Monthly Archives: November 2015

Another Day in the Life with Laurel McKay by Cindy Sample

Dying For A DonutMy name is Laurel McKay, and I am an addict. A donut addict. Or, as I prefer to say, a donut aficionado. There is nothing I like better than biting into a melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon apple donut. Or a vanilla frosted apple donut. Or a. . .well, you get the idea.

Luckily, I live near Apple Hill, located in the Gold Country of Northern California, and home to over fifty apple farms. Even better yet, my seventeen-year-old daughter, Jenna, just got a seasonal weekend job in the bakery of Apple Tree Farm, which is owned by Axel Thorson.

Their donuts truly are to die for.

Jenna confided that Axel’s teenage son had been hitting on her. After dropping her off at work the next morning, I decided to have a chat with Axel about the situation. When I finally located him in his warehouse, it was obvious we wouldn’t be having that conversation today. Or any day. Not after someone frosted Axel from head to toe with a blanket of powdered sugar.

Who wanted to sweeten him up?

Despite my gruesome discovery, there was no reason for me to become involved in this homicide investigation. For a change. I had enough on my plate besides donuts. The bank where I work in the marketing department was debating whether to eliminate my position and outsource the work to an overeager marketing company.

Which meant I could be tweeting about my own unemployment within days.

Then the police arrest the heartthrob grandson of Nina Perez, the Apple Tree bakery manager. My daughter, a budding criminologist, decides to help him, which lands her in jail. My octogenarian grandmother, a good friend of Nina’s, is now threatening to open her own detective agency and chase down the culprit herself.

What’s a soccer mom with a sweet tooth to do but go undercover?

One would think that detecting among donuts would be a piece of cake, but this could be my most dangerous investigation yet.


You can read more about Laurel in Dying For A Donut, the fifth book in the “Laurel McKay” mystery series, published by Cindy Sample. The first books in the series is Dying for a Date.

About Dying For A Donut

To Laurel McKay, there’s nothing better than spending an autumn afternoon in the Apple Hill area, munching on caramel apples and cinnamon donuts. It’s a good thing daughter Jenna’s landed a seasonal job at Apple Tree Farm and Bakery. Then Laurel stumbles over the bakery owner’s corpse coated in powdered sugar. Axel Thorson was a well-respected member of the community. Who might benefit from his death? When the police arrest the heartthrob grandson of the bakery manager, Jenna decides to help him by solving the case herself, a move that lands her in jail. With Laurel’s detective honey in another state, and her octogenarian grandmother threatening to chase down the culprit, what’s a soccer mom with a sweet tooth to do but go undercover. Detecting among donuts should be a piece of cake, but not if Laurel discovers first-hand that sugar can kill you. Dessert Recipes Included

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 7 for your chance to win a print copy of DYING FOR A DONUT. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Cindy Sample is a former corporate CEO who decided plotting murder was more entertaining than plodding through paperwork. Her national bestselling humorous mystery series, described as Erma Bombeck meets Agatha Christie, features single soccer mom, Laurel McKay. The series, set in El Dorado country, includes Dying for a Date, Dying for a Dance, Dying for a Daiquiri, Dying for a Dude and Dying for a Donut. Cindy is a three-time nominee for the LEFTY Award for Best Humorous Mystery. Cindy describes her new release, Dying for a Donut, which is set in Apple Hill, as a lip-smacking mystery. It was definitely the most fun (and most deadly) to research!

Check out Cindy at www.cindysamplebooks.com, on Facebook and at @cindysample1.

My Musing ~ Dying for a Donut by Cindy Sample

Dying For A DonutDying for a Donut by Cindy Sample is the fifth book in the “Laurel McKay” mystery series. October 2015

To Laurel McKay, there’s nothing better than spending an autumn afternoon in the Apple Hill area, munching on caramel apples and cinnamon donuts. It’s a good thing daughter Jenna’s landed a seasonal job at Apple Tree Farm and Bakery.

Then Laurel stumbles over the bakery owner’s body, coated in powdered sugar. Axel Thorson was a well-respected member of the community. Who would want to sweeten him up?

When the police arrest the heartthrob grandson of the bakery manager, Jenna decides to help him by solving the case herself, a move that lands her in jail. With Laurel’s detective honey in another state, and her octogenarian grandmother threatening to chase down the culprit, what’s a soccer mom with a sweet tooth to do but go undercover.

Detecting among donuts should be a piece of cake, but not if Laurel discovers first-hand that sugar can kill you.

What a fun read this book is from beginning to end. Laurel is a hoot especially when she is dealing with family members, and in particular her lovable grandmother. I love how this light and humorous tale flows from scene to scene keeping me engaged in all facets of this mystery, from Jenna going to jail, to Gran deciding on a name for their detective agency and to Laurel’s dogged pursuit that a killer is still roaming the neighborhood. The author did a great job in putting the killer in plain sight, because I didn’t see it until that one pivotal clue and it was fun to watch how it all played out when the killer was revealed. A great read and I love the ending and I can’t wait for the next book in this delightfully entertaining series.

A Day in the Life of Jakob Müller by Victoria Hamilton

White Colander CrimeMy name is Jakob Müller. I’m a farmer, so you’d think this time of year I’d just be finishing up my busiest season, but actually, since I farm trees—Christmas trees to be exact—I’m now in my busiest season. I also run a store called The Junk Stops Here, and I have a large German family with a father who has some health issues and a mom who’s getting older. And I have a little girl—my precious daughter, Jocelyn—who has the busy schedule of most eight year olds, with school, and seasonal pageants coming up, as well as fitting in the tumbling group she belongs to and the singing lessons she begged to take.

One evening a couple of weeks ago, as I was doing the dinner dishes, the most beautiful girl, Jaymie Leighton, banged on my door in a panic. She was in trouble, and I was able to help. I fell instantly into like, and I think it’s rapidly advancing into love.

But I have an eight year old daughter, so I have to be careful who I bring into her life. She loved Jaymie immediately; they bonded over Jocie’s photo album. So now I need to fit one more thing into my busy days. . . time with Jaymie. Time to see if what we feel can become something more. I have a sneaking suspicion my and Jocie’s lives have changed forever. . . for the better.

Anyway… my day: it starts early. I’m up at five thirty or so doing the books for the tree business and store. Then I get Jocie up by six thirty: breakfast, dishes, washing up, teeth clean, dressed neatly and school. I go to the store most days, but I do have a business partner and a couple of employees, so it’s not all on me. This time of year I have to get back to the farm by lunch and choose trees to cut for those who just want to pick up a ready cut tree. I also tag trees with information on variety and height, maintain the growing area—we put down mulch on the paths between the trees to make it neat—and coming soon I’ll be working most afternoons and evenings selling trees to cut-it-yourself folks.

But still. . . I hope I can make time to see Jaymie, and I hope she can make time to see me! She’s as busy as I am, working a half dozen jobs, volunteering at the heritage society’s new historic house, family and friends. And murder; somehow, some way, there always seems to be a murder to investigate! And Jaymie, so smart, capable and independent, always comes through.

Frohe Weihnachten from a Christmas tree farmer to you!

~::~


You can read more about Jakob in White Colander Crime, the fifth book in the “Vintage Kitchen” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is A Deadly Grind.

About White Colander Crime

In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of No Mallets Intended, the Heritage Society is re-creating a perfect Victorian Christmas—until good tidings go bad. . .

Queensville has great expectations for their Dickens Days festival. A tourist-trade boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies. At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter.

Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries—and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie’s beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering the entire Fretter family had its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie’s not convinced by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she’s going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas—especially with the real killer ready to kill again.

INCLUDES A RECIPE!

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No Mallets IntendedGiveaway! Open to Canadian and US addresses: Victoria is giving away a copy of Vintage Kitchen Mysteries Book #4, NO MALLETS INTENDED and Book #5, WHITE COLANDER CRIME. Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 4 for your chance to win. Good luck everyone!

About the author
Victoria Hamilton is the 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 Victoria Hbestselling 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!

For more information about the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Victoria’s other mystery series, check her out online:

Victoria Hamilton Mysteries at www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
Victoria Hamilton on Facebook
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries on Facebook
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries on Pinterest.com
Twitter: @MysteryVictoria

A Day In The Lives of Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin by Lisa Q. Mathews

Cardiac.ArrestThe following exchange between Summer Smythe, 26 (age unconfirmed) and Dorothy Westin, 78, takes place between 10 and 10:30 am. Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community, Milano, FL.

S: Morning, Dorothy, sorry I’m late. But hey, I brought us free coffee from the Guest Appreciation table in the lobby. They have an espresso machine now. I got you half-caff, so it’s not as bad for you.

D: Thank you, dear. Did you also pick up some of those little containers of cream, by any chance?

S: Yep. So what is it you wanted to talk about? Do we have another case?

D: Well, no. Jennifer Margolis, our Resident Services director here at Hibiscus Pointe, would like to interview the two of us for the What’s Your Pointe? newsletter.

S: You mean that one everyone chucks in the garbage? I guess that’s okay. As long as it doesn’t go anywhere else, I mean. I don’t really want people outside the complex to know I’m living here in a—no offense, Dorothy—senior community. It’s just a temporary deal, anyway.

D: Oh, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. And Jennifer sent us the questions ahead of time. I have them right here. Seems as if she’s looking for something of a Day-in-the-Life piece—our daily routine here at the complex.

S: We don’t exactly have routines, do we? Especially not with all these murders to solve. Seriously, who knew a ritzy town like Milano could have so many people getting bumped off? Like that slimy Dr. A, on my first day working for him. Good thing you were there for a check up—otherwise we might never have met, right? Except at the pool, maybe. But that would have been totally different than teaming up together on a murder case.

D: I don’t think Jennifer wants us to highlight any aspects of our detective work. She did make a note here about avoiding certain. . .less than pleasant subjects. The newsletter goes out to prospective residents as well as all of us. I believe she’s looking to emphasize the benefits of an active senior lifestyle at Hibiscus Pointe.

S: Uh huh. Like chair yoga and Casino Nights and fancy five o’clock dinners? I don’t do any of those.

D: True. I can’t say I’m overly fond of them, either. You have your volunteer job as our Aquatics Director, though.

S: That’s just to keep the Residents Committee from kicking me out, since I’m under 55. Dumbest rule ever. If my grandma was still alive, I’m sure she’d be fine with me borrowing her condo. My dad inherited it and he doesn’t care, as long as I fork over rent to him. And anyway, I’m going to get a real job and my own place soon—unless we’re too busy solving murders. I still don’t get why Jennifer needs me for this interview, if we can’t even talk about those.

D: Perhaps she wants to lend this article a bit of your youthful energy and enthusiasm.

S: But you have tons of energy and enthusiasm yourself, Dorothy. We do all kinds of fun stuff, even when we’re working a case. Shopping downtown, lunches on the bay, fashion shows, the beach, boat cruises, cocktail parties. Remember when we went to question that fancy wedding planner and we pretended you were my grandma and I was having a million dollar wedding? And then we had to go see that horrible play at the Milano Playhouse, so we could tail a suspect there. . .and Gladys Rumway got jealous and tried to do her own investigating and totally screwed things up? And your friend Ernie got so worried after you almost…

D: I think we’re getting a little off track. But maybe it wouldn’t hurt to add in just a few tidbits about our last case. We’ll be sure to mention the outstanding work of the Milano PD—particularly that handsome young Detective Donovan—so it won’t seem as if we’re tooting our own horns.

S: Can we leave Detective Donovan out of it? I’d rather not mention him. He actually thought I might have murdered that sleazy-lizard doctor, and then he started snooping around about a bunch of stuff that happened to me back up North, before I got here. I don’t care how cute he is or how great he is at his job. It’s none of his business.

D: Is there something you’re not telling me, dear?

S: Nooo. . .It was something stupid. And it was ages ago. Like, six months.

D: Well, I’m always willing to lend an ear, if you change your mind. Now back to this interview business. . .You’re right, sleuthing for clues certainly does make life more exciting around here. Perhaps we could write a different piece about our detective work—say, for Dru’s Book Musings. The readers there enjoy hearing about mysteries.

S: Okay. We can leave out some parts about me, though, right?

D: Of course, dear. Don’t worry, this will be fun.


You are cordially invited to join Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin on the case in Cardiac Arrest, the first book in Lisa Q. Mathews’s debut mystery series “The Ladies Smythe & Westin”, from Carina Press/Harlequin.

About Cardiac Arrest

Twenty-something party girl Summer Smythe is starting over in the unlikeliest of places: Hibiscus Pointe, a kitschy retirement community in upscale Milano, Florida. Her new gig? Working for Dr. A, Milano’s much-loved cardiologist. But being in over her head is the least of Summer’s worries when her new boss drops dead. . .right in front of her.

Long-time resident Dorothy Westin prefers to keep to herself. But when the young blonde already causing ripples throughout Hibiscus Pointe becomes a person of interest in Dr. A’s murder, Dorothy springs into action. Not only because the real killer is still on the loose, but because there’s simply no way her clueless-but-kind new friend could have poisoned someone.

Dorothy and Summer soon discover that despite his chosen specialty, Dr. A had quite a reputation for breaking hearts. And if the Ladies Smythe & Westin don’t identify the guilty party fast, Summer will end up in handcuffs. . .and Dorothy in a body bag.

Book #2 in “The Ladies Smythe & Westin” series, Permanently Booked, will be published in April 2016.

Praise from CLEO COYLE, New York Times bestselling author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Cardiac Arrest is sweet, sassy, and smart. Senior sleuth Dorothy Westin and impetuous young Summer Smythe make an endearing team in this sparkling debut. Lisa Q. Mathews is a terrific new voice in cozy mysteries.”

MugSpoonGIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Tuesday, December 4 for your chance to win a digital edition of Cardiac Arrest and a mug and spoon set. (open to everyone) Good luck everyone!

Meet the Author
Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before becoming the author of her own cozy mysteries. She also wrote for kids’ series such as Mary-Kate and Ashley and The Lizzie McGuire Mysteries and she was Creative Director at Random House Children’s Books. Mom to three grown kids, Lisa lives in New Hampshire with her husband, her own mom, and a crazy Golden Retriever named Willie. Like her odd-couple co-sleuths in The Ladies Smythe & Westin series from Carina Press, she loves swimming, rich desserts, romantic comedies, and above all a good mystery. Please visit Lisa at www.lisaqmathews.com and join her on Twitter, group blog Chicks on the Case, Facebook, and Goodreads.

My Musing ~ Cardiac Arrest by Lisa Q. Mathews

Cardiac.ArrestCardiac Arrest by Lisa Q. Mathews is the first book in the NEW “Ladies Smythe & Westin” cozy mystery series. Publisher: Carina Press, November 2015

When a man falls at your feet, you’d better hope he’s not dead.

Twentysomething party girl Summer Smythe is starting over in the unlikeliest of places; Hibiscus Pointe, a kitschy retirement community inÿupscale Milano, Florida. Her new gig? Working for Dr. A, Milano’s much-loved cardiologist. But being in over her head is the least of Summer’s worries when her new boss drops dead. . .right in front of her.

Longtime resident Dorothy Westin prefers to mind her own business. But when the young blonde already causing ripples throughout Hibiscus Pointe becomes a person of interest in Dr. A’s murder, Dorothy springs into action. Not only because the real killer is still on the loose, but because there’s simply no way her clueless-but-kind new friend could have poisoned someone.

Dorothy and Summer soon discover that despite his chosen specialty, Dr. A had quite a reputation for breaking hearts. And if the Ladies Smythe and Westin don’t identify the guilty party fast, Summerÿwillÿend up in handcuffs. . .and Dorothy in a body bag.

I found this light drama to be pleasantly appealing as an unlikely duo bridges the generation gap with their amateur sleuthing. The author did a good job in setting this mystery up where the unlikeliest could be the killer but with each clue uncovered, the suspect list narrows until there’s only one person who could have done it. With a quirky cast of characters, engaging scenes that kept me amused and good dialogue, this was a fun read and it will be interesting to see what this duo find themselves involved in next time.

A Day in the Life of Darla Pettistone by Ali Brandon

Plot BoilerHello, Fellow Crawford Avenue Retailers! Hope your summer is off to a profitable start. This issue’s Spotlight feature falls on one of our newer neighborhood retailers, Ms. Darla Pettistone, owner of Pettistone’s Fine Books. Now, many of you old-timers will remember that Pettistone’s used to be run by Darla’s great-aunt, Ms. Darla “Dee” Pettistone. Dee founded her bookstore more than a decade ago, locating it in the first two floors of her remodeled brownstone. She ran the shop until her death almost two years ago at the ripe old age of 85. Her niece, Darla, moved to Brooklyn from Texas to take over the reins there almost a year and a half ago. Darla has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about herself and the bookstore for the Crawford Avenue Crier.

CAC: Hi, Darla. Thank you for sitting down with me. Can you tell your fellow Crawford Avenue Retailers about your bookstore?

Darla: Hi, and thank you. Those of your readers who have never been to our shop before are in for a treat. We’re an independent bookstore selling new books of all kinds, along with magazines and graphic novels. We have a wonderful children’s section, and this year we installed a coffee bar in our upstairs lounge for all our customers. We also handle rare and collectible books. Our store manager, Professor James T. James, is a former university instructor specializing in 19th century literature. If you want to buy or sell a vintage book, he can help you out.

CAC: So what is an average day for you and your employees?

Darla: We are open every day except Monday, and our coffee bar is open every morning. Robert, our barista, comes in the first thing to roast and grind the coffee while I’m getting the store ready for the day. In addition to dealing with our customers, I handle all the fun managerial stuff like paying bills and ordering stock. James handles our online sales and auctions on top of assisting customers. We stay busy, but we enjoy our jobs. And, we even get to read a book every so often!

CAC: We’ve heard rumors that you have a very special cat as a store mascot. Can you tell us about him?

Darla: That would be Hamlet. Lots of our customers say he looks like a miniature black panther. He arrived at the bookstore as an abandoned kitten almost ten years ago and was adopted by my great-aunt. Hamlet is in charge of customer service. He keeps an eye on things around the store and in the neighborhood, too. He walks on a leash and harness, so in nice weather he and I stroll for a few blocks each day.

CAC: And, of course, I’m sure Hamlet will be helping out at the big Fourth of July block party that will be held in our neighborhood in a few weeks. You are the chairperson of this festival and actually the one who first proposed it. Can you give our fellow retailers an update on what’s planned so far?

Darla: I’m thrilled to say that all our retailers are participating in this first ever event here, which is meant to bring new business to all the Crawford Avenue merchants. In addition to all the food and drink folks selling their specialties, we’re planning on old-fashioned games for adults and kids, and a live band playing popular tunes. We’ll also have free antiques appraisals courtesy of Bygone Days Antiques and Collectible, martial arts demonstrations by the students of Tomlinson’s Academy of Martial Arts, and some surprise dance moves from the Brooklyn Modern Dance Institute. Jake Martelli, our local private investigator, will give free consultations for people who think they might need her services. Oh, and Hamlet will be making personal appearances throughout the block party.

CAC: That sounds wonderful. I know everyone is looking forward to this event. Now, how about one last question? Some people are saying that your mascot, Hamlet, is smarter than the average cat. In fact, I heard that he had a very big role in solving a mystery down in Florida earlier this year while you and he were on vacation. And he even saved you when you were being held hostage by an accused murderer at the big martial arts tournament last year. Is Hamlet actually a crime-fighter in cat’s clothing?

Darla: Oh, no, those stories are exaggerated. Hamlet likes to stick his nose into other people’s business, but he’s just your everyday ordinary black cat. No super powers for him!

CAC: Well, the rumor mill says differently, but you’re the one who would know. Anyhow, thank you for sitting down with me. We all hope the big Fourth of July block party will be a great success.

Darla: I can guarantee you, it’s going to be a blast!


You can read more about Darla in Plot Boiler, the fifth book in the “Black Cat Bookshop” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Double Booked For Death.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 4 for your chance to win a signed copy of PLOT BOILER. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Ali Brandon is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from ali brandonBerkley Prime Crime. Writing under her real name, Diane A.S. Stuckart, she penned the popular Leonardo da Vinci historical mystery series, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as a Florida Book Award. A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Diane a/k/a Ali now lives in South Florida. She shares her rural home with her husband and a pack of critters that includes two black cats, Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia.

Visit Diane at www.dianestuckart.com, on Twitter and on Facebook

My Musing ~ Fate of the Union by Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens

Fate of the UnionFate of the Union by Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens is the second book in the “Reeder and Rogers” thriller series. Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, November 2015

When a retired colleague dies of an apparent suicide, ex–Secret Service agent Joe Reeder knows there must be far more to the story. Why did the man leave a desperate message for Reeder moments before dying? And what could possibly make such a seasoned veteran fear for his life?

FBI Special Agent Patti Rogers has a mystery of her own to solve: she’s leading a task force investigating a brutal series of similar but seemingly unconnected murders across the DC area. Are they serial killings or something even more sinister?

Could Reeder and Rogers be tracking down different facets of the same conspiracy? And how do the continued assassination attempts on a presidential hopeful figure into an unprecedented attack on the heart of government?

The answers to these questions are uncovered in this riveting sequel to the bestselling Supreme Justice.

In this fast-paced and action-packed drama, I was led through a myriad of grippingly intensifying situations that had me devouring every word in a book that I could not put down. The authors did a great job in keeping me glued to the pages and every time I thought I had a handle on who was behind it all, the author twisted things arounds and kept me eager for what was yet to come. With a well-written plot and subplot that kept me intrigued, I knew, as the story progressed it was all going to come down to a powerfully dramatic finale where all the facets gets played in a job well done. It was fun to see Reeder and Rogers interact with one another giving us more insight into their lives which enhanced the telling of this story. With a perfect blend of engaging dialogue, a wonderful cast of characters and the backdrop of our nation’s capital, this was a terrific read and I’m looking forward to more thrilling adventures with Reeder and Rogers.

The Best Day Ever with Sid Thackery by Leigh Perry

The Skeleton Haunts A HouseNote: Though this day happens after the climax of The Skeleton Haunts a House, it contains NO spoilers.

I know, given the excitement the day before in the Thackery household, one might have thought we’d let Halloween slide. But no self-respecting ambulatory skeleton can let this day go by without a celebration.

So I got to work first thing in the morning. Technically, I’d been up all night, as usual. I don’t sleep, which gives me so much more time to do important stuff like working on homework for my art history class and playing World of Warcraft. But as soon as it was light enough that could move around without disturbing the sleeping members of the family, I started decorating.

By the time Dr. T, Mrs. Dr. T, Georgia, and Madison were awake, all the decorations were already up. And I mean ALL the decorations collected over the years. There was ceramic jack-o-lanterns Georgia painted in junior high school; tissue paper witches from when Madison was little; cardboard ghosts and vampires; plastic werewolves that cling to the windows; spiders made of pipe cleaners and pom-poms; and my favorite, the calaveras Mrs. Dr. T collected. I was hanging a black-and-orange construction paper chain when Dr. T came downstairs.

“What do you think?” I asked.

He looked around and I could tell he was impressed. “My goodness, I had no idea we had so many Halloween decorations.”

“When you live in the attic, you’ve got nothing better to do than keep inventory. You don’t think it’s too much, do you?”

“Not at all.” He put a hand on my shoulder blade. “Sid, after what you did yesterday, you can decorate all you want.”

I couldn’t help grinning. Really. No skeleton can help grinning. But I really meant it.

He went off to the kitchen to start breakfast for the family. The rest of the Thackerys started trickling downstairs as the scent of bacon wafted through the house. Unfortunately, that included the dog. He sniffed at me, and had the nerve to lick his lips. I didn’t even bother to engage. Some watch dog he is! When things went bad last night, where was he? Locked in a bathroom. Let him try to gnaw on me and he’ll get what the killer got.

After breakfast, Madison and Georgia headed off to get essential supplies: candy and pumpkins to carve. Being Halloween morning, it took them a few stops to find enough pumpkins, but they finally arrived with enough for each of us to carve. Mrs. Dr. T did a Day of the Dead face, Mr. T did Frankenstein’s monster again because he has a crush on Mary Shelley, Georgia made a werewolf that the Dog wishes he could aspire to, Madison did Lord Shingami from Soul Eater, and Deborah just made a face. (She makes faces at my jokes a lot, too.)

I did myself. I always do myself. Why mess with perfection?

By evening, only Georgia and I were left at home. The rest of the family had gone to work at McHades Hall at the Pennycross Halloween Howl. I was just as glad it was just us, honestly. I knew I could talk her into letting me have some extra fun. As it got dark, Georgia put out the lit pumpkins, then pretended to carry me outside to sit on the porch. Not that twenty pounds is all that heavy, but it was easier for me to do the real work. Then she set up some strings and levers so she could pretend to make me move from behind me.

That’s right: I got to hand out the candy!

I was careful, mind you. I only moved a little, as if I was a prop running on a battery. If a kid looked scared, I didn’t move at all, just let them reach into the bucket. One little girl seemed to like me, so I gave her a wink, and she giggled. But when a group of tweens mocked the “fakey” skeleton, I reached toward them! They left without their Reese’s cups.

Toward the end of the evening, Georgia had to go to the bathroom, leaving me in charge. One last party started up our sidewalk, but they looked kind of old to be trick-or-treating. They weren’t even in costume. I was trying to decide how to play it—static or scary—when I heard one of them say, “Let’s see how far we can throw the pumpkins!”

If it had been mine they’d reached for, I would have minded so much, but they grabbed Madison’s, and she was really proud of the way it had turned out. So I stood up, scattering candy, and yelled, “You leave that alone!”

They used words Mrs. Dr. T asked me to avoid, and didn’t move. Until I stomped toward them, that is. Then they took off as fast as they could, screaming like little kids.

“Yeah, you better run!” I called after them. “Nobody messes with the Thackery family, not on my watch!”

BEST. HALLOWEEN. EVER.

From my holiday to yours. . .Happy Thanksgiving!


GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 3 for your chance to win a print copy of THE SKELETON HAUNTS A HOUSE. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Leigh Perry writes the Family Skeleton mysteries feature Sid the Skeleton. The Skeleton Haunts a House, the third, came out in October. As Toni L.P. Kelner, she’s the co-editor of paranormal fiction anthologies with Charlaine Harris; the author of eleven mystery novels; and an Agatha Award winner and multiple award nominee for short fiction. No matter what you call her, she lives north of Boston with two daughters, two guinea pigs, and one husband. Visit Leigh at leighperryauthor.com.

My Musing ~ The Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry

The Skeleton Haunts A HouseThe Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry is the third book in the”Family Skeleton” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, October 2015

Sid the Skeleton bones up on clues to solve a Haunted House homicide in this mystery from the author of The Skeleton Takes a Bow. . .

What holiday could bring more warmth to a skeleton’s chest cavity than Halloween? And when you’re a living skeleton who’s not supposed to be seen outside the house, it’s a welcome chance to get some fresh air and rub bony elbows with people. That’s why Sid doesn’t mind wearing a full-body dog suit and going as Scooby-Doo along with Georgia Thackery’s Velma to the Halloween Howl.

Sid can’t wait to go through the Haunted House—but he gets rattled for real when a genuine dead body is discovered. Trapped inside as the police quickly seal off the crime scene, Sid makes no bones about dropping the dog suit and posing as an actual skeleton. This murder is a skull-scratcher, but as long as Sid is on the inside, he might as well case the joint to figure out who used the cover of darkness to commit the perfect crime. . .

This was a great read. I enjoyed all facets of this entertaining story. Sid was at his best and it was fun meeting Georgia’s parents. Once again, an interesting mystery that kept me engaged from beginning to end and I liked how the story wrapped up.