Suburbia is murder, my friends.
I know this, and in the most intimate and shocking way possible. And yet, I simply cannot leave well enough alone. Or maybe it’s the murders that won’t leave me alone. I’m just a shopkeeper, for pete’s sake. Maybe it’s the red hair.
My name is Charlotte Carpenter, aka Charley. I am the humble owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, the trendiest boutique in my hometown of Oakwood, a wealthy, insular suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Not exactly your first pick as a likely locale for a series of gruesome murders, you say?
You’d be wrong.
A few months ago, I helped the police solve a baffling case involving the exclusive Agathas Book Club, of which I used to be a member (before most of the membership was knocked off, crime scenes arranged to copy books from our murder mystery reading list). Specifically, I found myself working intimately with the smoking hot Detective Marcus Trenault. Ever since that first investigation, I’ve encountered more dead bodies than any amateur sleuth has a right to expect. I love it. And I’m good at it, too—solving puzzles, tracking down information in pursuit of the truth, going where the police cannot. Before you ask, the fact that I’ve had a major thing for Marc since we were in high school has had no influence whatsoever on my affinity for all things murder. None at all. Seriously.
To return to the business at hand: Murder has found Oakwood once again, and once again, I discovered the body. Estate Agent Calvin Prescott was a dear family friend. My wheelchair bound father Bobby was devastated by the loss of yet another pal from the old days. The fact that I’ve found evidence of a link between Calvin’s death and the recent auction at Mulbridge House hasn’t helped matters. It seems as if everyone in town has a stake in the fate of the crumbling old mansion in the woods.
For example, we have today’s toxic bombshell, a Facebook post by an anonymous witch known only as “Treasure Girl”, a real doozy of a slime job that claims collusion between myself, the Mulbridge heirs and the Oakwood City Council to ram the demolition approval through for our own nefarious ends. When I saw that post, I was so stunned that I almost got run over by a minivan right in front of Old Hat. Good thing my clerk Vanessa was there to drag me out of harm’s way. What is happening to my peaceful, charming little town?
I’m the first to admit that living at home, surrounded by people who have known me since I was a baby, can be stifling. Sometimes this town feels like one big, flat sidewalk, lined with casserole rotations and predictability, desperate housewives and meaningless rules of conduct. I’m only twenty eight, and there are days when I feel as if life here just isn’t enough, that I don’t really fit in, no matter how hard I try. But I am trying. I’m determined to make it work, for my father’s sake if not my own.
I’ve got good friends here, including my BFF from junior high, Frankie. She and Dmitri, the assistant manager of the hair salon next to my boutique, ensure that life is anything but boring. Those two rascals never hesitate to back me up on a caper, including the time we broke into the—well. That’s a story for another day, preferably after the statute of limitations has expired.
And then, of course, there’s Marcus. He walked away from a career as the rising star in the Chicago PD’s Homicide Division to take a job in this one horse town, where a stolen cellphone is a major crime wave. The poor guy was bored stiff and seriously questioning his own life choices when the Agathas case changed everything. Suddenly, he had more trouble than he could handle.
Including yours truly.
Which brings me to my current dilemma. Dating a cop means you’ve got to keep things like breaking and entering on the down low. But how else will I get the information I need to solve Calvin’s murder? Maybe if I find out what’s really going on in those woods, Marc won’t be too angry about how I did it. The end justifies the means, right? Here’s hoping, because there’s a killer on the loose, and something tells me he—or she—isn’t finished yet. Not by a long shot.
Learn more about Charley in The Antique House Murders, Book 2 in the USA Today bestselling “Oakwood Mystery Series.”
Mulbridge House stood, silent and decaying, deep in the woods at the heart of Oakwood, Ohio, long before the passing of Augusta Mulbridge. Yet suddenly everyone in town seems to have a stake in its fate: the greedy heirs, eager to tear it down for a tidy profit; the local preservationists, determined to maintain it as an historic site; the angry neighbors, staunchly opposed to the construction of a modern subdivision. Even Charley Carpenter is forced to admit that her beloved shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, could use an infusion of the estate’s treasures.
The clock is ticking. The wrecking ball is ready to swing. All that stands between Mulbridge House and oblivion is one final vote. That, and murder. . .
The trouble begins when Charley walks into auctioneer Calvin Prescott’s office to find her cherished family friend crumpled on the floor. Detective Marcus Trenault quickly connects his death to a string of increasingly violent burglaries plaguing Oakwood. But when Charley uncovers a link to a massive land swindle worth millions, not to mention a drug ring operating out of the manor’s abandoned outbuildings, that theory crumbles faster than Mulbridge House. Now Charley’s racing to catch a killer before everything falls apart.
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Meet the author
Leslie Nagel is the author of the USA Today and Amazon bestselling “Oakwood Mystery Series.” She lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. In addition to crafting tales about murder, love, and the love of murder, she teaches writing at a local community college. As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, she’s always got at least two books going on her nightstand and in her office, plus a third in audio format in her car. After the written word, Leslie’s passions include her husband, her son and daughter, hiking, tennis, the cat that runs her office, and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.
The series debut, The Book Club Murders, was released in 2016, has received hundreds of starred reviews, and quickly hit #1 on Amazon and USA Today’s Top 150. The Antique House Murders is now available wherever ebooks are sold, as well as in audio format from Audible Books.
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