A Morning in the Life of Meg Barrett by Kathleen Bridge

Hearse and GardensI wake earlier than usual and step from my bedroom onto the juliet balcony that offers a panoramic view of the easternmost tip of Long Island. The light atop the Montauk Point Lighthouse goes off and a weak October sun pushes up from the Atlantic to brighten the dawn sky. I’m so excited about the day’s plans, I almost forget about my pending court case and the possibility I might lose Little Grey forever. Little Grey is my newly purchased nineteenth-century oceanfront cottage that I plan to bring back to its old glory.

I stick to my morning routine. A cup of french roast on my screened porch, a short meditation on the beach, and a barefoot stroll (even in October!) toward the lighthouse where I see a quote by Keats written in the sand in front of reclusive author Patrick Seaton’s cottage. I climb the twenty-six steps up to my rental and go inside. It’s only seven-thirty. After a quick shower, I put in my hearing aids and call Elle, my best friend and vintage treasure-hunting cohort, to confirm the day’s plans.

“Yes, we are still going to loot one of Uncle Harry’s vintage bungalows. Yes, he said we can keep anything we find inside. No, I don’t think we’ll find a hidden Pollock or Warhol. Sorry, there’s no way I can pick you up earlier than planned, I’m painting an apothecary cabinet to go in the White Room. The Hamptons International Film Festival minions will soon descend and they’re some of Mabel and Elle’s Curiosities’ best customers. And no, I didn’t forget to put your box of antique books in the back of the pickup for your current Cottages by the Sea design project. Don’t get your granny panties in a twist. I’ll see you at ten.”

Will I ever live down the granny panties incident?

I pace the main floor of my four-room rental cottage, two rooms upstairs, two rooms down. Not a lot of room to pace, so I sink into the down cushions of the sofa and reach for the postcard on the repurposed milk crate/end table. The card’s edges are worn from numerous readings. The shiny photo on the front of the postcard shows a dog on a beach, bounding over frothy waves. The dog looks like Tripod, only this dog has four legs, not three. I read the caption under the photo, G’DAY MATE, FROM AUSTRALIA! I don’t need to turn the card over, I’ve memorized his words. Took longer than planned. Tons of rough weather. Yacht arrived safely. We miss you. C. That is it. The postcard arrived three weeks ago. Not a word since.

I deliberately change my focus to what Elle and I will find at Elle’s great-uncle’s estate, Sandringham, in Montauk. Elle’s ninety-two year old great-uncle, Harrison Falks, is a multi-multimillionaire (yes, double multis) and one of the most revered art brokers of the twentieth century.

It’s still an hour until Elle’s planned arrival. I open my laptop and search Google for Hamptons top landscape architect, Byron Hughes. There are numerous photos of him on Dave’s Hamptons, the who’s who tattletale newspaper website. Every shot shows Byron’s arm entwined with a gorgeous celebrity or wannabe. I’d booked him months ago to draw up plans for my garden at Little Grey. I might not be allowed inside my cottage until the court rules, but I can set up plans for a glorious garden. There is still hope things will turn out as I planned.

Or maybe not. . .


Hearse and Gardens is the second book in the Hamptons Home and Garden mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime, May 2016.

A Hamptons interior designer deals with skeletons in the closet in the new mystery from the national bestselling author of Better Homes and Corpses.

To keep her mind off the legal battle over the oceanfront cottage she’s trying to buy, Meg agrees to help her friend inventory and clear out furniture from the massive Montauk estate of wealthy art broker Harrison Falks. But the job takes a terrifying turn when Meg discovers a skeleton in a hidden room in one of the estate’s many bungalows. The remains turn out to be those of Harrison’s son, who went missing nearly twenty years ago—along with one of his father’s Warhol paintings.

As Meg delves into the Hamptons’ pop art past, she gets drawn into the sketchy goings-on and family drama at the estate. But when Meg makes no bones about solving the crime, she just might become the subject of the killer’s next installation.

Includes recipes and decorating tips

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About the author
Kathleen Bridge, national bestselling author of Better Homes and Corpses, started her writing career working at the Michigan State University News in East Lansing, Michigan. She is the author and photographer of an antiques reference guide, Lithographed Paper Toys, Books, and Games. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and has taught creative writing classes at Bryant Library in Roslyn, New York. Kathleen is also an antiques and vintage dealer in Long Island, New York, and has contributed to Country Living magazine.

Connect with Kathleen at kathleenbridge.com, on Facebook and on @kathleenbridge.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Hearse and Gardens. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 11, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

57 responses to “A Morning in the Life of Meg Barrett by Kathleen Bridge

  1. Barbara Tobey

    Sounds great.

  2. cheltgirl60

    I read the first one in the series and loved it! The characters were enjoyable and relatable. The story was fun and interesting. A great cozy. Can’t wait to read this one. So excited!

  3. I would love to win a print copy of Hearse and Gardens. Sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for the chance to win one.

  4. I love the kitty on the cover! Cute.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  5. Maureen Yin

    Hi Kathleen, Iam looking forward to reading the second book in your Hearse and Garden series. Meg is a eat character. Thanks for writing ! Maureen

  6. Beverly Guy

    I really love, love, love the cover of this book….so cute and love the kitty!!! I am also a lover of the ocean and this truly sounds like a really awesome and exciting new book to read! I just bought the first book in this series and am now so excited to know that as soon as I finish it, there is book number 2…woo hoo!!!! Sure would love to win a copy of this book!!! Thanks so much for the chance and God bless you dear Dru!!!

  7. I have not read this series yet but the synopsis of Hearse and Gardens has made me very eager to read the book.

  8. Kathleen Barrett is a new author to me. After reading your blog, I am sure she won’t be for long. Thank you for the opportunity to enter the giveaway for Hearse and Gardens, what a great play on words for the title. robeader53@yahoo.com

  9. Kathleen is a new author to me and Dru’s review is wonderful. So I know I will be adding to my TBR. The book sounds fun, the granny panties had me laughing. Thanks for the chance. jmhinton@psci.net

  10. Another new to me author…I am never going to finish my t-b-r list.

  11. Sounds like a great series. I grew up near the Hamptons and can’t wait to see what she writes about.

  12. Donna Gantt

    Living by the ocean must be pretty perfect! I’m sure I would enjoy reading this book. Thanks!

  13. I enjoyed the first in this series and am looking forward to this one. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  14. Patty Allen

    New to me author, and this book sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Peggy Hyndman

    Hearse and Gardens sounds great. Kathleen Bridge is a “new-to-me” author … thank you for introducing me to her books.

  16. wendynewcomb

    This sound like another great cozy!

    wfnren at aol dot com

  17. Thanks for this lovely cozy giveaway.

  18. Another new to me author that sounds perfect for me,

  19. Barbara Hackel

    After reading the first book in this series, I Was excited to see this one coming. You have increased my desire to read it, Dru! Thanks. 😉 Also thanks to Kathleen for the chance to win a copy.

  20. elainehroberson

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

  21. Sounds like a great read.

  22. Nicole Vickers

    I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and would love to win a copy of this! Thanks for posting your review, Dru, and also for the chance! Nicole 🙂

  23. This sounds like a fun read. it’s still cool here on the North Coast, and I’d love a new book by a new-to-me author with whom I can cozy up. I may even light a last-of-the-season fire to go along with it. And a cup of hot chocolate. Or maybe wine…

  24. Thank you for the opportunity!!

  25. I really loved the first book in this series and can’t wait to read this one!

  26. I haven’t read the first one, this sounds good so I will have to look into correcting that problem.

  27. Kathleen Costa

    I really enjoyed Better Homes and Corpses and can’t wait to continue the journey…Thanks!

  28. Ruth Nixon

    My Aunt and Uncle lived in Montauk for many years but I live in California and never visited but they did come to see my family. here in California.Would enjoy winning this book and must buy book one.

  29. Denise Neubauer

    Sounds intriguing. I would love to read it!

  30. peggy clayton

    An ocean scene and a cat sleeping is a perfect cover especially with the shell in with the books. Sounds like a great book and i would love to read and review I didn’t read the first one but would love to start with this!

  31. Sarah M Parks

    Would love to win this!!

  32. Lenore1216

    Sounds like a great book! Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  33. Celia Fowler

    Gotta love a literal skeleton in the closet mystery! Thanks for the giveaway Dru!

  34. Skeleton in closet, must must be a classic, havent had that for awhile, lol Would love to see what happens, ty for the chance

  35. Mary Jane H.

    I would love to win this, it sounds like a fun book to read.

  36. I’ve never been to the Hamptons but love antiquing–sounds like a great read

  37. Yes please Dru, I loved the first book in this new series and would even as my SIL where to hide the body just so I could win.

  38. Oh, this does sound like fun

  39. rosemary pfeiffer

    thanks for this chance..love reading books from local authors..or at least a state or 2 away,lol

  40. I enjoyed the first book in this new series very much. I look forward to reading this second book.

  41. pkhambrick

    Thank you for having the giveaway and the chance to win! It looks like an awesome book and I would love to read it.

  42. Haven’t read any of this author’s work, but this sounds like a dosh to start with.

  43. haven’t read either of these two in series but can’t wait too..

  44. I can’t wait to read this book! I love the cover, a book, cat and a lighthouse can’t help but make a great read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  45. Vicki Highley

    I am very curious to see how this book ends.

  46. Yvonne Gilbert

    I would love to win this book! Thank you for this opportunity.

  47. This sounds like quite a story! I’d love to win.

  48. A skeleton in a hidden room – sounds like a good story!

  49. Sounds like an interesting story. I will be pulling the first book in the series out of the TBR pile.

  50. Doward Wilson

    Loved the first book and can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win.

  51. Love the cover. The title. The blurb. Thanks for the heads up on a new author and exciting read. So hoping to read it sooner rather than later. Thanks for the chance to do so

  52. A definite add to my Wish List…..
    Thank you for the giveaway…..

  53. I missed book 1. Would love to win book 2.

  54. book looks great! would love to win!

  55. Thank you for delaying my other reads!!! This sounds wonderful!

  56. MaryAnn Forbes

    I would be so pleased to win a copy of Hearse and Gardens, thank you for the opportunity. Recipes and decorating tips included makes it even more enticing.

  57. Sounds like a great cozy, especially with recipes and decorating tips included. This will be a great read.