Tag Archives: cozy mystery

A day in the life with Cam Flaherty by Edith Maxwell

Hi there. Cam Flaherty here. I’m a small farmer, a tall independent businesswoman, and so far my organic Attic Hill Farm tucked in the northeast corner of Massachusetts has been doing pretty well. I’ve been selling veggies, herbs, and small fruit for a year now, and I have a loyal following of customers. But May is a crazy busy time, as you can imagine. I have a zillion seedlings to plant out in the fields now that the frost-free date is past. I need to harvest asparagus, rhubarb, and scallions, start more seedlings, weed the potato field, and much more.

So I definitely don’t need my quirky, peripatetic academic parents hanging around my farm and the small town of Westbury where it’s located. One town in from the coast, two towns south of New Hampshire, as I like to tell prospective customers. But they said they wanted to come visit on their way to their summer anthropology research site abroad, so what could I do?

How my mom got herself involved in a public protest against a new hydroponic farmer is anybody’s guess, but it just added to my headache when the farmer turned up dead – and I found her. Then my gangly, intellectual, and entirely unhandy dad decided to “help” out on the farm. His help ended up doubling my work. When I got home from telling the police about poor Nicole, Dad proudly showed me the pile of “weeds” he’d pulled up. Yeah, those were my month-old sweet pea shoots.

Anyway, things only went downhill from there. A suspicious couple from out of town, a spurned lover, someone lurking around my barn, and an attack at a vacation house got all mixed in with the Memorial Day parade – small town at its best – a couple of secrets from my mom’s past, and the everyday work of a farmer.

Giveaway: My author says she’ll give away a signed hardcover edition of Mulch Ado About Murder to a commenter here, so ask her a question! She loves talking to readers.  US entries only, please. The giveaway ends May 26, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Now, back to that potato patch.

You can read more about Cam in Mulch Ado About Murder, the fifth book in the “Local Foods” mystery series.

It’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap . . .

May has been anything but merry for Cam so far. Her parents have arrived unexpectedly and her crops are in danger of withering away. But all of that’s nothing compared to the grim fate that lies in store for one of her neighbors. Nicole Kingsbury is the proud owner of the town’s new hydroponic greenhouse. She claims the process will be 100% organic, but she uses chemicals to feed her crops. To Cam’s surprise, her mother embarrasses her by organizing a series of loud public protests against Nicole’s operation.

When Nicole is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching another set of rosary beads—Detective Pete Pappas has a new murder to solve. Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex‑husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own mother. Lucky for Cam, her father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing—not to mention dealing with chickens. Will he and Cam be able to clear Mrs. Flaherty’s name before the killer strikes again?

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About the author
National best-selling author Edith Maxwell is a 2017 double Agatha Award nominee for her historical mystery Delivering the Truth and her short story, “The Mayor and the Midwife.” She writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries. As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in a dozen juried anthologies, and she serves as President of Sisters in Crime New England.

Maxwell writes, cooks, gardens north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at Wicked Cozy Authors, Killer Characters, and with the Midnight Ink authors. Find her at edithmaxwell.com and elsewhere.

All comments are welcomed.

A day at the Moorehaven Bed and Breakfast Inn with Hilt MacKellar by Morgan C. Talbot

I’m a crack o’ dawn man. Always have been. Grew up on a farm, served my country in ‘Nam, swore to protect and serve. There’s no sleeping in after that many 4 AM mornings. Even if I’ve spent the last thirty of my seventy-five years running a bed-and-breakfast for mystery authors, I still rise with the earliest light.

Breakfast’s first up. Gotta feed the authors and power their brains for the day! You would not believe how many of them put Moorehaven’s food in their books. I didn’t think I’d like cooking, but that’s because I never really knew how. The Moorehaven B&B used to have just one occupant—my old friend, A. Raymond Moore. Yeah, that one, the world-famous mystery author. Though he was a confirmed bachelor, he had a mountain of recipes handed down to him from his great-aunt Felicity, who built this Victorian mansion in 1891, in the newborn town of Seacrest, right at the edge of the Pacific. Ray taught me how to cook when I was forty, as if I was the son he never had. Took me until after he passed to realize that despite being rich and famous, he was lonely. Why he picked me, I’ll never know. But he changed my life. And my palate.

My great-niece runs the place now: Pippa. Smart as a whip. She’s got a head for newfangled things like the Internet and book-signing events. And updating Moore’s recipes so they boost brainpower and such. Me, I stick with what I know, which involves pipes, wires, and the occasional paintbrush. I like to walk through the library once a day, make sure the books are all evened up on the shelves. We’ve got all of Moore’s books, as well as stuff his contemporaries wrote. He and Agatha Christie corresponded during WWII. I’ve got all her books in my library, and those letters are up in the gallery.

I take a pass through the gallery, too. Ray left me all his notes and papers when he died. We both hated dealing with paperwork, so he pawned his off on me. His final joke—thanks a lot, Ray. The gallery’s glass cases showcase whatever manuscripts or inspirational trinkets Pippa’s got on the schedule, and I try my best to keep all the rest of Ray’s mess organized in the storage shelves.

While I do have a work schedule, authors sometimes ask me to expound on topics for their book research. I’ll talk about Moore, the history of Moorehaven, even Vietnam. But I always find it weird when they ask personal stuff. Pretty sure I ain’t interesting. I’m a former cop who runs a B&B. But they keep telling me I’m fascinating and adventurous. I guess my doppelgangers show up that way in their books, and that’s just fine by me.

Every single room of this old mansion has some memory or another for me. In the second-floor sunroom, Moore got me to try one of the Cuban cigars he’d gotten from a smuggler friend after the trade embargo in ‘62. He laughed his head off when I choked on the smoke and nearly set the carpet on fire trying to give it back to him. And I can’t look at the northeast turret, called the Oubliette, without remembering the overly adventurous author who climbed outside its third-story window in a rainstorm to re-enact his hero’s daring rescue—and ended up in the hospital with a couple of broken limbs for his trouble. His book was a bestseller, though. Go figure.

Moorehaven sits right on the hard edge of the continent, so we get most all the weather there is: fog, rain, fog, drizzle, fog, sun, fog, clouds, fog, hail, fog, wind, and did I mention the fog? Because we get fog sometimes. Just so you know. I like the fog. Kinda miss the endless roll of green fields, but I ain’t seen them in over sixty years. I make sure we have a regular supply of loaner umbrellas and slickers by the front door for our guests. The weather shifts quickly here. Gotta keep on your toes.

Nightfall’s no guarantee that all our authors are back inside from their adventures. I’ve gone on more than a few rescue missions, and I usually find our “lost” guests sitting somewhere right out in the open, scribbling or typing ideas madly so they don’t lose the ideas they just had. These creative folks simply lose track of the time. And the place. Ain’t nowhere in the world as good for the mystery author’s soul as a stay at Moorehaven. And there ain’t nowhere in the world as good for my soul as doing what I can to keep those authors fed, watered, and sheltered. And occasionally saved from their own Method research. Just doing my part to make the mystery genre a more fascinating place. Stop by anytime. We’ll be glad to see ya.

You can read more about Hilt in Smugglers & Scones, the first book in the “Moorehaven” mystery series.

Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world.

Juggling her book-writing guests, small-town intrigues, secret club agendas, and a possibly fatal attraction, Pippa must sort fact from fiction to know who to trust before a desperate killer claims a final revenge nearly a century in the making.

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Meet the author
Morgan is an outdoorsy girl with a deep and abiding love for the natural sciences. Her degrees involve English and jujitsu. She enjoys hiking, camping, and wandering in the woods looking for the trail to the car, but there isn’t enough chocolate on the planet to bribe her into rock climbing.

When she’s not writing, she can be found making puzzles, getting lost on the way to geocaches, reading stories to her children, or taking far too many pictures of the same tree or rock. She lives in Eastern Washington with her family.

Connect with Morgan at her blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Liam’s day in the life by Melinda Mullet

The sunlight slanting across the duvet cover brought warmth to Liam’s legs and he gave a languid stretch before cracking an eye open and registering that she was gone.

In one smooth motion he rose from the bed and hit the floor, trotting down the heavy oak stairs to the kitchen where there was a disappointing lack of food. The acrid smell of coffee still lingered in the air. It meant she’d been there, but she hadn’t bothered to cook. Not even a sausage.

He slipped out through the missing glass panel in the solarium, hidden behind the old wicker lounging chair. Once outside he set off at a good pace toward the distillery down the road. Most days this new life of theirs was a vast improvement over life in London. There they were leash dwellers, surrounded by miles of cold concrete and constantly under assault from the smell of diesel. Here the air was fresh and clean and he was free to roam as he pleased.

The whisky distillery was her new passion and it lay nestled in a sheltered corner of the glen adjacent to a steep ridge where crystalline waters fresh from underground streams emerged high in the hills. The waters cascade down to face of the ridge giving birth to a stream that wound along the backside of the property before rushing onward growing ever wider as it made it’s way to the sea.

He nosed his way through the distillery yard with a purpose. She’d not been there today that was clear. He paused briefly to accept a scratch from the gentleman in charge before heading across the covered bridge that led away from the smells of malted cereal and aging wood. Slipping underneath the neighbor’s five bar gate, he made his way through the adjoining field stopping long enough to nip at the heels of the sheep grazing in the high grass before joining the path into town.

The clear, fast-moving River Alyn wound through the heart of the village of Balfour, separating the main street shops and businesses from the bulk of the houses with their neat front lawns and riotous floral displays. On the residential side, the riverbank was wide and flat and covered with a fine soft grass that had been manicured to make room for several benches and a children’s playground complete with a wooden fort, swings, and a roundabout. On the opposite bank, the village pub boasted an idyllic view across the water from a stone terrace framed by a walled garden.

As he drew closer he could hear her voice carrying across the water from the lawn next to the Golden Stag. She and her companion, Sgt. Bill Rothes, had their backs to him and missed his silent approach absorbed as they were in the scene at their feet.

He raised his nose to the wind. An intriguing smell emanated from the area, a mixture of newly turned earth and something older and more carnal. Liam’s pace quickened as he made a bee line for the gaping wound in the soil that had been created by the JCB parked nearby in lane. There was a treasure to be had. A smorgasbord of tantalizing smells called to him with wanton abandon from that hole.

Why they were debating about the largess at their feet was beyond him. But clearly they needed him to demonstrate exactly what should be done in a situation like this. Putting on a last burst of speed he sprang from his haunches, silken cream and brown fur flying out behind him in the wind. He landed softly in the dirt and in one fluid motion scooped up the largest of the bones in his mouth before turning to regard them with a self-satisfied smile.

If he’d hoped to be praised for this effort he was sorely disappointed. Bill bellowed like a wounded bull moose and she slid ungracefully down into the hole making a valiant attempt to snatch the prize away.

Now that was more like it. A rousing game of keep away. He scrambled from the hole and took off across the lawn spinning circles and changing directions with abandon as she slipped around in an attempt to pursue him. Bill watched their antics with a sour look on his face offering unhelpful suggestions that only served to make the situation more fraught.

Finally she snatched the bone and collapsed on the grass with a decidedly bitter look on her face.

“Bad boy. What on earth were you thinking?” she demanded.

I was thinking this was an odd place to bury a decent collection of bones, but I guessed that was not what she was thinking.

Sgt. Bill extended a gloved hand for the human femur that had been the subject of dispute. “Why is it that every time you come back to our peaceful little corner of the world someone winds up dead?” he asked.

It was an eminently reasonable question, but one she clearly had no answer for.

You can read more about Liam in Single Malt Murder, the first book in the NEW “Whiskey Business” mystery series.

Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

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Meet the author
Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children.

Melinda lives just outside of Washington, DC with her whisky-collecting husband, two extraordinary young women she is proud to call her daughters, and an obedience school drop out named Macallen.

All comments are welcomed.