Guest Post & Giveaway: DEATH SAID THE GYPSY QUEEN by Susan Boles

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am thrilled to have mystery author, Susan Boles, as my guest.  She’s here to tell us about the power of rumors and about her recently released book, Death Said the Gypsy Queen (A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery). Sounds like a spooky read in time for Halloween.


Rumor Has It by Susan Boles

The power of rumor has been known for a very long time. And the power of rumor in a small town is like a match to kindling. The flames jump high and fast and truth is often lost in the conflagration.

Being from a small town originally, where my family has lived for generations, gives me insight into how the rumor mill works up close. Here’s an example of one that doesn’t exist anymore, but was the bane of my teenage years.

When I was a growing up, most of the people in my area had party line telephones. For those of you scratching your head – these had nothing to do with a party and everything to do with fueling the local rumor mill.

A party line telephone was one where multiple households were on the same line and each home had a particular set of rings to let them know someone was calling them. The ring for my house was two shorts and a long. And, yes, it worked exactly like is sounds. Two short rings followed by one long ring.

Any other combination was for another home. And all of us knew what combination of rings went with which home. And, if you very quietly picked up the phone at your house, you could listen in to every word of every conversation taking place. Night or day. See how that rumor mill worked back then?

That particular rumor mill option no longer exists. But, I think Facebook may run a nice second. Have you noticed, something that can be taken as a personal insult or construed as being a cut against someone is posted and folks are off to the races on the rumor mill.

In Death said the Gypsy Queen, the fourth book in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series, I use the local rumor mill as a backdrop to create momentum in the story line. The prophecy of the fortune-teller combines with a secret that’s rumbling underground just waiting to explode into danger for all of our favorite characters.

About Death Said the Gypsy Queen

DeathGypsyQueencover“Beware the sign of the vampire blood,” said the fortune teller. “It brings madness and turmoil.”

Lily Gayle knows what that means, but, for the life of her, can’t figure out how the fortune teller does. A quick road trip with Dixie. An unplanned stop at a roadside park. And, an hour later a dead body. Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna find themselves knee deep in another homicide investigation when the local vet assistant turns up dead behind an outbuilding at the farmers market.

Lily Gayle believes the words of the fortune teller will have a major impact on the investigation but can’t bring herself to tell the other ladies. To reveal what she believes the words mean might bring trouble to another old friend. And would betray a trust. Only Ben knows and he, as usual, advises Lily Gayle to stay out of his investigation – which she isn’t about to do.

When the secret is revealed, the townspeople go mad and the fortune tellers words come true. Can Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna solve the murder before more people are harmed?

Purchase linkAmazon

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a tote bag, an autographed paperback of Death of a Wolfman, a flour sack kitchen towel with the logo on it and four custom bookmarks with a charm featuring the cover of each of the four Lily Gayle Lambert books.

About the Author

Susan is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and a contributing author to the Brotherhood Protectors World.

Susan-Best-Head-ShotA lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba. She currently writes the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series set in the fictional town of Mercy, Mississippi featuring a multi-generational cast of female sleuths and romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World.

Susan writes mysteries and set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.

Connect with Susan:
Susan loves to hear from readers and book lovers! Visit her website at http://www.susanbolesauthor.com  or drop her a line at susan@susanbolesauthor.com

Author Links: Website  Twitter – @SusanBAuthor – Blog – Facebook – Linked In – GoodReads Instagram – Pinterest – Bookbub

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Review & Giveaway: K STREET KILLING by Colleen J. Shogan

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read a new mystery set in one of my favorite places – Washington, D.C.  Released this past summer,  K Street Killing  is the fourth book in Colleen J. Shogan Washington Whodunit series.

Description

KStreetCoverIt’s the height of campaign season, and instead of relishing newlywed bliss with her husband Doug Hollingsworth, Capitol Hill staffer Kit Marshall is busy with a tough reelection fight for her boss, member of Congress Maeve Dixon. Before Maeve and her staff–Kit included–leave Washington, D.C. to campaign full time in North Carolina, they have one last fundraising engagement.

On the iconic rooftop of a restaurant overlooking the Capitol and the Washington monument, Kit and her best pal Meg do their best to woo wealthy lobbyists for sizable campaign donations. Everyone’s enjoying the evening soiree until a powerful K Street tycoon mysteriously tumbles off the rooftop. Even with claims the fall must be suicide, Detective Maggie Glass and Kit aren’t so easily convinced foul play isn’t at work. While balancing Doug’s mid-life career crisis, Kit must spring into action to discover who killed the notorious Van Parker before Dixon’s candidacy sputters, even if it means investigating Meg’s handsome new beau, the victim’s conniving widow, and a bicycle advocate hell-bent on settling a long-standing grudge. When threatening note is left on Kit’s car, warning her to back off the investigation, she knows she’s closing in on the true story of what happened.

My Review

This well written mystery provides an interesting glimpse into the world of congressional staffers and their interactions with lobbyists. Kit Marshall is single-minded in her determination to wrap up the murder investigation and get back to her boss’s campaign. She actively seeks to identify the killer, even though it should be the police’s job.  I found the detective’s acceptance of her meddling to be a bit unrealistic.   Nonetheless, the well-paced plot held my interest throughout.  I found the setup leading to the mystery’s resolution reminiscent of Agatha Christie and other traditional mystery writers. And, of course, I loved Clarence and his antics.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

KShogan_authorpicColleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist, she previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. She is the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery.

Author Links

Purchase Links:  Amazon  B&N

Click here to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour.

Release Spotlight & Excerpt: A NEW PLACE, ANOTHER MURDER by Christa Nardi

As a fan of Christa Nardi’s Cold Creek Mystery series, I was glad to hear that the main character,  Prof. Sheridan Hendley, is back in A New Place, Another Murder (A Sheridan Hendley Mystery Book 1), which was released last month.

Description

NewplaceSometimes you need to be careful what you wish for.
Pretty much settled into her new home in Appomattox with Brett and his daughter, Sheridan longs for something to keep her busy.  That is, until Maddie and her new friend are framed for theft and murder.  Not quite the distraction she had hoped for, but she’ll turn over every rock to prove their innocence.  In the process, she learns about the powerful Buchanan family and the history of the local community.  Will the truth come out before the person calling the shots takes Sheridan and Maddie out of the picture?

You can get your copy of A New Place, Another Murder on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DZDQWW4/

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished author of cozy mysteries. Christa’s background is in higher education and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series.

012.jpgMurder at Cold Creek College is the first in this series set in a small, fictitious town in Virginia and Sheridan is an accidental sleuth called on to assist the detective in charge of a colleague’s murder. The fifth and last in the series, Murder and a Wedding, was released on August 10, 2017. Sheridan may be moving, but she still gets involved in mysteries.

The first book in her Stacie Maroni series, Prestige, Privilege and Murder, was released in January 2018, and feature a strong female at a crossroads in her life.  A second book is expected to release early this fall.

In addition, Christa collaborates with Cassidy Salem on a YA mystery series featuring teen sisters. The first book, The Mysterious Package – A Hannah and Tamar Mystery, was released in October 2016. The second, Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook, was released in April 2017. The Misplaced Dog was added in August 2017. The fourth in the series, Malicious Mischief released in April 2018.

You can contact Christa via twitter @ChristaN7777 or via email: cccnardi@gmail.com or on her blog christanardi.blogspot.com.  Sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://smarturl.it/NardiNewsletter

Read an excerpt from A New Place, Another Murder:

My complaints to my close friend, Kim, about boredom were interrupted by the slamming of the front door and I ended my call. Probably something I’d have to get used to as step-mom to a teenager. In the kitchen, I found Maddie, her backpack thrown on the floor. She was stomping around the counter island, her face in a pout.

“What’s up Maddie?”

“You won’t believe what happened today. It’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe it and I was there.”

Her voice rose an octave as she vented and I had no clue what she was talking about. Maddie went to a variety of activities during the week. They were called “camps” but that seemed a misnomer to me. Robotics, theater, and computers were not quite what I thought of as a “camp.” I waited a few seconds and she ranted some more.

“Alex was accused of stealing money from the office. It was in his backpack, but he didn’t steal it. They didn’t even give him a chance to explain. They called his mom and took him away. He was mortified.”

“Calm down and help me understand. Can we back up please? Who’s Alex?”

“He’s one of the kids attending all these camps with me. Of all the kids, he’s been the nicest to me. I don’t understand why they don’t believe he had no idea how the money got in his backpack.”

She finally simmered down and plopped into a chair, a grimace on her face.

“You may be upset for nothing. Once they got him to the station with his parents and got more information, they may have figured out they made a mistake. But why would they think he stole the money and why are you so sure he didn’t do it?”

“I don’t understand why they picked on him. The officer walked in and asked for him. Then asked where his backpack was. Alex pointed to his pack and the officer went over, opened it and pulled out an envelope and money fell out. It wasn’t even hidden. Then they grabbed him. He looked around but nobody helped him. I didn’t know what to do to help him.”

“What makes you think he’s innocent? How else would it get in his backpack?”

“You don’t understand! Alex’s nice. He … He wouldn’t do that.”

“How do you think the money ended up in his backpack then?”

“I’m not sure and Dad says I shouldn’t accuse people without facts. When the police came and asked for Alex, two other boys snickered and fist-bumped. I think they set him up. All our backpacks stay in the main room while we go in and out. They could have stolen the money and stuck it in his pack. Then they must have called the police and made an anonymous report or something. We’ve got to help him.” She stomped around the kitchen some more and kicked her backpack.

“Maddie, is your backpack in the same place as Alex’s and the others’?”

She turned to me and nodded. “Yeah, why? They’re all together in the main room.”

“Humor me, okay? Can you dump everything out of your backpack and make sure that the only things in there really belong to you?”

I cleaned off the table and she emptied her back pack onto the table. Books, brush, hair ties, crumpled up papers, pens, pencils, stale cookie, and an envelope.

“What? Where did that come from?” Her eyes opened wide. She went to grab the envelope and I caught her hand.

“Don’t touch it. You don’t know where the envelope came from or what’s inside?”

She shook her head, eyes wide. “Am I going to get arrested now, too?”

“I don’t think it will come to that. Your dad will be home in a little while and we’ll show him what we found. He’ll decide what to do. But don’t touch the envelope in case there are fingerprints or something else that might help identify who handled that envelope, okay?”

She nodded and sat down, staring at the mess.

“Is that everything? What about the pockets? Everything out, even the crumbs.” I realized this was going to be the cleanest this backpack had been since she got it almost a year ago. Maddie emptied and gasped as she found another envelope in one of the outside pockets.

“Sheridan, there’s another one here. Oh, no, I touched the edge!”

“It’s okay. Let me see if I can find something…” I rummaged through the kitchen drawer and pulled out serving tongs. “I’ll use these tongs and pull it the rest of the way out.” It took a few tries, but I managed to get the envelope out and dropped it with the other one. Then I released the tongs and left them on top.

“Now what?”

“Why don’t you go through all the stuff you just dumped here and either throw it away or put it back in the backpack. Except the two envelopes. In the meantime, I’ll work on finishing up the meatloaf and potatoes for dinner. Later, after we talk to your Dad, you might wipe the whole thing down with a sanitizer.”

She made a face. “This cookie doesn’t look so good. Did you make any more today?”

I looked at the cookie she’d picked up out of the pile. “That one bit the dust. Yes, there are more cookies over on the counter – only one, please. We’ll be eating in an hour.”
Somehow, my boring day seemed preferable to the drama. The idea of the camps was giving Maddie something to do. A big benefit, the camps provided an opportunity for her to make friends before starting at her new middle school in the fall. As with most 13-year-olds, middle school was a big deal. It was convenient she attended the camps at Clover Leaf Middle School where she’d be a student. And it had been working until then.

***

Maddie and I finished the dinner preparation and set the table as Brett pulled in the driveway. He raked his hand through his dark curly hair. That was a sure sign that he was tired or stressed. This situation with Maddie would push him over the edge, likely add a few gray hairs. Meeting him at the door, we kissed and that at least brought a smile to his eyes.

“Hungry?”

He looked past me to Maddie. I followed his gaze. Shoulders dropped and mouth quivering, she’d lost her independent teen, “I can take on the world” attitude.

“What’s wrong?”

He’d barely got the words out and she was in his arms, sobbing. Her long brown hair fell over her shoulders.

“Maddie’s friend, Alex, is in trouble. He’s been accused of stealing money. Maddie thinks he’s been arrested. The police found an envelope with money in his backpack.”

“Do you want me to see if I can find out what happened with your friend?” He caught my expression and his jaw clenched. “That’s not all, is it?”

“Afraid not. Maddie is sure he was set up, that somebody put the envelope in his backpack. When she told me both their backpacks were unattended in the room, I had her empty out hers. We found two envelopes that aren’t hers.”

His jaw clenched, he mumbled. “We’ll figure this out. Let me call Chief Peabody and have him send someone over.”

“I’ll finish putting dinner on the table. I imagine they’ll be tied up for a while.”
Brett nodded and walked down the hall to our office. Maddie moved as if to follow him and I stopped her. “He’ll take care of it and you can help me in the kitchen.”

A few minutes later, he joined us. “There was a shooting. It’ll be a while. Envelopes under the tongs?”

“We used the tongs so we wouldn’t touch them.”

He nodded. It was a quiet dinner, the envelopes grabbing our attention and dampening our usual dinnertime banter. We cleaned up and waited.

A New Place, Another Murder. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: TAIL OF THE DRAGON by Connie di Marco

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As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime, today’s post turns the spotlight on a recent release – Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco.

Description

TailofDragonCover.pngSan Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but now, Julia’s former boss and current client has asked for help. He has serious problems at his law firm. Two attorneys and a paralegal have received death threats and the only common denominator between all three is a case long settled — the highly publicized Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s convinced a woman is behind the threats, perhaps even the widow of the man who died in that same fire, but no one wants to listen — they can’t believe astrology could provide a clue. Before Julia can help her client, two lawyers are dead and her own life is threatened. Can she unmask the killer before he (or she) takes another life?

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win an Amazon gift card.

Read an Excerpt

The doorbell rang. I hurried down the stairs to the front door. I hesitated as I saw a woman’s figure through the glass. Maggie. It was Maggie. I threw the door open and we hugged. Michael’s sister and I got along famously from the first time we met. Maggie probably understands better than anyone how I feel and even though we don’t stay in touch as much as we used to, every time we meet it’s as though no time has elapsed at all. I stepped back and took a good look at her. She wasn’t smiling. “Maggie? What is it?”

“Can I come in?”

“Of course. Yes.” She was quiet as we climbed the stairs. She headed straight for the kitchen and sat down at the table. I joined her. “What’s wrong?”

“Something’s come up.”

“About …”

“Yes,” she didn’t have to say it. I knew she meant Michael.

“What’s happened?” Part of me hoped against hope that we might find an answer some day, another part of me just wanted the sadness and unknowingness to go away.

“Let me try to tell you in some kind of order.” She took a deep breath. “Do you remember the elderly man who used to live across the street from Michael’s old apartment?”

I nodded. I did remember. Michael’s apartment at 45th and Taraval was just a few blocks from my old place in the Sunset District. “Michael and I used to see him when he walked his dog. And then . . .” I shrugged, “there was a time when we didn’t see him as much.”

“Well, I think what happened was his son took the dog because it became too much for the old guy. But the dad didn’t want to leave his home so the family arranged some care and a companion for him.” I waited, not sure what Maggie’s story had to do with Michael. “Apparently, the old man was always taking pictures. He wasn’t any kind of a real photographer, but he liked to do that. He was always fooling around with his camera.”

“Yes, I remember now. He’d even take pictures of the flowers in his yard.”

“He died a couple of weeks ago. And his son and his daughter-in-law are putting the house up for sale. They’ve been there every day, moving stuff out and selling a few things to the neighbors. The thing is . . . they found a box of photos. The father didn’t like digital cameras, he had an old camera that he used and then he’d …

“Maggie …” I couldn’t imagine where she was going with this story.

“They found a photo of Michael. On the street. Just as that car hit him.”

I gasped and covered my mouth. My heart was racing wildly.

“He saw. He saw who hit Michael?”

“He must have. He must have tried to take a picture of what happened from his window.”

“Why didn’t he ever say anything?”

Maggie shook her head. “I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe he didn’t want to get involved. Maybe he was afraid he’d have to testify.”

As much as I dreaded looking at anything Maggie had described, I still needed to see the photo. “Do you have it with you?”

“I don’t. The old man’s son and his wife knew what it was. They didn’t know Michael, but they knew there had been a hit and run in the neighborhood and that someone had died, so they turned it over to the police.”

“Have you seen it?”

“Yes, they showed it to me and my mother. She’s hysterical right now.” Celia, Michael’s mother had refused to speak to me since his death. She wasn’t on firm ground to begin with but after the accident, in her convoluted logic, she blamed me for her loss. If he hadn’t been in such a hurry to meet me, he would have been more careful. He wouldn’t have been killed.

“I can imagine.” I didn’t envy Maggie the emotional turmoil she must be dealing with.

“I told you before, Julia, she’s made a shrine of Michael’s room and I’m so worried about her. She never wants to go out or do anything. Once in a while I manage to drag her to a restaurant for brunch or something, but even her old friends have given up calling her.”

“What can they tell from the photo?”

“Not much, it’s not digital and it’s old. He had an old Nikon, I think, so they can’t see very much. Michael is lying on his side on the street and …” Maggie’s voice shook, “and you can just see the edge of the car. It’s dark or black and there’s a bit of a bumper and the corner of the right rear tire. The police think the driver must have panicked and took off. The old guy might have been looking out his window when it happened and snapped it really quick. They’re going to try to get as much information from it as they can, but they don’t really hold out much hope.”

“Who’s in charge of this?”

“Actually, a retired detective has volunteered to work on it. The case has never been closed, but this is the first thing they’ve had to go on at all. I can get you the name of the detective in charge, and maybe he’ll give you more information. I’ll find out and let him know you might want to talk to him.”

“Thanks, Maggie.” My heart sank. In all this time, no witnesses to the accident had come forward. One woman at the end of the block remembered a dark vehicle traveling fast, but couldn’t swear it had anything at all to do with the car that hit Michael. “We shouldn’t get our hopes up.”

“I want some answers, Julia!” Maggie’s voice had risen. “And I’m sure you do too. It’s not right. What this has done to our family, to me, to you. All our lives have been changed because of this. I want to see someone pay for what they did.”

I nodded. “I do too. It won’t change anything. It won’t bring him back. But you’re right. We’ve all gone through so much …”

“I have to go.” Maggie stood suddenly and I realized she hadn’t even taken her coat off. “I’m staying at my Mom’s for a little while. I’m so worried about her. I don’t like the thought of her being all alone in that big house.”

“Okay. Stay in touch and let me know what you find out?”

“I will.” Maggie leaned toward me and I put my arms around her, holding her tight. I felt her chest rise, a quiet sob. “I’m sorry to arrive on your doorstep like this, but I had to tell you face to face.”

“I’m glad you did, Maggie. I’m glad you did. And maybe we’ll learn more.”

Maggie pulled away. I could see tears forming in her eyes as she rushed down the stairs.

***

Excerpt from Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco. Copyright © 2018 by Connie di Marco. Reproduced with permission from Connie di Marco. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Connie dimarcoConnie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. Tail of the Dragon, third in the series, will be released on August 8, 2018.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of MWA, Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.

Click here to view the Tail Of The Dragon by Connie di Marco Tour Participants

 

Review: THREE ODD BALLS by Cindy Blackburn

I was poking through the endless list of books on my Kindle looking for a light read.  Cindy Blackburn’s Three Odd Balls definitely fit the bill.  One of the earlier books in the Cue Ball Mystery series, it was a fun read.

413pxycuehlDescription (Amazon)

A romantic vacation for…five? This wasn’t exactly what Jessie and Wilson had in mind when they planned their trip to the tropics. But the fun begins when Jessie’s delightfully spry mother, Wilson’s surfer dude son, and Jessie’s rabidly hyperactive New York agent decide to tag along. But what kind of trouble can these three oddest of odd balls possibly get into? Take a guess.

My Review

Jessie, the main character, is a lot of fun.  She writes racy, historic romance novels for a living and takes on the role of amateur sleuth whenever an opportunity presents itself.   Needless to say, she is quick to take on the challenge of finding out who killed the bartender at the resort where they are staying, especially when the local cops are eager to frame her boyfriend, Wilson, or his son for the crime.  I enjoyed the interaction and antics of  Tessie  (her mom) and Chris (Wilson’s son), and the overall family dynamics, and I loved Bee Bee, the parrot.  The plot was interesting enough, and the cast was likeable. Except for Louise, whose repeated “fantastical” exclamations became quite annoying.   That said, overall I enjoyed the book. It’s an entertaining light mystery – a good choice for cozy mystery lovers.

One more thing – you can definitely read these books out of order. I started in the middle of the series 🙂

Review & Giveaway: SUMMER SNOOPS AND COZY CRIMES

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post spotlights a soon to-be-released boxed set from an accomplished group of cozy mystery authors.  Not to mention the fact that any profits from its sales will be donated to No Kill animal charities.  Check it out.

Description

Help Us Help Pets!

New-SnoopsHave a howlingly good read during the dog days of summer with a dozen cozy mysteries from Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best-selling authors. Murder lurks in every corner during the dog days of summer. Solve the mystery as our snoops leash the criminals – at the beach, at the farm, on the mountain – everywhere! All profits from this pack go to support NO KILL animal charities! Fetch it now! And help us help pets!

Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes includes never before published books from:

  • WSJ Bestselling Author Judith Lucci – Gawd Almighty & the Corn
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Cindy Bell – Murder at Pawprint Creek
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Mooney – Dog Gone and Dead
  • USA Today and WSJ Bestselling Author Amy Vansant – Summer Teeth
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Helme – A Midsummer Night’s Murder
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Kim Hunt Harris – The Murder of Bandera Bandito
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Anna Celeste Burke – A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff
  • Ava Mallory – A Dream Stray-Cation
  • Sandi Scott – Croquembouche Murder
  • Susan Boles – Death on the Beach
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever – Toxic Tech
  • Anne R. Tan – Just Lost and Found

Bonus recipes from the authors are included!

Purchase and GoodReads Links

My Review

Given the range of authors and titles in this box set, any cozy mystery lover is sure to find something they’ll enjoy.  I didn’t have time to read all of the books in time for this post so I poked around the list of books and selected A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff by Anna Celeste Burke to start off with.

The first book in the author’s newest series, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff features a group of women who reside at Seaview Cottages, a seaside community for adults over 55.  Miriam Webster, their newest and youngest resident, comes across a dead body while taking her dog for an early morning walk on the beach.  Despite the police warning her to let them handle the investigation, she is soon joined by a gaggle of grand old lady detectives who are on a mission to learn everything they can about the victim.  This cozy whodunnit features a warm and caring group of women, quirky at times, but very likeable.  The story moved along at a nice pace with a variety of suspects and motives divulged as the plot unfolds.  And with its seaside setting, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff is sure to please cozy mystery lovers in search of a fun beach read this summer.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


About the Authors

Judith Lucci

Dr. Judith Lucci is a Wall Street Journal and best-selling Amazon. She is an award-winning author of the Alexandra Destephano Medical Thriller and the Michaela McPherson “Two Sleuth’s and a Dog” Crime fiction series. Her newest series, Artzy Chicks, releases next month and features a group of , eccentric, talented but zany artists in their Art Gallery at a Mountain Resort.

In 2017, ‘Viral Intent’ (Book 3) Alexandra Destephano Series) was awarded a Gold Medal by Readers’ Favorites for ‘Best Political Thriller’. as was her crime thriller ‘The Case of Dr. Dude’ (Michaela McPherson #1) for a Gold Medal for ‘Best Amateur Sleuth for 2017. ‘The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year‘ won an additional gold medal for ‘Best Holiday Read’ of 2017.

Her favorite things are reading, writing art and animals. In her spare time she teaches painting, loves up on animals and raises money for needy causes. Judith lives with her 4 dog family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She loves to connect with her readers and is available at judithlucciwrites@gmail.com. Check our her website at judithlucci.com. and sign-up for a free copy of Chaos at Crescent City Medical Center.


Cindy Bell

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Cindy Bell, has always loved reading, but it is only recently that she has discovered her passion for writing romantic cozy mysteries. When she is not reading or writing she loves baking (and eating) sweet treats or walking along the beach with her energetic cocker spaniel, thinking of the next adventure her characters can embark on. Cindy is the author of the Chocolate Centered, Donut Truck, Dune House, Sage Gardens, Nuts about Nuts, Bekki the Beautician, Wendy the Wedding Planner, Heavenly Highland Inn and the Macaron Patisserie Cozy Mystery Series.


Colleen Mooney

Colleen Mooney was born and raised in New Orleans along with everyone else in her family. She is a Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author and writes a cozy mystery series set in New Orleans called The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles and the fourth book, Death By Rum Balls was released in December 2017.

Since January 2017 Colleen organized a Sisters In Crime chapter in New Orleans, has been elected President and has a planned a Mystery Writers’ Conference for June. She is currently working on her 5th book in the Brandy Alexander series.

In New Orleans, she’s been a member and active in many Mardi Gras Krewes, Super Krewes, and organizations. Colleen says she has never met a parade she didn’t like.

She’s an ardent animal lover and the Director for a breed rescue, Schnauzer Rescue of Louisiana for the last fifteen years. She has rescued and placed over 350 abandoned or surrendered Schnauzers. She loves to write and writes about what she loves. Colleen says, “New Orleans is where it all happens for me.”


Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author specializing in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men.
So, autobiographies, mostly.
Ha!
But seriously: She writes happy romantic comedies, mysteries, and urban fantasies. Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. She’s a dog-lover who works at home with her goofy husband and loves interacting with fans, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!

http://www.amyvansant.com/


Colleen Helme

Colleen Helme is the author of the bestselling Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, a wildly entertaining and highly humorous series about Shelby Nichols, a woman with the ability to read minds. When asked if reading minds is something Colleen wishes she could do she says, “No way! It gets Shelby into so much trouble that I would never want that ability.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. Besides writing, she loves reading, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.


Kim Hunt Harris

Kim knew she wanted to be a writer before she even knew how to write. When her parents read bedtime stories to her, she knew she wanted to be a part of the story world. She started out writing children’s stories, and her stories grew as she did. She discovered a gift for humor and a love for making people laugh with her tales, and the Trailer Park Princess series was born.

Kim loves to not only make her readers laugh and entertain them with a good mystery, but also to examine the issues the everyday people face…well, every day. Issues like faith and forgiveness, perseverance and tolerance. Set in Lubbock, Texas, the fun books feature a cast of quirky characters, outrageous situations, a drama queen of a dog, and from time to time, a tear or two.

Kim lives with her husband of more than thirty years and two teenage kids in Texas.


Anna Celeste Burke

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning, USA Today Bestselling Author!

Life is an extravaganza! Figuring out how to hang tough and make the most of the wild ride is the challenge.

An award-winning and bestselling author I enjoy snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! My books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark also set here in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com.


Ava Mallory

Ava Mallory has been a grade school teacher, a psychiatric technician, a dementia unit nurse manager, and a Hospice nurse. She has embarrassed herself in front of handsome celebrities, won vocal contests much to the chagrin of her children, survived a  major earthquake, and nearly drowned when she mistakenly thought a YMCA lifeguard asked her to dive into the deep end on her first day of swim lessons. She and her eternally annoyed children share their home with a massive collection of books and a never-ending supply of new book ideas.


Sandi Scott

Sandi Scott is a cozy mystery reader who finally found the courage to write the stories in her head and share them with others. She fell in love with mystery books when she first started reading Agatha Christie eons ago, although her favorite female sleuth will always be Harriet the Spy. She loves dogs, her family, her readers, and sweet treats — not necessarily in that order.


Sam Cheever

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes mystery and suspense, creating stories that draw you in and keep you eagerly turning pages. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books.


Susan Boles

Susan Boles is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and also writes romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors series.

A lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba.


Anne R. Tan

Anne R. Tan fell in love with storytelling in elementary school, but decided to study engineering so she could get a “real job.” Her day job is her vacation from home and she moonlights as a writer to keep the voices inside her head under control. She is a toddler wrangler and a part-time short-order cook for her family. She is married to her version of Bob Vila who believes everything needs to be fixed, even if it’s already working. The koi fish in her pond are the only sane members of her household.

Cozy Happenings and more – May 2018

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this month.

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” is short – I’ve been busy finishing up the next book in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth mystery series and preparing to go on vacation. Nonetheless, here are a few new releases for you to check out.

Recent or Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

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And, last but not least, if you like your mysteries with dogs,  check out this month’s selection of Books for Dog Lovers and learn about some great books and the authors who write them.

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Note: This blog does not contain any affiliate links. Links are provided for the reader’s convenience only.

Cozy Happenings — April 2018

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this month.

Recent and Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

First of all, I’d be remiss if I didn’t announce the upcoming release of Malicious Mischief, a new Hannah and Tamar YA cozy mystery by Christa Nardi and yours truly. Pre-order your copy today at a special introductory price.

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New-secretdiefor   new-homecoming
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Free or Discounted Books
Remember: Always check prices to make sure the offer is still valid.

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Sale-MCCCapril  Free-Doves

BTW, I may add to this list over the course of the month as I hear of new sales (and others end), so feel free to stop by and take another look. 

Spotlight & Excerpt: PRESTIGE, PRIVILEGE & MURDER by Christa Nardi

Have you heard the news? Christa Nardi has launched a new cozy mystery series.  The first book, Prestige, Privilege & Murder (A Stacie Maroni Mystery) is already out.  Definitely worth checking out.

Description

Prestige-Privilege-MurderMoney isn’t worth killing for, or is it?

When her estranged husband is murdered, Stacie Maroni Noth is quickly identified as the main suspect. With divorce papers not yet signed, she may get a substantial inheritance – a clear motive in the eyes of both Noth’s family and the police. His family and law firm strive to keep up the pretense that all is above reproach and idyllic. In her quest to prove her innocence, however, Stacie discovers she’s not the only one with a motive for murder. Could it be a colleague at the prestigious law firm where he worked? Or is it tied to the victim’s stance on domestic violence? Or maybe even his threats to reveal family secrets? Whatever the true motive may be, it soon becomes clear that Stacie might be the next victim.

Read an excerpt:

It had been a while since I’d gone to a bar by myself and I was nervous. It was a Friday night and the DJ joked about song titles and singles. Not too crowded, a few couples danced to the tune he played. Other couples and groups sat in booths or tables. The bar was long and I’d grabbed the last seat at the bar, a great vantage point for checking out the crowd.

Perched on a stool by the bar, I was on my second glass of wine when I spotted him. A dark-haired Adonis in snug jeans and a tapered polo shirt, he scanned the room. The wine did its job and I felt good. I caught his eye. My soon-to-be ex wasn’t the only one who could fool around. I winked and he smiled – his smile about knocked me over. My heart raced as he sauntered in my direction.

“Hi. Care to dance?” He extended his hand and I nodded. The DJ played a slow song and he was a strong lead. I couldn’t help but notice the woodsy scent of his aftershave as he held me in his arms and we danced. When the song was over, he walked me back to my spot at the bar.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“Uh, sure. Viognier, please.”

I almost admitted that two was my limit but decided I could sip this one. Viognier isn’t the most popular of wines. That he didn’t question my choice surprised me. Ted certainly did. Often.

He signaled the bartender and ordered the wine along with a scotch and water for himself. “I’m Rick. Rick Murdock.”

I hesitated and answered with a smile, “You can call me Barbie.” If this was my once in my lifetime one-night-stand, I didn’t want to use my real name.

His eyes narrowed for a split-second before he nodded. The bartender delivered our drinks and distracted him from the name issue.

“Thanks!” I lifted my glass and he tapped it with his.

“Cheers! So, Barbie… what do you think of the music the DJ is serving us?”

I had to give him credit. It was better than the “Come here often?” I expected. Then again, Creekview Lounge catered to a different crowd than Rockies. We exchanged opinions on music and danced to a few more songs.

Along the way, I finished the third glass of wine, gained a better appreciation of the muscles in his shoulders and noticed his hazel eyes. As I tried not to stumble, he caught me.

“You all right?”

I licked my lip, flicked my hair over my shoulder, and tried for a flirty look. “I think some fresh air would help.”

His multi-watt smile came back at me and we walked outside. In the parking lot, we commented on how good the crisp cool air felt. He leaned toward me and I toward him. The wine had diminished my inhibitions and I responded when he kissed me. Then his hand was on my back and I burst into tears.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just… I can’t do this. I’m not as slimy as Ted. I’m so sorry.”

He dropped his hands and put them up in front of his body as he stepped back. The smile was long gone. “No problem. No problem.”

I turned and ran to my car, still crying. After a few minutes and a little calmer, I drove to my empty townhouse. Thankfully, I didn’t get stopped by a police car or have an accident. It wasn’t that late – a little after midnight. That’s what I told myself as I called my best friend Jillian. I didn’t get any farther than “I hope it’s not too late” and I burst into tears.

“Stacie, what’s wrong?”

I was crying too hard to talk. I squeaked out, “I went to the Creekview Lounge. I thought I could be like Ted. That’s not me. I tried and I can’t do this this dating thing again.”

“Stacie, you are only 34 years old. You have a great job at Foster’s Insurance Group. You’re educated and smart. Maybe you could go back to school and get that graduate degree in counseling you wanted before Ted.”

“I don’t know about graduate school. What about all the weight I’ve gained? I’m not a size 6 anymore. Each day I find another gray hair. The thoughts of going out and trying to meet somebody is scary and tonight proved it.”

“You have beautiful dark brown hair and blue eyes, and so what if you’re a size 10 now. There’s a man out there – a better man than Ted. Did you see any prospects at Creekview?”

“Yeah, there was one guy. His name was Rick. He was a great dancer and when he smiled – wow!”

“So what happened?”

“Well, I said I needed a breath of air and then he kissed me. I just lost it. I mean I’m not even divorced yet. I burst into tears and sat in my car until I could drive. Then I came home and called you because you’re my friend.” I burst into tears again.

“Stacie, you know if this guy was even halfway good-looking and interested, there’s hope. Was he attractive?”

“Oh, he was easy on the eyes for sure. Tall, dark, and handsome. Muscular. And that’s not the alcohol talking. I only had a couple glasses of wine.”

“Was he drunk?”

“No, he didn’t seem drunk at all. He seemed like a nice guy and a good dancer. He wasn’t pushy at all and didn’t get mad when I freaked. Maybe because I met Ted there … that was 12 years ago. We were supposed to have a happily ever after.”

“Listen, Ted’s scum. You have a lot of years left for happiness. Look at me. I didn’t meet Wade until I was 30. My thirtieth birthday bash with you and Trina. Remember what fun we had that night?”

We talked more about the fun times. Jillian and I shared some laughs and by the time I hung up I felt much better. I surveyed my townhouse. It had been six months since I bought it and moved in, but it didn’t quite feel like home. The only pictures were of my parents and brother, and then a couple of friends. Ted insisted on keeping our dog, Jasper, and I missed him. Maybe I’d get a dog or a cat to keep me company.

The next week, my breakfast on the table, the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, the sight confused me.

“Ma’am. Mrs. Noth?”

“How did you find me?” I asked Rick Murdock as he stood on my front step. Even two weeks later, I hadn’t forgotten how good he looked or how humiliated I felt about that night.

“Ma’am. Your address was on the divorce papers. Can we come in please?”

My brain kicked in and I realized Rick wasn’t talking – it was the other man on the step. The balding stocky one in uniform with a scowl on his face, a smoker from the odor wafting off of him. And then I realized Rick was in uniform, too. He still looked good and gave off the woodsy scent.

“What’s going on?” My gaze went from one man to the other.

“Mrs. Noth, if you don’t want us to come in, we can go down to the station. We have some questions we need to ask you.”

I stepped aside so they could come inside. “I don’t understand. What kind of questions?”

My thoughts were running in circles. Could I have broken a law at the Creekview Lounge that night and not have remembered? Did Rick think I was soliciting? Did they catch me on camera drinking and driving?

“May we sit down? I’m Officer Flatt and this is Officer Murdock.”

“Sure… What’s going on?”

“Mrs. Noth when was the last time you talked to or saw your husband?”

“As I’m sure he told you, it was yesterday at a meeting with our lawyers. Is he still complaining I refused the ‘irreconcilable differences’ lies?” My anger at Ted surfaced once again.

“What time was that ma’am?”

“The meeting was at 3:30. I had to leave work early to make it there on time. He finally grabbed the papers and left, must have been after 4. I was home before the 5 o’clock news. I don’t understand. Is he accusing me of something? Are you here to serve me a gag order?” I huffed, my anger rising.

I glanced from one officer to the other. Rick avoided my gaze and shuffled his feet.

“No ma’am. Mr. Noth isn’t accusing you of anything. He’s dead and…”

I didn’t hear the rest of his sentence. “What? No!”
And then I passed out. I groaned and opened my eyes. Rick stood there with a glass of water. “Here, drink this.”

I sat up and looked to Officer Flatt. “I’m sorry. I don’t usually faint. Did you say Ted was dead? That can’t be. I just talked to him yesterday.”

“That is what I said. He was murdered sometime last night.”

“Murdered?”

“Ma’am. After you left your husband yesterday, what did you do?”

“I came home.”

“Can anyone vouch for that? Anyone here with you?”

“Huh? What? No one was here with me. It was just me and a half gallon of Rocky Road ice cream.” Then it dawned on me. This man suspected I’d killed Ted!
“Oh, my gosh. You think I killed him? I can’t even kill spiders.”

Officer Flatt shook his head a bit before he answered. “Calm down. We have to ask these questions.”

“I’ll get you more water.” Rick picked up my glass and disappeared into my kitchen. He came back with the water and nodded to Officer Flatt. “One empty Rocky Road carton in the trash.”

I glared at him. How dare he check my trash? “Just so you know, I didn’t eat it all at once.”

His mouth twitched, but he didn’t say a word.

“Just a few more questions. About your divorce…”

“Excuse me, but do I need to call my lawyer? I don’t think I should talk to you until I call my lawyer. Of course, he’s a divorce attorney, but he must know something about other kinds of law, right?”

Rick was back to staring at the ceiling and Officer Flatt studied the floor. Standing up, Officer Flatt put his little book and pen in his pocket. “We’ll be in touch or Detective O’Hare will be if there are any other questions. Here’s my card.”
He started to leave, Rick following his lead.

“Wait. Has anyone else been notified? Do I need to call his family? What should I tell them? Where is he? Who will take care of the funeral?”

Officer Flatt blinked before he answered. “You’ll have to talk with Detective O’Hare at the Beckman Springs Police Department.” He shook his head as he turned and left. Rick hesitated and then was gone.

My eggs were cold, but it didn’t matter. I’d lost my appetite.

I sat on the sofa, my head in my hands for I don’t know how long. I still held the business card and reached for the phone. Time to call this Detective O’Hare and then Jillian. A whole list of people to call came to mind.

“Beckman Springs Police Department, is this an emergency?”

“No, ma’am. Can I speak with Detective O’Hare, please? Officer Flatt told me to call him.”

“May I ask who’s calling?”

“Stacie Noth.”

“Hold on while I transfer your call.”

There was silence as I waited. No elevator or perky music when you’re on hold for the police department.

“Hello, Mrs. Noth? This is Detective O’Hare.”

“Hello. My husband… two officers came by. They said he was dead. Murdered. They said … No, Officer Flatt told me to call you. I’ve been sitting here trying to understand. Are you sure it’s Ted? There must be some mistake.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Noth. There’s no mistake.”

I gasped and choked back a sob. “What do I do next? About notifying his parents and family? The funeral?”

“Mrs. Noth, I don’t have answers to those questions. As next of kin, you’re the only one we’ve notified officially. I do need to meet with you and get some additional information. Can you come into the station today, say around 11 o’clock?”

“I… I guess. I don’t understand what happened, Detective. The officers – they didn’t tell me very much.”

“We can discuss that when you come in, Mrs. Noth. I’ll have more information by then. Shall I send Officer Flatt back to get you or can you get here on your own?”

“Yes, I can do that.”

The call disconnected. That’s about how I felt. Disconnected. I called Jillian, but the call went straight to voicemail. I left a message that I needed to talk to her immediately and asked her to call no matter what time.
Then I called Nathaniel Heinemann, my divorce attorney. Again, straight to voice mail. This time I left a more pointed message. “Ted’s dead. Do you know any criminal lawyers? Call me.”

What I really wanted to do was climb back into bed and hide under the covers. My stomach growled and my head hurt. Rocky Road is not the best choice for dinner. I tossed the eggs and ate some cereal but didn’t taste a thing. Who identified Ted’s body? Who killed him? Why? Other than me, who had a motive?

I was dressed for work, but no longer planned on going there. I called and told Rosie, the receptionist, that I had a family emergency and wouldn’t be in. With another two hours before I’d need to leave for the police station, I started to make lists. Sooner or later someone – probably me – was going to have to call Ted’s family. Hopefully, they would take charge of the funeral and burial. Maybe they had a plot for him at the family gravesite. In ten years of marriage, somehow those topics had never come up.

 

Excerpt from Prestige, Privilege and Murder (A Stacie Maroni Mystery). Copyright © 2018 Christa Nardi. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished author of cozy mysteries.

Christa’s background is in higher education and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series. Murder at Cold Creek College is the first in this series set in a small, fictitious town in Virginia and Sheridan is an accidental sleuth called on to assist the detective in charge of a colleague’s murder. The fifth and last in the series, Murder and a Wedding, was released on August 10, 2017. Sheridan may be moving, but she still gets involved in mysteries. Look for the first in the Sheridan Hendley series in 2018.

Connect with Christa:

Purchase Link: Amazon

Review & Giveaway: CLUES IN THE SAND by Terry Ambrose

CLUES-IN-THE-SAND-BANNER-184

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  I recently read Clues in the Sand by Terry Ambrose.  It’s the second book in his Seaside Cover Bed and Breakfast Mystery series but can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone read.  Besides, who can resist the lovely cover?

Description

Clues_CoverTo Rick Atwood’s dismay, the police find a body on the beach near his Seaside Cove B&B. The dead woman held a pottery shard from an ancient rice bowl, which the cops believe is a clue to her murder.

The chief suspect is Flynn O’Connor, a female archaeologist known for her hatred of treasure thieves. Trouble is, Rick’s daughter Alex sees Flynn as a role model and will not believe her friend is a killer.

Alex pressures her dad as only a ten-year-old can to prove Flynn is innocent. The mayor is also making demands—for Rick to stay out of the investigation. With his daughter and the mayor at odds, Rick sees trouble brewing. He knows too well how much Alex loves sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Especially when there’s murder involved.

My Review

Rick Atwood is a devoted father who only wants the best for his over-inquisitive daughter and that includes keeping her out of trouble and away from murder investigations. Their relationship is heart-warming, and is complemented by the developing ties between them and a woman who works at the B&B, much of which is divulged as Alex writes in her journal.  The mystery itself is an interesting one, touching on issues related to archaeology, real estate, and good old fashioned greed, complete with plot twists leading up to the discovery of the murderer.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of The Clock Flower and a Starbucks gift card from the author.

AmbroseAbout the Author

Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who only stole cars when it was legal. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He’s currently working on the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series.

Purchase Link: Amazon