Tag Archives: Marilyn Levinson

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.

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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.

A Day in the Life of Lydia Krause by Marilyn Levinson

Murder in the AirToday was a terrible day. It started out with the funeral of my neighbor, Daniel Korman, and went downhill from there. Days earlier we’d celebrated Daniel’s 85th birthday with a party at the mansion where I work. His death saddened me and left me with the odd sense that something was wrong. Daniel had been in perfect health, though something lay heavy on his heart. The week before his party, he’d stopped by to ask if I thought it wise to open a can of worms that had been buried for many years. He left before I could offer an opinion. From the little he said, I gathered he was referring to the 70-year-old remains of the teenaged boy unearthed when the demolition crew demolished the house behind us, on property we’d acquired for the Twin Lakes’ putting green and second clubhouse.

After the funeral, I went to the shiva at the home of Daniel’s youngest, his beloved daughter Polly. I overheard his three children and a nephew arguing. Polly was convinced her father had been murdered. The others thought she was overwrought and sadly mistaken. I didn’t know what to believe. Polly was often overly-emotional. But Daniel’s other two children were hungry for their father’s money.

When I stopped by to visit Eve, Daniel’s fiancée, she asked me to look through his computer in hopes of discovering what might have been troubling him. Among his documents, in a file labeled “suspects.” were three paragraphs, each headed with two initials. Eve figured out the letters stood for Daniel’s childhood friends. Ron Morgenstern, who lived at Twin Lakes, and Mick Diminio, a big shot politician, had been at Daniel’s birthday party. The third, Billy Evans, was dead. Next to the computer was a framed pencil drawing of Daniel as a teenager. The paper was yellowed with age. Curious, I asked Eve who the artist was. She said he was Timmy John Desmond, a friend of Daniel’s when they were in high school. He’d come from the south to live with relatives on Long Island. One day he disappeared and no one ever saw him again.

Sol, my homicide detective boyfriend, called to invite me to dinner. We arranged to meet at a nearby Greek restaurant at seven. Great! This gave me enough me to stop and chat with Ron Morgenstern. He was very jovial at first, telling me about the days when he, Daniel, Mick, and Billy played together as kids. When I asked him if he knew what had happened to Timmy John Desmond, Ron’s demeanor changed. He suddenly resented my questions and asked me to leave. Now I was pretty sure that Timmy John Desmond was the body they’d unearthed. What’s more, I was beginning to believe that Daniel thought Mick, Ron, and the deceased Billy had murdered him.

Sol arrived at the restaurant only fifteen minutes late. We ordered and, since we were both famished, hardly spoke as we devoured our Greek salads topped with grilled chicken. As we waited for our coffee, Sol told me they had a tentative ID for the body—a fifteen-year-old boy named Timothy Desmond who had been reported missing and never been found.

“Poor Timmy John!” I exclaimed. A mistake, I knew, the moment I saw Sol’s thunderous expression.

“What did you say?” he demanded.

There was nothing for me to do but tell him about my day—how Polly insisted her father had been murdered and what I found on Daniel’s computer. Sol hated when I got involved in one of his murder cases. He nearly blew a gasket when I mentioned Mick Diminio’s name. But the worst came when I admitted to having paid a visit to Ron Morgenstern.

“You should have called me! I’m the homicide detective, remember?”

I tried to apologize, but he wasn’t having any of it. He got to his feet, his anger barely under control. “Come on, we’ll leaving. I’m following you home.”

You can read more about Lydia in Murder in the Air, the second book in the “Twin Lakes” mystery series, published by Untreed Reads. The first book in the series is A Murderer Among Us. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Meet the author
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and books for kids. Her latest mystery, Murder a la Christie, is out with Oak Tree Press. Untreed Reads has brought out a new e-edition of her first Twin Lakes mystery, A Murderer Among Us–a Suspense Magazine Best Indie–and will bring out a new e-edition of the sequel, Murder in the Air, in April. Her ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, and her romantic suspense, Dangerous Relations, are out with Uncial Press. All of her mysteries take place on Long Island, where she lives.

Marilyn loves traveling, reading, knitting, doing Sudoku, and visiting with her granddaughter, Olivia, on FaceTime. She is co-founder and past president of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Website | Amazon page

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On the Case with Alexis Driscoll by Marilyn Levinson

Murder a la ChristieIt’s five after eight on this gorgeous Sunday morning in July, and I’m on my way to meet Lowell Hartman. I’m pretty sure Lowell didn’t murder two people in my Golden Age of Mystery book club, but I’m nervous all the same. There’s always the possibility that he is the killer. In which case he’ll know my driving route since he suggested our meeting place. I shiver to think he might be waiting for me en route, about to make me Victim Number Three. And so I remain vigilant, swiveling my head nonstop from side to side, like a lighthouse beam on a foggy day.

Lowell’s asked me to meet him at a diner a twenty minute drive from Old Cadfield and all the people we know. He says it’s close to where he runs on weekends. I bet he wants to talk about what happened yesterday. It was kind of weird, coming upon him and Ginger acting like two teenagers. I mean, Lowell’s ten years older that Ginger and married to her cousin. Not that being married stopped him from resuming his relationship with Anne. Poor Anne, who’s dead. As is my old friend Sylvia. And Lowell was the last person to speak to Sylvia. I clutch the steering wheel and stomp on the gas pedal. Relax, I tell myself, and slow down so I won’t get a speeding ticket. I exhale a deep sigh of relief when I finally pull into the diner’s parking area, but keep up my guard until I’m safely inside.

Lowell’s waiting for me in a corner booth. He stands to kiss my cheek, and I see he’s wearing shorts and a sweatshirt. I become aware of his broad shoulders, his long and muscular legs, something I never noticed before. He hasn’t bothered to shave, which only adds to his appeal.

Stop drooling! I tell myself. The guy’s no movie star. Besides, he has the morals of a alley cat. I settle down after reminding myself that Lowell Hartman’s thirty-three; only six years older than my son, Jesse.

The waitress takes my order, and I find myself chatting easily with Lowell. We talk about Anne, who was my lawyer. He says I’m one of the few people he can talk to about her. He tells me she was the love of his life. His words anger me. “Then why did you go back on your word to her and stay with Paulette? I understand her parents gave you a hefty sum of money.”

Lowell insists that the money had nothing to do with his decision. He says he feels guilty about Paulette’s miscarriage, and goes on fervently about his need to protect Paulette from her overbearing mother. At first I can’t believe he’s for real, and then I realize he means what he says. He’s revealed a glimpse of the young lawyer who started out intending to defend the poor and ended up handling cases that have nothing to do with his earlier aspirations.

“And what about Ginger?” I ask.

He doesn’t dodge the issue. He admits they were a bit lax, but he never would have allowed the relationship to develop. He brought Ginger to the beach because he knew she was troubled by something that had happened in her teen years and was impacting her relationship with her boyfriend. Lowell advised her to tell Todd about the incident and to see a therapist.

I believe him because I know all about Ginger’s trauma. We go on to talk about other Old Cadfield people. I appreciate his wicked sense of humor. As I listen to him, I realize Lowell’s one of those rare males who doesn’t avoid discussing emotions and feelings. He’s damn good looking, and very appealing. Is it possible he doesn’t realize the affect he has on us women?

Time passes. Now the diner’s humming with activity. Lowell gets up to pay the check and mutters a curse. When I ask him what’s wrong, he tells me Malice Mouth is here.

I look around and see Marcie and Scott Beaumont sitting across the room, studying their menus. Marcie’s the most unpleasant person in the book club. I’m hoping she won’t see me here with Lowell because she’s sure to assume we’re having an affair. I walk to the rear door and can’t resist turning back. Marcie’s seen me, all right. If the proverbial looks could kill, I’d be writhing on the floor in my death throes.

You can read more about Character in Murder a la Christie, the first book in the “Lexie Driscoll” mystery series, published by Oak Tree Press. Book is available at online booksellers.

Meet the author
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and books for kids. Her latest mystery, Murder a la Christie, is out with Oak Tree Press. Untreed Reads has brought out a new e-edition of her first Twin Lakes mystery, A Murderer Among Us–a Suspense Magazine Best Indie–and will bring out a new e-edition of the sequel, Murder in the Air, in April. Her ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, and her romantic suspense, Dangerous Relations, are out with Uncial Press. All of her mysteries take place on Long Island, where she lives.

Her books for young readers include No Boys Allowed; Rufus and Magic Run Amok, which was awarded a Children’s Choice; Getting Back to Normal, & And Don’t Bring Jeremy.

Marilyn loves traveling, reading, knitting, doing Sudoku, and visiting with her granddaughter, Olivia, on FaceTime. She is co-founder and past president of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Website | Amazon page

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Murder A La Christie by Marilyn Levinson

Murder a la ChristieMurder A La Christie by Marilyn Levinson is the first book in the new “Lexie Driscoll” mystery series. Publisher: Oak Tree Press, February 2014

College professor Lexie Driscoll is leading the first meeting of the Golden Age of Mystery book club in the upscale Old Cadfield home of her best friend, Rosie Gordon, when Sylvia Morris falls ill and dies. The book club members assume Sylvia has died of her heart condition, but Lexie suspects foul play. Before the meeting she heard Sylvia’s neighbor, Gerda Stein, threaten Sylvia, and remembers having seen a vase of lilies of the valley, which disappeared during the evening. Did Gerda pour the toxic water into Sylvia’s iced tea to stop her from publishing a book exposing her father’s Nazi past?

I like it. In this evenly paced tale, book club members being murdered, similar to the Agatha Christie book they are reading and our heroine, Alexis (Lexie) takes it upon herself to find the guilty culprit, while working closely with the detective on the case. Lexie soon discovers it’s not as easy as Dame Christie made it in her books, especially when she receives threats letting her know that she’s hit a nerve. The author did a great job in mixing things up by keeping the story exciting and interesting and teasingly giving us clues into all the suspects that kept me guessing throughout this enjoyable whodunit.

FTC Disclosure – The author sent me this book, in the hopes I would review it.

Dangerous Relations by Marilyn Levinson

Dangerous Relations by Marilyn Levinson Publisher: Uncial Press, October 2012

After Ardin Wesley’s cousin Suziette is murdered, her widower, Brett, asks Ardin to help him adopt Suziette’s little girl, whom he’s grown to love. Trouble is, no one knows the identity of the child’s natural father. Ardin decides she wants to adopt Leonie, and take her to home to Manhattan.

Although she is drawn to Brett, an abusive husband turned Ardin against love and marriage. Brett feels betrayed when he learns of her plans to adopt the child. When someone sets fire to Ardin’s aunt’s house, she barely escapes with her life. Despite their differences, Brett offers her shelter and together they work to create a secure home for the bereft little girl and to discover the identity of her father before someone else dies to protect his terrible secret.

I love the pace and tone of this drama as Ardin falls in love while on a hunt for the person responsible for the death of her cousin. As she gets closer to the truth, her life is threatened and a love that is waiting makes her stronger to survive her ordeal. What a fabulously written story that resonated with me as this quickly became a page turner that kept me in suspense and had me luxuriated in the blossoming romance throughout this engaging story.

Murderer Among Us by Marilyn Levinson

Murderer Among Us by Marilyn Levinsonn is the first book in the new “Twin Lakes” mystery series. Publisher: Wings ePress, June 2011

Newly retired Lydia Krause moves to the upscale, over-55 community of Twin Lakes, where she publicly exposes the community’s financial advisor, Marshall Weill, as a convicted embezzler. The next morning, Weill’s wife is found dead, mowed down by Lydia’s car . Sexy Lieutenant Detective Sol Molina views Lydia as Suspect Number One, spurring her on to prove her innocence and to find the murderer. Another residents dies, and Lydia barely escapes with her life. As she falls for Sol Molina, copes with one daughter’s adulterous affair and the other’s upcoming wedding, Lydia paves a new life for herself and reveals the murderer among the Twin Lakes’ residents.

We are introduced to Lydia, a recently retired widow who moves to an new community. When she spots someone from her past, she blurts out his misdeed and the next day his wife is found dead, killed by Lydia’s car. Lydia begins an investigation to prove her innocence and someone doesn’t want her to continue as she starts receiving threats. This was a good read and I enjoyed watching Lydia embrace her new life, determined to make the most of it by meeting new friends, starting a new relationship and solving a murder. This was a nicely woven tale.

*new-to-me author