“Hanging with the Seniors”
I almost don’t want to tell you about Halo House because we’re almost full to capacity and even though I have about fifty more years until they’ll let me live here, I’d like to hang on to a spot. Halo House is what they call a premiere independent living experience. I call it the doggone most fun place to live in Halo, Georgia. As someone who attended Savannah College Art and Design, it’s the next best thing to living in a dorm.
I’ve got all kinds of new friends who always want to hang out and shoot the breeze. As long as Jeopardy’s not on. And an awesome new bar, the Last Call, to have a beer and chew the fat. Plus there’s a twenty-hour deli (closed midnight to four am), a full-service salon, and even a library. There’s even a bus to take you anywhere you want to go. All they way to Line Creek if you want.
My Uncle Will, Forks County’s Sheriff Thompson, got me my introduction here. I’d made a promise to Uncle Will to “cool it on the hijinks and whatnot” until my brother Cody’s trial and as Uncle Will is up for reelection, he thought serving seniors in Halo House’s activity room would help us both. I’ve always wanted to teach a drawing class. And I need the money as my studio is pretty much defunct thanks to my local nemesis, Shawna Branson—step-cousin to my not-so-secret boyfriend, Deputy Luke Harper, and self-professed art maven of Forks County.
Which she is not. Shawna doesn’t know good art from King Ranch casserole.
Ms. Krenzer calls the class I’m teaching, “Art With Miss Cherry.” However, Krenzer doesn’t understand I signed on to teach a drawing class. To prove my serious intent to bring fine art instruction to Halo House, I painted a beautiful composition: a classic reclining nude. It was meant to represent the fundamentals we’d be learning—perspective, line, shape, tone, value, and composition—and to present my skill as an instructor.
However, there’s been some confusion. Some of the seniors apparently think I’m teaching a life studies class and keep hollering on about the “nekkid models.” Maybe I went overboard with my Odalisque. They keep threatening to quit the class for something called “Hot Yoga.”
So not everything’s peaches and cream at Halo House. You get the occasional troublemaker, like my friend Ada. She’s full of sass and vinegar and excels at gossip and soon became my closest friend at Halo House. Except for Fred, who was best friends with my great Uncle Stan and I’ve known since I was knee high. Fred also excels at gossip. And bare knuckle brawling. At least, he did back in his Navy days during the Korean Conflict.
Their most recent gossip has focused on Halo House’s most famous resident, Belvia Brakeman, CEO and Founder of Meemaw’s Tea. I’m sure you’ve had Meemaw’s Tea, the jug’s in about any grocery store these days. Meemaw’s Tea is on one of those Fortune lists. Belvia is ninety and blind. Since losing her eyesight to glaucoma, she’s moved into a Halo House suite. Dictation technology helps her wield power from her desk chair-throne. She was about to retire and hand the sweet tea scepter to her daughter, Della, the COO of Meemaw’s Tea.
Unfortunately, Della was struck while jogging in a hit-and-run. My Deputy Heartbreak is in charge of investigating that suspicious death, but of course, he won’t tell me anything. To me, Della’s death seems even more suspicious considering Della was about to be crowned CEO. And Della’s estranged sister, Coralee, suddenly turned up after a thirty-year absence. Also, I’ve not heard good things about Della’s husband, who seems like a good-for-nothing fancy-pants type, or her son. Plus there’s talk of some of the Meemaw’s Tea board members looking to overthrow the Brakeman family from the extremely profitable sweet tea business.
I also learned from the quick-and-ever-spreading Halo House grapevine that Belvia Brakeman is about to change her will.
All this gives me what I call a Matlock moment. My Grandma Jo loved herself some Matlock. I did, too. Maybe all that Matlock viewing gave me my suspicious mind. But I’ve a feeling, there’s more going on with Meemaw’s Tea than an accidental death. And come hell or high water, I’ll find it out.
A Composition In Murder is the sixth book in the Cherry Tucker mystery series, published by Henery Press, November 2016.
At Halo House, Cherry Tucker finds the tea deadly sweet. . .
With a new art teaching gig at Halo House—Halo, Georgia’s posh independent living home—and Halo society scrutinizing her family and her love life, Cherry Tucker needs to stay out of trouble. However, her sleuthing skills are sought out by Halo House’s most famous resident: Belvia Brakeman, the ninety-year-old, blind CEO and founder of Meemaw’s Tea. Belvia confides in Cherry that the family tea empire is in jeopardy. The CEO suspects her daughter, the COO, has been murdered and she might be next. Her offer is hard to refuse, but will have Cherry treading on Forks County Sheriff toes, namely her personal Deputy Heartache, Luke Harper.
Amid her town troubles, can Cherry put her reputation, romance, and life on the line for the final request of a sweet tea tycoon? While she juggles senior citizen shenanigans, small-town politics, and corporate family scandals, Cherry finds the sweet tea business cutthroat in more ways than one.
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About the author
A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery and Maizie Albright Star Detective series. The first in the Cherry Tucker series, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. The sixth mystery, A Composition in Murder, releases November 15th and the Maizie Albright mystery debut, 15 Minutes, on January 24, 2017. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, now live in Nagoya, Japan, but they still call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode.
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