The following exchange between Summer Smythe, 26 (name and age unconfirmed) and Dorothy Westin, 78, takes place between 2 and 2:30 pm. Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community, Milano, FL.
S: Whoa, Dorothy, don’t drink that iced tea! The stuff tastes like gasoline, I swear.
D: Oh my. You’re right. It’s strong enough to make you fight your great-grandma, and there are plenty of them here at the pool. Now, what were you saying about our book club plan?
S: Well… it seemed like a good idea at first, I guess. You know, us going undercover at the meetings to investigate Lorella’s murder and all. But do you really think her killer is going to show up?
D: It’s certainly worth a shot. Remember, reviving the Hibiscus Pointe Book Club was Lorella’s pet project. She was so eager to promote her little library here at the complex and provide us seniors with more literary activities. After all, we need to keep our lives interesting. Bocce ball and wine at Paint-by-Numbers Nights are hardly sufficient, in my view.
S: Speaking of wine, I talked to Jennifer in Resident Services about upping the budget. If we want to do piña coladas too, we have to charge people. But they’ll give us blenders and extra brownie trays from the kitchen.
D: I wouldn’t worry about the beverages, dear. I doubt we’ll have many residents drinking alcohol, especially before Cocktail Hour.
S: Isn’t that the whole point of book club? I mean, I’ve never actually been to one, but that’s what everyone always talks about.
D: Well, I suppose refreshments are something of a draw. But with a best-selling mystery author like GH Hamel speaking at our inaugural meeting, we should get quite an audience.
S: I can’t believe my friend Dash’s mom is so famous. He’s already wishing she’d go back home to New York, though. She’s driving him crazy. And then there’s that new author, Carrie Dunbar, who made us invite her, too. She’d drive anyone nuts, with her nonstop blabbing about her book. She never shuts up.
D: I’m with you there. But the important thing is that we lure Lorella’s murderer. We both know her library assistant Trixie Quattrochi and that awful male friend of hers aren’t really camping in Montana. And then there’s that professor over at Santa Teresa. Lorella always seemed desperate to avoid him. Quite an odd duck.
S: Plus, we can’t forget The Snake, whoever that is. Or what. But hey, with all the promo events Carrie’s publicist has lined up for us—a reception at Milano Book & Bar, dinner at the Algonquin, the big beach party at Surfside, the book cruise—we’ll have plenty of suspects to watch.
D: I completely agree, dear. In the meantime, though, we need to firm up our first club reading list. Most of the prospective members I’ve spoken to seem interested in mysteries. Have you taken a look at those books I gave you?
S: Um, not yet. But I will soon, I promise. You know what would make a really good detective series? One about us. They could call it The Ladies Smythe & Westin. What do you think?
D: Hmm. It does have a rather nice ring.
You are cordially invited to join Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin on the case in Permanently Booked, the second title in Lisa Q. Mathews’s new mystery series “The Ladies Smythe & Westin,” from Carina Press/Harlequin.
The first rule of book club is: Don’t talk about the murder.
Semi-reformed party girl Summer Smythe is finally feeling at home at the Hibiscus Pointe Retirement Community. All that’s left to do is replace her late grandma’s massive book collection with a giant-screen TV. Donating them to the community library seems like the perfect solution—until she finds the librarian buried in books. Literally.
Summer and her sleuthing partner, longtime resident Dorothy Westin, can’t imagine who would want to kill poor, dedicated Lorella. Soon they’re on the case. . .and the Hibiscus Pointe Book Club is the perfect cover for their investigation.
A murdered librarian is headline news in South Florida, and even outsiders, including an oddball professor and a pair of dueling authors, are eager to join the once-dull group. But one menacing member has Dorothy and Summer bookmarked for the morgue. If the Ladies Smythe & Westin don’t nab the killer fast, the Hibiscus Pointe Book Club may be reading their obituaries next.
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Don’t miss Cardiac Arrest, “The Ladies Smythe & Westin’s” first case, and Book #3, Fashionably Late (September 2016 – now available for pre-order).
Praise from CLEO COYLE, New York Times bestselling author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries:
“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.”
About the author
Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before she started writing her own cozy mysteries. She also authored 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 brand-new Golden Retriever pup named Farley. 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.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a digital edition of Permanently Booked. The giveaway will end April 8, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.