Tag Archives: Ellie Grant

The Quandary of Maggie Grady by Ellie Grant

Treacherous TartIt’s Christmas time at Pie in the Sky pie shop in Durham, North Carolina and I’ve never been so worried in my life. Aunt Clara—my partner in pie—has a new beau, Donald Wickerson. He claims to love her Marvelous Mince pies. But I think he has something else in mind.

My boyfriend Ryan has been writing articles for his newspaper, The Durham Weekly, about this man. He thinks he’s a serial killer. Donald has had several wives in different states who met with unfortunate ‘accidents’ that left him wealthier. Ryan thinks he may be plotting to kill Aunt Clara too.

But what if we’re wrong and we ruin Aunt Clara’s last chance for happiness? Maybe Donald isn’t a killer and Ryan is mistaken. The police haven’t found enough evidence yet to arrest Donald.

Am I willing to take that chance? I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to alienate my aunt who is more like a mother to me. She and my uncle raised me after my parents died when I was a child. I don’t want to see her hurt, and I don’t want to be the one who hurts her either.

There’s only one thing to do. Ryan and I are going to have to find out for sure about this Donald Wickerson. Is he the killer police are looking for or not? We need hard proof. If he is the killer, I’ll find a way to tell Aunt Clara and hope she’ll understand.

If he’s not the killer—then I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut.

Either way, Aunt Clara has always done her best for me and that’s what I plan to do for her too. I’m not going to let Donald Wickerson or anyone else hurt her or spoil our first Christmas together in years. That’s a promise!


You can read more about Maggie in Treacherous Tart, the second book in the “Pie Shop” mystery series, published by Simon and Schuster. The first book in the series is Plum Deadly.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on October 31 for the chance to win a print copy of both TREACHEROUS TART and PLUM DEADLY. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
Ellie Grant writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Joyce and Jim Lavene. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com.

Plum Deadly by Ellie Grant

Plum DeadlyPlum Deadly by Ellie Grant is the first book in the new “Pie In The Sky” mystery series. Publisher: Gallery Books, September 2013

CHOCOHOLIC CREAM. BOUNTIFUL BLUEBERRY. LOTSA LEMON MERINGUE. EVEN DANGEROUSLY DAMSON.

Who could resist such pies? Who would even want to resist the pie shop that makes them? Certainly not the residents of Durham, North Carolina, and the little bakery and café called Pie in the Sky is one of the most popular meet-up places in town.

Unjustly accused of cooking the books, Maggie Grady is forced to retreat from her high-flying New York financial career to the town where she grew up. Her aunt Clara greets her with open arms and a job at the family-owned business that has baked the best pies in the South for over forty years. Unfortunately, while Maggie is determined to return to banking, her reputation there seems permanently in the pits. That is, until her old boss, Lou, visits with news that he’s found the real crook. Before he can reveal the details, though, Maggie finds his body right behind the pie shop.

With only her own word that Lou planned to exonerate her, Maggie is in the spotlight. The police seem to suspect that Aunt Clara’s damson pie may not be just dangerously delectable, but downright deadly. Maggie doesn’t just have her own name to clear; she has to make sure that her aunt’s beloved business isn’t harmed, either. Yummy local reporter Ryan Summerour appears eager to help, and Maggie can’t help hoping that it’s not just the police who find her a person of interest—but Ryan, as well. She’d thought it challenging to make the perfect pie crust that Aunt Clara demands, but that turns out to be nothing compared with finding a murderer.

I really enjoyed this book as the writing style was comfortable and I liked how the story flowed from chapter to chapter keeping me both engaged and entertained. The author did a good job with developing the mystery in this lighthearted drama. Every time I thought I had a handle on the killer, the author changed directions for the better, keeping me in suspense. Maggie is a likable heroine, who is surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast that includes her aunt and the local newspaper reporter. This was a very enjoyable read and the ending was a perfect segue into the next book in this pleasantly appealing series. Bonus pie recipes are included.

Ellie Grant is the pseudonym for Jim and Joyce Lavene

Blog Tour With Clara Lowder by Ellie Grant

Plum DeadlyI’m so worried about my niece, Maggie. She’s just come back from New York City and the news isn’t good. She’s been fired from her wonderful job at the bank. They said she took money from them. I know that’s not true!

I’m glad to have her back in Durham, North Carolina – our home. My husband Fred and I – God rest his soul – raised Maggie after her father and my sister were killed. She was such a sweet little girl. We did our best with her, but she was so serious and sad. When she became a teenager, all she could think of was leaving home.

Greener pastures, Fred always said. A chance to prove herself, I thought.

She graduated from Duke University with honors, and immediately found a job that took her all over the world. Fred and I didn’t get to see much of her, but that was okay. She was living the life she’d always wanted. We were happy for her – and proud too!

Then a few years back, Fred passed. It was just me at our pie shop, Pie in the Sky. I ran the shop and tried to keep up with everything, but it was getting harder and harder. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Maggie’s face at the door that night – even though her career was over.

Now, she’s back, working at Pie in the Sky. It’s wonderful for me. I hope it will be wonderful for her too. It would help a lot if her old boss wouldn’t have followed her here and promised her the moon before he was murdered right behind the pie shop.

The police actually thought he might have died from eating my Dangerously Damson pie. Imagine!

One good thing has come of his death – Maggie has met that nice reporter for The Durham Weekly – Ryan Summerour. I think they make a wonderful couple. The circumstances are unfortunate since the police think she’s responsible for her old boss’s death. They’ll have to figure that out.

Fred always said I was an optimist. I guess that’s my nature. I’m teaching Maggie to make pie – she could hardly boil water, you know. Poor dear thought I didn’t know. She couldn’t tell a cream pie from a fruit pie.

That’s okay. It’s in her genes, you see. My mother made prize-winning pies. My sister, Delia and I – Maggie’s mother – were always the same. Maggie will be making prize-winning pies in no time.

Oh? Dangerously Damson?

I name all of my pies. The Duke University students love it, you know. I have contests for new pies and new names all the time. We have Bountiful Blueberry, Marvelous Mince, Lotsa Lemon Meringue, Chocoholic Cream, Popular Peach. You get the idea. Stop in some time and I’ll treat you to a slice.

plumdeadly tour


You can read more about Clara in Plum Deadly, the first book in the new “Pie in the Sky” mystery series, published by Gallery Books.


Joyce is giving away one (1) copy of PLUM DEADLY. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends September 6; US entries only.


Meet the author
Ellie Grant writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction under many names including J.J. Cook and Joyce and Jim Lavene. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.elliegrant.net or on Facebook.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.