Tag Archives: Kensington Books

A day in the life of Tess Nakamura by Sharon Farrow

Hi, I’m Tess Nakamura. Since the lakeshore community of Oriole Point, Michigan is so small, every resident knows that I’m a glass artist, live with my longtime boyfriend David Reese, and am best friends with Marlee Jacob. David and I own Oriole Glass, a glass sculpture gallery and studio. Just around the corner is The Berry Basket, Marlee’s charming shop devoted to berry themed products. Recent events have been so startling, however, that she has devoted an equal amount of time to murder this summer. Trying to be a supportive best friend led to me getting too close to a dead body during strawberry season. Marlee is still apologizing for that. I don’t blame her for our grisly discovery. After all, she was looking out for a friend, too. And Natasha Bowman gets into almost as much trouble as Marlee.

Unlike Marlee and Natasha, I prefer to take risks in my glass blowing, not my personal life. Marlee likens me to Elinor Dashwood, the level headed heroine of Sense and Sensibility. By the way, Marlee loves to describe people by finding their fictional equivalent. Blame this on her English professor mother who went into labor while reading A Christmas Carol, then proceeded to give birth on Christmas Eve. Inspired by their last name ‘Jacob’ and her rereading of Dickens, Marlee’s mom named her after Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s business partner. It makes me grateful that I was born to an ophthalmologist mother whose preferred reading material is a medical journal. But I was born on a holiday too: Halloween. Marlee claims I got the better holiday birthday; Christmas babies apparently get shortchanged on birthday gifts. I suspect she’s right.

With both of us about to turn thirty-one, it dawned on us that we’ve been friends for two decades! We regret not having met even earlier. My parents sent me to private school and I didn’t meet Marlee until we were eleven years old and competed in the state’s spelling bee contest. We made history after tying for first place. Neither of us could correctly spell ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’. Can you blame us? Floccinaucinihilipilification is the second longest word in the English language. To be honest, I had to look it up in order to spell it correctly here. Luckily, our fight to a mutual finish in the spelling bee resulted in Marlee and I becoming besties.

Our friendship continued even when we went off to college: me to the Rhode Island School of Design, and Marlee to study marketing at New York University. After graduation, I came back to Michigan, accompanied by David, a fellow glass artist and the love of my life. We’re not married, much to the chagrin of my conservative Japanese American family. But David and I are happy with the way things are. Meanwhile I’m looking forward to being maid of honor at Marlee’s upcoming wedding to Ryan Zellar. Only there are times when Marlee seems even more reluctant than me to get married. I hope there isn’t trouble ahead for them.

Because we run our own businesses, it’s hard for Marlee and me get together as often as we’d like during summer tourist season. But we often meet up in the morning to bike to work; our homes are an easy commute to the downtown shopping district. As busy as we are at Oriole Glass and The Berry Basket, we try to take a break at Coffee By Crystal. Glass blowing is a demanding endeavor and I need my daily chai as much as Marlee needs her mocha latte.

When I want to relax, there’s no better place to chill out than Marlee’s house. She lives in a 19th century ‘Painted Lady’ overlooking Lake Michigan. Best of all, she has a private beach. Marlee loves to have friends over for a barbecue and a swim. And David and I take on all challengers in beach volleyball . . . which we invariably win.

However there hasn’t been a lot of time for beach volleyball this summer. Right now we’re celebrating the centenary of the Blackberry Art School. Since we spent two summers at BAS, Marlee and I have been looking forward to the arrival of hundreds of fellow alumni. That was before Marlee discovered the buried skeleton of a former student. Thankfully, I wasn’t with her this time. But it seems clear another murder has occurred in Oriole Point, albeit twenty years ago. I’m determined to see that my best friend stays out of trouble. For that reason I’m glad we both signed up for the Blackberry Road Rally, which should be a fun break from worrying about dead bodies. Knowing how fast Marlee drives, we’re likely to outrace our competitors. Fingers crossed, we won’t wind up trying to outrace a murderer as well.

You can read more about Tess in Blackberry Burial, the second book in the “Berry Basket” mystery series.

Between a booming art scene and elaborate Independence Day festivities, July in lakeshore Oriole Point, Michigan, is always a blast. Especially when an explosive murder case crashes the fun.

As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School’s centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race—despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It’s a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who’s convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer—before the next ‘blackberry victim’ is ripe for the picking!

Includes Berry Recipes!

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Blackberry Burial. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 3, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties, with her first novel released in 1998. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series, which debuted in 2016 with Dying For Strawberries. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.

In her former life, Sharon turned her hand to a variety of endeavors from principal investigator on an archaeological site, college history instructor, art gallery assistant, and dancing in a dog costume for a non-profit company (it’s a long story). Although Sharon has lived in Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey, she calls Michigan home, specifically the beautiful coastline of Lake Michigan. She is so enamored of the sand dunes, orchards and beaches of western Michigan, she set The Berry Basket mysteries in a town similar to the one she is lucky to live in. Connect with Sharon at sharonfarrowauthor.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Nora Pennington by Ellery Adams

Occupation: Proprietress of Miracle Books

I know what you’re expecting.

You’re expecting a heroine who has relocated to a quaint small-town following a messy divorce, a cheating lover, a failed business venture, or another relatable tragedy.

But I’m no heroine.

I recognize these kinds of tragedies, though. I’ve seen countless people wounded by divorce, infidelity, and failed ventures. I’ve met them, spoken with them, and tried to help them.

They come to this town—to Miracle Springs—in search of healing. They’re in the minority. Most of the people who come here have physical illnesses. They’re battling cancer or suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, or another terrible disease.

Others suffer from injuries dwelling deep in their hearts.

Emotional pains.

Secret pains.

These people enter my bookshop. It’s located in the old train station. They order a cup of cappuccino or an herbal tea and I serve it to them through the old ticket agent’s window. They browse for a spell, moving among the maze of bookshelves. There are new books, old books, and collectible books. There are cushy chairs, plump cushions, and plenty of reading lamps. There are shelf enchancers for sale: wonderful vintage items like a silverplate hand mirror with roses, a bamboo birdcage, a wind-up racecar, a child’s tea set, or a pair cast iron castle bookends.

When the newcomers have finished wandering and are ready to talk, they come to me for help, and I find them the books they need.

The locals call me a bibliotherapist. Though I have no formal training, I’ve read thousands of books. And I know pain. I’ve walked through fire. Literally. The burn scars bloom along the length of my arm and the right side of my neck and cheek like jellyfish. They’re a permanent reminder of my past. Of my other life. Of my secret.

You have one too. We all do. Our secret is our story. It is only when we share our stories that we become free.

I can put the right set of stories into a person’s hands. So if you need help and no one else has been able to understand you, to get you the way you need them to—there’s a perfect set of stories just waiting for you. I’m waiting for you. Here, inside Miracle Books. I can’t guarantee you’ll be healed, but I’ll do whatever one broken and scarred human being can do for another. I’ll listen for the sleigh bells banging against the front door. That’s how I’ll know you’ve come to find me. I’ll put the coffee on. And we’ll talk.

You can read more about Nora in The Secret, Book & Scone Society, the firist book in the NEW “Secret, Book & Scone Society” mystery series.

From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . .

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .

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Giveaway: To enter to win a Secret, Book & Scone Society tote bag as well as a scone mix (flavor to be determined), share the title of a book that helped you through a tough time. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 2, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. She now writes full-time from her home in North Carolina, which she shares with her husband, two trolls, and three keyboard-hogging felines. Adams loves coffee, champagne, kickboxing, 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles, Pinterest, and black jelly beans.

Her traditionally published series include The Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mysteries, The Book Retreat Mysteries, The Books By the Bay Mysteries, and The Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries.

Her Indie series, available as ebooks only, include The Supper Club Series, The Hope Street Series, and The Molly Appleby Collectible Series.

For more killer mysteries, visit elleryadamsmysteries.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams

The Secret, Book, & Scone Society by Ellery Adams is the first book in the NEW “Secret, Book & Scone Society” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, coming October 31, 2017

From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . .

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .

This is another fine book by Ellery Adams. Taking place in Miracle Springs, North Carolina, the visually descriptive narrative immediately pulled me in as I had to know happens next. The plot dictated the coming together of the main characters whose secret created a bond when it was needed to spurn them into action upon learning of a man’s death. The author cast a spell on this reader with a mesmerizing tome where vulnerability is accepted and draws strength from camaraderie, like no other. The pacing and comfortable tone synchronized on an even keel with how effortless this story took hold of my being. The mystery kept me intrigued as the story moved forward and the author did a great job in setting the stage for the motive and the revelation of the killer’s identity, which had me shouting Bravo, well done. This is a wonderful book and I can’t wait to see where we go next with this group of friends.

Buy Link

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher.

A day in the life of Jimmy Vega by Suzanne Chazin

I’m a homicide detective. Well, I was a homicide detective. Until I shot an unarmed man who I thought was fleeing a robbery. I had eighteen unblemished years with the county police and it all fell apart in two fateful seconds.

I got kicked down to desk duty. My grown daughter became ashamed of me. My girlfriend, Adele, almost left. She’s a Harvard-trained attorney and head of an outreach center for immigrants.

The man I shot was an immigrant. You can imagine how that went over between us.

Even before the shooting, Adele and I were different people. I’m a Bronx kid who drifted so far from my Puerto Rican roots, I have a Jewish ex-wife and a daughter who can recite the Torah better than she can speak Spanish. I became a cop because I believe in the law. I believe that right and wrong aren’t conditional. For Adele, it’s a little different. Her parents were undocumented immigrants from Ecuador. She grew up in fear of cops.

Our jobs put us at odds with each other sometimes. Plus, we live in a county an hour north of New York City that’s picture-postcard pretty but full of extremes. We’ve got Wall Street bankers and immigrants who sleep six to a room. It’s not easy keeping the peace in a place where wealth and want keep bumping up against one another.

Since the shooting, I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces of my life. Music was my first love and it’s still my salvation. I play guitar and sing lead vocals in a rock band. “Armado,” we call ourselves. That’s Spanish for “Armed,” a little inside joke. All five band members are in law enforcement. Which means half the gigs we play expect us to double as unpaid security and the other half think we’re going to narc them out.

Telling someone you’re a cop never elicits a neutral reaction.

The other thing that soothes me these days is my dog, Diablo. Adele gave him to me after one of her clients couldn’t keep him anymore. He’s a total space hog. Share a bed with him and by the morning, he’s in the middle and you’re sleeping in one corner.

Adele, my music and my dog were doing a pretty good job of keeping me sane. Until one bitterly cold January night when all that wealth and want collided. It happened in the pretty little village of Lake Holly. A seventeen-year-old girl from a prominent local family went to Adele’s outreach center to tutor English to immigrants—and vanished. The last people to see her were the men she tutored, some of whom are in this country without papers.

Tensions are escalating by the minute, fanned in part by our new county supervisor, a man with strict views on immigration and a hunger for higher office. The town wants their pound of flesh. The immigrants are scared. If I don’t find out what happened to this girl soon, it won’t just be my future going down in flames. Or Adele’s.

It will be the entire town of Lake Holly.

You can read more about Jimmy in A Place in the Wind, the fourth book in the “Jimmy Vega” mystery series.

The disappearance of a teenage girl in upstate New York sets off a powder keg of accusations, bigotry, and fear—with deadly results—in Suzanne Chazin’s stunning new mystery featuring Hispanic police detective Jimmy Vega . . .

On a frigid, January night, a blond, blue-eyed high school girl walks out of an English class she tutors for immigrants—and vanishes. Suspicion quickly falls on the men she was teaching, many of whom are undocumented. As disturbing evidence trickles in, news of the incident spreads beyond the scenic town of Lake Holly, New York, unearthing deep-seated fears and enflaming cultural tensions.

For county police detective Jimmy Vega, the situation is personal. His girlfriend, Harvard-educated attorney Adele Figueroa, heads the immigrant center where the teen volunteer disappeared. If Vega can’t find the girl soon and clear Adele’s clients, the place of refuge may be forced to shut its doors. Still reeling over his own recent career missteps, Vega does his best to run interference between Adele and the local police. But when Vega’s boss assigns him a grunt detail working for the new county supervisor, the man’s political ambitions clash with Vega’s deepest convictions. Vega can’t imagine a worse turn of events—until he uncovers even darker forces at play. Someone wants to destroy far more than Vega’s career. And no matter which way he turns, every step will put him and his family in the killer’s cross-hairs.

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About the author
Suzanne Chazin is an award-winning novelist and author of seven mysteries, including her fourth and newest Jimmy Vega, A Place in the Wind (Oct. 2017). Her novels have received praise from USA Today, People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and such authors as Lee Child, Hallie Ephron, Robert Dugoni, Jeffrey Deaver, and William Kent Krueger. Suzanne’s first Jimmy Vega mystery, Land of Careful Shadows, was chosen as one of the five best genre mysteries of the year by the American Library Association. Her third Jimmy Vega, No Witness But the Moon was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Visit Suzanne on Facebook or at suzannechazin.com.

Angie’s Christmas Remembrance: A Prequel to Thread The Halls by Lea Wait

“Remembering Christmas”

Wreaths made at home or by friends hung on most Haven Harbor doors. People full of secrets and holiday cheer smiled at everyone they met. Carols filled the air in downtown Haven Harbor, as store owners decorated their windows with their most tempting merchandise. Clean white snow covered dead leaves left by autumn and torn fast food wrappers tossed by careless passersby.

Mama always had a job; restaurants needed waitresses for holiday parties, so she was happy, and had money to spend. Gram made different cookies every day. Smells of ginger and spices and molasses and lemon mixed with the pine scent from our gaudily decorated tree in the living room.

Christmas in Haven Harbor was my favorite time of year.

Gram and I had always strung popcorn and cranberries for the tree, and made paper chains.

But the year I was in kindergarten was the best Christmas yet. Every school day in December we sang Christmas songs and colored Christmas pictures, drew Christmas trees, and made Christmas ornaments to put on our classroom’s tree and then take home. We generously poured glue on dried starfish and sand dollars and shells Miss Alison had collected during the summer, and sprinkled them all with red and green and gold glitter.

Patiently she showed us how to paint some starfish to look like Santas. We cut out stars and circles and snowflakes, and made papier mache frames to hold our school pictures, which we could give to our parents as gifts and then hang on our trees at home.

I loved every moment, and everything we made. But the ornament I was most proud of was the tinfoil star for the top of the tree. Miss Alison had straightened out sixteen wire coat hangers, and helped us bend them into stars. Wire at the bottom would hold them on a tree. The silver tinfoil sparkled as we carefully covered our stars.

Miss Alison knew each one of us, and knew our families. I didn’t have a dad, so instead she helped me make a picture frame for Gram. But I insisted the silver star was the best; it was for Mama.

On the last day of school before the Christmas holidays I carefully carried my creations home. Mama was at work, but Gram exclaimed over all the ornaments, and helped me hang them on the tree.

I kept the special star separate.

On Christmas Eve Mama and Gram and I turned off all our lights except those on the tree and the fire in the fireplace. We sat and listened to carols and ate Christmas cookies and ribbon candy. And I couldn’t wait any longer.

I ran upstairs to my room and pulled my special present for Mama from under my bed, where I’d hidden it.

She opened it carefully. “A star, Angie. It’s perfect. It’s just what we need!”

I glowed as she held me up high and I fastened that star on the very top of our tree, where the tinfoil reflected all the colored lights. I could smell the mixture of the pine tree and Mama’s perfume and the spic of the lemon and molasses cookies.

I’m 28 now. I haven’t celebrated Christmas in Haven Harbor for ten years. But this year I’m home again. Mama’s gone, but Grams’ still here, and I want this Christmas to be the best ever.

But, first, I have to find that star.

You can read more about Angie in Thread The Halls, the sixth book in the “Mainely Needlepoint” mystery series, coming October 31, 2017.

Christmas in Haven Harbor, Maine, means family, trouble, and murder . . .

This Yuletide season, there’s no time for Angie Curtis and Patrick West to linger under the mistletoe. Patrick’s being needled by his mother—movie star Skye West—to set the stage for a perfect white Christmas as she brings her costar, screenwriters, and director home for the holidays. With his mother’s long list of wishes, Patrick’s becoming unraveled. To help, the Mainely Needlepointers offer to decorate Skye’s Victorian mansion and create needlepoint pillows as gifts for the guests.

But not long after the celebrity celebrants invade Haven Harbor, an unscripted tragedy occurs. Then some questionable Christmas cookies make Patrick sick. Before Santa arrives at the town pier on a lobster boat, Angie and the Needlepointers need to trim down the naughty list, catch a cold-hearted killer, and wrap up the case . . .

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About the author
“When I was single I was an adoption advocate and adopted four daughters. Now I write mysteries and historical novels about people searching for love, acceptance, and a place to call home,” writes USA Today best-selling author Lea Wait. She writes the Mainely Needlepoint and Shadows Antique Print mystery series, and, beginning in 2018, the Maine Murder Mystery series. Thread The Halls, the sixth in her Mainely Needlepoint series, will be published October 31. She also recently published a fun culinary mystery for young people, Pizza To Die For. For more about Lea and her work, leawait.com and friend her on Facebook and Goodreads, and to read the blog she writes with other Maine mystery authors, Maine Crime Writers.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Edwina Davenport by Jessica Ellicott

Life for me in the small English village of Walmsley Parva used to run along a rather predictable pattern. Most days I woke up to a nagging series of thoughts concerning my overdue accounts at the local greengrocer or a disturbing patch of damp growing ever larger in the corner of my sitting room. I spent my day in the company of my beloved terrier, Crumpet, and my irksome jobbing gardener Simpkins with whom I have an ongoing quarrel on the subject of tuberous begonias. Evenings I spent playing games of Patience or knitting small jumpers and pairs of booties to be sold in support of the church roof fund. One day was very much like another. It was not a bad life but it was not a particularly exciting one either.

All that changed when my old friend from our days together at Mdm. DuPont’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Beryl Helliwell, arrived in response to an advertisement I had placed in the newspaper for a lodger. You see, as much as I find it distressing to admit it, the economic downturn in the aftermath of the Great War left me badly in need of funds. The upkeep on my home, the Beeches, required far more than the paltry income from my stock shares provided. Beryl’s arrival was an answer to my prayers.

At least I thought it was until Beryl took the notion to put a story about the village that she had arrived for a visit after receiving a coded message from me stating I needed her help to uncover some dark doings in Walmsley Parva. She told the local postmistress the two of us worked for a covert intelligence agency. Her bald-faced lying to the most dedicated gossip in all the village resulted in someone attempting to strangle me with my own scarf that very night as I walked Crumpet one last time before bed.

One would expect that an attempt on the life of an old dear friend would dampen the spirits and quell any thirst for adventure. Unfortunately, one does not generally expect someone like Beryl. She took the attempted murder as encouragement that there were in fact nefarious activities roiling under the placid surface of village life. She somehow managed to convince me to see things her way and before I knew it, my typical day filled only with arguing with my gardener, walking my dog and knitting for charity were but faint memories. When Beryl and I stumbled over a body in a fallow field we were suddenly right in the thick of things following clues and generally stirring up trouble all over the village.

As much as it would make my dearly departed mother spin furiously in her grave to hear me say it, I’ve rather enjoyed the novelty of my new life and the adventurous turn it has taken since Beryl’s arrival. You won’t find me sitting quietly alone in my parlor playing Patience every evening anymore. You’re far more likely to see me rattling down country lanes in Beryl’s motorcar, at ferocious rates of speed or questioning suspects and verifying alibis. Please don’t tell Beryl, but I don’t miss my old life one little bit.

You can read more about Edwina in Murder in an English Village, the first book in the NEW “Beryl and Edwina” historical mystery series, coming October 31, 2017

As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn’t be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they’re the perfect match . . .

1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect is that she craves some peace and quiet. The humdrum hamlet of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside seems just the ticket. And, honestly, until America comes to its senses and repeals Prohibition, Beryl has no intention of returning stateside and subjecting herself to bathtub gin.

For over three decades, Edwina Davenport has lived comfortably in Walmsley Parva, but the post–World War I bust has left her in dire financial straits and forced her to advertise for a lodger. When her long-lost school chum Beryl arrives on her doorstep—actually crashes into it in her red motorcar—Edwina welcomes her old friend as her new roommate.

But her idyllic hometown has a hidden sinister side, and when the two friends are drawn in, they decide to set up shop as private inquiry agents, helping Edwina to make ends meet and satisfying Beryl’s thirst for adventure. Now this odd couple will need to put their heads together to catch a killer—before this sleepy English village becomes their final resting place . . .

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Meet the author
Jessica Ellicott loves fountain pens, Mini Coopers and throwing parties. She lives in northern New England where she obsessively knits wool socks and enthusiastically speaks Portuguese with a shocking disregard for the rules of grammar.

As Jessie Crockett she’s the author of the nationally bestselling Sugar Grove Mysteries, and the Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Live Free or Die. She also is the author of the books in the Change of Fortune mysteries as Jessica Estevao.

Visit Jessica at jessicaellicott.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life at Pie Town with Val Harris by Kirsten Weiss

What’s it like being a pie baker? There’s a lot of pie, which is always a good thing. There’s also a lot of work.

It’s a good thing I never needed much sleep, because baker’s hours start painfully early. I wake up before dawn has even considered cracking to start work at Pie Town.

Since Pie Town is a start-up, I’m not as well staffed yet as I’d like. That means I get to do the early A.M. prep work – chopping fruits and veggies for our sweet and savory pies. My brain tank is usually on empty at that hour, and chopping is about all I can handle.

Fortunately, my right-hand woman and pie-crust specialist, Charlene, also doesn’t sleep much. I think it has something to do with her being seventy-something going on fourteen. While I chop, take deliveries, and organize, she’s holed up in my specially built, temperature-controlled flour-work room, fiddling with her super-secret crust recipe.

I flip the sign in the front window to Open at six A.M. and set out the coffee urn. We’re self-serve in the mornings, and we usually attract an older crowd who likes the cheap coffee and discounted, day-old hand pies.

While they gossip and sip coffee, I bake. And that’s about when my staff start to trickle in. The baking winds down right before the customers wind up, at noon. Then the feeding frenzy begins. Weekends are our best time, when the beach crowds, sun and wind burnt, tumble into the shop.

Or at least weekends had been our best time. But then Joe, who ran the comic book shop next door, keeled over after trying my spinach and zucchini quiche. I am a hundred percent. . . Ninety-nine percent sure there was nothing in that quiche that could have killed him. I mean, it’s not like we keep rat poison lying around the kitchen.

But I can’t stop feeling guilty. I liked Joe, and he died on my linoleum floor. Charlene’s convinced he was murdered. I don’t know what to think.

Unfortunately, all I’ve got is time to think. My customers have disappeared, and I’m nearly out of business. Free-wheeling Charlene thinks she’s helping by dragging me off to investigate every odd happening in San Nicholas. And for a small town, there are a lot of odd happenings. UFOs. Bigfoot. Ghost jaguars. Or at least, that’s Charlene’s side of the story. I’m lukewarm on her topsy-turvy conspiracy theories. She hasn’t got a shred of evidence that any of it has anything to do with Joe’s death.

Honestly, I’d just rather be baking.

You can read more about Val in The Quiche and the Dead, the first book in the NEW “Pie Town” mystery series, coming October 31, 2017.

Is Val’s breakfast pie the quiche of death?

Owning her own business seemed like pie in the sky to Valentine Harris when she moved to the coastal California town of San Nicholas, expecting to start a new life with her fiancé. Five months—and a broken engagement—later, at least her dream of opening a pie shop has become a reality. But when one of her regulars keels over at the counter while eating a quiche, Val feels like she’s living a nightmare.

After the police determine the customer was poisoned, business at Pie Town drops faster than a fallen crust. Convinced they’re both suspects, Val’s flaky, seventy-something pie crust maker Charlene drags her boss into some amateur sleuthing. At first Val dismisses Charlene’s half-baked hypotheses, but before long the ladies uncover some shady dealings hidden in fog-bound San Nicholas. Now Val must expose the truth—before a crummy killer tries to shut her pie hole.

Pre-Order Link

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About the author
Kirsten Weiss worked overseas for nearly twenty years in the fringes of the former USSR, Africa, and South-east Asia. Her experiences abroad sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending steampunk suspense, urban fantasy, and mystery, mixing her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.

Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. Sign up for her newsletter to get free updates on her latest work at kirstenweiss.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Cover Reveal ~ Bear Witness to Murder by Meg Macy

I am thrilled to share with you the cover for the second book in the “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” mystery series from Kensington, coming May 29, 2018.

Title: Bear Witness To Murder
Series: Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
Website: Meg Macy

As autumn air settles into the quaint small town of Silver Hollow, there’s nothing more popular than Sasha’s teddy bears—and murder in cold blood . . .

Silver Bear Shop and Factory manager Sasha Silverman is cozying up to the fall season by hosting Silver Hollow’s Cranbeary Tea Party, the opening event of the village’s Oktobear Fest—a too-cute celebration themed around teddy bears. She barely has a moment to agonize over the return of her former high school rival, Holly Parker, whose new toy and bookstore in town could spell big trouble for her shop and her cousin’s small bookstore . . .

But when Sasha discovers Holly’s shop assistant dead with a knife plunged in her body, the unpleasant woman suddenly looks like a real backstabber. So does Sasha’s ex-husband, rumored to have rekindled the fiery extramarital affair he once had with the victim. Now, before a gruesome homicide case takes the fun out of both the Fest and her personal life, Sasha must identify the true culprit from a daunting suspect list—or risk becoming as lifeless as one of her stuffed bears . . .

Pre-Order Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a paperback copy of Bearly Departed, (U.S. residents only, sorry!), along with a few teddy treats! The giveaway will end October 10, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
MEG MACY (aka: Meg Mims) is an award-winning mystery author living in Southeast Michigan, close to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter—the area where she has set her Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear cozy mystery series for Kensington. Meg also co-writes—under the pseudonym D. E. Ireland—the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series, two of which have been named Agatha Award finalists. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. She’s a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Meg is a member of WWA, Western Fictioneers, and Sisters in Crime. Born and raised in Michigan, Meg lives with her husband and enjoys gardening, crafts, and reading mysteries, historical fiction, and adding more books to her Kindle.

Visit Meg at megmacy.com

A day in the life with Verity Kent by Anna Lee Huber

I pressed a hand to my temple, closing my eyes as the beat of the drums grew ever louder, synchronizing with the pounding in my skull. I silently willed my man-of-all-work to hurry, praying I wasn’t already trapped. That it wasn’t too late.

I’d originally planned to attend the Trooping the Colour, the first since the war had ended. As such, it was to be the largest ever, and consequently would be held in Hyde Park to accommodate all of the soldiers. But when I’d woken to the sounds of drumming and marching only a few short blocks away from my Berkeley Square residence, panic gripped my chest.

I simply couldn’t do it. I couldn’t sit in my flat and listen to all that pomp and circumstance. And I certainly couldn’t stand among the other spectators and pretend I wasn’t a wreck inside. What if I should fail to hold it in? What if I should break down?

I inhaled sharply at the horrifying thought. No, it was best, for all, if I left.

I would weave my way north if I had to before doubling back to the southwest. I’d planned to leave tomorrow anyway and make my way down to the Derby at Epsom before traveling on to Winchester and then Umbersea Island. What did it matter if I left a day early? There was so little demand on my time anymore.

Not so long ago, I would’ve woken early to hurry off to my job, grateful for the warmth of the sun on my cheeks even though I knew such clear skies could mean zeppelin raids in the evening. Ostensibly, I worked for a shipping company who helped supply victuals to the troops at the front, but in actuality my work took me to Whitehall Court and into the domain of the Secret Service, where my days were filled with exhausting, but important work, with purpose. In my more reflective moments, I recognized my job had been the only thing to keep me on my feet after my husband, Sidney, died in early 1918.

But then the war had ended, and soon enough, so had my usefulness. I’d been released from service to wander our empty, echoing flat. I’d volunteered where I could, frantic to fill my hours during the day, while at night I frequented parties and nightclubs with friends equally desperate to stifle their pain, to dance and drown themselves into forgetfulness.

I suspect my life would have continued in that vein had the letter not arrived.

I know the secrets you hide. Why shouldn’t I also know your husband’s?

Then I couldn’t go on ignoring it all. I couldn’t continue to banish the memories. Not when my anonymous letterwriter had made such terrible accusations against Sidney. So I’d followed his instructions. I’d telephoned and told one of my husband’s oldest friends I’d had a change of plans and would be able to attend his engagement house party on Umbersea Island after all. What would happen when I arrived, I couldn’t guess. But I certainly wasn’t going to allow this mysterious correspondent’s claims about Sidney to go unchallenged.

I heard the engine of my late husband’s Pierce-Arrow before I saw it, and stepped through the door to meet my man-of-all-work as he brought the current-red motorcar to a stop. The sleek little Runabout had been Sidney’s pride and joy, and had since become mine.

“She’s all ready for ye, Mrs. Kent,” Rufus declared as he hopped out, holding the door for me.

I climbed in behind the driving wheel, wondering why men always referred to motorcars as females. Not that I disagreed, for I thought the same of this lovely girl. Especially when she was so keenly complicit in my escapes.

I checked the mirrors and resisted the urge to fidget as I waited impatiently for him to load my luggage.

“All set.” Rufus’s head turned to the side so he could gaze down the street, eager to catch a glimpse of the proceedings at Hyde Park.

“Go on,” I told him. Let someone enjoy the spectacle. “I won’t return until Monday, so you’ve your ease until then.”

He nodded, careful concern banked in his eyes. It simply wouldn’t do for a man of his station to be telling me what to do, even if he had served under Sidney. “Take ‘er easy through the acceleration. The clutch is stickin’ a tad. I’ll take another look when ye return.”

I couldn’t tell whether this was true or if it was simply his way of urging me to be safe, but I offered him an artless smile. “Don’t fuss, Rufus. We’ll return in one piece.”

I sped away oblivious to what was to come.

You can read more about Verity in This Side of Murder, the first book in the NEW “Verity Kent” mystery series.

The Great War is over, but in this captivating new mystery from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .

England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.

Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .

Buy Link

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About the author
Anna Lee Huber is the Daphne award-winning author of the national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries, the Verity Kent Mysteries, and the Gothic Myths series, as well as the forthcoming anthology The Jacobite’s Watch. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana with her family and is hard at work on her next novel. Visit her online at www.annaleehuber.com.

All comments are welcomed.