Tag Archives: Penguin Random House

A day in the life with Miss An’gel Ducote by Miranda James

When you live in a house like Riverhill, occupied by your family for going on two hundred years, you have to accept the fact that people have died in the house. Most of them died of natural causes, but there could be one or two who were helped along the way to that white light. There’s no way to know for sure, and those who went unwillingly might try to linger in some form.

My sister Dickce and I have observed odd things over the many decades of our lives at Riverhill. The occasional inexplicable cold spot in the house, a door that doesn’t like to stay closed, small objects discovered in places they don’t normally reside. Nothing frightening – just odd. If you ask me whether I think Riverhill is haunted, I’d laugh and say it isn’t.

I don’t know what your definition of haunted is, but mine would include malicious spirits – if I really believed in ghosts. I tend to believe that there is usually a human hand behind most allegedly ghostly occurrences. For example, I wouldn’t put it past my sister to be the one sneaking around the house, moving things, and then claiming that she isn’t responsible.

Now, however, Dickce and I are responding to a plea from Mary Turner Catlin, granddaughter of an old friend, to figure out the source of weird goings-on in her home in Natchez. Mary Turner and her husband, Henry Howard Catlin, operate Cliffwood as a bed-and-breakfast. Mary Turner thinks there’s a ghost loose at Cliffwood, and she’s afraid if word gets out, they’ll lose business. They can’t afford to lose business, because they might lose the house that has belonged to her family for generations.

I have no doubt that the troubles are caused by human hands, but the question of course is, who is behind this? Dickce and I, along with our ward, Benjy Stephens, and our two pets, Peanut the labradoodle and Endora the Abyssinian, will be heading to Natchez to sort out the problem. I enjoy a challenge, but figuring out the motive for these shenanigans, how they are done, and who is responsible shouldn’t really be all that tough.


You can read more about Miss An’gel in Fixing To Die, the fourth book in the “Southern Ladies” mystery series.

It’s autumn down south, and An’gel and Dickce Ducote are in Natchez, Mississippi, at the request of Mary Turner Catlin, the granddaughter of an old friend. Mary and her husband, Henry Howard, live in Cliffwood, one of the beautiful antebellum homes for which Natchez is famous.

Odd things have been happening in the house for years, and the French Room in particular has become the focal point for spooky sensations. The Ducotes suspect the ghostly goings-on are caused by the living, but when a relative of the Catlins is found dead in the room, An’gel and Dickce must sift through a haunted family history to catch a killer.

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Fixing To Die. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 7, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Miranda James grew up in Mississippi on a farm but sadly, the house wasn’t an antebellum mansion. Mysteries set in old houses have always intrigued Miranda, and the books in the Southern Ladies series are all linked to antebellum houses. In addition to this series, Miranda also writes the best-selling “Cat in the Stacks” series featuring librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Their latest adventure, Claws for Concern, will be out in February 2018.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Ruby Proulx by Jessica Estevao

Only a few weeks ago I could never have predicted my day-to-day life would change so completely. Which presents some degree of difficulty as I profess myself to have psychic abilities. One could reasonably argue that I should have had some inkling I would soon find myself settled into sumptuous accommodations at my aunt’s hotel in Maine rather than rattling the roads working with my father on a Canadian medicine show. It seems like one moment I was living the life of an impoverished wanderer with nowhere to call home and a list of aliases so long I hardly remembered my real name. The next moment I had a luxurious bedroom all to myself complete with a fireplace and a sweeping view of the sea.

Perhaps I should explain. After a harrowing incident involving an electrified medical device I found myself in dire need of sanctuary. Preferably some place where the Canadian police would be unlikely to look for me. Just before abandoning me to my own devices my father suggested it was a fortuitous time to introduce myself to my Aunt Honoria who happened to live across the border from where we hawked miracle medicines and I read tarot cards for rubes that visited the medicine shows.

I took his advice and caught the first train from New Brunswick to Old Orchard, Maine. As the miles slipped by I considered the dangers of my way of life and I vowed to go straight. That is until I arrived at the Hotel Belden only to discover that Honoria ran an establishment that catered exclusively to metaphysical practitioners. Despite my good intentions, before I knew it, I found myself employed as the hotel medium.

While it is true that I do not have the exact skill set I purport to possess I should not like you to think less of me for stretching the truth concerning my abilities. I assure you I really do have otherworldly experiences. I do hear a voice from the other side that advises me; I just don’t always hear the things I share with my clients. I do, however, pride myself in delivering the sorts of messages that encourage the sitter to follow courses of action they wish to pursue but do not feel sure they should take.

Most days I give readings for guests at the hotel. Sometimes I use my trusty tarot cards with sitters and other times I rely on small twitches and squeezes I feel when linking hands in a séance circle. It is exhausting work but Honoria assures me it has been a boon to the hotel. I also help my aunt and the hotel housekeeper with various jobs around the hotel like arranging the seating and welcoming the new arrivals. I host a table in the dining room every evening. From time to time I organize and lead outings for some of our long-term guests. Recently the hotel has become a hub of the suffrage movement and that has kept me busier than ever attending rallies and marches.

I also use my position to assist a local police officer in solving some cases that have come his way. I have found that many people are far more likely to share confidences with those they believe are in touch with the world of spirit and although I say it myself, my contribution to thwarting the criminal element in my new hometown has been of considerable value. It has been surprisingly satisfying to find myself on the opposite side of the law from where I usually have operated. I intend to continue to do so as long as Officer Yancey does not uncover the secrets of my past. I very much doubt even help from the spirit world will save me from an upright officer like him.


You can read more about Ruby in Whispers of Warning, the second book in the “Change of Fortune” mystery series.

Ruby Proulx’s new life in Orchard Beach, Maine, faces some sinister complications in the next Change of Fortune Mystery by Jessica Estevao. . .

Free from the clutches of her con artist father, Ruby Proulx is starting to settle in at the Belden, her aunt Honoria’s seaside hotel. She loves finally being rooted in one place and also feels a sense of purpose as she helps Honoria keep her business afloat by acting as a psychic medium for the hotel’s metaphysically inclined guests.

When one of the guests, renowned Spiritualist and outspoken suffragist Sophronia Foster Eldridge, checks into the hotel for a monthlong stay, Ruby finds her sense of purpose expands outside the confines of home and family. Sophronia takes Ruby under her wing and mentors her in the mediumistic abilities, encouraging her to fight for women’s rights.

But not everyone is as happy with Sophronia’s appearance in Old Orchard. When a dangerous act of sabotage is carried out and a body is found floating in the pool of a local bathhouse, Ruby takes it upon herself to find answers— and in the process learns that her new friend has been hiding some deadly secrets of her own. . .

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Whispers of Warning. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends September 21, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Jessica Estevao writes the Change of Fortune Mysteries. She loves the beach, mysterious happenings and all things good-naturedly paranormal. While she lives for most of the year in New Hampshire with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children, she spends summers on the coast of Maine where she keeps an eye out for sea monsters and mermaids.

As Jessie Crockett she’s the author of the nationally bestselling Sugar Grove Mysteries and the Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Live Free or Die.

Connect with Jessica at jessicaestevao.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly

A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly is the 9th book in the “Magical Cats” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, coming September 5, 2017

In this charming mystery from the bestselling author of Paws and Effect, two magical cats have powers of detection that prove indispensable to librarian Kathleen Paulson.

With a well-placed paw on a keyboard or a pointed stare, Kathleen’s two cats, Hercules and Owen, have helped her to solve cases in the past—so she has learned to trust their instincts. But she will need to rely on them more than ever when a twenty-year-old scandal leads to murder.

The arrival of the Janes brothers has the little town of Mayville Heights buzzing. Everyone of a certain age remembers when Victor had an affair with Leo’s wife, who then died in a car accident.

Now it seems the brothers are trying to reconcile, until Kathleen finds Leo dead. The police set their sights on Leo’s son and Kathleen’s good friend Simon, who doesn’t have much of an alibi. To prove her friend innocent, Kathleen will have to dig deep into the town’s history—and into her sardine cracker supply, because Owen and Hercules don’t work for free.

Whenever I read a book in this series, it takes me on a magical journey that is so comforting. In their latest adventure, Kathleen and her intuitive cats get involved in a murder case when the past and the present co-mingle and it’s up to them to bridge the gap and find a killer who is hiding in plain sight. The tone and pacing were perfectly matched creating a nice flow throughout this light whodunit. The mystery was expertly written with plenty of intrigue that kept me glued to all that was happening. The abundance of plot twists and turns, not only enhanced the telling of this tale, but set the stage for the outcome of this drama where all the main characters played pivotal roles. This is one of the best book in this endearing series and I can’t wait to see what’s next with Owen, Hercules and Kathleen.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher.

A scene from THE PARIS SPY by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Paris Spy is the newest installment in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling series by Susan Elia MacNeal. The brilliant mathematician and codebreaker extraordinaire, Maggie Hope, continues her work in the Special Operations Executive. This time, she must secretly navigate Nazi-occupied France to find two women during the darkest days of World War II.

It’s springtime in Paris, 1942. The Nazis have captured one of England’s most intrepid spies, who soon discovers that the Germans have a mole working deep in the British SOE. From Paris, Maggie Hope must unmask that traitor—before the enemy learns WWII’s deadliest secret: the site of the planned Allied invasion in Normandy.

The Paris Spy is MacNeal’s most captivating story to date in her award-winning series. Blending thoroughly researched WW II historical facts with one-of-a-kind storytelling and a resourceful, daring heroine, this is an unforgettable read that will transport you straight to Paris.

An Excerpt

“The Rue Cambon entrance didn’t have anything for me, André,” a woman’s voice interrupted. The newcomer was enveloped in a cloud of jasmine and cigarette smoke. “But I’m expecting an envelope with ballet tickets. Would you be a darling and check for me?”

She waggled bony shoulders in exasperation, glancing at Maggie. “Sometimes things for the Rue Cambon side are left here and vice versa—one really must be careful of that.”

The woman was petite, slender, and somewhere in her fifties, Maggie guessed, although her gamine appearance defied age. Her skin was deeply tanned, her hair dyed black, and her cheeks rouged. She wore a simple black suit, but ropes of pearl and gold necklaces and bracelets rattled as she moved. She regarded Maggie with a basilisk gaze. “Nice dress,” she said finally.

Maggie suddenly realized who the woman was. “Th—thank you, Mademoiselle,” she managed, glad she had chosen to wear the Chanel.

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, known by her nickname “Coco,” was one of the most famous couturieres and perfumers in the world. She was renowned for taking women out of huge and heavy frilly hats and fussy corsets, and dressing them instead in boyish toppers and creations of tailored streamlined jersey. She’d also created costumes for stage and film, alongside Cocteau, Diaghilev, and Picasso, in addition to creating the world’s most famous perfume, Chanel No. 5, named for her lucky number. She was, in short, a living legend.

“They’ve put you up on the top floor, I suspect?” Chanel asked, her gold chain bracelets jangling as the receptionist looked through cubbyholes for any stray envelopes for her. Maggie nodded. “That’s where I am now as well. I used to have a suite, overlooking the Place Vendôme. However, as you may have noticed,” the couturier continued, her voice hard, “times have changed.”

“As always, you’re correct, Mademoiselle,” André said, handing her an envelope with her name written in beautiful calligraphy.

Chanel took it and opened it, pulling out two tickets. “Excellent,” she said. Then, as she unfolded the accompanying note, her crimson-painted lips pursed.

“Everything all right, Mademoiselle?” asked André.

“Fine, fine.” She waved a hand, brushing off his concern. “André here is the best in the business,” she told Maggie. “Whatever you need he’ll procure—an abortionist, a drug dealer, even a hit man. Anything goes at the Ritz.” Maggie looked shocked, which seemed to please the designer. “And what brings you to Paris?” Chanel continued, tucking everything into her quilted lambskin handbag.

Maggie fixed a smile on her face. “I’m pleased to say I’m in town for fashion, Mademoiselle. My trousseau, to be specific. And a wedding dress.”

“Ah ha! And whose ateliers will you be visiting?”

“Nina Ricci,” Maggie answered, glad she had memorized the designers who still had shops open. “Jacques Fath, Germaine Leconte, Jean Pateau, Lanvin … and, of course, Schiaparelli—”

Chanel rolled her black eyes. “L’Italienne.” Maggie could tell it wasn’t a compliment. “Don’t go to that one. Besides, she’s left Paris for New York, the traitor.”

“But I’m going to them only because your atelier is not open, Mademoiselle Chanel.” Maggie had done her homework. Coco Chanel had closed hers in 1940, when the Occupation had begun, proclaiming it was “no time for fashion.” However, she’d kept her perfume boutique across the street from the Hôtel Ritz open and had made a wartime fortune selling Chanel No. 5 to eager Germans wanting a fragrant souvenir of their Paris sojourn to take home to their wives and sweethearts. From all reports, she was doing a brisk business.

“A response to the times,” was all Chanel said. “You speak French well. But you’re not French or else you would be using the Rue Cambon entrance.” She grazed Maggie’s cheek with an immaculately manicured scarlet-painted fingertip. “And not German, either. Swiss?”

“Irish.”

One tweezed eyebrow rose. “Irish?”

Maggie nodded. “Born there. But raised in America for most of my life, shuttling between the two countries. I’m living in Lisbon at present.”

“Lisbon, yes—I’m thinking of opening a shop there. Madrid, too. Perfume only, of course—at least for now. Yes, Irish,” she said, appraising Maggie, like a jeweler inspecting a diamond under a loupe. “I should have guessed with that red hair…”

“Your room is ready, Mademoiselle,” the receptionist said to Maggie, gesturing to a groom in buttoned uniform, white gloves, and cap, waiting with her key.

Maggie smiled. “Thank you.”


You can read more about Maggie in The Paris Spy, the seventh book in the “Maggie Hope” mystery series.

Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners. Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.

But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her—that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown. Maggie must risk her life to penetrate powerful circles and employ all her talents for deception and spycraft to root out a traitor, find her sister, and locate the reports crucial to planning D-Day in a deadly game of wits with the Nazi intelligence elite.

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Advance praise for The Paris Spy

“With its riveting plot and cliff-hanger finish, this is a solid addition to a series as well researche as it is entertaining” —Booklist

“A fast-paced climax leads to an ending that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment” —Publishers Weekly

“You will grieve with Paris. You will be outraged by the destruction. You will be terrified for all the heroes, be there with them every step, and care desperately that they succeed and survive. And perhaps above all, like me, you will be overwhelmed with their sacrifice for the freedom we still enjoy.” —Anne Perry, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series and the William Monk series

“This has to be Maggie Hope’s most exciting adventure yet. Vivid and fast-paced, crammed with authentic detail, The Paris Spy is an extraordinary trip through the edgy drama of wartime Paris, skillfully plotted and studded with cameos by real historical figures.” —Jane Thynne, author of the Clara Vine series

“The Paris Spy is a mystery you won’t put down until the absolutely stunning conclusion. Only Susan Elia MacNeal—and the extraordinary Maggie Hope—could wrap such a tale of courage and betrayal around a secret that will cost lives and honor to protect.” —Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge series and the Bess Crawford series

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About the author
Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times– and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

The next book in the series, The Paris Spy, was released on August 8, 2017.

Her previous books include: Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, and Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante. The Maggie Hope novels have been nominated for the Edgar, the Macavity, the ITW Thriller, the Dilys, the Sue Feder Historical Fiction, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Fiction Awards.

A former book and magazine editor whose first job was assistant to novelist John Irving, she graduated cum laude and with departmental honors from Wellesley College, cross-registered for courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

Susan is married and lives with her husband, Noel MacNeal, a television performer, writer and director—who works with Sesame Street, the Muppets, and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver—and their son in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Connect with Susan at susaneliamacneal.com, on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton

Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton is the fifth book in the “Merry Muffin” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, July 2017

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle.

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry’s home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it’s a miracle they get a show produced at all.

It all goes from bad to worse when the show’s psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry’s property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.

Includes Delicious Recipes!

Love, love, love this story. Merry is back, married and finds herself thrust into murder, psychics and reality TV and what a tangled web of deception these reality people live in. The mystery was nicely done keeping me glued to the pages. The author did a great job with the suspect pool and I love that every time I thought I knew the identity of the killer, she changed direction until I got the aha moment and enjoyed watching it all play out when it was clear who was behind the deed. I also like that they treat Lizzie with respect and she is definitely a favorite of mine and I enjoyed watching her grow and come into her own. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a lovely small-town feel, this is one of the best book in this delightfully charming series and I look forward to new adventures with Merry and her friends.

A day in the life of Ruth Clagan by Julianne Holmes

When I moved back to Orchard, Massachusetts last fall, it was to run the Cog and Sprocket after my grandfather’s death. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I’d run the shop since GT (Grandpa Thom) had married Caroline Adler shortly after my beloved grandmother’s death, and GT and I had fallen out over the marriage. I half expected to come back, close up, and move on.

But the Berkshires worked their magic on me. The minute I walked into the shop, and saw the inventory waiting to for a clockmaker to take care of it, I was sold. Add to that reconnecting with the Reed family, being fed at the Sleeping Latte, liking Caroline a great deal, and Ben the handsome barber next door, and how could I leave? With a lot of help I got the Cog and Sprocket refreshed so I could live there, and Bezel the shop cat let me move in.

The only thing that still haunted me? The Town Hall across the street. The Town Hall was not the hub of government in Orchard, though some town meetings were still held there. So was the Holiday Bazaar, Orchard Glee Club concerts, Girl Scout meetings, some classes, and a few other events. The building needed some sprucing up, but that was going to happen thanks to some budget wrangling. What wasn’t in the budget was refurbishing the old clock tower. That’s where I came in.

When I took over my grandfather’s shop, I started looking through his old notebooks, and realized he’d been obsessed with reopening the clock tower. His drawings reached out, and pulled me into his dream. I began to do some research, and found out that the dream wasn’t as farfetched as it first appeared. Over the years, my grandfather had been collecting the bits and pieces to do the replacement. I could have waited, I should probably have waited, until it made more sense to try and reopen the clock tower. But, as with all things clock related, making sense wasn’t really the point.

Clocks were partially about keeping time. But for clockmakers, they are about the craft of capturing time. Getting a clock tower up and running is a mechanical feat. It also requires a commitment to climbing the tower once a week, every week, winding it 350 revolutions, and making fine adjustments to ensure accuracy. So many folks had moved their clock towers to electric mechanisms because of the work required to maintain them. But where’s the fun in that? No, Clagans are clockmakers. The clock in the Town Hall was the largest clock in Orchard. How could I not honor my grandfather, and make this happen?

Now, I’m weeks away from reopening it. All I have to do is raise some more money, get the rest of the pieces manufactured, install the clock itself, get the bell in the tower, wind it, and hope it all works. All of that, plus dealing with any new hurdles the town manager, Kim Gray, throws at me. I’ve never been one to wish someone ill, but Kim sure isn’t making friends these days.

It would be a lot easier if she wasn’t around. . .


You can read more about Ruth in Chime and Punishment, the third book in the “Clock Shop” mystery series.

Expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan has another murder on her hands in the third Clock Shop Mystery from the author of Clock and Dagger.

Years ago, the serenity of picturesque Orchard, Massachusetts, was shattered by a fire that destroyed the town’s beloved clock tower. Ruth inherited the dream of repairing it from her late grandfather. Now that she’s returned home to run his clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, she’s determined to make it happen, despite wrenches that are being thrown into the works by her least favorite person, town manager Kim Gray.

A crowd of residents and visitors are excited to see the progress of the tower at a fund-raiser for the campaign, until Kim is found crushed under the tower’s bell, putting an end to all the fun. The list of suspects is so long it could be read around the clock, and it includes some of Ruth’s nearest and dearest.

Time’s a-wastin’ as Ruth tries to solve another murder in her beloved Orchard while keeping the gears clicking on her dream project.

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About the author
Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. The first in the series, the Agatha nominated Just Killing Time, debuted in October 2015. Clock and Dagger was released in August 2016, and Chime and Punishment came out on August 1, 2017. As J.A. Hennrikus, her Theater Cop series will debut in the fall of 2017 with A Christmas Peril. She has short stories in three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of MWA and Sisters in Crime New England.

She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Killer Characters. Connect with Julianne at JHAuthors.com, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt

Last night was like something out of a nightmare. A medical helicopter was shot down just as it was making its final approach over the Mississippi River to land at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Two pilots killed, dozens of students injured, rotor blades carved into the side of the Science Building, debris scattered everywhere. To top it off, a cooler containing a human heart crashed through one of the dorm windows. I’m Afton Tangler and even though I’m a family liaison officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, I was one of the first responders who helped retrieve that mangled heart.

Just a few hours later, I was sitting in a meeting with a deeply troubled deputy chief, three world-weary detectives, a guy from the NTSB, and a tech from our IT Department. After watching footage hastily gleaned from three different cameras, the consensus on the crash seemed to be either terrorism or sabotage. But I thought there might be more going on here. I even ventured my opinion that the transplant patient, Leland Odin, the man who was literally lying on the operating table, waiting for his unsalvageable heart, was somehow involved.

Odin’s a millionaire, you see. A business tycoon who headed Diamond Shopping Network, a major home shopping company. On the surface Odin looks squeaky-clean, but I think someone wanted him dead. Could be a business rival or maybe even an associate within his own company. Whatever the case, I’m guessing that Odin crossed the wrong person – and made them angry enough to exact a clever and spectacular revenge. Because now, with no donor heart available, Odin will probably die within a matter of days.

Obviously we jumped on Odin’s family and business associates immediately. Met with his wife, partner, attorney, and step-daughter, tried hard to pound out some answers. They all claimed to know nothing at all, told us Odin had no enemies.

Clearly he did.

But we just lucky, we got a break. The University of Minnesota Police located what they guessed was the shooter’s nest. The third floor of the Huang Sheng Noodle Factory where the surface-to-air missile was fired. When I arrived at the Noodle Factory on the opposite bank of the river, it was a total bugout. Tactical Response’s shiny black SUV’s were parked everywhere, accompanied by a huge contingent from Crime Scene, MPD, UMPD, and even INS.

When I was finally allowed to take a peek upstairs, it looked like the perfect place to shoot down a helicopter. A narrow window afforded a bird’s-eye view directly across the river, right up a leafy green riverbank to the University of Minnesota Medical Center and their private helicopter landing pad.

There weren’t a lot of clues, but we’re going to work with what we found. A cigarette butt from a pack of expensive Chinese cigarettes, a brand called Double Happiness. And shaky descriptions of two Asian people who rented the upstairs room, but left after only a few hours. But here’s the weird thing – the occupants were a young man and an old woman.

We immediately covered the airports and bus terminals, hoping to detain our possible suspects before they made a hasty exit. Instead, things got even stranger. Because we just received word that Jay Barber, Odin’s business partner and one of the people we interviewed, has been kidnapped. Apparently, Barber went out running to clear his head and disappeared in a pouf of smoke. All that was found of him was one scuffed running shoe that was tearfully identified by his wife.


You can read more about Afton in Shadow Girl, the second book in the “Afton Tangler” thriller series.

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree. . .

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage. . .

Buy Link

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About the author
Gerry Schmitt is the author of Shadow Girl, an Afton Tangler Thriller, and Little Girl Gone, the first book in the series. Writing under her pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-nine mysteries that include the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Her books have also been on the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists as well as having won the prestigious Favorite Character Award from the Romantic Times Book Review. Gerry is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, and written and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a hardcover copy of Shadow Girl. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends August 4, 2017. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt is the second book in the “Afton Tangler” thriller series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, coming August 1, 2017

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree. . .

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage. . .

This fast-moving and well-written drama immediately grabbed my attention quickly becoming a page turner that I could not put down. The author does a great job in staging this grippingly riveting tale where there was a no holds bar on the part of the villains and when their mission comes a bit too close to Afton, this mama bear takes action that had my adrenaline pumping as fast as I could read to see how this will all play out.

The visually descriptive narrative kept me immersed in all the action as I was rooting for the team of Afton and Max as their pursuit of these ruthless beings took them to a hospital, an abandon building, a chapel, a park and last but not least, the railroad tracks. All the while, this gang continues to wreak havoc on a city that is looking for them.

The suspenseful nature, the intrigue, the intensifying need to capture their prey and the pivotal role of the key players, including Bonaparte, all came together in a wild and frenzy ride where time did not stop for the wicked as the aftermath was vividly captured on the page. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters with engaging dialogue, the author did an outstanding job in telling this dramatic story and I can’t wait to see what new opportunities await Afton in the next book in this terrific series.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

A day in the life of Janice Grover by Victoria Hamilton

I’m Janice Grover, wife of Simon Grover, the manager of the bank. When we moved to this little town 20 or so years ago – Autumn Vale, in western New York, in case you don’t know – I swore to myself I was never going to toe the corporate wife line again; all those Manhattan cocktail parties talking to people I loathed, trying to help my husband climb his way up the corporate banking ladder. I didn’t know back then that his ladder was always going to be descending to a lower floor. He’s not a dumb guy, but some people are born with no filter, some are born a little wild or weird, and some people (lookin’ at you, Hubby!) are born with naiveté in their bones. He’s so naïve he thinks people are telling him the truth. He was always going to be taken advantage of, and several people in his banking circle did just that, using him as a ladder rung on their climb to the top, while pushing him down.

And so we got transferred to Autumn Vale, New York, what his snickering co-workers called a ‘podunk’ town.

But I couldn’t have been happier when Simon was appointed manager of the Autumn Vale Community Bank. We moved here with our young boys and I dedicated myself to getting big and crazy. Simon and I are both large people and I figure, I’m never going to disappear in a crowd so why not be who I really am? That’s when the name for my business, Crazy Lady Antiques & Collectibles, came to me. I found my niche, but even that was getting kind of boring after a few years, I have to say.

And then. . . Merry, Pish and Shilo showed up. It was happy days for me, even though Simon and I went through a rough patch when we found out he’d been taken advantage of (Again!) by someone he trusted. In truth, he’d gotten lazy even by Autumn Vale standards, so he needed the kick in the pants to make him brush up on his banking skills. We’re pretty close to retirement anyway, but at least, with Pish’s help (that guy is a financial genius!) Simon has been given a second chance to go out with dignity.

But we’re supposed to be talking about a day in my life, right? For the last while that has been taking care of my antique store almost every day. It doesn’t get a whole lot of walk-in foot traffic, admittedly, but that may all change if what Merry and Pish have planned comes to fruition. I can’t talk about it, but some of the most interesting things I’ve done lately have involved helping them find props for operas. I’m hoping that will continue, and maybe even more. Then when my shop day is done, it’s home with Simon, dinner and TV, or some event at Wynter Castle. It’s a simple life.

But now. . . Merry invited that ghost hunting reality show to the castle. . . or actually Pish did; he’s such a pushover, in his own way. I’ve played a fortune teller at town events before, and I have all the gear, including a crystal ball and tarot cards, as well as my latest find, an old Ouija board with a handmade planchette. So I’ve been invited by the show producer to come to the castle and hold a séance. I’m going to see what comes of it. Maybe I’ll actually get on TV! That would be a hoot. Those ghost hunters are interesting folk, but they sure do quarrel a lot. The whole town is abuzz with excitement, though!

I just hope we don’t have any eeevil spirits coming through tonight!!

~::~


You can read more about Janice in Muffin to Fear, the fifth book in the “Merry Muffin” mystery series.

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle. . .

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry’s home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it’s a miracle they get a show produced at all.

It all goes from bad to worse when the show’s psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry’s property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.

Includes delicious recipes!

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About the author
Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of two bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything. . . except writing!

Connect with Victoria on Facebook, on the Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Muffin to Fear, a bookmark, a Cozy up to a great mystery! pen and fridge magnet! Open to US and Canadian addresses only! The giveaway ends July 31, 2017. Good luck everyone!