Tag Archives: Jane Tesh

A day in the life of David Randall by Jane Tesh

This day started with a simple case of hunting down another deadbeat dad. Not the most fulfilling of jobs, but, hey, it pays the bills. But things really began to get crazy when one of Camden’s friends, a Good Old Boy named Rufus Jackson, received a letter from his ex-wife, Bobbi, telling him he’s the father of her baby girl, Mary Rose. Since Rufus was reluctant to get involved, I agreed to check it out, even though I have mixed feelings about children. I lost my own daughter in a car accident, and my growing relationship with Kary Ingram involves her deep desire to adopt a child, something I’m still working on. But when I got to Bobbi’s house, the police were already there. Bobbi had been murdered and her baby was missing. Of course I had to take the case, even though I was warned off, as usual.

Doing Rufus a favor was the start of a never-ending series of bargains. When I took Camden to the Carlyle House to sing for a concert, we encountered Delores Carlyle, a troubled spirit trapped inside a huge mirror, who wanted to see her daughter Beverly one last time. Beverly Carlyle agreed to come to the house on two conditions: that I find a home for her surly teenage son, Kit, and a band for her obnoxious daughter, Frieda. We had room for Kit at 302 Grace Street, but to secure a spot for Frieda, I had to ask the Slotted Spoons, a friend’s girl group, if they’d take her on. They would, if I got them a gig at a local nightclub. The nightclub owner agreed to let them play if Camden, who can easily pass for a teenager, would spy on a rival club. Camden said he’d do it only if I took him back to the Green Valley Home for Boys to search for answers about his past. Is your head spinning yet? Mine certainly was. And I haven’t even mentioned the ghost haunting the hot dog restaurant, Rufus hell bent on revenge, and the return of Camden’s telekinesis.

Doing someone a favor? It can be murder.


Baby, Take a Bow is the fifth in the “Grace Street” mystery series featuring PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, Randall’s love interest, Kary, and Camden’s career-driven wife, Ellin, as well as the many colorful Southern characters who move in and out of 302 Grace Street.

Camden’s friend Rufus Jackson receives a letter from his ex-wife, Bobbi, and he’s surprised to learn he’s the father of a baby. When Bobbi is found murdered in her home and her baby stolen, Rufus becomes suspect number one. PI David Randall immediately takes the case.

But Randall is almost sidetracked from the case by a series of what appears to be never-ending favors. When he takes his friend Cam to the Carlyle House to sing for a concert, Cam encounters Delores Carlyle, a troubled spirit trapped inside a huge mirror, who wants to see her daughter, Beverly, one last time. Beverly Carlyle will come to the house on one condition: that Randall find a home for her surly teenage son, Kit, and a band for her obnoxious daughter, Frieda. Kit is welcome at 302 Grace, but to secure a spot for Frieda, Randall has to get a local girl group a gig at a local nightclub. The owner agrees, if Cam will pose as a teenager and spy on a rival club. Cam agrees if Randall will take him to Green Valley to answer some questions about his past. And another ghost is haunting the hot dog restaurant, refusing to talk to Cam.

In addition to the tangle of deals, Randall has to contend with Rufus being hell-bent on revenge, the return of Cam’s telekinesis, and growing concern that if the baby-a girl named Mary Rose, as it turns out-is found, Rufus, might not want to keep her.

But where is Mary Rose?

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About the author
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Mystery series featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, as well as the Grace Street series, featuring struggling PI David Randall, his friend Camden, a reluctant psychic, and an ever-changing assortment of tenants who move in and out of Cam’s boarding house on Grace Street.

Her mysteries are set in fictional North Carolina towns and are on the light side with a little humor and romance. They are published by Poisoned Pen Press. She is also the author of three fantasy novels, Butterfly Waltz, A Small Holiday, and The Monsters of Spiders’ Rest, published by Silver Leaf Books. When she isn’t writing, Jane enjoys playing the piano and conducting the orchestra for productions at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Connect with Jane at www.janetesh.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on her blog, her Amazon author page and see Pearl, the spokesChihuahua on Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

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A Day in the Life with Madeline Maclin by Jane Tesh

Evil TurnsI try not to be too judgmental when it comes to my clients. After all, I’m happy to have them. My small North Carolina home of Celosia doesn’t often have a serious case for me, the only private investigator in town, and my beauty queen past makes it difficult for some people to take me seriously. But Amanda Price is my client now, and I should have turned her down because she’s driving me crazy with her demands. She’s the wealthy, obnoxious president of the local Women’s Improvement Society whose plans to create an outdoor drama, Flower of the South, based on the life of Emmaline Ross, one of the state’s first vintners, have everyone in town stirred up. City council member Harold Stover opposes the idea, fearing Celosia can’t afford this costly venture. Camp Lakenwood owner, Nathan Fenton, also opposes the idea, because Amanda wants to use his land for the drama. Amanda has also alienated Joanie Raines, a plus-size actress who insists on playing the young Emmaline, and Megan Underwood, a local wiccan from Peaceful Meadow, a defunct commune, who claims she is Emmaline reborn. Actually, it’s hard to find someone in Celosia Amanda hasn’t alienated.

Of course, with all this going on, who should show up to complicate things but yet another of my husband Jerry’s disreputable and threatening acquaintances from his shady past. Jerry’s doing his best to go straight. He even has a great job he enjoys, cooking breakfast at Deely’s Burger World. But I always worry that once a con man, always a con man, and some day one of his old pals is going to drag him back into the game with disastrous results.

And then I found out Megan Underwood is not the only witch in the neighborhood. Years ago, a group of local women formed Darkrose Coven, a practice now taken up by some younger women in town. Recently, a young man was found dead near the vineyard, his body covered with witchcraft symbols. Has the old coven reappeared or is the new coven responsible? What’s the secret that members of the original coven are so desperate to hide?

Angry citizens, a scary con man, possible witches, and the Client From Hell.

I’ve got a full day.


Evil Turns is the fifth book in the Madeline Maclin mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, May 2016.

Private investigator and former beauty queen Madeline Maclin thought she’d seen it all in her small North Carolina town of Celosia

A body covered with witchcraft symbols is found in a vineyard near Celosia. Is it the work of the disbanded Dark Rose Coven, whose members still harbor a dark secret? Madeline deals with witches as well as pushy socialite Amanda Price, whose opponent to her plans for an outdoor drama is also murdered.

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About the author
Jane Tesh is a retired media specialist and pianist for the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mt. Airy, NC, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Series, A Case of Imagination, A Hard Bargain, A Little Learning, A Bad Reputation, and Evil Turns, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather. Stolen Hearts is the first in the Grace Street Mystery Series, featuring PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, Randall’s love interest, Kary Ingram, and Cam’s career-driven girlfriend, Ellin Belton, as well as an ever-changing assortment of Cam’s tenants. Mixed Signals is the second in the series, followed by Now You See It and Just You Wait. Jane’s mysteries are all published by Poisoned Pen Press, located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Butterfly Waltz is her first published fantasy novel from Silver Leaf Books. All of Jane’s books are on the light side with humor and romance.

Visit Jane at www.janetesh.com and her Facebook page. You can also find her on Goodreads, Amazon’s Author Central, and Twitter. She also blogs at www.janetesh.wordpress.com.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Evil Turns. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 13, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Evil Turns by Jane Tesh

Evil Turns by Jane Tesh is the 5th book in the “Madeline Maclin” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, May 2016

Evil TurnsMurder by witchcraft?

Private investigator and former beauty queen Madeline Maclin thought she’d seen it all in her small North Carolina town of Celosia. Yet EVIL TURNS, fifth in the lively series by Jane Tesh, opens with a young man’s body covered in strange occult symbols found in a local vineyard, putting Maddy on notice that there is more than one witch in the neighborhood.

Years ago, a group of women in town formed Darkrose Coven, a practice now taken up by younger residents who insist that their dark rose tattoos only honor their favorite character from the popular Pagan Desires books and movies. Has the old coven reappeared? Is the new coven responsible for the ritualistic murder?

Intrigue unfolds as Celosia prepares for its centennial. The Women’s Improvement Society, led by wealthy, obnoxious Amanda Price, plans to create an outdoor musical drama, Flower of the South, extolling Emmaline Ross, one of the state’s first vintners. Amanda steamrolls past City Councilmember Harold Stover, who fears Celosia cannot afford this costly venture, and Nathan Fenton, who refuses to let her use his Camp Lakenwood land for the production. When Harold is murdered, Amanda is the prime suspect. She hires Maddy to prove her innocence.

Are the two murders connected? What about Megan Underwood, a local wiccan from the defunct commune, Peaceful Meadow, which had ties to the Darkrose Coven? Megan complicates Maddy’s inquiries, drifting in and out of town claiming she is Emmaline reborn.

What is the secret the Darkrose Coven is so desperate to hide?

Maddy is stretched to the limit. Not only is she juggling her time investigating murder suspects, feuding locals, and a long-ago missing infant. She also has to fend off threats by a disreputable goon from her husband’s past-her talented and charming spouse, Jerry Fairweather, had once been a con artist. Their current life together, committed to the straight and narrow, could be totally wrecked.

Madeline needs magic of her own to unravel the twists and turns of tangled relationships and to find one singular lost soul.

Once this story took off, it kept my attention from the moment Madeline became involved in the various cases she was hired to do. From keeping one person out of jail to uncovering a secret best hidden to keeping her husband from his past, Madeline has her hand full and she does that so easily in this evenly-paced drama.

I love the comfortable tone and the way each chapter flowed from one to the other giving you enough clues to that leads you closer to the identity of the person responsible, and boy was it a doozy with all that was going on with each suspect. The author did a great job of blending it all together with some interesting twists that made sense once it was all said and done. What I like best about this book is there’s always time for some humor and it is a welcome joy to see the appearances of Austin and Denisha. With engaging dialogue and a lovable cast of characters, this was an enjoyable read and I look forward to more adventures with Maddy, Jerry and her friends.

A Bad Reputation by Jane Tesh

A Bad ReputationA Bad Reputation by Jane Tesh is the fourth book in the “Madeline Maclin” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, February 2014

When Wendall Clarke announces plans to open a new art gallery downtown, it’s both the talk of Celosia, North Carolina and the envy of its residents. But the news is upstaged when Clarke is found murdered, prompting beauty queen turned private investigator Madeline Maclin to take on the case. Faced with a laundry list of suspects including a furious ex-wife, a competing business owner, and jealous local artists, Madeline’s also struggling to keep her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, out of handcuffs. If Jerry wasn’t enough trouble on his own, enter Honor Perkins, dead set on luring him back into a life of crime. Between foiling Perkins’ plans, stabilizing her marriage and possibly being pregnant, Madeline juggles her responsibilities as she races to solve the crime before the killer strikes again – or her life falls apart.

This is a fun read that was hard to put down as I missed the adventures of Mac and Jerry. This time around, while trying to keep Jerry on the straight and narrow, Mac gets involved in a murder case; and finds themselves helping one of their young friends. I love the tone of this story and the quirkiness of the people that surrounds them. The author did a great job in keeping me entertained with a good solid mystery that kept me glued to the pages and good dialogue that was both amusing and enjoyable. I hope there are more adventures with this duo in this delightfully engaging series.

A Day in the Life of Madeline Maclin by Jane Tesh

A Bad ReputationBeing a former beauty queen and a private investigator can be problematic, but before you get any misconceptions about me, the pageant part was all my mother’s idea. If there’d been a way to enter me into those ghastly child contests before I was born, I would’ve been a contender for Little Miss Fetus. Now that I’m out from under all the sequins, I’ve managed to make my own career, and I’ve solved several murders in my little southern town of Celosia, North Carolina.

My latest case involves wealthy Wendall Clarke, who has decided to renovate an old building on Main Street and open an art gallery. As an artist, myself, I think this is a great idea, but the local Art Guild has gone into orbit. Wendall’s past reputation as a show-off isn’t helping his cause, and there’s something iffy about his new wife, Flora. Wendall’s ex-wife, Larissa, resents this newer, younger, blonder wife, and members of the guild are fighting over whose art work goes in the gallery first. Someone has even gone so far as to heave a brick through the gallery’s front window. It doesn’t take much to set off my fellow Celosians, and tempers are seething all over town.

However, my biggest challenge is trying to reform my husband, Jerry Fairweather. He’s promised not to hold any more fake séances or run any more cons, but his shady friends keep pulling him back under. He’s being pestered by Honor Perkins—yes, there’s a con woman named Honor, who not only wants him back in the game, she wants him back in her life. She has quite a reputation, too. Her schemes and tricks are distracting, but not as distracting as my strange little bouts of morning nausea. Lord, I can’t be pregnant. That’s the last thing I need.

Today, I’m hoping to settle things with Bea Ricter, a member of the Art Guild, an ornery little woman who holds some sort of grudge against Wendall. Well, she holds a grudge against practically everyone. I’m also hoping to find something else for Jerry to do. He enjoys playing the piano for our community theater productions, but music, like art, really doesn’t pay.

Wendall’s boasting, Honor’s pranks, Jerry’s backsliding, and Bea’s just plain meanness—I’ve got my work cut out for me. Someone’s reputation is going to get them in trouble.

Or worse.


You can read more about Madeline in A Bad Reputation, the fourth book in the “Madeline Maclin” mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. The first book in the series is Case of Imagination. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on February 7, and you will be entered to win an autographed copy of A Bad Reputation. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown, the real Mayberry. She enjoys working with the local community theater and writing plays for children. A Bad Reputation is the fourth Madeline Maclin Mystery featuring ex-beauty queen Madeline Maclin, her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, and the fractious inhabitants of Celosia, NC.

Visit Jane at www.janetesh.com, on Facebook or on Amazon or Twitter


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A Day In The Life: David Randall by Jane Tesh

Now You See ItI really hadn’t planned on making 302 Grace Street, my friend Camden’s boarding house, my home, but the longer I stay the longer it feels as if I belong here. Those of you who remember me know that I’m a private investigator still trying to come to terms with the death of my little daughter, Lindsey. I live here in the house along with an assortment of Camden’s tenants, and use a downstairs parlor for an office. So far, it’s worked pretty well.

Today, I’ve got two cases. The first one is to find wealthy socialite Sandy Olaf’s diamond tennis bracelet. She could easily afford another, but this bracelet has sentimental value, and besides, I like Sandy. She’s a very generous person, and I have an idea I’ll find her bracelet at one of the many venues where she hosted a charity benefit. The other case—well, let me put it this way. It seems I’m doomed to deal with the goofier side of Parkland, NC. Twin magicians Taft and Lucas Finch have lost a special magic box Lucas says once belonged to Houdini. This may or may not be true. But I’ve got a bunch of magicians to interview, and there seems to be quite a bit of resentment and jealousy among them.

As for the other residents of Grace Street, Camden’s been really hoarse lately and freaking out over losing his voice. He doesn’t like his psychic talent, but he feels his singing talent is all he has, so he’s moody. His girlfriend Ellin isn’t happy, either. Seems like a potential sponsor for her Psychic Service Network is insisting that his wife host one of the shows. For a control freak like Ellin, this can’t be good news. And Kary insists on helping me with my cases, and I have to admit she’s been very useful in the past. Now she says she can go undercover as a magician’s assistant. That’ll be one lucky magician. I just hope he’s not the kind who does those sawing in half tricks. Kary’s the love of my life, even though she hasn’t quite figured that out, and I do my best not to be overprotective.

So here I am backstage at the local Magic Club, waiting to talk to Rahnee, the owner, and another magician’s dog is barking and scratching at a large trunk. It might be a good idea to see what’s inside, but the trunk is locked. Rahnee has a key and she gets the trunk open.

Taft Finch is curled up dead inside.

Looks like this case just took a dark turn.


Now You See It is the third book in the “Grace Street Series”, following Stolen Hearts and Mixed Signals, all published by Poisoned Pen Press. Giveaway contests for a copy of the book will be held at Goodreads starting October 24 26.

Meet the author
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s home town, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Series, A Case of Imagination, A Hard Bargain, and A Little Learning, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather.

Visit Jane’s website at www.janetesh.com, her Facebook page, Twitter, and her blog.

A Day in the Life of David Randall by Jane Tesh

Welcome to 302 Grace Street in Parkland, North Carolina, my new home and soon to be the office of the Randall Detective Agency. I’ve just moved in, but let me give you a tour. This, of course, is the porch. A southern home isn’t complete without one. This one’s nice and wide with a porch swing and rocking chairs shaded by the large oak trees in the front yard, a great place to sit and watch the quiet neighborhood. Or sit and ponder your life and all the decisions, good and bad, that led you to this particular day. I’ve got plenty of those to think about.

Here, I’ll hold the screen door for you. In the foyer, to the right you’ll see the parlor that’s going to be my office. In front of you is the large staircase leading up to the second and third floors. To the left, you’ll see the living room area we call the island, a group of comfortable chairs and cushions parked on a worn oriental rug. That’s Kary’s old upright piano in the corner. You can see the dining room table and chairs and the back bay window from here. There’s lots of light from the tall windows, and the warm wooden floor feels good on bare feet. This is a place where you can leave your book open and no one turns a page, or your snacks and drink on the coffee table and no one takes a bite—except the housecat, Cindy, might investigate.

What am I doing here, you may ask? Well, the truth is, I had nowhere else to go. Early this morning, my second wife threw me out, and I was sleeping in my ‘67 Plymouth Fury when sirens woke me and I found myself just down the street from a break in and the murder of elderly Albert Bennett. I wanted in on this investigation, but the police warned me away.

This has never stopped me before. But I needed a place to stay, and fortunately, my friend, Camden, has this boarding house. You’ve heard of half-way houses? This is an all-the-way-house for Camden’s collection of strays, including a good old boy named Rufus Jackson, a mean old geezer named Fred, and Kary Ingram, the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. Camden tells me her fundamentalist family disowned her when she became pregnant with a child she lost. I wasn’t going to stay here, but now—I don’t quite understand, but I think she’s going to be the one. You see, I lost a child, too.

My first wife and I had a lovely little daughter named Lindsey, and when she died in a car crash, our marriage died, too. Foolishly, I jumped into another relationship, but that wasn’t the answer. I feel responsible for the crash and for not being able to find Lindsey. Sometimes I think I see her, but I’m afraid to hear what she might say. In fact, I’ve seen her in this house. I don’t know what I’m going to do about it.

Oh, did I mention Camden’s psychic? Sometimes it’s useful. Most of the time, it’s damned annoying, because he knows what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. I’m certain he can see Lindsey, too. Of course, he’s got his own problems. He was given up for adoption when he was three days old and resents the mysterious father who abandoned him. I’ve offered to find his parents, but he always says no. He also hates being psychic, but his girlfriend, Ellin Belton, head of the Psychic Service Network—you know, one of those goofy late night infotainment shows—is always after him to be on her program. It’s going to be fun to see how that plays out.

But for now, I’m going back on the porch for more pondering. There was a clue on the lawn of Albert Bennett’s house, a piece of paper torn from a notebook. The markings looked like some kind of music. Kary could help me with that. Camden could, too, because he’s a singer. What I really need is some clients so I could—oh, hello, Cindy. You need some cat food? What’s up?

What are you looking at so intently?

Oh, my God.

Lindsey.


Meet the author
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s home town, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Series, A Case of Imagination, A Hard Bargain, and A Little Learning, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather. STOLEN HEARTS is the first in the Grace Street Mystery Series, featuring struggling PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, Randall’s love interest, Kary Ingram, and Cam’s career-driven girlfriend, Ellin Belton, as well as an ever-changing assortment of Cam’s tenants. MIXED SIGNALS, the second in the series, will be published in November.

Visit Jane’s website at www.janetesh.com and her Facebook page.

A Little Learning by Jane Tesh

A Little Learning by Jane Tesh is the third book in the “Madeline Maclin” mystery series.  Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, June 2009

Former beauty queen and fledgling private investigator, Madeline Maclin, has married her best friend, Jerry Fairweather, and settled into his old house in the small town of Celosia, North Carolina. Lately, she’s been concerned that quiet small town life isn’t enough for Jerry, who says he’s given up his cons and schemes but not his phony séances.

And now Madeline is involved in the mysterious death of Amelia Lever, an unpopular teacher at Celosia Elementary School, whose cigarette break turned out to be fatal. But Maddy isn’t convinced it was a natural death. Grumpy, uncooperative Amelia Lever was despised by the faculty, mainly for voting against grant proposals.

And then there’s Maddy’s latest case. Nathan Fenton has hired her to help solve a riddle left to him by his Uncle Elijah, a man who loved to play games. The riddle says: “From west to east the river flows, from ancient times the sparrow flies. Trust animals that live in packs, and listen where the portrait lies.” Are the teacher’s death and this mysterious riddle somehow related?

This cozy murder mystery was a fun read.  My rating: 3 stars

A Hard Bargain by Jane Tesh

A Hard Bargain by Jane Tesh is the second book in the “Maclin Investigations” mystery series.  Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, June 2009

After solving her first big murder case in the small town of Celosia, North Carolina, Madeline Maclin hopes at last to be taken seriously as a private investigator. She’s opened an office in the home of her best friend Jerry Fairweather, a man haunted by his past who enjoys running harmless scams. Jerry doesn’t feel worthy of anyone’s love–bad news for Madeline–although she thinks Jerry’s sister Harriet knows more about the accident that killed their parents than she’ll say.

Madeline is hired to find Kirby Willet, an eccentric inventor who left boxes of his belongings, including one filled with money, at Frannie Thomas house. Meanwhile Voltage Films director, Josh Gaskins, is in town and thinks Jerry’s old house will be perfect for his horror film, “Curse of the Mantis Man,” about Celosia’s mythical beast. Is this monster actually real?

Celosia is also hopping with the Pageantoids, rabid fans from Madeline’s days as a beauty queen, who have come to Celosia to produce more pageants. And then there’s Rick Rialto, one of Jerry’s shady con artist friends. When Gaskins is murdered, Madeline uncovers several suspects and is forced to make–and investigate–some hard bargains. At least one of which is with Jerry.

I enjoyed this cozy mystery that saw Madeline get three new cases as she starts her detective agency in their new town.  The cases are solved and Mac gets what she’s been wanting for a long time.  My rating: 3.5 stars