A Day in the Life of Ophelia Flax by Maia Chance

Beauty, Beast, and BelladonnMy name is Ophelia Flax, and there is no ordinary, everyday life for me anymore. Not since the fateful steamship voyage that took me from America to Europe, anyway. Things are peculiar here on the Continent, and folks don’t always stick to the facts . . . especially where their precious fairy tales are concerned. Oh yes, and there is a prodigious number of villains lurking about the castles, cities, and chateaux here. Even, I’m sorry to say, murderers.

But perhaps I ought to start at the beginning—my beginning. I was born in 1841 on a farmstead in New Hampshire, the daughter of a maid-of-all-work and a schoolteaching father who scarpered when I was small. Growing up lowly like that had its benefits. I learned how to scour pots, tend goats, hoe beans, darn socks, weave rush chair seats, and cure a rash with apple cider vinegar—and how to spot a fibber a mile off.

After Mother died I took myself south to a woolen mill. The wages were good there, but the work was maddeningly dull and the overseers didn’t keep their hands to themselves where the factory girls were concerned. So, when P.Q. Putnam’s traveling circus set up its tents in town, I jumped at the chance to run away with them. I traveled all about the Northeastern United States with the circus, learning to ride trick ponies and coax a poodle through flaming hoops, and making friends with everyone from the Bearded Lady to the Astonishing Aerial Twins. The circus taught me that the world is chock-full of illusions—and that deft balancing acts can sometimes get a lady out of a pickle.

The War Between the States broke out and the circus folded. Times were lean, but I found work as an actress in Howard DeLuxe’s Varieties in New York City, performing roles such as Pocohantas, Cleopatra, and a naughty nun in red stockings. (Beggars can’t be choosers, I always say.)

It was with the Varieties that I boarded that steamship bound for England, on the way to perform shows on the Strand. But I lost my job shipboard, fast-talked my way into a post as a lady’s maid for an American millionaire’s bride, and, well, things have been mighty strange ever since. I’ve collared two murderers so far, with the help (and sometimes the high-handed interference) of Professor Penrose, the fairy tale scholar.

And now that I’m facing yet another inexplicable murder in this magnificent, out-of-the–way chateau in France, I’ll collar this murderer, too . . . you can bet your boots on it.

Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna is the third book in the Fairy Tale Fatal mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2016.

Variety hall actress Ophelia Flax knows how to win over an audience. That’s why she’s accepted the marriage proposal of the brutish Comte de Griffe to nettle her occasional investigative partner—and romantic sparring partner—the pompous if dashing Professor Penrose.

But with his boorish table manners, wild mane of hair, and habit of prowling away the wee hours, the comte has shredded Ophelia’s last nerve. She intends to disengage from her feral fiancé at his winter hunting party—until Penrose, his lovely new fiancée, and a stagecoach of stranded travelers arrive at the comte’s sprawling château. Soon she can’t tell the boars from the bores.

When one of the guests is found clawed and bloody in the orangerie, Ophelia is determined to solve the murder before everyone starts believing the local version of Beauty and the Beast. But until the snows melt, she can’t trust her eyes—or her heart—since even the most civilized people hold beastly secrets.

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Meet the author
National bestselling author Maia Chance writes mystery novels that are rife with absurd predicaments and romantic adventure. Her latest releases are Come Hell or Highball (St. Martin’s Minotaur) and Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna (Berkley Prime Crime). Maia lives in soggy Bellingham, Washington, where she plays laundress and cook to two imperious children and takes secret solace in vintage cocktails. She blogs at maiachance.com and loves to socialize on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 23, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

28 responses to “A Day in the Life of Ophelia Flax by Maia Chance

  1. Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna sounds like a great mystery! Thank you for the chance to win.

  2. I have this series on my TBR list so thank you for the chance to win.

  3. I enjoy this different series.

  4. Linda Kuzminczuk

    I haven’t tried this series yet but it sounds like a fun read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. This one was on my radar and I can’t wait to read it!

  6. Fun series. Thank you for the chance

  7. I like the theme of this series and the titles they come up with. Thank you for sharing and the chance to win.

  8. I already have the first two and can’t wait for the third installment! Ophelia is a breath of fresh air on the mystery scene!

  9. This sounds utterly delightful!

  10. elainehroberson

    This would be a great book to add to my cozy challenge list. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  11. I’m not familiar with this series so it would be great to get a start with this book. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  12. I am not sure that I am ready for this kind of mayhem 🙂 but I am willing to give it and Ophelia a chance to win me over!!!

  13. Different theme, sound like a great series

  14. Sounds like a great read.

  15. Mary Jane Hopper

    Sounds like a good, fun book to read. Thanks for the chance to win.

  16. A unique and captivating cozy. Thanks.

  17. I would love to win a copy of Beauty, Beast and Belladonna; it sounds like a great historical cozy. Thank you for the giveaway!

  18. Sounds like a great read. New to me author, adding to my TBR list.

  19. This sounds like the perfect mystery for me. Thank you for sharing ~ and for growing my TBR.

  20. I would love to win a copy of Beauty, Beast and Belladonna, this book sounds like an adventure I would love to be a part of. It has been added to my TBR list.

  21. Sounds like a great series! Thanks for the chance to win!

    • Yay! I didn’t realize you live in Bellingham, Maia! My hubby and I were there for several years (and had all three of our kids there) before moving to the Spokane area three years ago. We are hoping to be back up there sometime this spring. La Fiamma is calling me! 🙂 This series has moved to the top of my TBR list for sure.

  22. Sounds like a fascinating series!

  23. I’ve been seeing announcements of this book. Just the title stirs my interest.

  24. This sounds like a great book that I can’t wait to read. Plus, I’m nuts for fairy tales, so this series is right up my alley. Thanks for the chance to win.

  25. Cannot wait to read this….
    Thank you for the chance….

  26. Della Williamson

    Looks like a great read! Would very much like to see how Miss Flax collars her next murderer..

  27. I love this series!