A Day in the Life with Ivy Meadows by Cindy Brown

The Sound of MurderI should never do anything pre-coffee.

“It was only a teeny fire,” I told my uncle over the phone. I sat outside on the steps of my apartment complex, watching the Phoenix Fire Department carry equipment out of my second-floor apartment. Black smoke trailed behind them. The air smelled awful, like the time I’d fallen asleep in front of a campfire and melted the bottom of my sneakers. Except this smelled like an entire Nike factory.

“Teeny fire?” Uncle Bob said. “Isn’t that an oxymoron or something?”

“Nah,” I said. “That’s firefighter language for no one got hurt. Right?” I asked an especially cute guy carrying a heavy-looking hose.

“Yep,” he said over his shoulder as he passed me. “Teeny. No one hurt.”

I smiled at him again and watched him descend the stairs. On the back of his firefighter’s helmet was a sticker that said, “Be Nice.”

“Olive,” said my uncle with a sigh. “Stop flirting with firemen and tell me what happened.”

“I’m not entirely sure.” I was not a morning person. “I got up early to go to that meeting you put on my calendar.”

Since acting didn’t always pay the bills (okay, rarely paid the bills), I worked part-time at my uncle’s private investigation business. Right now I was mostly filing and writing reports, but Uncle Bob promised he was going to give me some real detective work soon.

“You got up early?” I could hear the skepticism in my uncle’s voice. “What time?”

“Eight.” There was a pause on the other end. “Ish,” I finished.

“To go to this meeting that starts in…” I could almost see him squint at the old clock on the office wall. “Twenty minutes?”

“Uh huh.”

“Right. Go on.”

“I put the kettle on the stove.” When my old coffeemaker bit the dust, I had replaced it with a French press, a much better fit for my minuscule galley kitchen. “Then I got in the shower.”

Another pause. Then, “You usually do that? Turn on the stove and get in the shower?”

“Sometimes. Then when I get out, the kettle’s boiling and I make coffee. No waiting.” Not only was I not a morning person, I was not a patient person. Especially in the morning. “Since the water was running, I didn’t hear the smoke alarm.”

“That’s why you didn’t hear the alarm? You were in the shower?” said the cute fireman, who was going back up the stairs. I nodded, though it did seem sort of obvious. I was wearing only a towel.

“So you turned on a gas stove, left the room, and put yourself in a situation where you couldn’t see or smell smoke or hear an alarm,” said Uncle Bob. I could tell he was trying to make a point. “And what happened when you got out of the shower?”

“The apartment was full of black smoke. Really nasty. I could taste it.” I scraped the top of my tongue with my front teeth. I knew I probably looked like a dog that just ate peanut butter, but I really wanted the greasy bitter smoke taste out of my mouth.

“Here,” the cute fireman came back and sat down next to me on the stairs, pulling a Day-Glo green bottle of Gatorade from a pocket in his voluminous firemen’s coat. “Helps with that awful taste,” he said, opening the bottle for me. Not only was he chivalrous, he was even better looking up close, with light brown eyes and the longest lashes I’d ever seen. I was wowed and envious at the same time.

“Thanks.” I hiked up my towel, grateful that I’d sprung for the large bath sheet. I twisted open the Gatorade. It was lukewarm, but it did make my mouth taste better. Like pleasant, lemony-limey smoke. The fireman shrugged out of his heavy firefighter’s coat. The t-shirt he wore underneath showed off strong muscled arms. I tried not to stare.

“Olive?” Uncle Bob was still on the line. “Was it really a teeny fire?”

I looked at the big fire truck and the half dozen firefighters going in and out of my apartment. “Yeah,” I replied, sticking with the definition of “no one got hurt.”

“Good. I want you at this meeting. Can you make it?”

“I’ll be there,” I said. “A little late, but I’ll make it.”


I didn’t make it. It wasn’t entirely my fault–the client arrived early and left just a few minutes later. The meeting wasn’t important after all, Uncle Bob said, and I believed him.

We were wrong. That meeting could have saved a man’s life.

You can read more about Ivy in The Sound of Murder, the second book in the “Ivy Meadows” theater mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Macdeath.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Monday, October 12 for your chance to win a print copy of The Sound of Murder. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

Meet the author
CindyBrownCindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s the author of the Ivy Meadows series, madcap mysteries set in the off, off, OFF Broadway world of theater. Macdeath, Ivy’s first adventure is “a gut-splitting mystery…a hilarious riff on an avant-garde production of the Scottish play” Mystery Scene Magazine). Cindy and her husband live in Portland, Oregon, though she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities. She’d love to connect with you at cindybrownwriter.com (where you can sign up for her Slightly Silly Newsletter) or on Facebook or Twitter.
[photo credit: AJC Photograph]

78 responses to “A Day in the Life with Ivy Meadows by Cindy Brown

  1. What a fun read! Kudos for the firemen, and the image of Ivy scraping her tongue will live with me for a while. Somewhere in my brain, I have her cross-imaged with a basset hound! Have to put this series on my tbr list.

  2. Oh i would love to win and read this

  3. Doward Wilson

    This sounds like a laugh out loud heroine. I would love to read this. Thanks for the chance to win.

  4. The Sound of Murder sounds like a fun read! I was giggling about Ivy’s teeny fire mishap, and thinking to myself I need to meet more firemen (without the fire).
    Thank you for the giveaway.

  5. Debbie Carnes

    Sounds like a fun book, something I would love

  6. That’s a novel way to meet men 🙂

  7. I love a mystery that also ties in a little humor too. This will be a new author for me so I will be entering into a new adventure. robeader53@yahoo.com

  8. Melissa Morr

    My elderly mom loves her mysteries

  9. This excerpt is funny and makes me want to read the book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Ivy sounds like a hoot! I’d love a chance to start this series. Humor, the theater, and a mystery – three of my favorite things!

    • friendlybrown

      I think you’d like it (BTW, Macdeath, the first in the series, is on sale this week for just 99 cents)!

  11. It’s always nice to discover a new author. I love Ivy’s sense of humor. I am definitely going to put these books on my Goodreads list.

  12. Peggy Hyndman

    Another new author for me!! Sounds like a good read.

  13. Jill Broussard

    This sounds great! I would love to read this book! Thankyou for the opportunity!

  14. Barbara Hackel

    This new (to me) series sounds like fun and I am excited to learn about it. Will definitely have to read it since I am a theater musician! 😉 Thanks Dru and Cindy for the opportunity to win a copy. 🙂

    • friendlybrown

      I began my theater career as a musician! My first paid gig was playing woodwinds for “A Little Night Music.”

  15. It would be really nice to win this one.

  16. what a way to start a review.
    Sounds interesting and I’d love to give it a go. This is a new series for me.

  17. Grace Topping

    If the excerpt is any indication of what to expect in this book, it promises to be a very entertaining read. Congratulations on the publication of your second book.

  18. elainehroberson

    I really like the cover. It promises a fun read. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  19. Sounds like a great read.

  20. Looks like a fun book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. Wonderful novel and feature. Thanks for this great giveaway.

  22. I hope she sees more of the nice firefighter!
    What a laugh.

  23. Would love to read this book and find out what happens with the cute firefighter and the missed meeting! Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. I love fun reads! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Whoever designed this cover did a great job. It made me smile when I saw it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of The Sound of Murder.

  25. Oh man….I love this excerpt. I really want to read this…it seems to contain all the things I enjoy in a mystery…humor, particularly and a heroine who refuses to let life get her down…I always enjoy the family element, too!
    Thank you for the introduction!

  26. Sounds like a cute story. Pre-coffee — funny. Thanks for the giveaway.

  27. mary robinson

    Sounds like a great read. I would love to win this one.

  28. Karlene Barger

    I’d love to win this book – what a great cover!

  29. I’m intrigued enough to want to read more. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  30. I think I’d really like this book–I can start kitchen fires, too—just by trying to boil water.

  31. Oh my gosh! I must read this book! Thanks for the chance!

  32. Book so so good,, a new author to me and would love to win, Ty for the chance

  33. Barbara Landrum

    Thank you for a chance to win, want to get this book.

  34. Sounds perfect for me.

  35. Jen Frederick

    I have been wanting to read this series. It sounds like a really interesting read. In fact, I am about to start this series. I would llove to win the second book. Thanks for the giveaway Dru Ann and Cindy and congrats on your release.

  36. I look forward to learning more about Ivy! What a fun premise, thanks for the chance to win.

  37. Sounds like a fun series! Thanks for the chance to win!

  38. Sounds interesting! Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. New-to-me series….
    Thank you for the giveaway….

  40. Mary Jane H.

    A great sounding book! I Would love to win a copy. Thanks.

  41. Dru, thank you for the intro to a new author & series. I’m off to get Macdeath to read so ill be ready for this one!

  42. Sounds like a winner.

  43. Thanks Cindy for commenting and interacting with my readers.
    Contest is closed.