother of five grown children, grandmother of nine, she also bred and showed national winning Arabian and Half Arabian horses. She left California for South Carolina, where she completed the final two books in the Ellen McKenzie real estate mysteries, then moved to Georgia, where she continues to write and visit with two of her grandchildren.
Purebred Dead is the first in her new Mary McGill and Millie canine mystery series and, as you might have guessed, is centered around dogs, both pure bred and mixed breed. It is published by Severn House, has been released in the UK to excellent reviews, has been praised by Publishers Weekly and was released in the US on August 1.
The second book in the series, Curtains for Miss Plym, will be released in the UK in December and in the US in April of 2016.
Visit Kathleen at www.kathleendelaney.net