Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

a place where characters give you a glimpse into their day

A day in the life of Sylvia Stryker by Diane Vallere

Hi. I’m Sylvia Stryker, security section for the Moon Unit 5.

That sounds pretty good, right? I bet you almost thought it was true. It will be, some day. Just not yet. Oh, I’m qualified to work in the security division, all right. I was at the top of my class at the space academy until I had to drop out and help my mom run the ice mines on Plunia. And even after I dropped out of school, I traded Plunian Potatoes for used textbooks from the courses I hadn’t been able to attend and studied after our work day ended. I studied so much I practically memorized the course material.

Who am I kidding? I did memorize the course material. If the space academy had let me take the final exams, I still would have graduated at the top of my class even though my last year had been self-taught. I don’t want to brag, but I really am that smart. If I didn’t live under the curse of Jack Stryker, a.k.a renegade dad who got arrested and left mom and me alone, I could have had any security job in the galaxy. I could have been a contender.

And then last week, I found out the Moon Unit Corporation was reviving their branch of cruise spaceships with the newly designed Moon Unit 5. That was the day that everything changed.

I bought the Book of Protocols from an earlier Moon Unit on the black market. Mom found me reading it at the breakfast table. Three days after I told her about it, I received a packet in the mail. A confirmation letter, stating that my application for work aboard the Moon Unit 5 had been accepted, along with an orientation packet.

Mom had filled out the application for me and the Federation Council had accepted it. She told me I’d sacrificed enough of my life to help her after dad was taken away, and it was time for me to go out on my own and make her proud. The only detail left was for me to send in the results of my physical.

I took it three times.

Every time, I got the same results: my lungs had become accustom to the high concentration of oxygen on Plunia—almost 100% pure in the ice mines—a far cry from the 78% nitrogen, 22% oxygen mix found in the environments people from Earth tolerated. Every doctor said the same thing: the survival risks were too great. They predicted I’d pass out before the ship reached the breakaway point.

Everything I’d ever wanted—my dreams, hopes, and desires—gone, just like that.

I had a choice: tell my mom that, despite the risks she’d taken by filling out the application on my behalf, I wouldn’t be working on the Moon Unit 5 because I’d failed the physical, or upload falsified test results to the Moon Unit mainframe computer and come up with a plan for survival.

I pressed send.


You can read more about Sylvia in Murder On Moon Trek 1, the first book in the NEW “Sylvia Stryker Outer Space” mystery series.

When space academy dropout Sylvia Stryker hacks her way into the position of Uniform Inventory Manager aboard the Moon Unit 5, she jumps at the chance to leave her small planet behind. But when the ship’s second navigation officer is found dead in the uniform closet shortly after departing the space station, Sylvia’s problems become bigger than falsified test results. And when her supervisor places her on probation for her own uniform infraction, she’s at risk of being dropped off at the nearest substation. Juggling red shirts, white lies, and an army of little green men, Sylvia has to expose a killer before the Moon Unit 5 becomes space dust.

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Giveaway: Two readers selected at random will receive a kindle copy of Murder On Moon Trek 1. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends December 20, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. Murder On Moon Trek 1 is the first in her new Sylvia Stryker Outer Space Mysteries. Diane also writes the Madison Night, Samantha Kidd, and Lefty Award-nominated Material Witness and Costume shop mystery series. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Visit Diane at dianevallere.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Slim Moran, detective for the lost, by Kate Moira Ryan

When I was a schoolgirl at the Convent of The Sacred Heart in New York City, I lived with Maps, my governess, in an enormous apartment overlooking Central Park. My father, Tyrone Moran, was a movie star who was rarely home and when he was, he was out with a string of women, one younger than the next. On Sundays, Maps and I would venture into the park with our drawing pads and crayons. She was an amateur artist and in my view, a very bad one, however, I was even worse. She used to say to me, “A good artist notices every detail. It’s in the details that great art comes.”

As a detective for those lost in World War Two, I’ve always taken that lesson to heart. I spend hours pouring over my notebooks scouring the details. Sometimes one pops up that may seem insignificant, but really is the most important clue of a case. Take this morning for instance, I was sitting in La Silhouette, the bar I own with Marlene Dietrich’s ex-lover, Françoise, going through my notebook for my latest case, a missing Polish boy, Karol, kidnapped by the Nazis and Germanized. His mother Lena, had given me a photo of both of them shortly before they were separated by the SS in the town square of Zamość in 1942. Something caught my eye, it was a gold watch on Lena’s wrist shaped like a heart. Where had I seen that watch before? Before I could think, Françoise came over with a bowl of café au lait and then barked at Remy, her assistant, to mop the floors. Then the door opened and a deliveryman came in with the liquor delivery. He nodded to me and went straight to Françoise who lit her ubiquitous Galouise and moved her wrist to glance at her watch. The watch face was turned on the back of her wrist and then it hit me. The German nurse I had interviewed in Ebensee wore a watch identical to Lena’s except it was facing backwards as if she was hiding it from me. The nurse had professed not seeing Karol when she ran her infamous children’s home which had warehoused the children kidnapped from Poland.

Why did the nurse have Lena’s watch? And how did a poor Polish maid get a watch like that in the first place?

Françoise sat down. She stubbed out her cigarette. “You’re stuck,” she noted looking at me staring at my notebook. “Remy, after the floors are done wipe down the bar.” She caught my look at disapproval, rolled her eyes and then said, “Please.”

“I am stuck.” I said. “Look at this watch this woman is wearing in this photograph. It’s gold in the shape of a heart with diamonds around the face. The thing is, she’s a maid, so how did she get this watch in the first place?”

Françoise studied the photo and then said. “There are two ways someone like that gets a watch; either it’s stolen or it’s from a lover. And since she’s wearing it so blatantly, it must be from a lover. Trust me I know.”

She got up and left. I studied my notebook. Françoise was right, but who was Lena’s lover? Had she given the nurse her watch or had it been taken? Sometimes, it’s the smallest detail that opens a case wide. Other times, it’s a red herring that leads me into a maze with a dead end. The watch was more than a clue, it was a metaphor for the case, time was running out. I had three weeks to find this boy or his mother would be gone forever to Chicago. Then something else occurred to me; the watch was more than a clue. It was probably used to save the boy’s life. I knew had to find that nurse again and ask her what she had done with he lost boy. I slammed by notebook shut. It was time to travel back to Germany.


You can read more about Slim in The Lost Spy, the first book in the “Slim Moran” historical series.

It is Paris, 1949. 27-year-old American detective and heiress, Slim Moran, is hired by a British spymistress to find Marie-Claire, a spy long presumed dead. Slim soon realizes that scores from the last war have not been settled. She races to find out what happened to this deeply troubled lost spy because if Marie-Claire is not dead, she will be soon.

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About the author
Kate Moira Ryan is an award-winning playwright. Her work was been produced nationally and internationally. She is recipient of two GLAAD Media Awards. Her first book in “The Slim Moran” Mystery Series, The Lost Spy won a Kindle Scout campaign and is published by Kindle Press.

A day in the Debra Gallagher by Dawn Eastman

Hello! Debra Gallagher here. I’ve been asked to tell you all about a day in my life. I have to say, I’m thrilled. No one has ever wanted to know all about my day, even my husband. I work as a receptionist at the Baxter Family Medicine Clinic. My husband is a police officer and he thinks his job is much more exciting. Hah! Ever since Dr. LeClair started working here, things have become very exciting indeed.

She worked with us while she was a resident in Ann Arbor (just a fifteen minute drive away) and we all really liked her. The Drs. Hawkins made the excellent choice of hiring her. They are a father-son team and used to get along really well, but something has been causing tension lately. Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out eventually. Anyway, back to Dr. LeClair.

She tells me she doesn’t want to hear gossip, but lately that’s all she’s been interested in. Ever since her patient committed suicide, she’s been on a tear to learn everything she can about the town and all of its citizens. It’s true, I do know a lot about everyone here. I grew up in Baxter and anything I don’t know, my friend at the Clip ‘n Curl picks up just by listening to her clients. Between the two of us, I’ll bet we could write the whole history of the town.

A day in my life is never the same twice. I don’t just answer the phones. I have to schedule the appointments and each doc has their own preferences, so I have a different kind of schedule for each one. I have to be a bit of a therapist on the phone, especially when parents call. Sometimes they even ask me what they should do! I tell them, I just work for the docs, I don’t know how to treat the patients. (Although, honestly, some of it is pretty easy to figure out. If you were walking in the woods and now you have an itchy rash it doesn’t take four years of medical school to know you have poison ivy, but I’ll give you an appointment).

Some days I also have to wrangle kids and I feel more like a pre-school teacher than a business-like receptionist. Some parents have to bring their whole family in for just one kid’s appointment and it can get a little hectic in the waiting room. I also have to sneak to the back to grab charts for add-on patients and to deliver messages. And, recently, I’ve been fielding questions about Dr. LeClair. As the new doc in town everyone wants to know as much as they can about her. She’s not as free with her personal details as I would like, but I do know this much: she lives in town with her younger brother, she did her residency in Ann Arbor, and her patients seem to love her. That last one might be because she talks to them and doesn’t focus on the clock, which is a bad thing according to our nurse. Dr. LeClair does seem to run behind schedule quite a bit.

Recently, the questions have been more about Ellen Riley and how she died. I wish I had answers for them. In fact, I have a few questions of my own. . .


You can read more about Debra in Unnatural Causes, the first book in the NEW “Dr. Katie LeClair” mystery series.

Katie LeClair has finally settled down as the new doctor in Baxter, MI. After years of moving, schooling, and training, she wants nothing more than to find a place she can call home, and a small town outside of Ann Arbor seemed perfect.

Katie quickly gets to work in building a life for herself in Baxter, and beyond reviving her love life, she also finds a pair of business partners in a team of father and son family practitioners. But that idyllic dream is immediately shattered when one of her patients is found dead. That wouldn’t be the worst thing, except the death is ruled a suicide, and as evidence has it, the suicide was a result of the medication Katie had prescribed. But she doesn’t remember writing it.

When a closer investigation reveals it was murder, Katie is catapulted into an off-the-books investigation that leads her down a dark path of past secrets. But someone is willing to kill to keep part of the town’s history in the shadows, and Katie must race to find out who before it’s too late in nationally bestselling author Dawn Eastman’s riveting series debut Unnatural Causes.

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About the author
Dawn Eastman lived in Michigan for many years, in a house full of animals, unusual people, and laughter. After attending medical school in New York City, she returned to Michigan to complete her training in Family Medicine. Much of that time was spent in a small-town practice. She now lives in Iowa with her family and one extremely bossy small dog. She is the national bestselling author of The Family Fortune Mystery Series, which features psychics, quirky characters and murders. This is her first Dr. Katie LeClair mystery.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Amy Webber by Victoria Gilbert

If you’d asked me what a day in my life was like before he walked into my library and my life, I’d have a very different response.

Especially after we stumbled over that dead patron. . .

Now, I admit working in a public library has taught me to expect surprises. Like picking up the picture book with the bubblegum smeared all over its cover by one of our readers, or discovering Young Adult books erroneously shelved between auto repair manuals by the patron we’ve lovingly dubbed “The Nightingale.” (For the nurse, not the bird).

But dead bodies are still a bit of a shock.

I’m Amy Webber, the somewhat new—one year and counting—library director at the Taylorsford Public Library. I used to work as an academic librarian, but that was before the fateful reception where I caught my former boyfriend, a pianist, tickling the fancy of a blonde violinist instead of the ivories. Since I was conveniently clutching a glass of champagne, I chucked at him. Sadly, my shaking hands threw off my aim and I hit the Dean of Music instead. I wasn’t fired, but the sheer mortification of this event compelled me to flee my old job as well as my failed romance.

Fortunately my aunt still lives in our historic family home in a nearby Virginia mountain town. Her offer of free housing allowed me to accept the grossly underpaid position as library director of Taylorsford. Since then my days have been as smooth, as lovely—and about as exciting—as Aunt Lydia’s string of matched pearls.

But that was before our new neighbor, Richard Muir, showed up.

Good-looking? You bet. He has the grace and body of an athlete too, which isn’t surprising since he’s a well-known contemporary dancer and choreographer. After renovating the farmhouse that once belonged to his Great-Uncle Paul Dassin, Richard sought my research assistance to help him prove that the woman his great-uncle loved was innocent of a sensational 1925 murder.

Naturally my first thought was to dig into the town archives, which are housed in a small stone building behind the library. I thought we might find some clues in old newspapers and documents. Instead we found a body.

Yeah, it was that kind of day—a “meet a charming guy and fall over a dead patron” kind of day. Not my usual, I must admit. Although if I’m totally honest, there’s a part of me that finds the idea of investigating mysteries exciting. It’s like research. You never know where digging into the past might lead.

Truthfully? I can’t wait to start sleuthing. . .


If you want to find out where Amy’s adventures lead her and her charming but eccentric band of family and friends, pick up A Murder For The Books, the first installment in the “Blue Ridge Library” mystery series.

Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia and busies herself managing the town’s public library The last thing she needs is a handsome new neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle. Town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his own wife, an outsider. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy’s skeptical, until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families— including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest

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Meet the author
Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. When not writing or reading, she likes to watch films, garden, or travel. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. You can find out more about Victoria and connect with her via her social media links at her website: victoriagilbertmysteries.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Taylor O’Brian by Nancy J. Parra

Hi, I’m Taylor. I live in Sonoma, California with my cat Clementine and my Aunt Jemma. I moved back to my home town a few months ago when my aunt had a heart attack. She asked me to come and take care of her, but in fact I think she was just lonely. She seems pretty capable of taking care of herself, unless I talk about returning to San Francisco and my old job in advertising. Suddenly she feels twinges in her chest.

She isn’t fooling anyone. She wants me to stay in Sonoma with her and help her with her vineyard and winery. The trouble is she has people who do that. So I started my own small business. Taylor O’Brian’s Off the Beaten Path Wine Tours-catchy name isn’t it? You see most people spend a day or two in Sonoma county going from one famous winery to another and they miss all the cool and quirky places to visit-like the Asian botanical gardens, which offer some of the rarest of Asian flowering shrubs and trees.

I’m excited for my first tour. I’m taking a cranky yoga marketer and her employees out to hike the Quarry gardens and spend time in the hills and valleys of Sonoma county. Things have been pretty hard for this new team and the uptight CEO – uptight and yoga seem a bit mismatched to me, but there you have it.

On the hike, Laura–the uptight leader of this group–pulls me aside and tries to convince me that I need her marketing skills for my small business. I’m a little peeved to say the least, I mean I have a degree in marketing and worked for a large firm. Meanwhile she is a yoga instructor who took a course from another yoga instructor and is claiming to teach marketing to other yoga instructors. I might have stormed off.

I wish I hadn’t and when Laura disappears and I find her at the bottom of a cliff with my wine corkscrew sticking in her carotid artery. In my defense, I didn’t even know the corkscrew was missing until I laid out the picnic I had planned for the group. (Hint, always serve food before you go wine tasting. It’s best to keep people from getting too tipsy and that means better insurance rates. Except my insurance rates just went through the roof. Not that I’m complaining, I mean a woman is dead.)

The problem is I’m suspect number one and the handsome Sheriff Hennessey thinks our argument is motive for murder.

My day ends with my next two tours cancelling on me, and my Aunt Jemma and my best friend Holly telling me to trust the judicial process. I mean, innocent people don’t go to jail, right? I find Clemmie in her box in the closet and pull her out to hug her to my chest. Things couldn’t possibly get worse, could they?


You can read more about Taylor in A Case of Syrah, Syrah, the first book in the NEW “Wine Country” mystery series.

Taylor O’Brian is a new businesswoman, founder of “Taylor’s Off The Beaten Path Wine Tours,” who lives on a small winery with her Aunt Jemma. She plans to take small groups around romantic Sonoma county to discover some of the county’s outdoor gardens. It’s all running as smooth as can be until Laura, the leader of the group of yoga instructors she’s leading, is found dead. And it’s Taylor’s corkscrew that’s found buried in Laura’s neck.

She’s not sure who to trust, and everyone around suddenly seems suspect. Only two weeks after the murder, her very own administrative assistant, Amy, marries Laura’s husband, Dan, who doesn’t seem very bereaved about being widowed, and the three yoga masters who were also out on the tour begin to seem shady. Taylor can’t afford to jump ship from her new business endeavor, but just as she begins her investigation, another dead body surfaces. This time, it’s Dan’s sister. And the killer is coming for Taylor next.

Now it’s up to Taylor to uncork this open-bottle mystery, before more blood is spilled. For fans of Laura Childs and Ellen Crosby, A Case of Syrah, Syrah is the charming first in bestselling author Nancy J. Parra’s Wine Country mysteries.

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About the author
Nancy J Parra is the author of the Perfect Proposal Series and the Baker’s Treat mystery series. She lives in Oregon with her trusty bichon-poo. You can visit her website for all of her titles at nancyjparra.com

All comments are welcomed.

Another day in the life of Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace – NEED BUY LINK

I’ve been away from my post at the University of Vancouver – where I am a professor of criminal psychology – for several months now, and I hate to admit it, but I’m missing the work! Here I am, sunning myself in the Caribbean, a few steps from a sugary-white beach, my hair tousled by the cooling sea-breeze that carries within it a hint of the turquoise sea’s saltiness. . .and I’m missing grading papers, arguing with students about the marks they’ve received, and avoiding my peers in the warren-like corridors where our offices are located.

Explain that, if you can. I’m a psychologist, for goodness sake, and I can’t even begin to understand it!

Maybe I’m missing it because I know I can’t return to that life for at least another nine months or so, and I don’t like being told what I can or cannot do. That said, I know I have to give myself time; I have to recover fully from the after-effects of a near-fatal run-in I had in Budapest late last year. (No, I can’t tell you about that now. . .that’s a whole different story.)

I’m not missing the work because I’m unhappy; I’m really enjoying spending all my time with Bud – I was a little worried that being with each other 24/7 might become a strain, but it’s all been wonderful. He’s popped back to our comfy little whitewashed bungalow to get some more sun-cream – I need an extra bit on my nose, because I don’t want to burn, but I also don’t want to leave the poolside yet. I’ve moved my lounger so I’m shaded by a palm tree; that will help too – and this drink with a little umbrella in it is keeping my insides cool. I gave in to these lovely Piña Coladas when we got here – I can only manage a couple each day, because even I think they’re a bit rich, but, oh my word, they’re yummy! And the fruit allows me to convince myself they’re good for me. You know what I mean.

To be honest, I can still hardly believe how lucky I am to be married to Bud. Did you know that we almost didn’t meet? Given my eidetic memory, it’s not surprising I can remember the first time I saw him, but if I tell you that my clearest impression of him after that first encounter was of his nose-hairs, you might be intrigued. I suppose you could say we met “online”, because he was on-camera at a crime scene, and I was in a cavernous room at my university, delivering a lecture on victim profiling to a group of law enforcement officers; Bud couldn’t see me, but I could see him. He even “kissed me” that day – weeks before we met in person, and a very long time before our lips met in real life. As I think back, I can see it’s a long story. Or maybe several shorter ones, it’s hard to know.

Once Bud understood my theories about victim profiling, he began to retain my services on the odd case or two – cases encountered by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team he used to run in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. And, then, of course, his poor wife – Jan – was tragically murdered, while I was away in the south of France trying to talk myself out of a murder charge. But there, I’m running ahead of myself…or am I running backwards?

Whichever way around you view it, meeting Bud was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally, because I got the chance to use my theories on real cases. As for Bud becoming a widower? So dreadfully sad, and it’s such a shame our happiness had to have that loss for him at its foundation…but, as he’s said so many times since we got together, we didn’t choose it, but it’s how we had the chance to have this new beginning – for the both of us.

Yes, that was what meeting Bud was for me – even before his wife’s death – a new beginning.


You can read more about Cait’s adventures in Murder Keeps No Calendar, a compilation of short stories and novellas.

In Murder Keeps No Calendar author Cathy Ace finally tells how Cait Morgan met Bud Anderson, and how the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency set up in business together. Eight novellas and four short stories (each connected with one month of the year) also give her the chance to introduce two new recurring characters – Detective Inspector Evan Glover, of the Glamorgan Police Service in South Wales, and his wife Betty – as well as a host of other murderous “one shot wonders”, so to speak.

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About the author
Cathy Ace’s criminal psychologist, overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, Golden Nose, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair, Sapphire Eyes, a Diamond Hand, a Garnet Face and Ruby Lips during her globetrotting. Ace’s WISE Enquiries Agency series features four softly-boiled PIs (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, one English) who solve quintessentially British cases from their stately home-based office in rural Wales. Ace won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery, was shortlisted again in 2017 when she was also a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story. Visit Cathy at cathyace.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Bruce Kohler by Elizabeth Zelvin

I wake up sober.

This has been happening every morning, one day at a time, for almost five years now, but I still find it unbelievable. Absurd. Some days, just for fun, I lock eyes with myself in the bathroom mirror and say, the way we do in AA, “Hi, I’m Bruce. I’m a grateful recovering alcoholic.” Then I make like De Niro in Taxi Driver and say, “You talkin’ to me?” Like De Niro, I’m a lot older than I used to be. He could play me in the movie. I’d like that.

My girlfriend Cindy caught me at it one time. She laughed, but she didn’t think I was crazy. She’s a recovering alcoholic too and one of the main reasons I’m grateful. She’s a cop, a detective. Me being madly in love with a cop is even more ludicrous than how I stay sober, like going to AA and having a Higher Power. Don’t ask me what I mean by a Higher Power. It’s (a) complicated, and (b) none of your business. But am I the most powerful force in the universe? Does the sun rise or the earth spin on my command? If I didn’t pay attention, would they stop? So yeah, I’ll make a meeting today with my best friend Jimmy. And at some point, maybe in the shower or on the subway, I’ll ask Something to give Jimmy and my other best friend Barbara and their little girl Sunshine health and happiness and keep Cindy safe when she goes out there to do her job catching the bad guys. She’s tougher than De Niro, so it’ll probably be okay.

Breakfast. I don’t dawdle over it, because I’m meeting Barbara in the Park to go running. Here’s the difference between drinking and sobriety. If you want to get a laugh at the very idea of granola for breakfast, go into a bar and joke about it. If you want to get a laugh about how breakfast used to be black coffee and half a pack of cigarettes, speak at an AA meeting. What cracks me up is that it’s the same guys laughing. Ten years later. The survivors, like me.

Central Park. The jewel in the crown of New York City. In my misspent youth, it was somewhere Jimmy and I would go to drink way too many 40-ounce bottles of Colt 45, throw the empties into the bushes, and lie under a park bench to sleep it off. Now it’s where Barbara nagged me one step at a time through endless circuits of the track around the reservoir, then the lower loop and the upper loop, then the entire road that circles the Park from Central Park South fifty blocks north to 110th, from Fifth Avenue half a mile as the pigeon flies to Central Park West, until I was fit to run the Marathon. Fit. I refuse to say ready. She didn’t call it nagging. Recovering codependents don’t nag. She was encouraging me. Empowering me. Demonstrating her concern for my health because she loves me. But if you think I could have chosen not to run that Marathon, you don’t know Barbara. I shudder to think what she’d get us into if she had a gun.

Cindy has a gun. But unlike Barbara, she’s not at all impulsive. She works in the Central Park Precinct’s detective squad now, but we probably won’t see her today. A friend of ours died at the Marathon, an old guy they called the Ancient Marathoner, and Cindy caught the case. Of course Barbara was wild to help investigate. She always is. That’s what codependents do. Compulsive helpers. Fixers. They don’t call it snooping. Cindy knows we can ask questions she can’t and that Barbara is unstoppable. Barbara and Jimmy and I have stumbled over a few bodies. To be honest, we’ve stumbled into a few murderers too, and we’ve been lucky not to get killed ourselves before the law arrived. Anyhow, this time, we’re all trying to cooperate and play nice, since Cindy and her partner Natali have the resources, Barbara and I know the runners, and Jimmy is a computer wiz who’s probably better than the NYPD computer techs, good as Cindy says they are. Besides, sometimes you have to color outside the lines to find the information you need on the Internet. The NYPD can’t do that. Need I say more?

The key question in any murder that’s a mystery is “Who done it?” But in this case, we all agree, it’s more baffling than usual. Because who would kill an old man everybody loved?


Bruce Kohler appears in Elizabeth Zelvin’s short story, “Death Will Improve Your Marathon,” in Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4, an anthology of crime and mystery short stories by members of the New York/Tri-State Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

What is the essence of the New York experience? A stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge? A concert at Carnegie Hall? Crossing the finish line at the New York Marathon? A trip to the Bronx Zoo? Or any one of these—plus murder? These seventeen stories by members of the New York/Tri-State Chapter of Sisters in Crime, with a foreword by Margaret Maron, explore the mystery and mayhem that lurk in every corner of the most unpredictable, irrepressible, inimitable city on the planet.

Where Crime Never Sleeps includes stories by Rona Bell – Fran Bannigan Cox – Lindsay A. Curcio – Joseph R. G. DeMarco – Ronnie Sue Ebenstein – Catherine Maiorisi – Nina Mansfield – Mary Moreno – Anita Page – Ellen Quint – Roslyn Siegel – Kathleen Snow – Triss Stein – Cathi Stoler – Mimi Weisbond – Stephanie Wilson-Flaherty – Elizabeth Zelvin

“A dream of an anthology for readers who appreciate a classic mystery unfolding in a perfectly characterized setting. A terrific collection of short stories!” —Alafair Burke, New York Times bestselling author of The Ex

“A collection of stories as diverse, original and exciting as New York itself. I really loved this book.” —Alison Gaylin, USA Today bestselling author

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About the author
Elizabeth Zelvin, editor of Where Crime Never Sleeps, is the author of the Bruce Kohler Mysteries, a New York series that includes five novels, beginning with Death Will Get You Sober, and seven short stories. She is also the author of the Mendoza Family Saga, historical fiction about a Jewish brother and sister who sail with Columbus and find refuge in the Ottoman Empire. Her short stories have been nominated twice for the Derringer and three times for the Agatha Award.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Linn Sommer by Dani Baker

“Serial killer on the loose?” read the newspaper’s headline before I left the house.

The air was crisp, the sun was just about to rise, and the clear sky promised a nice day. The park was quiet when I crossed the bridge over the small river. Running before another day of work at the bakery would definitely clear my mind of the murdered woman I found two days ago.

Suddenly, I felt a warm drop on my upper lip. I wiped under my nose and noticed blood on my fingers. Surprised, I stopped running as the first drop was followed by a constant stream of blood trickling down my face. I quickly pulled a tissue out of my jacket and pressed it onto my nose while tilting my head back at the same time.

Blood ran down my throat and I had to cough. I leaned forward to spit it out. Immediately, some blood streamed down beside the tissue and spread over my running clothes.

“Darn it!” I muttered.

Cold winter days sometimes triggered nosebleeds but I couldn’t remember a time when it was this bad.

“Didn’t I tell you?” the little devil on my right shoulder grumbled. “Running before breakfast is a stupid idea.”

The little angel on the other shoulder, who had supported my athletic plan/ intention, looked away in embarrassment.

As I raised my head again, I felt dizzy. Obviously, I wasn’t used to running on an empty stomach anymore. Let alone losing blood while doing so. I slowly sat down and closed my eyes for a second.

“Oh, dear God!” someone screamed suddenly. “Help!”

Dazed, I opened my eyes and saw two women with dogs. I looked around but couldn’t see anything unusual. Then I realized that they were running straight toward me.

One was shouting into her cell phone, “A new brutal murder! A young woman at Victoria Park. She’s still alive. We need an ambulance and the police!“

With wide-opened eyes, the other dog owner bent down to me. “Can you hear me? No worries, everything will be fine.”

“But I—” I started saying but she hushed me, “Don’t talk. Try to relax.“

“You don’t understand, I’m not—”

“Helen!” the woman yelled, waving to her friend who was just shoving her cell phone into her bag. “Help me! She has to take it easy.”

“Oh, Marge, just look what this monster has done to her.” Helen stared at my bloody jacket. Her little black terrier sniffed at my feet and barked like a madman.

“Helen, has Onyx found someone’s trail? Unleash him; maybe he can lead us to the murderer.”

“I’m not dead,” I said but both women ignored me.

An approaching siren wailed loudly. I groaned and closed my eyes again. Maybe everything was just a bad dream. Soon I would wake up in my bed.

“Over here!” Helen shouted.

“Shit!” I heard a familiar voice say. “Linn?”

I opened my eyes and here they were again: the deepest blue and most beautiful eyes ever. Shocked, I slumped and avoided his gaze.

“Just stay calm and cool,” the little devil whispered into my ear. “If you play it right, he’ll take the bait.”

“Are you nuts? Look at her!” the little angel barked. “Do you really think he fancies sweaty and blood-smeared women?”

The little devil made a dismissal gesture. “Blood shouldn’t be a concern in his line of work.”

Police inspector Bas van de Groot knelt down in front of me with a concerned look on his face. “What happened?”

At that moment two paramedics appeared behind him.

“Get out of the way,” one commanded. He pushed Helen, Marge and the inspector aside, bent down, and promptly searched for my pulse.

“Can you tell me what happened?” he asked me.

I inhaled deeply as five pair of eyes stared at me.

“I was running. Then my nose started bleeding.“

“Okay. What happened then?“

I gazed down to my shoes. “My head was spinning. I haven’t had breakfast yet. So, I sat down and closed my eyes.“ This situation was getting more embarrassing every second. I cleared my throat. “Then these two ladies came and suddenly you arrived.”

The paramedic scrutinized my jacket and my bloody hands. “You aren’t hurt anywhere else? All this blood came from your nose?”

I nodded.

The paramedic let go of my hand. “You should eat something immediately and take it easy for the rest of the day.” He got up. “Are you able to walk or should we drive you home?”

Before I could answer, Bas whipped out his police badge. “Don’t worry, I’ll look after her.”


You can read more about Linn in Santa’s Last Muffin, the first book in the “Hansel & Pretzel” mystery series.

Yuletide season seems to be a merry time in Kitchener, Ontario. Everyone is enjoying the town’s traditional Christkindl Market, until Santa Claus is discovered – with a knife stuck in his back . . . The murder investigation cancels Linn Sommer’s date with her big crush, the handsome police inspector Bas van de Groot. But wait and see, isn’t her cup of tea. Working at the German bakery ‘Hansel & Pretzel’, she starts digging into the late Santa. His reportedly perfect niceness resembles puff pastry: The more layers she reveals, the naughtier the secrets that emerge. With visits from ghosts of Christmas past, she not only zeroes in on the killer, but also stumbles upon the true reason why Bas doesn’t have any time for her anymore . . .

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Meet the author
German-born Dani Baker has lived in several cities in Germany, as well as in Berne, Switzerland and San Francisco, California. Since 2010, she calls Kitchener, Ontario, home. If she’s not shoveling snow in winter or chasing away skunks, wild turkeys, rabbits, or numerous chipmunks from her vegetable beds during summer, she’s working freelance for different German educational publishers.

Moreover, she’s teaching baking and cooking classes as well as exciting her friends with European baked goods made by DCK – Dani’s Chaos Kitchen.

To date, she has published three books as Daniela Wolff and three titles of the Hansel & Pretzel series in German.

“Santa’s Last Muffin” is her first book in English. Visit Dani at danibakerbooks.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Leslee Stanton Nix by Nancy Haddock

aka Nixy

Hey, there, Dru and Dru’s Readers! It’s great to see you!

So here’s a bit about my typical day. I’m usually up by eight, if not fully awake. After putting my hair in a ponytail and throwing on clothes, I feed my cat, T.C., and dog, Amber before we take a walk. Occasionally I snarf down a power bar for breakfast, but more often I head to my friend Judy’s bakery for a bite before work.

Since my two critters are inseparable, I walk them together. T.C. wears a halter with a leash that matches Amber’s collar and leash—the matchy-matchy bit courtesy of my boyfriend, Eric. Detective Eric Shoar, that is.

Eric doesn’t usually walk with us in the morning, but Amber and T.C. attract attention. And I have to say they are adorable. Amber is a German pinscher, a smaller version of a Dobbie, but larger than a min-pin. T.C. is an orange-gold tiger stripe, and I’ve been told she may have been the runt of her litter, but she’s plenty big enough. Amber prances along while T.C. pounces on every bug and leaf in her path.

We live in the apartment above the Handcraft Emporium, the arts and craft store located on the town square. I run the Emporium with my Aunt Sherry and her housemates—collectively known as the Silver Six. Each of them create different kinds of craft items—even Dab and Fix-It Fred are making metal art now. We exclusively carry work by Arkansas artists, and have an astounding variety for a modestly-sized store. Fred has a workshop in back of the retail section where he still repairs small appliances. Oh, yes, and spoils T.C. and Amber, too.

If I don’t get to Great Buns bakery for breakfast, I stop in at some point during the day. Judy Armistead and her hubby Grant make the most fabulous pastries, and they also serve a few lunch-fare items. And coffee, of course! Judy is by no means a gossip, but she keeps me up to date on news around the town square.

I see Eric at least three or four days a week, whether we take the critters to a park, go out for dinner, or just stay in. There are times he’s on duty, of course. Lilyvale isn’t exactly teeming with crime, but stuff happens. Even murders happen, and that’s when the Silver Six jump into sleuth mode. I’m right there helping and riding herd on them so they don’t get into too much trouble.

Riding herd? Who am I kidding? It’s all I can do to keep up with the Silver Six once they get wound up. I can only hope our upcoming arts and crafts festival runs with a hitch. Especially the hitch of finding another body. That’s getting old!


You can read more about Nixy in A Crime of Poison, the third book in the “Silver Six Crafting” mystery series.

The Silver Six are known for their arts and crafts—but they’re about to be tested in the art of catching a crafty killer.

It’s early October, time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale in Lilyvale, Arkansas. Every business along the town square will benefit from the event, including the craft store run by Leslee Stanton Nix—aka Nixy—and the Silver Six, a group of retirees. In charge of making the festival go smoothly, Nixy is confident that it will be a success.

But things become knotty when local troublemaker Cornell Lewis is found dead with a plate of Snickerdoodles from the bake sale. Two members of the Silver Six are accused of cooking up a murder plot, but Nixy knows that the cookies weren’t literally to die for. With time running out, Nixy and company must catch the actual killer. . .before the Silver Six find their number permanently reduced to four.

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Crime of Poison. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 9, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Nancy Haddock is the award-winning and national bestselling author of the Silver Six Crafting Mysteries. Basket Case and Paint the Town Dead are her current books in the series, and A Crime of Poison, was released a few days ago.

Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places and people for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron. Visit Nancy at nancyhaddock.com.

All comments are welcomed.