I suppose I should start by introducing myself. My name is Liza Harris, and I’m on the wrong side of seventy. When my husband died, I decided to invest his insurance money in a bed and breakfast inn. I found this hundred years old house for sale in one of the most beautiful spots on Oregon’s rocky coast. I fell in love with it and in a mad moment bought the thing. Okay, so I’m impulsive. What can I say?
It wasn’t until after the sale had gone through that I realized I had serious renovations to do before people would actually pay to sleep there. My granddaughter had recently gone through a messy divorce, and I knew she was miserable, so I suggested she quit her job in Portland and come into partnership with me. She had a sizeable settlement to invest, so that worked out well. Melanie is still in her thirties, which is a good thing, considering the tasks we have taken on.
We decided to save money by doing the work ourselves. At least, I was the one who made the decision. It took some persuading before Melanie agreed. Then again, I’m British, and we Brits don’t give up on anything. Melanie says I could sell an electric blanket to a snowman. It’s a strange partnership, when you think about it. There’s the difference in our ages, for one thing, though most of the time I forget I’m more than forty years older than my granddaughter, until I get too ambitious and my bones complain. In my mind I’m still Melanie’s age, and it annoys me no end when my body won’t act accordingly. But I digress.
We started by taking down the ugly wallpaper in one of the bedrooms. We didn’t get very far. I found a door hidden in the wall and when I opened it, I got the shock of my life. There was a skeleton lying on the floor! No, I’m not kidding. A real live skeleton. No, wait. Of course it wasn’t live. You know what I mean.
Anyway, we called the police, and a very charming young man showed up. I do love a man in uniform. My husband was in a military uniform when I met him. He was an American, stationed in England, which is how I ended up in Oregon. I’ve lived here more than twice as long as I lived in the U.K. and I’m proud to say I am now an American citizen. People still comment on my accent, though I don’t realize I have one until someone mentions it. Okay, I digress again – a bad habit of mine.
Where was I? Oh, yes, the handsome cop. Well, what with Melanie being divorced, and Ben Carter, the cop, also divorced, you can see where this is going, can’t you? Only Mel is dead set against getting involved with another man. Her ex is a jerk (I love these American words) or, as we say in England, a rotten bugger. Plus he caused an accident that destroyed Melanie’s most precious dream, and she’s not about to trust another man. Not that I blame her, but I want her to have the same kind of happiness I had with her grandfather. I miss my Frank more than I can say, but I don’t regret one moment of our life together. Anyway, one of my goals in life is to see Mel happily married.
“What? The skeleton? Oh, yes. About that. Well, we found out the body was the wife of the late owner of the house. The police put the second floor off limits and since it was a cold case, put the whole thing on hold while they took care of a major murder case. Naturally, I wasn’t about to take that lying down. Especially since it meant we had to postpone our opening. So Mel and I did some investigating of our own. Meanwhile, we discovered that the house is haunted – by a ghost that moves stuff around and laughs a lot. What happened after all that will freeze your toenails.
Things have calmed down a bit since then. We are enjoying cooking breakfast for our guests, and even share a recipe now and then. Stop by and see us sometime. You’ll enjoy your visit. You might even get to hear Orville, our laughing ghost. Other than that, things are peaceful at the Merry Ghost Inn. For now.
Wishing all of you the happiest of new years,
DEAD AND BREAKFAST is the first book in the NEW Merry Ghost Inn mystery series published by Crooked Lane Books, January 2017.
Melanie West is getting her life back on track after a messy divorce when her grandmother, Liza Harris, asks her to open a B&B with her. Together, Liza and Melanie purchase a purportedly haunted mansion on the Oregon coast and jump right into clearing out the cobwebs. But while attempting to remove wallpaper in an upstairs bedroom, the new B&B owners stumble upon a very real skeleton in their closet.
The police suspect the skeleton is that of the wife of the previous owner of the B&B, but no one in town seems to want to say much about her. As the inn owners try to juggle renovations with their own amateur investigations, their grand opening looms closer and closer–and a friendly ghost in their walls starts playing tricks. But it all comes crashing to a halt when a new body is found stabbed to death on the beach below the inn–the victim chillingly close in resemblance to Melanie herself.
It seems someone doesn’t appreciate newcomers prying into the small town’s past, and now it’s up to Melanie and Liza to get to the bottom of these murders to save their business. . .and their lives.
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About the author
Kate grew up in London, England, and at a very early age began telling stories to her school friends while huddling in bomb shelters during the Blitz of WW II. Since then she’s written over sixty romance and mystery novels. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, Bill. Watch for Dead and Breakfast, the first book in Kate’s brand new series, The Merry Ghost Inn Mysteries, debuting in January 2017, where murders abound at the bed and breakfast inn on the Oregon coast. You can find Kate’s website at www.doreenrobertshight.com.
All comments are welcomed.