I thought all of my days were going to be quiet and healing when I moved back to Bear Falls, Michigan, from Chicago, after my rotten husband (now my ex) took off with a client from Guatemala and closed his law firm, at which I worked as a paralegal. So, out of a husband and out of a job, my mother, Dora Weston, was still happy to welcome me back home. She didn’t tell me about her new next-door neighbor, Zoe Zola, a Little Person with a big brain who wrote books on fairy tales and poets and was prone to quoting Alice in Wonderland at the strangest times, among other things Zoe did.
My first day home I ran into the destruction of my mom’s Little Library, the box of books she cherished laying on the grass and out into the street. It was pouring rain. I crawled around the front lawn trying to salvage every book I could while swearing and mad at life, when this smart-mouthed person, sounding like a little kid, came up behind me, offering silly comments like: “ ‘Like jars of strawberry jam.’ That’s from Alice in Wonderland, you know. But everyone knows that.”
I think I growled and told her it was too early for her to be up. She shot back, “What I mean to say is, ‘The day was wet, the rain fell souse, like jars of strawberry jam.’ ” That’s when I turned around and saw this little lady with frizzed up blond hair sticking out from under the hood of a plastic, flowered raincoat. Bright eyes looked back at me. She had a pretty face with bowed up lips and a teasing smile. From behind her, a little, half-drowned white dog crawled out and sniffed whatever parts of me she found to sniff. Poor little thing, one bright blue eye and one blind eye.
The dog was formally introduced to me as Fida. “Feminist version of Fido,” Zoe let me know and nodded with the information.
She stayed and we cleaned up the books the best we could, then went back to the house to break the news to Mom—a sad moment, especially because my dad built the Little Library for her six months before he was killed out on Highway 131.
And that’s how my first day back started. If you’re looking for an ordinary day, there wasn’t even one in my future.
The second day didn’t get any better. I went over to Zoe’s that morning to visit her fairy garden and because she was going to help me and Mom give a proper burial to the books we couldn’t save. While admiring the fairy houses with bright, little fairies dancing around them, I found Zoe’s neighbor from the other side, Adam Cane, a crabby old man nobody liked—especially Zoe—dead in her back yard, his head smashed in with a hoe and a broken fairy statue under him. Sure looked as if my bright new friend would soon be sitting in a Traverse City jail, charged with his murder.
You don’t have even one of those quiet days I’d anticipated after you find a body and get involved in an investigation that leads to other bodies and sad town secrets that had been festering for year—some of these my own.
I’ve been home for a while now. Still not a single quiet day. Maybe I’m just as happy about that. Quiet days can lead to too much thinking and feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, since I got home I don’t have time to think and I’ve made one of the best friends I’ve ever had and, by the way, met a very promising carpenter, who has opened up other unquiet days and unquiet thoughts I didn’t think I had the possibility of thinking any more.
A Most Curious Murder is the first book in the NEW Little Library mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books, July 2016.
Jenny Weston moves home to Bear Falls, Michigan to nurse her bruised ego back to health after a bitter divorce. But the idyllic vision of her charming hometown crumbles when her mother’s little library is destroyed.
The next door neighbor, Zoe Zola, a little person and Lewis Carroll enthusiast, suspects local curmudgeon Adam Cane, but when he’s suddenly found dead in Zoe’s fairy garden, all roads lead back to her. Jenny, however, believes Zoe innocent, so the two women team up to find the true culprit, investigating the richest family in Bear Falls, interrogating a few odd townspeople and delving into old, hidden transgressions–until another body turns up.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli’s quaint and compelling series debut A Most Curious Murder will delight cozy mystery readers new and old.
“This quirky, clever cozy series launch…[is] hard to resist.” –Publishers Weekly
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About the author
Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli lives in the north woods, back with the deer and the turkeys and the bear. She has published prize-winning essays and short stories and plays but loves writing mystery novels. Her first was Gift of Evil, from Bantam; then The Emily Kincaid series from Midnight Ink—the fourth in the series: Dead Dogs and Englishmen was chosen one of the best mystery novels of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews. The Nut House series was written as Elizabeth Lee, from Berkley Prime Crime. The first in the new Little Library series: A Most Curious Murder, will be out on July 12th, from Crooked Lane Books. The second in this series: She Stopped for Death, will be out in January, 2017. Visit Elizabeth at www.elizabethbuzzelli.com.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Most Curious Murder. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 17, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.