Tag Archives: Minotaur Books

A day in the life of Hank Worth by Claire Booth

“Where you goin’?”

I froze. Caught. I should’ve thought to grab a file folder off my desk – then it’d look like I was on my way to a meeting. Instead, all I had in my hands was a set of car keys. Which quite plainly indicated that I was making a break for it. I slowly turned around.

It wasn’t Sheila, my chief deputy. Instead, Sam stood in the hallway with a puzzled look on his face. Then he saw the keys and laughed.

“Sheila said you were working on the deputy duty schedule.” My pup of a deputy grinned. “She said I couldn’t bother you, because you needed your full concentration. To finally figure out how to do it proper.”

Sheila was technically not wrong about that. I’d been here almost nine months, and I still hadn’t managed to do it correctly. But it was a task that drove me crazy. Actually, anything that involved being trapped in an office with the paperwork equivalent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa drove me crazy. Especially on such a beautiful day in the Ozarks. When a Branson County Sheriff’s Department cruiser sat right outside, just waiting to be driven somewhere.

“I thought I’d do a little patrol work. There’ve been some speeding problems out on that stretch of Highway 76 near Powersite.”

I shrugged nonchalantly and took a step toward the door. Sammy started laughing full out.

“She’s not going to buy that,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “But if I can get out of here before she catches me…”

I could see him thinking about it. His young face was so transparent, so eager. He scratched behind his ear, then turned back the way he’d come. “I never saw you. Just make sure you drive out the back way. I think she’s in the front of the building.”

I took the steps down to the parking lot two at a time, feeling ridiculously like a kid just let out on summer vacation. I pulled out of the parking lot and headed south over the bridge at Bull Shoals Lake. Free to finally do some real police work.

An hour later, I’d stopped two people for speeding and had a nice chat with an elderly couple sitting out on their front porch. And I was feeling much better. I really did need to get out and do this more often.

To me, that was what being the county sheriff was all about – not sitting in meetings or pouring over budget documents. Those things made me feel like a paper pusher. Which was not what I was expecting when I accepted the job.

I’d planned to apply for a position as a regular deputy when we moved down here from Kansas City to help out my widowed father-in-law. But just when we’d gotten the kids settled in their new preschool classes, the former sheriff resigned his post and the county commissioners offered me the job.

Apparently they were dazzled by my big city-ness. They have since come to regret that. Possibly because I’m not quite the yes man they expected. I also might have called one of them names.

But they’re stuck with me. At least until the next election, when the sheriff’s position will be up for grabs. I’m going to have to run. I need to keep my job. There are no other open law enforcement positions in southern Missouri, so going somewhere else isn’t an option. No one has filed to run against me, though, so I think I might be able to skate through without actually having to do anything horrible, like campaign.

I’d almost reached Kirbyville when an idiot in a Camaro cut in front of me and then disappeared over a rise in the road. I was reaching to flip on my lights when I saw the sign. Billboard big and star-spangled gaudy.

“Gerald Tucker for Sheriff. Put Your Trust in the Local Boy.”

Underneath the writing was a photo of the fifty-two-year-old, paunchy, badly mustached “boy.” I slammed on the brakes.

Tucker? The deputy who abandoned his guard post when the Branson Beauty showboat sank and then mysteriously exploded? The deputy who was, at every turn, a complete jerk? The deputy who everybody in the county knew because he’d lived here his whole life? I groaned and bonked my head on the steering wheel. I should’ve just stayed in the office.


You can read more about Hank in Another Man’s Ground, the second book in the “Sheriff Hank Worth” mystery series.

It starts out as an interesting little theft case. Branson, Missouri’s new Sheriff Hank Worth is called out to look at stands of trees that have been stripped of their bark, which the property owner had planned to harvest for the booming herbal supplement market. At first, Hank easily balances the demands of the investigation with his fledging political career. He was appointed several months earlier to the vacant sheriff position, but he needs to win the fast-approaching election in order to keep his job. He thinks the campaign will go well, as long as he’s able to keep secret the fact that a group of undocumented immigrants – hired to cut down the stripped trees – have fled into the forest and he’s deliberately not looking for them.

But then the discovery of a murder victim deep in the Ozark backwoods sets him in the middle of a generations-old feud that explodes into danger not only for him, but also for the immigrants, his deputies, and his family. He must rush to find a murderer before election day, and protect the vulnerable in Branson County, where politicking is hell and trespassing can get you killed.

In Another Man’s Ground, her next novel featuring Sheriff Hank Worth, acclaimed author Claire Booth delivers a taut, witty mystery that will grip readers from the opening pages to the breathless conclusion.

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About the author
Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways. For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit www.clairebooth.com. Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her Amazon author page.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Campbell Hale by Peggy O’Neal Peden

My name is Campbell Hale. I manage a travel agency in Nashville called Get Out of Town. Have you been to Nashville? You should know it’s more than j bachelorette parties on Broadway. It’s a great place to live, decent weather –most of the time. We can’t drive well in the rain. So? We have a church on every corner, but they all get out in time to cheer on the Titans on Sundays. Two lakes, several rivers, lots of parks and greenways, professional sports with good colors, college sports (it’s called the Athens of the South), and music. Lots of music. You know about the Opry and country music, but we have all kinds, from the honkytonks on Lower Broad to the indie rockers in East Nashville. Even when you walk from your gate to baggage claim, there’s live music. And good food. New restaurants seem to be the only thing we have more of than construction cranes. Not to mention some excellent old favorites where you’re bound to bump shoulders with the likes of Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jack White, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton or Dan Auerbach. Did I mention our excellent police force with detective Sam Davis?

I’ve lived in or near Nashville all my life, but I love to travel. Besides the travel (you have to try out the hotels, the beaches, the ships, the restaurants. . . ), I like the challenge of building a good trip for the right clients. I even like tracking down the luggage that should have gone to nonstop to London but changed planes in Madrid before winding up in Oslo.

The best part of the job is the people you meet, like I met Doug Elliott when I planned a post-divorce trip for him. I found him cheap airfare, a good beachfront hotel, a fishing guide who always found the huge fish and would ship the frozen catch, and suggestions for where to find the best fresh grouper, oysters, and Gulf shrimp. Give me a call, and I’ll tell you, too. I’d like to say that we rode off into a romantic sunset. That’s not exactly the way it’s happened, though. He became my attorney. My friend, too, but our relationship keeps hitting roadblocks – or something.

Part of what gets me up in the morning is the challenge of solving the problems. A few weeks ago I was scheduled to fly out late in the afternoon to connect in Chicago with a flight to London for a familiarization trip through England and Scotland. I planned to work until lunch. I went to the bank when it opened to get my passport from my safe deposit box. Everything went as planned, except that, when I picked up my passport, it had expired. A week before! Those things are good for ten years.

First, I panicked. Then I started checking where passport offices are. Not in Nashville, of course. Lo and behold, there’s a passport office in Chicago! And I was connecting through Chicago! I changed my reservation to the next flight. When I got to O’Hare, I put my luggage in a locker in the international terminal and found that the L ran from inside the airport to a stop very near the passport office. I had called both senators’ and my U. S. representative’s offices. Staffers in all three offices said they would call the passport office (they often speed up passports).

At the passport office, I explained my stupidity to the agent and asked if he had heard from Washington. He told me to take a number and have a seat. I did. And I waited. I looked at my watch every two minutes and waited. I went back to the counter and explained my dilemma again. He said he hadn’t talked to anybody in Washington. I sat. I hadn’t charged my phone battery in the morning’s craziness; it was dead. I watched the lines get shorter as people got their passports and left. I knew I had to reach someone before offices closed at five. Finally, I asked if there was a payphone nearby. “Out in the hall,” he said. As the door closed behind me, it locked! This office closed at 4:30, which the friendly, helpful agent hadn’t mentioned.

I started calling. My Congressman, my senators, the U.S. Passport office. I finally got an answer at the U.S. Passport office. Closed, but the Director was still there. After a short laugh, he said, “Is there anywhere you can sit?” I sat. After a few minutes, my friendly agent came out into the hall. “Ms. Hale,” he said deferentially, “please come in. I’ll have your passport renewal in just a few minutes. Can I get you a cup of coffee?” I didn’t gloat. Except inside. I went in and sat. For fifteen minutes! Passport in hand, I went back to the L station, back to O’Hare – and to London. A wonderful trip.

Since then, I’ve kept my passport up to date.

Check yours. Now.


You can read more about Campbell in Your Killin’ Heart, the first book in the NEW “Nashville” mystery series.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Nashville is an aspiring country music star. Campbell Hale, for one, just wants to get her travel agency off the ground and move on from a break-up. But when she gets the opportunity to visit the mansion of mysterious country icon Jake Miller, she jumps at the chance. After all, who knows what clues are lurking around the long-dead star’s last home?

But as Campbell pokes around, she discovers more than a few sequined suits and priceless memorabilia. She finds Hazel Miller, Jake’s widow, quietly resting in a bedroom on the main floor. But Hazel might just be dead quiet. And Campbell might just be the last person to have seen her alive.

Juggling the twisty plots of high-profile country stars with her blossoming business―not to mention the tattered remains of her love life―Campbell thinks she’s got everything figured out. But when the danger becomes personal, she must uncover a killer who will stop at nothing to get what they want―or face the music.

With Your Killin’ Heart, award-winning author Peggy O’Neal Peden has given us a witty debut full of Nashville charm and generous heart.

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Meet the author
Peggy O’Neal Peden grew up in Middle Tennessee and has lived in and around Nashville for most of her life. She has taught English at high school and college levels, owned a travel agency, been published in regional magazines, and written award-winning advertising copy. She is a member of the Nashville Artist Guild and lives in Nashville. Your Killin’ Heart is her first novel.

All comments are welcomed.

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My Musing ~ Sticks and Bone by Carolyn Haines

Sticks and Bones is the 17th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2017

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.

Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye―or is told in Sister’s memoir―and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.

Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

I love, love, love Sticks and Bones. This book kept me engrossed and enthralled in all aspects in the telling of this tale. The mystery was enjoyable and the interaction with the main cast and the visitors kept me glued to the pages. The narrative was visually appealing, putting me smack dab in the middle of that was happening in this fast-paced drama that oozes southern charm. All the major characters play pivotal roles and one of my favorite scenes featured Sarah Booth, Coleman and Tinkie. Yes, I’m still smiling at the remembrance. With an eccentrically quirky cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this is the best book in the series thus far and I can’t wait for the next one in this delightfully endearing series.

A day in the life with Macy Greeley by Karin Salvalaggio

I can see them now. My son Luke and my boyfriend Aiden are a hundred yards ahead, resting in the shade of a thin stand of pine trees. We’re on a high mountain trail in Montana’s Glacier National Park. I’ve been trying to catch up with them for hours. My legs feel so heavy I can barely lift them, my rucksack is warm against my back and a heavy summer sun is making me thirsty. I’m losing patience with the man I love. Luke is only four years old so he can be forgiven but I don’t understand why Aiden won’t wait for me.

The alarm clock I’ve set on my cellphone wakes me from my dream.

The hotel room is pitch dark and full of unfamiliar smells ― carpeting, cleaning fluid and something I can only describe as salami, which is troubling. The sheets are so crisp they pin me down to the bed like an envelope. The hotel is one of many dotted along Route 89 that cater to tourists in the summer and unlucky souls like myself in the winter. It is bitterly cold outside. The curtains are cracked open a fraction. I can just make out the hotel’s vacancy sign.

It feels like I’ve been living in hotels forever, but it has only been a week since I kissed my son and boyfriend goodbye. Wilmington Creek, the town I now call home, seems a lifetime away. I’m heading north into the heart of the Black Feet Indian Reservation where I’m hoping to get information on the whereabouts of a Native American girl who’s gone missing whilst hitchhiking the rural roads that lace the northern part of the state. She is one of many, but I don’t know that yet.

My cellphone rings again. I try to paw it into silence with my hand, but it isn’t the alarm so it doesn’t stop. Someone is calling me. I clear my throat but still croak.

“Special Investigator Macy Greeley, Montana Department of Justice,” I say. “How can I help?”

“You can cut the formalities for a start,” says Ryan.

I am now wide-awake. Ryan is a senior forensics investigator and one of my best friends. We’ve been working cases together for more than a dozen years. Hearing from him is a mixed blessing. It’s usually bad news.

“We’ve found a body – young, female and in all probability your missing person’s case. I’ve just emailed my preliminary findings. We’ve put in a request for dental records. Should know for sure if it’s Tamara Creek by the end of the day.”

I switch on the bedside lamp and reach for my laptop. It’s 6am and this is how I’m starting my day.

“Crap,” I say. “When she sent those text messages to her mother a couple of days ago I was feeling hopeful.”

“It wasn’t her. She’s been dead at least a week.”

“A week? Are you absolutely sure?”

“Yep.”

“So, some sick fuck has been making her friends and family believe she’s been alive all this time?”

“Looks that way. The hotel manager here called it in. No one was supposed to be in the room so he had no idea she’s been lying dead here all week. The guests that checked in late last night had a nasty shock. How soon can you get down to Great Falls?”

“An hour tops. Cause of death?”

I have the file Ryan sent me open on my computer but I can’t focus once I’ve read that the victim had a tattoo of a humming bird on her shoulder. I’ll have to wait for dental confirmation before informing the family, but I already know it’s Tamara, a 14 year old high school student from Missoula whose mother refused to accept that her daughter was a runaway. It was only by chance that a security camera had caught her being forced into a dark colored SUV.

“We’re not sure at this point but I’m guessing strangulation. There’s evidence of rape.”

I close my laptop and slip out from under the covers.

“I’m on my way,” I say.

I put on the coffee maker and throw on my clothes. Ten minutes later I’m on the road. The rest of the day goes by in a blur of interviews, heartache and takeaway food. I will drink 5 cups of coffee and 3 Diet Cokes. A Snickers Bar will see me through an afternoon lull. I will drive more than 400 miles but I never tire of the views and how they unfold. Montana’s snow covered mountains, valleys and rivers shimmer under an endless blue sky.

I end my day back home in Wilmington Creek. The house is quiet when I park my state issue four-by-four in the garage. Our Springer Spaniels come find me in the kitchen where I’m pouring myself a strong drink. The whiskey burns but in a good way. Luke has left a few drawings out on the dining table for me to see. Stick figures of Aiden, Luke and me stand in front of our small house. Against all odds we are now a family.

Aiden wanders in a few minutes later. His face is thick with sleep. His hair is pressed to the side of his head. I’d called him earlier so he already knows how difficult my day has been. It is only when he takes me in his arms and holds me tight that I finally allow myself to cry.


You can read more about Macy in Silent Rain, the fourth book in the “Macy Greeley” mystery series.

Grace Adams has spent three years trying to move on―mentally, physically, emotionally―from the traumatizing events of her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her. The bestselling novelist Peter Granger wants to use Grace’s story in his next book, regardless of how desperate Grace is to keep the details to herself. And then, on Halloween night, Peter Granger’s house burns to the ground and his and his wife’s bodies are found inside.

Montana state detective Macy Greeley is sent to Bolton to handle the investigation into the fire and deaths. . .which soon appear to be arson and murder. It doesn’t take Macy long to realize that Grace isn’t the only one whom Peter Granger has betrayed, and there are no shortage of others in town who took issue with him and his wife. What at first looked like a straightforward investigation is poised to expose some of Bolton’s darkest secrets, and the fallout may put more than one life in danger.

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About the author
Karin Salvalaggio received an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck at the University of London. Born in West Virginia and raised in an Air Force family, she grew up on a number of military bases around the United States. She now lives in London with her two children.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Frangelica “Sister” McFee by Carolyn Haines

My days are always extraordinarily busy and filled with exciting events and people, smart and beautiful people not dullards and ugly people. As a very famous author, I’m always in demand. Before we go any further, I want to be sure you’re pronouncing my name correctly. No one in Zinnia calls me Frangelica. They call me Sista. Not Sister. Sis-ta! Sis-ta McFee.

My daddy is running for the U.S. Senate seat from Mississippi and he’s going to win big. People adore him. He’s almost as popular as I am, and even though he’s married to that gold-digger Susan Simpson McFee—who has gotten herself pregnant just to be sure she gets a share of the McFee fortune—he’s going to make the best senator ever. I hope he leaves Susan in Memphis to raise her spawn of Satan child. My daddy will be so much more effective if she isn’t hanging on his coattails.

I told you I was a wealthy novelist. I write fiery romances that capture the hearts and minds of millions of women. I’m really a household name. More of a brand really. Say my name to any woman who’s ever read a romance, and she’ll tell you how wonderful I am. A lot of writers would be satisfied to have cornered the romance market and become a beloved figure of fiction, but I know I have so much more to give my public. I’ve recently published a memoir about my family.

I’m a child of tragedy. Which makes it even more remarkable that I’ve accomplished all I have. Yes, it’s true that I had the best private schools and more money than Midas could spend, but I have suffered. I’ve suffered bigly. My daddy loves me but sometimes he forgets I even exist. My mother and brother, Daryl, mostly called Son, died in a tragic automobile accident several years ago. It was my brother’s fault. He was high and drove off into the Sunflower River during a terrible flood. They both died, but Son’s body was never found. Which at least saved us the cost of a funeral. That may sound bitter to you, but think about it. My mother could never see Son for what he was—a common addict. He was always the golden child, the star athlete, the business genius. I was just a plump, dumpy girl, emphasis on the gender part. The McFee family has great pride in the male children and heirs, but not so much with the girls.

Strange as it may seem, I’m going to be the only McFee heir now. There are no males, unless that contortionist Susan Simpson McFee shoots out a male brat. But it will be too late by then. I’ll already have taken control of Great-Grandfather Jamie’s trust. And it will all be mine. The Delta mansion, the stocks, the bonds, the land, the utilities—the whole she-bang.

And if that’s not enough, they’ll be filming the movie based on my tell-all book about my family. The movie crew is already in town scouting for locations. It’s going to be wonderful. Really wonderful. And I can tell the whole world how worthless Son was and how I have finally become the real winner in my family. Except for Daddy, of course. He’s going to be a U.S. Senator. He’ll have power and I’ll have money. What a combo!

The only flies in the ointment are Stinky Tinkie Richmond and her sidekick, that awful Sarah Booth Delaney. They think they’re private investigators or some such idiocy. And they are everywhere I turn. They’re at my home, they’re in town, they’re stuffing their faces at the local café. They are intolerable, and Stinky Tinkie had better watch out or I’ll tell all about her college days. You know, it’s really special to come home and realize how far superior I am to all of the people I grew up with. They just can’t hold a candle to me. I shine like an LED super lantern to their Triple A battery light.

But enough about them and back to me, a far more worthy subject. When I inherit everything, I’m going to write a new series of young adult fantasy books. I have the perfect idea. I just have to get this movie behind me and make sure my daddy gets his heart’s desire and is elected. Maybe I’ll buy my own Hollywood studio and make movies from all of my books. Now that would be a great cause. The world needs more romance and adventure, and I’m just the woman to give it to them.

So much to do; so little time. I’m off to tackle the winds of war. Be sure and learn all about me in Sticks and Bones. I really am worth your time.


You can read more about Sis-ta McFee in Sticks and Bones, the 17th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series.

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.

Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye―or is told in Sister’s memoir―and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.

Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

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About the author
Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries. She is the recipient of both the Harper Lee Distinguished Writing Award and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Semmes, Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of.

Connect with Carolyn at carolynhaines.com, on Twitter, on Instagram, on her Amazon Author page, on BookBub, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Your Killin’ Heart by Peggy O’Neal Peden

Your Killin’ Heart by Peggy O’Neal Peden is the first book in the NEW “Nashville” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2017

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Nashville is an aspiring country music star. Campbell Hale, for one, just wants to get her travel agency off the ground and move on from a break-up. But when she gets the opportunity to visit the mansion of mysterious country icon Jake Miller, she jumps at the chance. After all, who knows what clues are lurking around the long-dead star’s last home?

But as Campbell pokes around, she discovers more than a few sequined suits and priceless memorabilia. She finds Hazel Miller, Jake’s widow, quietly resting in a bedroom on the main floor. But Hazel might just be dead quiet. And Campbell might just be the last person to have seen her alive.

Juggling the twisty plots of high-profile country stars with her blossoming business―not to mention the tattered remains of her love life―Campbell thinks she’s got everything figured out. But when the danger becomes personal, she must uncover a killer who will stop at nothing to get what they want―or face the music.

With Your Killin’ Heart, award-winning author Peggy O’Neal Peden has given us a witty debut full of Nashville charm and generous heart.

We are introduced to Campbell Hale who had the misfortune of being slightly inquisitive and found herself involved in a murder investigation, one of which she was not suited to perform. This was a fast-paced and action-packed whodunit that pulled me in immediately and I couldn’t put this book down until it was all said and done. The author did a great job in staging this production with Nashville serving as the backdrop as insider information was spouted during the course of this story. Who killed Hazel? That’s the story and I liked how the author presented the suspects where some were easy to spot, others not so much, and that’s is what kept me engrossed in what was happening on the pages. The narrative was visually descriptive putting me in the middle of all the action as I gasped here and there at the various mishaps that plagued Campbell as she sought a killer’s identity, coming a bit too close to losing her own. Boasting a likable cast of characters that includes Campbell, Sam and MaryNell and engaging dialogue, this was an enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in this pleasant appealing series.

My Musing ~ Silent Rain by Karin Salvalaggio

Silent Rain by Karin Salvalaggio is the fourth book in the “Macy Greeley” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books May 9, 2017

silent-rainGrace Adams has spent three years trying to move on―mentally, physically, emotionally―from the traumatizing events of her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her. The bestselling novelist Peter Granger wants to use Grace’s story in his next book, regardless of how desperate Grace is to keep the details to herself. And then, on Halloween night, Peter Granger’s house burns to the ground and his and his wife’s bodies are found inside.

Montana state detective Macy Greeley is sent to Bolton to handle the investigation into the fire and deaths. . .which soon appear to be arson and murder. It doesn’t take Macy long to realize that Grace isn’t the only one whom Peter Granger has betrayed, and there are no shortages of others in town who took issue with him and his wife. What at first looked like a straightforward investigation is poised to expose some of Bolton’s darkest secrets, and the fallout may put more than one life in danger.

The drama that unfolded captured my attention from the beginning and never let up, not even at the conclusion. There was more to this story and the author did a great job in disseminating all that transpired with this superb cast of characters that featured strong women in every possible form. The narrative was enticing with a tightly woven storyline that put me in the middle of all the action. The dialogue, the staging, and the story’s tempo, kept this tome moving at a pace that I dare not miss a moment for every little detail had me intrigued in the possibilities that the author put forth.

The author did a fantastic job in divvying up the roles that the characters played which were pivotal to how this was all going to end. They were a few strategically-placed twists that gave me pause but when it was all said it done, it added to how well this story was told. Macy is my kind of heroine, and it was nice seeing a stronger Grace who appeared in a previous book. With great plot twists, complex characters and an all-around great read, this was one of the best book in the series and I look forward to more investigations with Macy and her colleagues.

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

A day in the life with Kat Stanford by Hannah Dennison

I can’t believe I have been living in Devon for almost a year! I also can’t believe I am actually happy here. True, it was a bit rocky to start with. Moving in with my mother at the grand old age of thirty-nine is not something I ever imagined would happen. It just goes to show that no one knows what’s around the corner—trite, but true.

But here I am living in Jane’s Cottage (apparently it used to be a former hunting lodge) perched on top of a hill that overlooks the vast Honeychurch Hall estate. The views are spectacular. Who would have thought a city girl like me would grow to love the countryside so much.

I don’t miss hosting Fakes & Treasures either and I definitely don’t miss being in the public eye. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about looking fat on camera and can finally eat whatever I like. I didn’t realize just how delicious Devonshire clotted cream could be.

Of course it’s the formidable dowager countess, Lady Edith Honeychurch, who has made all this possible. For just a peppercorn rent, she has leased Jane’s Cottage and the Victorian gatehouses at the main entrance all to me! The gatehouses are now the official homes for my new antique venture, Kat’s Collectibles. Business is slow because Honeychurch Hall is definitely off the beaten track but I’m hoping that this coming weekends annual English Civil War re-enactment will attract a few new clients. Apparently there will be hundreds of people descending on the park, setting up camp and parading around in seventeenth century clothing brandishing swords and whatnot. Mum has got caught up in the preparations after rashly volunteering to make the costumes for the entire Honeychurch clan.

Speaking of my mother—much as I love her—the more I get to know her, the more I realize I know nothing about her at all. She was so different when Dad was alive. I’m trying to think of the right word to describe her back then. I know . . . demure. What a joke! If only Dad knew the truth!

For a start, he had no idea that Mum wrote steamy romance novels under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm. Neither did I. In fact, not even her new editor at Goldfinch Publishing knows that Krystalle is not her real name. Somehow, my mother has managed to successfully create a whole new persona. It’s as if she is in the witness protection program or something. The silly thing is that the locals are all fans of Krystalle Storm. They’d be thrilled if they knew that she lived in their midst. But Mum flatly refuses to come clean. Whenever I grill her she mumbles that it’s something about not declaring her earnings or having an offshore account in the Channel Islands and then promptly changes the subject.

But having said all that, Mum and I have never been closer and now I no longer live in her pocket we are getting on so much better. I can leave her alone—or should I say, completely avoid her—when she’s writing. Her mood swings can be awful. One moment she’s happy as a lark when the book is working and the next, wanting to throw herself under a train when it isn’t. Fortunately, Mum has finally turned in her latest book and become human again. The title is . . . wait for it . . . “Ravished”! (I am cringing. Why couldn’t she write a book on gardening or a lovely historical biography like Antonia Fraser?) The last six weeks were really wretched mainly because she has a brand new editor who—according to my mother—accused “Krystalle” of being “high maintenance.” I didn’t comment.

Hopefully, all will be well although I do wish she’d learn to use a computer and not Dad’s battered old Olivetti typewriter. I keep insisting she make copies but Mum flatly refuses. I mean . . . what if her manuscript went missing?

In the meantime I’m looking forward to the re-enactment. I’ll say one thing for country living . . . it’s never dull.


You can read more about Kat in Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall, the fourth book in the “Honeychurch Hall” mystery series.

When the only copy of Ravished, Iris Stanford’s new manuscript, never arrives at her London publisher’s office, her daughter Kat investigates the tiny local village post office, where it appears the package never left the building. Iris is on tenterhooks―not only is her novel gone with the wind, but she’s deathly afraid that Muriel Jarvis, the postmistress and notorious busybody, will expose her secret identity as the bestselling romance writer Krystalle Storm. Meanwhile, Muriel has her own problems with the sudden death of her husband Fred, which has left her heavily in debt. In the spine-tingling climax, both past and present collide as Kat fights for her life and those she holds most dear, dancing once again with the dark forces lurking behind the grandeur of Honeychurch Hall.

This nail-biting addition to Hannah Dennison’s Honey Church Hall mystery series, Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall is not to be missed.

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About the author
British born, Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and still works for a west coast advertising agency. Hannah writes the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur) and the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) both set in the wilds of the English countryside. Connect with Hannah at www.hannahdennison.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends May 7, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Katherine Goff by Susan C. Shea

Let’s take a summer day, the time of year in which Love & Death in Burgundy takes place, when the region is humming with tourists and vide-greniers. What are they? This free way to spend a Saturday happens when a town chooses a date to hold a flea market. Most of the vendors at the tables set up along the main street are local and not professionals. Everything is old, undoubtedly lived in an attic for decades, and is one of a kind – no mass produced goods. So, let’s follow Katherine, a middle-aged American artist transplanted to the hamlet of Reigny-sur-Canne only to be caught up in the swirl of controversy around a mysterious death, living on a stringent budget, as she indulges in her favorite Burgundian pastime, a day at a vide-grenier 20 kilometers from her village.

Michael, as always, drove at high speed in the old Citroen, flying through unmarked country crossroads, along narrow roads bisecting blooming fields of rapeseed or wheat, past pastures decorated by Burgundy’s famous white Charolais cattle, downshifting when absolutely necessary with a grinding of gears and a lurching motion that Katherine had learned to ignore because there was no point in yelping. She consulted the printed list of flea market dates and towns she held in her lap. “I know it’s here, L’Isle-sur-Serein,” she said as her husband swung off the road and over a little stone bridge. The Serein River ran softly in the summer, dallying among farm properties and through little towns, many of which had been built centuries earlier along the banks.

Sure enough, a fallow field at the edge of town was packed with cars, and a few minutes later the couple began their stroll through town. One of the blessings of the vide-greniers is the low prices on almost everything. And if something is trop cher (too expensive) it is possible to bargain. Since Katherine wanted at least half of what she saw, bargaining was an important skill, one she managed with grace. Here is what she saw that day that she wanted:

  • a diminutive doll with a porcelain face, messed up hair and delicate hands, circa 1930 asking 18 euros
  • a set of 30 illustrated ‘penny dreadful’ booklets from 1910 entitled “Dick Carter, Le Roi des Detectives” to be had for 8 euros, perhaps because they were a bit crumbly
  • a pair of silverplate-handled salad implements that the seller insisted were set with real bone spoon and fork pieces, probably from the 1950s, offered for 25 euros but won for 20
  • a white cotton, embroidered baby bonnet slightly torn along the lace edge but too sweet not to get for 3 euros and give to someone’s grandbaby
  • a stiff black frock coat, so old the black had become murky, but so small she could wear it for 9 euros
  • a set of four dinner plates for 20 euros (got for 18) with hand-painted flowers that were partially erased from years of washing but which were, Katherine felt, remnants of a life that aspired to more than peasantry

She passed on the doll, which she had thought might be a good object to paint, but which turned out to cast only evil glances from its one good eye. Everything else fit nicely into her basket. Her husband insisted on buying a several rusty old tools that bored her completely except that one was a pair of hedge clippers, and she certainly needed those to tame the far edge of the yard. Michael swore (as he often did, sometimes without subsequent proof) that all they needed was a bit of oil to be good as new.

As they were heading back to the car, Katherine flushed with a feeling not unlike Christmas morning, she saw one last table next to which were some rose plants obviously left too long in their pots, scraggly and stubbornly trying to bloom. One was a strange mustardy color, the obvious runt of the seller’s litter. “Michael, look! I must have that, I really must.” And for a measly 12 euros, the rose was hers and would go on to be a star in her garden, as the runts of the litter frequently turn out to be when we love them dearly.

Note: The illustrated penny dreadfuls were actually sent to me as a gift by the American couple that inspired the book, and were accepted eagerly by the Bancroft Library at the University of California as a treasured addition to their collection of crime fiction materials.


You can read more about Katherine in Love & Death in Burgundy, the first book in a village mystery series set in Burgundy, France.

From critically acclaimed author, Susan C. Shea, comes Love & Death in Burgundy, an atmospheric mystery novel filled with good Chablis, french cheese, and, of course, murder.

After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that’s no easy task.

When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town’s secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine’s quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers’ secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.

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About the author
Susan C Shea is the author of the critically praised Dani O’Rourke Mysteries and has begun a new series of village mysteries set in Burgundy, France. Susan is on the national Sisters in Crime board, is a member of the Northern California chapters of SinC and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Marin County and travels to France whenever she can.

All comments are welcomed.

Love & Death in Burgundy is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.