A Day in the Life of Suzanne Dietz by Laura Childs

Eggs in a CasketSo there I was, churning up the hill toward Memorial Cemetery, the wrought-iron gates looming up through swirling fog like disapproving sentinels. My BFF Toni was riding shotgun, while stuffed in the back seat were four enormous baskets of flowers. Somehow, we’d been tapped to deliver the decorations for the cemetery’s big Sesquicentennial Celebration.

“There it is,” said Toni, pointing. “Dead ahead.”

“Lovely choice of words,” I responded. I wasn’t thrilled with the early morning hour and worried about the two of us getting back to the Cackleberry Club in time to help with breakfast.

“Careful,” Toni warned as we chugged our way through the oldest part of the cemetery where early settlers lay in quiet repose.

“Where are we supposed to drop these flowers?” I asked. Weeping willows hung damply down and swept against the sides of my car, making strange whispering sounds. The overly fragrant aroma of the flowers reminded me of a funeral home.

“Near the Civil War memorial,” Toni responded. “That’s what the folks at the Historical Society told me.”

Being unfamiliar with this part of the cemetery, I had the feeling I’d temporarily lost my way. Every time a marble obelisk or mausoleum floated into view, I felt jittery.

“Pull in over there,” Toni said, cocking a finger.

We scrambled out of the car, ducking heads and hunching shoulders as rain pelted down.

“This is miserable,” I cried. Three seconds outside the car and we were already drowned rats.

“Lucky I brought my handy dandy umbrella,” said Toni. She grabbed a little black lump that looked like a bat with folded wings, pushed the button, then yelped as a gust of wind grabbed it and sent it tumbling among the gravestones. “My umbrella! I got it free with my subscription to Hollywood Tattle-Tale!”

“Grab it,” I called. Toni was one step away from catching her umbrella when it spun crazily and whooshed away from her again.

“This is like a hare and hounds chase,” said Toni, breathless and red-faced. “Every time I get remotely close, the doggone wind spins it away!”

“What we have to do,” I said, “is circle around. Try to get ahead of the darn thing.”

“Outguess it,” said Toni. “If that makes any sense.”

“There!” I called. “Over there. Your umbrella’s hung up on that wrought iron cross!”

Pushing herself into an all-out sprint, Toni stretched an arm out and grabbed the handle.

“Excellent,” I said, edging my way around a large granite tomb. “Glad to see you’re . . .”

I skidded to a halt. There, directly in front of me – six inches from where I was about to take my next step – was an open grave. Pitch black earth yawned up at me, daring me to come closer. The smell of fresh dirt, peat moss, and mildew assaulted my nose even as rain continued to patter down.

“Suzanne?” Toni called. She walked toward me, twirling her umbrella as if she were in a Gene Kelly movie. “You look like you saw . . .”

“A body!” I gasped. A man was lying down there in a couple inches of water, crumpled on his side. His clothes were soaked through and his face and hands, what I could see at first glance, were practically bone white, leached of all color.

“What!” said Toni, seeing my look of horror.

“There’s . . . it’s . . . ” I stuttered, back-peddling away from the grave. My voice sounded high-pitched and strangled. “Someone’s really down there!”

Toni moved cautiously toward me. “You mean like a dead body?” She grasped my arm, afraid to look down. “In a coffin?”

“No, not in a coffin!” I said. “That’s the crazy weird thing. A man is just . . . sprawled there.”

“You’re sure he’s dead?” Toni gibbered.

“Yes. No. I mean I think so . . . he didn’t seem to be moving or breathing or anything.”

Nervously, Toni shuffled forward and poked her head over the edge of the grave. “It is a body,” she gasped. “But . . . whose body?”

As I took another horrified look, I suddenly recognized the knotted muscles, tribal tattoo encircling one wrist, and the smooth, shaved head of this man who lay on his side, in uneasy and awful repose.

“I think I know who that is,” I choked out hoarsely.

“Who? Who?” said Toni, sounding like a startled owl from the nearby forest.

“It’s Lester Drummond,” I whispered.

“The prison warden?” asked Toni, stunned.

I gave a tight, wooden nod as I fumbled for my cell phone. “The former prison warden.”


You can read more about Suzanne in Eggs in a Casket, the fifth book in the “Cackleberry Club” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Eggs in Purgatory. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Book Synopsis

When Suzanne and Toni, two of the Cackleberry Club partners, deliver flowers to a local cemetery, they discover an open grave along with the crumpled body of a not-well-liked local. There wasn’t a funeral – there aren’t any mourners – so it has to be murder! Halfway between a cozy and a thriller (a thrillsy!), Eggs in a Casket delivers mystery, romance, suspects galore, and a dash of spirituality. This New York Times bestselling cozy café series from Laura Childs intrigues with quirky characters as well as recipes for chicken meatloaf, bacon cornbread, and cranberry muffins.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on January 14, and you will be entered for a chance to win a hardcover copy of Eggs in a Casket, her brand new Cackleberry Club Mystery. Two (2) winners will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. ChildsIn her previous life, she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund-raising for various non-profit organizations, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Visit Laura’s website at www.laurachilds.com

45 responses to “A Day in the Life of Suzanne Dietz by Laura Childs

  1. Nancy Funkhouser

    I have read several of the Cackleberry Club series and liked them. I would love a copy of the latest one.

    Like

  2. This sounds like a great book. I have just added it to my list of Series to read.

    Like

  3. I’m so excited that another book is coming out by one of my favorite authors! I would love to win a copy!

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  4. I have the first four in paperback and was waiting for this to come out in paperback so I could get that too. This is another series I read for the relationships between the characters. I like that the characters are 50-something women leading full lives who support each other. The secondary characters are all interesting. And I like the recipes at the end. I’ve not made any yet, but I enjoy reading them.

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  5. I was going to say ‘what a fun cover’, then I noticed the the graves…..LOL!!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!!

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  6. Barbara Jones

    I do enjoy all of Laura Childs series. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  7. I have wanted to start this series for awhile!

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  8. Now that was a teaser! I can’t wait to read this one! Hope I win…

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  9. Great series! Looking forward to reading this latest book. Thanks for the review!

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  10. Alicia Farage

    Love this series and would love to win a copy! Happy Monday!

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  11. Debbie Carnes

    Love Laura Childs and really look forward to reading this one. I’d be so excited to win

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  12. Love this series. Actually, I love all of the books written by Laura Child’s.

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  13. This is a wonderful series and I’m glad to see book #5.

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  14. Sounds like a fun read. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

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  15. Kathy Gonzales

    I love this series, and the title is awesome !

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  16. Cemeteries can be fun. When I was young, a group of us would ride bicycles to a cemetery a distance from our neighborhood, have a picnic and watch the swans on the pond. Our parents had no idea where we were going, but it was a lovely adventure. Of course, if we had found a body or an open grave, we would have pedaled our way right back home.

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  17. We are members of the Greenwood Cemetery group here in Brooklyn. It’s an historic site with tours of all the famous people’s graves, and also the beautiful art in the headstones. Back when it first opened families would go there for picnics because of the beautiful park like scenery.

    I’d love to win a Hard Cover copy of this book. I’m a big fan of this series. Toss the hat Dru.

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  18. I enjoy all of Laura’s books. Thank you for the chance to win.

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  19. What a perfect scene for a mystery—fog, rain, darkness–then an open grave and a body. I love it. This book has just become a must-read.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  20. I love Laura Childs and read books from her other series but have not read any of this series. I would really love to read Eggs in a Casket. Thank you for the chance!

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  21. The ladies of the Crackleberry are always finding the bodies. This time sounds like another great story. Thank you for giving me a heads up and a chance to win a copy.

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  22. I enjoy this series and would like to read this book. Thank you.

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  23. Nancy Roessner

    Sounds very creepy and scary. Just the right mood for a murder mystery.

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  24. I’ve read some of the teashop mysteries but none in this series. Help me correct this. Thanks.

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  25. Love this series!

    Like

  26. I’d love to win this. Really enjoy the books.

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  27. Pamela Richard

    I love this series and can’t wait to read this newest one!

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  28. I love this series!!

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  29. It’s great how popular this series has become. I’d certainly like to win a copy for both of us to read. Thanks.

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  30. Cynthia E. Blain

    I was so happy to see this posting as I had no idea that this book was out already. I have read at least two if not three in this series and really enjoyed them, but then got busy with other series too, so this is the reminder that I needed to get this book ordered. That is, if I don’t get really lucky and win it!!!! 🙂 I love Laura’s writing and have read every single book in her Tea shop series as well.
    Thank you for the posting today, Dru. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
    Sincerely,
    Cynthia

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  31. I love this series. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  32. I enjoy this series immensely! Thanks for the review & giveaway chance! Hardback no less!!! Moving up in world!

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  33. Wendy Newcomb

    My daughter would love for me to win this for her, she loves cozy mysteries! Thank you for the chance to win it for her.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  34. Congrats to Laura Childs on the new release! I’ve been looking forward to this installment of the Cackleberry Club series. Glad it’s finally here!

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  35. I love the cover and the title! I’d love to read it, too!

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  36. I think this is your best series although my sister likes the tea series best.

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  37. This a very favorite seies of mine. Love all the strong women in the boos. Would love to win a copy of the newest one.

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  38. I love this series, and the recipes.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

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  39. Sounds like great cozy mystery.

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  40. Sounds perfect for me.

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  41. Need to find the Cackleberry Club Mystery I bought a while ago. 🙂 Great excerpt.

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  42. This is a new series for me!

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  43. I love the title and a chance to win.

    Like

  44. Michelle Fidler

    I’ve read one of the books in the series (and have two more at home to read) and I really like her tea shop series (I’ve read all but one).
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  45. contest is closed.

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