Tag Archives: humorous mystery

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.

Cover Reveal ~ The Phantom Of Oz by Cindy Brown

I am excited to share with you the cover for the fifth book in the “Ivy Meadows” humorous mystery series from Henery Press, coming January 30, 2018.

Title: The Phantom of Oz
Series: Ivy Meadows #5
Genre: Humorous Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Website: cindybrownwriter.com

Creepy Munchkins. A Mysterious Phantom. And a Real Wicked Witch.

Who dropped a chandelier on the Wicked Witch of the East? Was it the ghost who haunts the Grand Phoenician Theatre? A “wicked witch” among the cast of The Wizard: A Space OZpera? Or is it someone—or something—more sinister? Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows has been hired to uncover the cause of the creepy accidents that plague the roadshow.

It’s Ivy’s most personal case so far. Her best friend Candy, who’s touring with the show, is caught in a downward spiral of self-destruction, and is in more danger than she knows. To save her friend and the show, Ivy must answer some tough questions: Do spirits really exist? What is real beauty? What does friendship mean? Ivy needs to learn the answers, and fast—before Candy reaches the point of no return.

Pre-Order Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below to win your choice of one of the other Ivy Meadows mysteries: Macdeath, The Sound of Murder, Oliver Twisted, or Ivy Get Your Gun, in either Kindle/Nook  format. The giveaway will end November 8, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s the author of the Agatha-nominated Ivy Meadows series, madcap mysteries set in the off, off, OFF Broadway world of theater. Cindy and her husband live in Portland, Oregon, though she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

She’d love to connect with readers at cindybrownwriter.com (where they can sign up for her Slightly Silly Newsletter) or on Facebook or Twitter.

My Musing ~ Double Deck The Hall by Gretchen Archer

Double Deck The Hall by Gretchen Archer is the second book in the “Bellissimo Casino Crime Caper” Short Story series. Publisher: Henery Press, November 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The trees are trimmed, the halls are decked, and Davis Way Cole’s grandmother is there to play in the Winter Wonderland Senior Slot Tournament.

This year’s theme: The Nice List. All is merry and bright until Granny Dee meets an elf who belongs on the naughty list.

Maybe even the downright nasty list.

With nothing more than a lifetime of memories, the sounds of the season, and what she can find in the pockets of her Rudolph jogging suit, can Granny Dee save Bianca Sanders from the rotten elf, and in the process, save Christmas?

Granny Dee may try to save Christmas, but trust me, of all the characters in this non-stop page-turner, Granny Dee steals the show.

What happens when you put Bianca, Granny and an elf in the same room. Why you get an amusing tale that will delight Davis Way fans. When a situation needs to be diffused, call on Granny as she’ll get the job done. This was nice short story with Granny taking center stage in this fast-pace and easy read that kept me entertained from beginning to end. Now we know where Davis gets her smarts and ingenuity. Thanks to the author for this terrific caper.

My Musing ~ 16 Millimeters by Larissa Reinhart

16 Millimeters by Larissa Reinhart is the second book in the “Maizie Albright Star Detective” humorous mystery series. Publisher: Past Perfect Press, October 2017

In continuing her career-makeover quest as a for-real detective, ex-teen and reality star Maizie Albright has a big learning curve to overcome. A sleuthing background starring in a TV show– Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective–does not cut the real life mustard. It doesn’t even buy her lunch, let alone extra condiments. Her chosen mentor, Wyatt Nash of Nash Security Solutions, is not a willing teacher. He’d rather stick Maizie with a safe desk job and handle the security solution-ing himself. But Maizie’s got other plans to help Nash. First, win Nash’s trust. Second, his heart.

That Maize is one fun character. Babysitting; a dead body or two; amusing antics; and a fast-paced read is wrapped up in a multi-plot mystery that I could not put down until the last page was read. With visually descriptive narrative, humorous quips, witty repartee and a quirky cast of characters, this was a such a fun book to read and I enjoyed watching Maize tackle the situations that she found herself in. The mystery was nicely done and when I thought I had a handle on the person responsible, the author strategically placed twists and turns that had me going in another direction, all to enhance the telling of this tale. From Nash, to her job, to her mother, Maize proves her determination to succeed in her chosen aspiration and it’s a fun ride watching her and I especially like the sparks between her and Nash. This was an engagingly entertaining book and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Maize, Nash and the rest of the gang.

A day in the life of IRS Special Agent Josh Schmidt by Diane Kelly

I’ll admit it. When our boss hired Special Agent Tara Holloway, I wasn’t happy about it. I’m a whiz with computers, but weapons? Not so much. Tara was practically a sharpshooter. She’d earned the highest rank in her training class. She was smart, too. Before coming to work in IRS Criminal Investigations, she’d spent several years as a tax preparer with a big Dallas CPA firm. So, yeah, I was a jerk to her at first. I was afraid she’d show me up.

Luckily for me, Tara and her fiancé Nick pulled me in on some very important cases and let me share in the limelight when the tax cheats were brought to their knees. Tara even helped me in my personal life. She encouraged me to sign up for the dating service that led me to Kira. Kira and I have been dating for a while now. I would’ve never thought a tough and artsy type like her would fall for a geek like me. She wears ripped fishnet hose. I wear khaki chinos. Guess opposites really do attract, huh?

Kira and I are looking forward to Nick and Tara’s wedding . . . assuming Tara lives that long. Someone’s sent her anonymous death threats. It’s clear those threats weren’t empty, either. But who’s trying to kill her? Tara has grappled with more violent tax cheats than she can count. The list of potential suspects is as long as the guest list for their wedding.

The rest of us are taking turns working backup for her and trying to keep her safe, but this can’t go on forever. Will Tara make it to her wedding day, or will we end up attending her funeral? And if Tara is killed, should I return the robotic vacuum I bought for a wedding gift, or keep it?

You can read more about Josh in Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding, the 12th book in the “Tara Holloway” mystery series.

For IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, this case is persona. . .

Wedding bells are ringing as Tara and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day. But along with all the RSVP cards are a series of death threats from an unknown source. The culprit must be someone from an earlier investigation—a white-collar criminal with a red-hot grudge—but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow down the search. And time, like her biological clock, is ticking. Now, while dodging attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself embroiled in a rental scam in which a heartless crook is ripping people off left and right. Will she be able to track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece? Or will “til death do us part” come before Tara can even say “I do”?

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About the author
A former Assistant Attorney General and tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Lest she end up in jail, Diane decided self-employment was a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series. Learn more about Diane’s books and sign up for her newsletter at dianekelly.com, follow her on Twitter @dianekellybooks, and find her on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding by Diane Kelly

Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding by Diane Kelly is the 12th book in the “Tara Holloway” romantic mystery series. Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, coming October 31, 2017

For IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, this case is personal. . .

Wedding bells are ringing as Tara and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day. But along with all the RSVP cards are a series of death threats from an unknown source. The culprit must be someone from an earlier investigation―a white-collar criminal with a red-hot grudge―but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow down the search. And time, like her biological clock, is ticking.Now, while dodging attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself embroiled in a rental scam in which a heartless crook is ripping people off left and right. Will she be able to track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece? Or will “til death do us part” come before Tara can even say “I do”?

In her last hurrah, Tara has hit the trifecta with her upcoming wedding, a rental scam and a stalking bent on killing her. What is Tara supposed to do? Knowing Tara she’ll doggedly pursue what needs to be done so that she can get to the church on time. I love this series and will miss the many adventures of Tara Holloway.

The author did a great job in wrapping up this engaging and entertaining series with what Tara does best, go after those trying to cheat the system and stop a stalker in their tracks with assistance from her IRS co-workers. This was a well-written drama where all the players played pivotal roles that enhanced the telling of this tale. From multiple attempts on her life, from going undercover as a driver, from family gatherings, from enjoying life to the fullest, this was one of my favorite book in the series and again, I’ll miss Tara and Nick. Love the epilogue which put a smile on my face.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the author and publisher via NetGalley.

A day in the life of Maizie Albright by Larissa Reinhart

There’s something wrong with me.

I mean aside from my usual issues. Like adjusting to my dream job. Some would call my past career a dream job. Not so. I mean acting as Julia Pinkerton: Teen Detective was an awesome experience. I met all kinds of wonderful people, participated in stuff like The Kids Police Academy and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, and there was that Emmy. But it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I know, classic kid actor issues. But now I’m fulfilling my aspiration to become a real private investigator.

However, working for Nash Security Solutions is not quite as dreamy as I thought.

Although my boss, Wyatt Nash’s eyes are. Dreamy blue. That’s another issue.

Nash has me working on accounting and receptionist-ing, whereas I thought he was going to train me in security solution-ing. I understand that after my first debacle of a case, he has some trepidation in letting me do fieldwork. Totally reasonable. But maybe that’s why I need the training?

Also, I get the feeling Nash is avoiding me. Maybe because of the intensity of all the pent-up sexual chemistry between us.

Or maybe because I’m imagining repressed attraction. On his part, that is.

Another issue.

Then there’s the problem with my ex-manager, Vicki Albright. Also with my mother. Who is also Vicki Albright. She continues to film her (once our) reality show, All is Albright, in Black Pine, Georgia. I moved away from Hollywood (by judge’s orders) to start my new career (according to my probation requirements) in Black Pine. Doing my dream job. After convincing Wyatt Nash to hire me (not an easy task, I tell you what).

I’m not supposed to have anything to do with acting or the industry according to my probation. Yet, Vicki continues to think there’s hope for getting me back in. (Not that she wants me to go to jail or anything.) (At least I don’t think she does.)

When Vicki and I did lunch at the Cove and saw Leonard Shackleton — I know! The Lusitania Affair was A-mazing.— with Cambria (or as I used to call her back in our Julia Pinkerton days, Cam-Cam), Vicki was all up in my B about getting Leonard to notice me.

Which he did. A bit uncomfortably so. (But I’m used to that. Men. You do a few Maxim covers. . .)

However, Leonard’s interest in me is not because he’s the producer of the next big hit they’re filming in Black Pine. I take that back. It is for his next big hit they’re filming in Black Pine. Starring Cambria. He’s interested in hiring me (as in Nash Security Solutions) to babysit Cambria. For insurance purposes. She’s kind of a hot mess right now. (Right?! I’m sure you’ve seen Cambria on TMZ or the tabloids in the grocery checkout line.)

Anyway, making sure Cambria doesn’t ruin Leonard’s movie is a total Mary Poppins-body guard mashup role. Which I’m sure is totally cool with my probation requirements. (I hope.) Because we (Nash Security Solutions) totally need the money. After our last big case — AKA the debacle — business has not exactly boomed. It hasn’t even knocked. Like on our door.

Another issue.

Which brings me back to my original problem. I’m not Mary Poppins-ing this case very well. There’s something wrong with me.

I keep finding dead bodies. Including Cambria.

And not like in a Sixth Sense sort of way.

I hope you enjoy Maizie Albright’s second case, 16 Millimeters. Because of the movie characters and film studio setting (in Black Pine, Georgia) this book is full of classic movie references. To win a signed copy of Maizie’s first case (and book), 15 Minutes, leave comment below and please tell me your favorite classic movie! U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 19, 2017. 

Body doubles, dead bodies, and hot bodies abound. . . Wait, what?

#StillAWannabeDetective In continuing her career-makeover quest as a for-real detective, ex-teen and reality star Maizie Albright has a big learning curve to overcome. A sleuthing background starring in a TV show– Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective–does not cut the real life mustard. It doesn’t even buy her lunch, let alone extra condiments. Her chosen mentor, Wyatt Nash of Nash Security Solutions, is not a willing teacher. He’d rather stick Maizie with a safe desk job and handle the security solution-ing himself. But Maizie’s got other plans to help Nash. First, win Nash’s trust. Second, his heart.

Wait, not his heart. His respect. His hearty respect.

So when a major movie producer needs a babysitter for his hot mess starlet, Maizie eagerly takes the job. But when her starlet appears dead, and then not dead, Maizie’s got more than an actress to watch and a missing corpse to find. Body doubles, dead bodies, and hot bodies abound when the big screen, small screen, and silent screams collide. Maizie’s on the job, on the skids, and on thin ice, hunting a killer who may be a celebrity stalker. And Maizie just might be the next celebrity who gets snuffed.

“Fresh from Hollywood get ready to bubble along with Maizie Albright Star Detective. She’s #adorbs.” — Jena’s Books

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And you can read a free 3-chapter excerpt here: BookHip.com/DHCQDF. Plus get the first book, 15 Minutes, for .99 during the release celebration! Thanks so much for joining me today.

About the author
Larissa is a 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, 2014 finalist for the Silver Falchion and Georgia Author of the Year, 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Her work also appeared in the 2017 Silver Falchion Reader’s Choice winner, Eight Mystery Writers You Should Be Reading Now. She writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery series, the Maizie Albright Star Detective series, the Finley Goodhart Crime Capers, and various romantic comedies.

Larissa’s family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, have been living in Nagoya, Japan, but once again call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website, and you’ll find her on Instagram, on Goodreads, on Bookbub, on Amazon, and chatting on Facebook, and be sure to join her newsletter for a free short story.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Death, Taxes, and Pecan Pie by Diane Kelly

Death, Taxes, and Pecan Pie by Diane Kelly is the latest novella in the “Tara Holloway” romantic mystery series. Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, October 2017

People are going a little nutty in this new case for IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway!

Tara is looking for a fun, relaxing time with her family at Pecan Palooza: a full-day festival dedicated to celebrating the nut that put the tiny town of Pecan Crossing on the map. Between a parade, carnival games, rides, the Pecan Princess pageant, and several pecan bake-offs, Tara wants quality time with her fiancé Nick before their upcoming nuptials.

But when a mysterious woman in a hat shows some suspicious behavior and the bake-off winners don’t look that surprised when they win…could the competitions be rigged? Despite the lack of evidence, Tara is determined to dethrone the cheaters and make sure the actual winners can have their pie and eat it too.

A quick glance turns into more when Tara suspects something nefarious with the judging of several food contest, especially when it was clear who should have won. Needing evidence, Tara with help from her family are on a mission and of course once you get Tara involved, there will be a whole lot of action. This was a fun read that had me laughing at some of the antics in this delightfully humorous tale. The author does a great job in presenting this light whodunit with great play-by-play action and dialogue to keep me engaged in all that was happening. This is a prelude to the next full-length novel in the Tara Holloway series.

A day in the life of Barbara Marr by Karen Cantwell

My name is Barbara Marr and I’m a soccer mom living in the boring, predictable suburbs. The only thrills in my day should be the frantic road races between ballet lessons and the much-too-closely-scheduled orthodontist appointment on the other side of the universe. But here’s the thing: my life isn’t so boring and definitely not predictable. See, I seem to have a gift for stumbling upon the messy remnants of lurid crime scenes.

I suppose my real problem in life isn’t the fact that I find dead people, but rather the chaotic events that follow. In fact, I have such a talent for attracting trouble, that my husband Howard has developed an emergency code system for alerting friends and family when danger is imminent. I was unaware of this alert system until the first time it was put into use. This is how the system works: A text goes out to my best friends Roz and Peggy, family friend and business partner, Colt Baron, and my mother and Howard’s mother who share a condo and are collectively referred to as “The Grandmas.” Code yellow is just a precaution whereas a code red basically means “Call in the SWAT team, Barb is at it again.”

So you may be wondering if all of my days are emergency alert days. No, but most are at least a little crazy.

A more typical day in my life goes something like this:

My eyes open at the break of dawn when the sound of a quacking duck awakens me before the alarm.

Husband Howard, nudges me. “Your duck is back.”

“Vito Corleone is not my duck,” I protest.

“You gave him a name, he’s your duck,” Howard says.

I crawl out of bed, knowing he’s right, but not without having the last word. “When a duck saves your life, you kind of have to give him a name, don’t you think?”

After taking Vito the duck back to his den on the lake, I return home to find my two youngest daughters sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal. Middle-schooler, Bethany, reads a book while she chews, and nine-year-old Amber is video-chatting with her big sister, Callie, a freshman in college.

My cell phone buzzes. It’s a text from my mother. I hear sirens. Are you okay?

I type back. Am fine. Not every siren means I’ve been kidnapped. Then I turn my attention to the video-chat.

Callie’s pretty face looms large on the tablet. “What is his name?” she asks Amber

“Marcus,” Amber answers around milk and corn flakes. “I love him.”

“Wait a minute,” I interject. “You’re nine years old, Amber. You can’t be loving any boys yet. Not allowed.” I wave at the tablet. “Hi, Callie!”

She waves back. “Before you get worked up, Mom, ask Amber to show you a picture of Marcus.”

Bethany lifts her gaze from the book long enough to add her two cents. “He’s disgusting. Don’t do it, Mom.”

Amber hands me a picture. “Meet Marcus, Mommy. Can I have him?”

The picture doesn’t give me much information. All I see is an aquarium without water. I pull the paper closer, finally spotting something suspicious. “What’s that brown thing? Is that a dried up banana peel?”

“That’s Marcus,” Amber says.

Callie bursts out laughing. “He’s a cockroach.”

“Hissing cockroach,” Amber corrects her, as if that makes it better.

I cringe. “No way, José. I found two ants on the kitchen counter last night—domesticate them, instead.”

“But, Mommy,” Amber urges. “Willow Jones can’t keep Marcus because her own mommy is allergic. Marcus needs a home.”

I sigh, wondering when Amber traded her fairy fascination for a twisted insect obsession. “Tell Willow Jones that your mommy is more allergic than her mommy. Now say goodbye to your sister. The bus will be here soon.”

Minutes after the girls head out for the bus, I am looking out the kitchen window drinking a cup of coffee. I spot a figure of a man dashing into the woods from the corner of our backyard. Howard enters the kitchen to grab his travel mug before leaving for the day. “What are you looking at?”

“I think I just saw Moyle,” I answer.

“The crazy guy who thinks he’s a time traveler?”

“Don’t be mean,” I say. “Moyle isn’t crazy. He helped me solved that murder case last year. He’s just unique.”

Howard gives me warm, enticing kiss. “Whatever you say. But stay out of trouble until I get home, okay?”

“I read my horoscope,” I tell him. “No dead bodies today.”

But two days later. . . well, that’s another story.

You can read more about Barbara in Dial Marr For Murder, the sixth book in the “Barbara Marr” mystery series.

A flu epidemic seems to have wiped out the volunteer force at the Rustic Woods Nature Center. Never fear, Barbara Marr to the rescue! When Nature Center activities director, Bunny Bergen finds herself without a crew to decorate for the annual Halloween Nature Walk, she dials Barb for assistance. Always the helpful friend, Barb rises to the occasion. Of course, this is Barbara Marr we are talking about. Five minutes into her task, and she discovers a dead body by the frog pond. Five hours later, she’s a trending hash tag. How does Barb do it? Read this sixth book in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series, and find out! #ThatBarbaraMarr

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About the author
Karen Cantwell is a comedienne at heart. She loves to make people laugh with her Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series and Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance series. You can learn more about Karen and her works at KarenCantwell.com.

All comments are welcomed.