My name is Liv McKay, the owner and only full-time employee of Liv 4 Fun, which may not be the biggest party-planning business in Tennessee, but I believe we hold the record for the most corpses turning up uninvited. I’ve had dead bodies show up at two different holiday events—Halloween and Independence Day. That’s not even counting the two dead guys who turned up in my clients’ home while I was there planning their anniversary party. It’s not exactly something I can put in my promotional brochures, but it’s a distinction, nonetheless.
The most recent incident happened at the Dixie, Tennessee annual Fourth of July Festival. I was hired by the town council to coordinate all the various events of the day. I had quoted them a fee so high I never thought they’d agree to it. They didn’t even bat an eye. That should’ve told me something. If I’d had any idea how cutthroat the Kudzu jelly competition could be or how much controversy the Miss Dixie Pageant would stir up, or that my mother would come in second in the chocolate cake baking contest, I never would have signed on—for any amount of money. And that’s not even taking into account the dead body.
The day was nearly over, and despite the many fires I’d had to put out, most people were none the wiser. From the comfortable distance of an average spectator, the July 4th celebration had gone beautifully. No one had gotten into a fist fight, although two opposing candidates for town council did get into a brief shoving match. Even the weather cooperated. It wasn’t cool by any means, but not nearly as hot as July can oftentimes be in the delta. So, thankfully, no one had to be treated for heat exhaustion.
The evening had wound down nicely, with the presentation of all the day’s winners, followed by a concert of patriotic music by the high school band. As the skies darkened, little kids hyped up on cotton candy and funnel cakes cleared out of the bouncy houses. Youngsters waved glow sticks and weary parents spread blankets out on the grass. I stretched out on a tablecloth next to my husband, Larry Joe, for what was the longest period of time I’d been off my feet all day. The band played a rousing John Phillips Souza tune as the fireworks began to explode overhead to the oohs and ahhs of an appreciative crowd.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself—and tired to the bone and ready to go home—as we gathered up our tablecloth and sunscreen and ice chest. Suddenly ear-piercing screams broke through the chatter and clatter of the crowd. I turned and spotted Helen Maples screaming her head off, and just behind her I could see why. Councilman Bubba Rowland was dead, adding one more victim to the growing body count at my events. He’d been one of the participants in the shoving match and he’d been accused of trying to fix the Miss Dixie Pageant in his niece’s favor. And the big bloodstain on the front of Bubba’s shirt made natural causes seem unlikely.
You can read more about Liv in One Fete in the Grave, the third book in the “Liv & Di in Dixie” mystery series.
Party planner Liv McKay has outdone herself this time. She’s put together an unforgettable Fourth of July celebration for the town of Dixie, Tennessee—including breathtaking fireworks and an exciting Miss Dixie Beauty Pageant. Maybe a little too exciting.
As the party is winding down, Liv’s sense of triumph fizzles when the body of town councilman Bubba Rowland is discovered on the festival grounds. And now the prime suspect in his murder is Liv’s mother’s fiancé, Earl, who had a flare-up recently with Bubba. To clear Earl’s name, Liv and her best friend Di burst into action to smoke out the real killer before another life is extinguished. . .
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About the author
Vickie Fee blesses hearts and makes Jack Daniels whiskey balls that’ll scorch your tonsils. The third book in her Liv and Di in Dixie cozy mystery series from Kensington, One Fete in the Grave, was released May 30. Books 1 and 2, Death Crashes the Party and It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To, featuring intrepid party planner and amateur sleuth Liv McKay and best friend Di Souther, are available at bookstores and the usual online retailers. Vickie is hard at work on Til Death Do Us Party, which will release in March 2018.
All comments are welcomed.