A Day in the Life of Hazel Rose by Maggie King

Murder at the Book GroupHere’s my advice to romance writers everywhere: don’t try to investigate a murder if you have a sex scene to write. There’s nothing like murder for de-sizzling your hot passages. Trust me, I know.

My name is Hazel Rose and I’m a romance writer. Not an amateur detective. But since last week at book group when we found Carlene Arness dead from a sip of cyanide-laced tea I’d gone from turning out scintillating sex scenes to fancying myself a 21st century Miss Marple.

Why don’t I just accept the fact that Carlene committed suicide? Everyone else has, including the police. After all, she left a note stating that she “couldn’t take it anymore.” I haven’t a clue what “it” was. I didn’t even much like the woman who, incidentally, was married to my first ex-husband. Still, I can’t believe that she killed herself.

What drove this need I had to play amateur detective, emphasis on amateur, like the ones populating the pages of the murder mysteries our book group devours? Writer’s procrastination, perhaps? We’re famous for finding ways to avoid practicing our craft—compulsively checking e-mail and social media, cleaning toilets, making pasta sauce, doing laundry, the list goes on. Or did my burning quest owe to my lifelong sense of justice, my need to right wrongs? Could I be looking to re-purpose my life, get out of my rut?

It was a nice rut, as ruts go. I have no money worries, thanks to my fourth husband who wrapped himself around a tree during a ski weekend with his mistress. I live in Richmond, Virginia with my cousin Lucy, also a widow, and our two feline companions. I have an on-again, off-again relationship with Vince Castelli, a retired homicide detective. After four failed marriages I’m gun shy about a fifth trip to the altar. And so I busy myself with volunteer work and penning this danged romance that’s not terribly romantic.

I’ve spent the past week having cagey conversations with book group members. I had visions of tricking one of them into giving me information that could ID the killer. Wouldn’t you think that one of them would have seen the killer sprinkling cyanide into Carlene’s tea? If so, no one let on. Probably wise on their part, but not helpful to me. But I did find out a whole lot about Carlene that I hadn’t known—the woman was really something. Here I thought she was boring as all get out and instead she was a character straight out of one of Jackie Collins’s steamiest bestsellers.

I’ll tell you something about detecting: it’s much harder than it looks. It’s dangerous. I’m not gifted with courage. And I’m finding that I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

A case in point: I promised Lucy and Vince that I wouldn’t be alone with any suspects, especially anyone from the book group. I’d broken that promise twice the day before. The first time was when, armed only with a cell phone, I walked into the locker room of my gym and had a showdown with a new-to-the-book-group woman and one of my top suspects. She was also naked. Believe me, I didn’t let my eyes stray from hers during our encounter, during which not a single woman entered or exited the locker room. I could just see the headlines: “Richmond Romance Author”—okay, aspiring author—“Killed in Smelly Locker Room by Naked Woman.” Fortunately I emerged unscathed and in possession of more interesting tidbits of information about Carlene. Then I had it out with Ms. Naked’s ne’er-do-well ex-husband. At least he was dressed and plenty of people were in screaming distance.

Not smart.

So today I sit and stare at my computer. How do I ratchet up the heat on a sex scene that’s gone on autopilot? Maybe I’ll let my characters take a long nap while I hunt down Carlene’s killer. It doesn’t help that I can’t dispel the images of naked women in locker rooms and Carlene’s dead body.

No question about it—playing Miss Marple is the only hope I have for my fledgling writing career.

I jump when the doorbell rings, taking me out of my reverie.

I look out the window.

Oh, no. A book group person. And I’m home alone.

Should I grab a kitchen knife? How about a gun? Oh, right, I don’t have a gun. What a time to be pro-gun control.

I say a prayer. I take a deep breath. I channel Miss Marple.

I open the door.


You can read more about Hazel in Murder at the Book Group, the first book in the new “Book Group” mystery series, published by Simon & Schuster.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on January 6 for the chance to win a copy of MURDER AT THE BOOK GROUP. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
Maggie King’s debut mystery, Murder at the Book Group, comes out December 30, 2014 from Simon and Schuster. She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” to the Sisters in Crime anthology Virginia is for MaggieKingMysteries. Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor.

Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.

Visit Maggie on her website, on Twitter or on Facebook

112 responses to “A Day in the Life of Hazel Rose by Maggie King

  1. Sounds like a great debut novel. I’m looking forward to reading it!

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  2. Looking forward to this

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  3. Murder at the Book Group sounds like a fun read. I can’t wait to read it.
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com
    Thank you

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  4. I always look foreword to new biblio series.

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  5. candace knight

    This book sounds great. I would love to win it. Thank you.

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  6. Wow. That was a beginning that grabbed my attention. It’s been a while since I’ve read one of these beginning entries & said, “Nooooo!!” when it ended. This is so not fair. I want to read on immediately. Now I won’t be able to sleep until I find out who’s behind the door. Please pick me.

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  7. This was a terrific beginning & it left me hungering for more. I have to know, I can’t sleep till I know, who’s at the door? What happens? Please, pick me!

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  8. Marilyn Watson

    Sounds like my kind of book…
    Marilyn Watson ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  9. This is fun and I love the book group setting.

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  10. Sounds like a fun book. Would love to win/read it

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  11. I think I’d like to read this one.

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  12. I would love to.win!

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  13. Sounds like a great new series! Thanks for the opportunity to win this one!

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  14. Maggie, you have enticed me . . . I want to read this book!

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  15. A new series?? Yes, please!!!!
    Thank you for the giveaway!!!

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  16. Love new series; hope to get a chance to read it 🙂

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  17. Stephanie Koenig

    Cute! Looks good!
    Thanks

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  18. My kind of book! Would love to read this. 🙂

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  19. Sounds good! Thank you

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  20. Love finding new series to try – and this one sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

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  21. I love exploring new series, thanks for the opportunity!

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  22. Sounds really interesting. Would love to own this one.

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  23. how lovely, whodunit?!

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  24. Sounds intriguing. Must look for it.

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  25. Sounds like a wonderful new series. Glad to see a new one that is coming from a different angle. Thanks to Dru and Maggie King for bringing it to us.

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  26. Can’t wait to read this!

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  27. Love to read this start of a series. I like the line about writing a sex scene and investigating a murder!

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  28. Who says sex and murder can’t mix?? I bet this is a fun book. Pick me!! Pick me!!
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  29. This sounds fantastic…can’t wait to read it!

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  30. Happy Release Day and congratulations!! Your book sounds really good. I’ll have to add it to my ever-growing TBR list.

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  31. Sounds like a fun read. thanks for the chance to win it.

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  32. This proves this book will be an interesting read. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  33. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments on my debut. Happy reading!

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  34. Yes please Dru, I’d like to enter the giveaway… and a very Happy New Year to you and everyone here who has commented.

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  35. Oh, this sounds great, and I’d love to win a copy! 🙂

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  36. Hazel definitely has my attention – feisty, edgy, what an attitude. Going on my TBR right now. I need to learn more about her and see how she balances the sex scenes with the murder investigation ;-).

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  37. Sound like it is going to be an awesome read

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  38. Looking forward to reading this so I can find out who the murderer is.

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  39. Barbara Hackel

    This is a new series to me and I am anxious to read it! Thanks Maggie and Dru for the opportunity to be considered as a winner in your giveaway.
    Happy New Year!

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  40. Sounds like the beginning of a great series.

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  41. This book sounds great! Thanks for a chance to win a copy!

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  42. Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  43. This book sound grand! Thank you for the contest!

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  44. Wow, that’s got me wanting more, I love the sound of this one. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  45. Ruth Lyons Mazur

    This book sounds like so much fun! I’m sitting on the edge of my chair wondering if it was murder or suicide! The suspense is killing me! Thank you for the chance to win this!

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  46. Sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the chance.

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  47. Sounds great. Looking forward to reading this one.

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  48. Back again after my posts have been double-posting while using the kindle fire. I really want to win.

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  49. Oh, dear. Who can you trust?

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  50. You may never trust your fellow book group members again. 😉

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  51. This sounds like a book I would like to try. Thank you for a chance to win a copy of Murder at the Book Group.

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  52. This book just sounds delightful. I would love to read it. Thanks for having this giveaway.

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  53. Sounds like just the book for! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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  54. Ok…I have three reasons for wanting to win this book: 1. I prefer to read the first book in a new cozy series. 2. The storyline sounds extremely amusing 3. I am partial to ladies named Maggie (I named my eldest daughter Maggie).
    P.S. My youngest daughter’s name is Dru..short for Drucilla.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  55. Sandy, you have excellent tastes in names.

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  56. Sounds like a great new series!

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  57. Sounds like a great debut … would love to read and win!

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  58. Romance and murder how delightful.

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  59. Looks like something I would love to read..Thanks for the giveaway

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  60. Would love to give this one a try. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

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  61. This sounds great! A 21st century Miss Marple is just the ticket. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  62. kayekillgore

    I want to read this

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  63. Love the cover and the story line. I love to read books with a book theme. This is near the top of my TBR list for 2015.

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  64. Keep writing…Ok ? I JUST CAN’T RUN OUT OF BOOKS TO READ!!!!
    Oneponychick66@hotmail.com

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  65. Cynthia E. Blain

    I plan on sending out an e-mail to my neighborhood book club about this book that I feel is a must read this year. Sounds great and funny and what more can you ask? I would love to be included in the mix. Thank you so much.
    Cynthia

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  66. I can visit with your book group in person or via Skype. HNY.

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  67. Thanx for the excerpt, made me want to read it more;-)

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  68. I can’t wait to read

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  69. I love books where the a female is the main character because I can become that person while reading the book. Reality can wait…I’m reading! LOL

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  70. This looks like a really good book. Looking forward to reading it.

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  71. Would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

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  72. Sounds like a great read.

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  73. Would love to add this to my TBR pile!

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  74. This has been another one on my watch for list. Thank you Maggie and Dru for the chance to win!

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  75. Liz Caldwell

    I love finding new authors and I look forward to reading this!

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  76. Catherine Bogert

    Another great sounding book,!

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  77. Sounds good would really like to read the rest of it

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  78. Alicia Farage

    Another book to add to the TBR pile!

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  79. Connie Reynolds

    Time to see if book clubs are really extraordinary!

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  80. Sharon Forrest

    Happy New Year! Sounds awesome!

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  81. I would love to read this. Sounds like a fun read.

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  82. Sharon Baker

    I will more than likely get more reading done this new year than anything else.

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  83. I love mysteries that have a writer as a protagonist. It gives me insight into the way others write and they are always fun to read.

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  84. Yes. I want to read this

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  85. sounds like a great book, lol

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  86. Terri Crossley

    This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance!

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  87. donnadurnell2013

    What a story line!! I’d never be an author (no creativity or imagination), but I’ve always wanted to be a ‘detective’ — well, at least on paper. I think a story about an author getting ‘side-tracked’ will be fun. And, besides, I AM a member of a book group, so perhaps I’ll imagine this is us.

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  88. Sounds like a great debut, thanks for the chance to win!

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  89. Sounds like a great book! Thank you for the contest!

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  90. I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

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  91. I have been seeing this book everywhere. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  92. interesting tip

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  93. Emme Peterson

    Formerly ran the “unique book club” at my work. This book title caught my eye, plus I’m always interesting in a new series or finding a new author

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  94. Catherine Bogert

    I need to open the book to open the door and see what’s there!

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  95. Connie Reynolds

    Love the title

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  96. Can’t wait to read it

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  97. Another new author to read. Would love to win this.

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  98. I belong to a small book group and sometimes attend a very large one if seats are open. I will make room and time for yours as it is bound to lively.

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  99. Looking forward to reading this

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  100. Michelle Fidler

    Sounds interesting. Books about books are great. I just bought three of the books in the Erika Chase series about a mystery book club.

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  101. Thanks Maggie for interacting with my readers.

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  102. contest is closed.

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  103. Bettyvince@aol.com

    b ettyvince past away. please sending e-mails. thank you

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