Tag Archives: cozy mystery

A day in the life with Liz McCall by Barbara Early

Liz McCall here.

What started out as a busy weekend selling vintage toys at the annual Train and Toy show—that’s model trains, not larger locomotives—just got a little more complicated. Someone put our booth right next to Craig’s Comics.

Of course they couldn’t have known our past history: Craig bullied me all the way from kindergarten up until the eighth grade, when he tried to see if I could fit in my locker. I ended up with broken glasses, sprained fingers, and bruises all over my body from the attempt. Follow this up with my humiliation when Dad, the chief of police at the time, insisted every bruise needed to be photographed. Craig disappeared shortly after, rumored he’d been sent to some juvie facility.

But now he’s back, and I can’t say his disposition has improved much. Spending a couple of days in such close quarters, especially since he’s dressed as some kind of superhero in an absurd flame-covered spandex suit complete with foam rubber abs and cape, is going to be interesting. I heard he’s got some kind of big announcement at ten, and it’s almost time for that now.

Oh, there he is, up on the catwalks. “It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a chief publicity stunt,” someone calls out and we all laugh. A lost helium balloon nearby bobs in the air currents, and he climbs over the railing and reaches for it. I’m squinting to try to make out the wires. Surely even Craig wouldn’t be stupid enough to climb over the railing without some kind of backup. . .


You can read more about Liz in Murder on the Toy Town Express, the second book in the “Vintage Toyshop” mystery series.

Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.

What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.

The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.

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About the author
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but developed a sudden allergy to math and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen). You can find out more about her books at barbaraearly.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Blake Harper by Neila Young

Clank!

Blake Harper jolted as she turned on the standing mixer.

What was that?

In the kitchen of Mystery Cup Café, Blake took a step toward the back door that led out to the alley behind the building. She reached to disarm the security alarm and stopped herself. Nope. Not gonna do it.

She was just imagining things. Rolling her shoulders, she took a deep breath and looked around the large kitchen. Coffee beans lined three of the big metal shelves that took up the back wall, causing the scent of fresh coffee to waft around her.

Blake walked back over to the industrial island and glanced in the mixer to see that the butter looked sufficiently creamed—the first step in making a batch of brownies for the morning crowd of chocolate-seekers at Mystery Cup.

With a shaky breath, she reached for an egg. It was no wonder she was a bit jumpy after her barista was murdered in the café. In fact, coming in at six o’clock in the morning probably wasn’t the best idea she’d ever had. But sitting at home certainly hadn’t been helping her anxiety. Even her cat Ninja had flicked his tail and given her a grumble-purr of derision.

The best way Blake knew how to distract herself was through coffee and baking. She cracked an egg in the chrome bowl of her heavy-duty mixer then measured in the sugar before taking a deep whiff of the chocolate chips and chocolate-covered espresso beans she’d already measured out. Chocolate. Mmmm.

The sound of her musical ringtone jarred her out of her reverie. “Clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee, and you’re so vain—”

“Hello,” Blake said into the phone, interrupting Carly Simon’s early morning serenade.

Her sister, Kyle’s, voice came over the line. “You’re at work, aren’t you? I knew I saw the light on when I came into the police station this morning.”

Her baby sister Kyle was under the impression that she could boss Blake around. Of course, the fact that she was Wilton, Missouri’s lead police detective might have had something to do with that.

“I have a lot of catching up to do.” Blake hit speaker and set her phone on the counter as she continued to beat the eggs into the sugar and butter mixture. “People are going to be packing it in for my new monthly recipe.”

Kyle snorted. “Yeah, you mean they’ll be packing it in, trying to get the best piece of gossip.”

“Well, what do you expect?” Blake grabbed a teaspoon and measured in pure vanilla extract. “The first murder in this town since the Wilton Strangler almost fifty years ago, and it happened here.”

Kyle sighed. “I guess I should be happy you’re working and not out trying to investigate the murder.”

Blake winced, glad her sister couldn’t see her draw her lip between her teeth.

“Blaaake, that silence makes me very uncomfortable. Please tell me you’re not sticking your nose somewhere it doesn’t belong.” The stern warning in Kyle’s voice let Blake know she’d better play this cool.

“Psh, course not.” Yeah, that sounded totally lame, even to her own ears.

She could visualize her sister’s nostrils flaring as she spoke. “Omigod, do not—I repeat—do NOT go looking for trouble.”

“I don’t! I never go looking for trouble.” One shoulder lifted in a shrug. “It just kind of. . . finds me.”

“Finds you?” her sister scoffed. “Please, trouble runs you down in its car. I’m surprised you don’t have tire tracks on your back.”

Blake stuck her tongue out at the phone.

“I saw that!” Kyle said.

Her eyes widened. “You did not!”

Her sister’s chuckle rumbled over the phone. “No, but I know you too well. Look, I gotta go. Chief called an early meeting. I’ll check up with you later. And seriously, Blake, all I want you to think about today is which one of those hotties you’re going to let ask you out.”

Blake groaned when her sister laughed. “Bye, Blak-ee!”

The line clicked off, and Blake sighed. On top of the murder, she did have two men to think about—Sean, the mysterious mountain of muscles who owned Macabre Reads; and Adam, the hot doctor her sister-in-law was trying to set her up with.

Clang!

Her body tensed when she heard that same sound again coming from outside. What on earth?

Somebody was out there. And no one should have been in the alley behind the café at six in the morning. Blake firmed her spine and set her spatula down then brushed her hands on her red apron.

Kyle’s voice telling her to stay out of trouble echoed in Blake’s head. But it was just a noise outside. How much trouble could she get into investigating a noise?

The buttons on the alarm beeped as Blake punched in the code to disarm it. As soon as the little light turned green, she reached to open the door. . .


You can read more about Blake in Brewing Up Murder, the first book in the NEW “Coffee Cup” mystery series.

As the owner of Mystery Cup Café in Wilton, Missouri, a town made famous by a string of long-ago murders, Blake Harper is used to the mysterious. When her barista is found strangled in a mound of coffee beans, Blake vows to find the killer, even though her sister, the town’s lead police detective, tells her to stay out of it.

Blake finds plenty of suspects, like the owners of a rival coffee shop and the handsome new bookstore owner. But when new threats are made, she soon realizes the danger is centered around Mystery Cup and someone is targeting her personally.

Will Blake be able to solve the murder, find a new barista, and perfect her recipe for espresso brownies before she becomes the next victim?

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Meet the author
Neila Young is a Midwestern girl and a lover of coffee, live music, and horror movies, not necessarily in that order.

Writing (and reading) mysteries are Neila’s passion, and she approaches each day by thinking, “everything is a story.” She has been writing all her life and can’t remember a time when she wanted to do anything else. She loves to take notes and spin tales about the quirky characters she meets, and she has found that she can create some great stories by asking “what if” and “suppose that. . .”

Neila studied journalism at the University of Kansas then spent many years suffering the trials of corporate America, writing about everything from financial risk management to software user manuals to website copy about radiators (sadly, that’s not a joke). She finally decided to take the plunge and write the cozy mysteries she loves so much, complete with recipes!

When Neila is not writing, she’s probably hanging out at a coffee shop or fighting evil with the help of her very supportive husband, two awesome children, who constantly ask to have characters named after them, and the most lovable dog in the world, Dizzy.

Visit Neila at neilayoungbooks.com, on Twitter and on Facebook

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Dodie O’Dell by Suzanne Trauth

It’s winter in Etonville, New Jersey, and I, Dodie O’Dell, restaurant manager extraordinaire, along with everyone else in town, is slipping and sliding on the ice and snow. While most people in the northeast would be content to spend their evenings before a roaring fire, hot toddy in hand, the town’s hardy citizens are braving the weather to attend rehearsals for the Etonville Little Theatre’s upcoming production. Inspired by the classic Our Town, written by the ELT’s own former artistic director Walter Zeitzman and titled, what else, Eton Town, everyone is excited to enter new play territory. Sort of. The cast isn’t sure about Walter’s playwriting skills. Maybe he should have done the original and left well enough alone instead of setting Eton Town during the American Revolution to honor Thomas Eton, founder of Etonville.

My BFF and current artistic director Lola Tripper decides to direct this one herself and has asked me to, once again, serve as her part-time cheerleader and go-to confidant. And I have a brainstorm: celebrate the 18th century founding of Etonville and build on my theme-food adventures at the same time. The Windjammer could stock the concession stand with colonial desserts whipped up by Etonville folks!

So. . .I am sponsoring a baking class with the locals, plus Sally, one out-of-town brave soul, to create apple pie and pumpkin bread. Rehearsals are finally underway while I hold Lola’s hand and Chief Bill Thompson, Etonville’s top law enforcement officer and my recent squeeze, holds mine. Lately, he’s been seen popping by the theater and the Windjammer on his nights off. . .

The whole town is getting in on the act. Mildred is teaching hymns to the onstage chorus; the Banger sisters play dead bodies in the town graveyard; Vernon delivers monologues as the Stage Manager—perfect since he frequently forgets his hearing aids and in this role won’t have to dialogue with anyone. Walter—actor, playwright, and producer—is a triple threat and has even installed a turntable on the stage. The ELT is now high tech!

We’ve been baking early American desserts for several Sundays now and today is our last session. Henry is glad since he balks at having to come to work Monday morning and find cake batter splattered on his oven. Today’ s recipe is for Swamp Yankee Applesauce cake and as long as everyone can follow the recipe, multiply and divide, and get the oven temperature correct, the concession stand should be good to go.

At the end of the afternoon, we have a dozen cakes ready for sale and it’s time to head back out into the winter night, where snow has begun to fall. Sally, my out-of-town baking volunteer, offers to stay and help me clean up. She’s a quiet, pretty, twenty-one-year-old transplant from New England. I’d met her mid-January when I’d given her some recommendations on a place to live and helped her with job-hunting. It wasn’t long before she ended up in the cast of Eton Town and joined the baking class.

I propose that I drive her to the rooming house where she is staying, but she declines the offer and says she’ll walk. She’s from Boston and used to the cold and wind and snow. The sun has set by the time we step outside and Sally turns to go. Then she freezes and catches her breath, staring across the street. Barbie’s Craft Shoppe, one of the only businesses on Main Street open on Sunday, is closing up, lights are being flicked off, and Barbie is hanging the Closed sign. I glance back to see what has disturbed Sally.

To the left of the shop, a man stands under the street light. Big, burly, filling out a camouflage coat, he wears a trapper hat with the ear flaps flipped up. A full beard sprouts out of a face that stares back at Sally. Then he opens his mouth as if about to shout something at us. Before he can say a word, an Etonville police cruiser, lights flashing, comes to an abrupt stop in front of Barbie’s Craft Shoppe. Officer Ralph Ostrowski jumps out. They talked briefly, then Ralph escorts the man into the back seat of his squad car. They drive off, but not before the man twists in his seat and presses his face against the window, still gazing intently at Sally.

She stuffs her hands in her pockets and backs up, looking around and checking our side of the street. Then she pulls the hood of her coat over her head and runs off. I watch her leave. Despite the fact that I am warm inside my down jacket and scarf, I shiver. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand upright. My radar system giving me a warning: something isn’t right.


You can read more about Dodie in Running Out of Time, the third book in the “Dodie O’Dell” mystery series.

Restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell’s themed food ideas have been called cute, clever, and delicious, but never revolutionary-until now. Dodie’s Windjammer Restaurant is stocking the Etonville Little Theatre’s concession stand with colonial-era desserts and drinks: Swamp Yankee applesauce cake, pumpkin bread, hot cider punch, and mulled wine to complement the latest production. A local playwright has adapted Thornton Wilder’s Our Town into Eton Town, shifting the story to colonial America and the founding of Etonville, New Jersey, shortly after the Revolutionary War.

On opening night, hours before the curtain rises, Dodie runs into an agitated actress backstage with blood on her hands. Then a stranger is found among the chairs set for a graveyard scene with a knife in his chest. The show will not go on-the theatre is now a crime scene. Hoping to clear the red-handed suspect, Dodie returns to the role of amateur sleuth to mull over the clues and beat the backstage stabber to the punch-before someone else becomes history . . .

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About the author
Suzanne Trauth’s novels include Show Time, Time Out, and Running Out of Time. Her plays include Françoise, Midwives, Rehearsing Desire, iDream, and Katrina: the K Word. Her screenplays Solitaire and Boomer Broads have won awards at the Austin Film Festival and she wrote and directed the short film Jigsaw. She is currently a member of Writers Theatre of New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights program. Ms. Trauth has co-authored Sonia Moore and American Acting Training and co-edited Katrina on Stage: Five Plays. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

For more information, visit her website at suzannetrauth.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ How the Finch Stole Christmas! by Donna Andrew

How the Finch Stole Christmas! by Donna Andrews is the 22nd book in the “Meg Langslow” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur, coming October 24, 2017

Meg’s husband has decided to escalate his one-man show of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into a full-scale production with a large cast including their sons Jamie and Josh as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge and Meg helping as stage manager.

The show must go on, even if the famous―though slightly over-the-hill―actor who’s come to town to play the starring role of Scrooge has brought a sleigh-load of baggage and enemies with him. And why is Caerphilly suddenly overrun with a surplus of beautiful caged finches?

How the Finch Stole Christmas! is guaranteed to put the “ho ho hos” into the holidays of cozy lovers everywhere with its gut-bustingly funny mystery.

Meg takes center stage along with a quirky cast of characters, that includes a washed-out-drunken-past-his-prime actor, in this delightfully charming tale that spans the Christmas season of the annual production of a holiday show as well as murder and mayhem. Thanks to the author’s visually descriptive narrative and play-by-play action, this fast-paced drama had me devouring every page as I had to know what happens next. What we have is an overabundance of animals that cast their light on the story being told with smugglers and murder. What prevails is a fantastic story where every time I thought I had a handle of the person responsible, the author changes direction with sneaky twists and turns that enhances the telling of this tale. Donna continues to keep me engaged and entertained in the latest adventures of Meg and her friends and family in the town of Caerphilly, Virginia.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Sid “The Skeleton” Thackery and the Attic Window by Leigh Perry

I admit I was feeling a little lonely. Georgia—my BFF and housemate—has a new job at an art school in northern Massachusetts, so she doesn’t get home very often. That’s not to say that I don’t adore the rest of the Thackery family—Georgia’s parents Dr. T and Mrs. Dr. T; her sister Deborah; and her daughter Madison—but what Georgia and I do together is kind of special.

We solve murders.

Georgia is the Archie Goodwin to my Nero Wolfe. Like Wolfe, I don’t leave the house much, but for different reasons. He’s kind of lazy, where I have plenty of energy. In fact, I never even sleep. Wolfe likes to eat fancy meals—I don’t eat at all. And Wolfe isn’t fond of people, whereas I like people a lot, when I get a chance to meet them. Unfortunately, I don’t get that chance very often. Because where Nero Wolfe has generous amounts of meat on his bones, I have none at all.

You see, I’m a skeleton.

I walk, I talk, I make bone jokes.

It’s kooky, but mostly I don’t mind except it does limit my options for leaving the house. On the good side, I can watch movies all night long, which is how I happened on Rear Window, a fab Hitchcock thriller with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. In the movie, Stewart is laid up with a broken leg, and spies on the inhabitants of the building next door for entertainment. He sees something suspicious, and realizes one of his neighbors is a murderer. Danger ensues!

It’s a terrific flick, and I found it very inspirational. I mean, if James Stewart could solve a murder without leaving his house, why couldn’t I do the same from my attic boudoir. Sure Stewart got two broken legs for his trouble, but if I break a bone, I can glue it back together.

So at first light, I was ready at the window. I had to peek through the curtains, so nobody saw me, and I didn’t have binoculars, but I have terrific eyesight, especially considering that I don’t have eyes.

I thought I was getting lucky right off the bat when I spotted a Pennycross police cruiser pulling up in front of the house, but it turned out to be Deborah’s boyfriend dropping off some donuts. He’s been sucking up the family because he’s got competition—Deborah is also seeing a security guard from the college where Dr. T and Mrs. Dr. T teach.

Next up, I saw a couple of sketchy guys in hoodies slinking up to our house. Since the Madison’s dog barked—proving that the mutt is good for something after all—I decided to bide my time before launching a surprise rescue mission. So I put my ear cavity to the attic door to listen for just the right moment. Except that what I heard was cheerful greetings. The sketchy guys turned out to be a couple of grad students Dr. T was mentoring. It’s no wonder that I didn’t recognize them. So many of them were hanging around that I was stuck in the attic most of the time. It was also no wonder that they showed up right after the donuts did.

Eventually all the Thackerys and the grad students left, and I spent the rest of the day focusing on the neighbors’ houses. It was disappointing. I mean, I suppose it’s good we live in a safe place, but a little mayhem would certainly liven things up. After a while I started wishing that I did sleep because I was so bored.

A couple of packages arrived later in the afternoon, and I thought maybe somebody would at least try to steal one and I could jump out in all my boney glory and catch them, but no such luck. Madison got home a while later and pulled them inside.

Of course there was that one Nero Wolfe book where people were delivered via shipping crate, but I didn’t think it likely that anybody had done anything so interesting. The boxes weren’t big enough or strong enough for a person anyway. Yeah, I could have folded myself up in one of them with room to spare, but—

I froze for a moment. And when I freeze, I really freeze—no breathing, you know. Then I snuck downstairs, unpacked the contents of those boxes, and brought them back upstairs. Oh yes, they would do nicely. I left my post and spent the rest of the day making plans and arranging things just so.

The next morning, Dr. T unknowingly helped me abandon my Attic Window and take a little road trip.

Georgia was going to be so surprised when she got the mail.


You can read more about Sid in The Skeleton Paints a Picture, the fourth book in the “Family Skeleton” mystery series.

Georgia Thackery, adjunct English professor, has a new job teaching at Falstone College of Art and Design, known as FAD to its students and faculty. Living in a borrowed bungalow during winter in the snowiest part of Massachusetts, Georgia feels her isolation weighing as heavily as the weather. Then she receives a package containing her best friend, Sid, a walking, talking skeleton who has lived with the Thackery family since Georgia was six. With Georgia working out of town, Sid was lonely too.

The two of them make plans for a cozy semester together, and it might have worked out that way if Sid hadn’t snuck out in the middle of the night to play in the snow and spotted a crashed car. When he drags Georgia out to investigate, they find the driver behind the wheel, apparently dead from the collision.

Initially, police think it’s an accident, so Georgia and Sid think that’s the end of it—until Georgia finds out the body hits closer to home than she’d realized. . .

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About the author
Leigh Perry writes the Family Skeleton mysteries featuring adjunct English professor Georgia Thackery and her best friend, an ambulatory skeleton named Sid. The Skeleton Paints a Picture, the fourth, was published by Diversion Books on October 10. 2107. As Toni L.P. Kelner, she’s the co-editor of paranormal fiction anthologies with Charlaine Harris; the author of eleven mystery novels; and an Agatha Award winner and multiple award nominee for short fiction. No matter what you call her, she lives north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, one guinea pig, and an every-increasing number of books.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Holly White by Jacqueline Frost

When you grow up on a Christmas tree farm called Reindeer Games, in a town called Mistletoe, Maine, you learn three things. One: Holiday spirit is what you make of it. Two: It’s always a good time for snickerdoodles. Three: Family is everything. And in Mistletoe, everyone is family.

So, you can imagine my shock when I moved home last week to recover from a broken heart and discovered the body of our town’s historical society president, Margaret Fenwick, in a sleigh on my family farm. I still can’t believe it. I don’t know why a tourist would hurt her, and the killer can’t be one of us. Folks in Mistletoe aren’t violent. We’re not even rude. Competitive maybe. And, sure, the victim was a bit of a pill sometimes, but I don’t think she meant to be, and that’s not the point.

Basically, it’s been a rough few days, but Christmas is right on schedule, and like I said, holiday spirit is what you make of it. The local sheriff has finally allowed our tree farm to reopen, just in time for the Twelve Games of Christmas, so I’ve dressed in my ugliest holiday sweater, kissed Cindy Lou Who, my rescue cat, on her little chipped ear and hustled to The Hearth to make myself useful.

The Hearth is Reindeer Games’ gingerbread house-themed café. It’s where Mom makes and sells her yummiest creations. I love delivering Santa’s cinnamon tea and festive, mouth-watering treats to rosy-cheeked tree shoppers. I also sample the goods and talk with guests. It’s a great way for me to brainstorm ideas for my Christmas-themed jewelry. I melt old glass beads and bottles to make the tiny gum drop earrings and candy cane necklaces. It started as a hobby, but lately the pieces have been selling out at our tree farm gift shop, Holiday Mouse. Just ask Cookie, the shop manager and my very dear friend. Sure, she’s more than twice my age but Cookie is the greatest, and her real name is Delores Cutter, so her name’s pretty cute too. I called her Cookie Cutter for a decade before I realized it was funny.

It’s time for today’s Reindeer Game when my shift ends. Blindfolded sled racing, and I’m a judge. Guests pair into teams of two. One person rides on an old-fashioned sled with a lead attached to the front. The other member pulls the sled – blindfolded. The rider calls out directions while collecting as many stockings as possible from the snow-covered lawn without falling off or causing their blindfolded partner to break their neck. I’ll be there to bust the peekers.

After that, I’m headed to my parents’ home for the night. I don’t sleep at the guest house anymore. Too many threats on my life. Apparently, I ruffled someone’s feathers when I started asking about Mrs. Fenwick’s death, and I can’t afford to be victim number two. I have things to do and goals to accomplish. Like opening my own jewelry store or making my cheating ex-fiancé regret dumping me for a yoga instructor just two weeks before our Christmas Eve wedding. I also wouldn’t mind finding out what really happened to Mrs. Fenwick, but whoever killed her seems to have my number, and I probably shouldn’t take the call.

Okay. I’ve got to run now. I see a potential peeker on the blind sled event. If you’re ever looking for something new to do around the holidays, I hope you’ll consider a trip north to Reindeer Games in Mistletoe, Maine. I will personally serve you up some hot cider and a smile, then tell you the story of how I got justice for Mrs. Fenwick and saved the day.


You can read more about Holly in Twelve Slays of Christmas, the first book in the NEW “Christmas Tree Farm” mystery series.

When Holly White’s fiancé cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime―exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly’s family tree farm.

When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly’s father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn’t help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him. The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn’t watch out, she’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s jolly series debut.

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Meet the author
Jacqueline Frost is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Jacqueline is a member of the International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Carrie Singleton by Allison Brook

Yesterday was the worst day of my life! The most awful thing happened as I hosted my very first program as Clover Ridge Library’s new Head of Programs and Events.

My boss Sally, the library’s director, wanted to cancel the program, but I urged her to keep it as scheduled. I thought the patrons would be intrigued by a discussion of an actual murder. Now Sally’s furious with me. She’ll probably fire me ASAP.

I came to Clover Ridge to stay with my great-aunt and uncle last spring when I was at a low point in my life. My fondest childhood memories were of the summers my brother and I spent on the family farm outside of town.

Since I had a library degree, Uncle Bosco, who’s on the library board, wrangled a job for me at the local library. I floated from one department to another, doing nothing more exciting than reshelving books. Time to move on, I decided, when Sally offered me the position of Head of Programs and Events.

I opened my mouth to turn down the job when a voice urged me not to be a fool. I owed it to myself to at least consider the offer.

The voice belonged to a ghost. Evelyn Havers used to work in the library as an aide and had died six years earlier. Once I got over the shock of talking to a real live—well, dead ghost, I decided Evelyn was right. Besides, as Aunt Harriet pointed out, I could always quit if I wanted.

And so I signed on. My new position demanded an entire makeover. I washed the purple dye out of in my hair and got out my sweaters and slacks to wear instead of my dark Goth clothes and Doc Martens. The change was easier than I’d expected. And except for being overwhelmed at first, which is kind of natural, I had no problem handling the work. Barbara, who’d had the job before me, taught me as much as she could cram into my brain the last few days before she left town.

Much more difficult was dealing with grumpy Dorothy Hawkins, the reference librarian, who happened to be Evelyn’s niece. Dorothy thought she should have gotten the position of Head of P and E instead of me and pulled all kinds of shenanigans to make me look bad. Good thing I managed to stay one step ahead of Dorothy.

The day that everything went south started out great. Barbara had arranged for retired Detective Al Buckley to come and speak about a local homicide that had never been solved. Al claimed he now knew who had murdered Laura Foster fifteen years earlier and he planned to write a book about it. He was going to discuss the case that evening at the library. Laura’s older son had called Sally, demanding that we cancel the program. He thought Al was full of hot air. He couldn’t find his mother’s killer when he was on the police force, so what made him think he could solve it now? Sally was worried enough to consider canceling the program, but I encouraged her to let it go on as planned. Reluctantly, she agreed.

I bought some really yummy cookies from our local bakery which my assistants and I set out on a table, along with coffee and tea, for the patrons to enjoy before Al spoke. I made up a plate of cookies for Al and left them on the table in front of the room. I liked Al the minute I met him. He was one of those people who really looked at you and listened to what you had to say.

The program had drawn a lot of attention. Every seat in the room was occupied. Laura Foster was a community favorite. She’d also worked in the library. Sally had me save the front row for Laura’s family and close friends.

I finally got everyone seated. Al began by asking the audience to share what they remembered about Laura. As he talked, I noticed he was eating a chocolate cookie. I hadn’t bought any chocolate cookies. He began to stammer. His head drooped. He slumped in his chair and died.

It’s my fault Al died! If I hadn’t insisted on holding this program, he’d still be alive today.

I’m determined to find out who murdered Al. So is Jared, Laura’s younger son. We’re convinced the person who poisoned Al also murdered his mother. We’ll start out by talking to everyone who’d been close to his mother. So many suspects! But we’ll find the killer in the end.


You can read more about Carrie in Death Overdue, the first book in the NEW “Haunted Library” mystery series.

Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

Buy Link

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About the author
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson is the author of mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She writes the Twin Lakes Mystery series and the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery series. Death Overdue, written as Allison Brook, is the first in her Haunted Library Mystery series. Library Journal has given the book a star review and named it a Pick of the Month. Blackstone has recorded an audiobook version of Death Overdue. Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her novels take place.

All comments are welcomed.

Cover Reveal ~ Bear Witness to Murder by Meg Macy

I am thrilled to share with you the cover for the second book in the “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” mystery series from Kensington, coming May 29, 2018.


Title: Bear Witness To Murder
Series: Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
Website: Meg Macy

As autumn air settles into the quaint small town of Silver Hollow, there’s nothing more popular than Sasha’s teddy bears—and murder in cold blood . . .

Silver Bear Shop and Factory manager Sasha Silverman is cozying up to the fall season by hosting Silver Hollow’s Cranbeary Tea Party, the opening event of the village’s Oktobear Fest—a too-cute celebration themed around teddy bears. She barely has a moment to agonize over the return of her former high school rival, Holly Parker, whose new toy and bookstore in town could spell big trouble for her shop and her cousin’s small bookstore . . .

But when Sasha discovers Holly’s shop assistant dead with a knife plunged in her body, the unpleasant woman suddenly looks like a real backstabber. So does Sasha’s ex-husband, rumored to have rekindled the fiery extramarital affair he once had with the victim. Now, before a gruesome homicide case takes the fun out of both the Fest and her personal life, Sasha must identify the true culprit from a daunting suspect list—or risk becoming as lifeless as one of her stuffed bears . . .

Pre-Order Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a paperback copy of Bearly Departed, (U.S. residents only, sorry!), along with a few teddy treats! The giveaway will end October 10, 2017. Good luck everyone!


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About the author
MEG MACY (aka: Meg Mims) is an award-winning mystery author living in Southeast Michigan, close to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter—the area where she has set her Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear cozy mystery series for Kensington. Meg also co-writes—under the pseudonym D. E. Ireland—the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series, two of which have been named Agatha Award finalists. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. She’s a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Meg is a member of WWA, Western Fictioneers, and Sisters in Crime. Born and raised in Michigan, Meg lives with her husband and enjoys gardening, crafts, and reading mysteries, historical fiction, and adding more books to her Kindle.

Visit Meg at megmacy.com

My Musing ~ Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston

Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston is the sixth book in the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting” mystery series. Published: October 2017

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but “normal” deserted crafts editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth. When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.

This is a great book that I devoured in one sitting. I love the antics of Anastasia as she sets out to find who put her friend in the hospital and in another case, a frivolous lawsuit is filed against her friend. Putting two and two together and you just know that Anastasia will solve both cases and it’s the visually descriptive narrative that keeps me engaged in all that is happening from the discovery of the letter, to Cloris’ lawsuit concerns to Lucille up to her old tricks and to Zack who know exactly what Anastasia needs. All the gang is here and it was a joy to visit with them once again.  This is one of the best books in this delightfully entertaining whodunit and I hope there are more stories in the future. Bonus, of course, are scrapbooking tips.