Tag Archives: Lea Wait

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.

My Musing ~ Pizza To Die For by Lea Wait

Pizza To Die For by Lea Wait. Publisher: Sheepscot River Press, August 2017

At fourteen, future chef Mikki Norden is ready for any kitchen emergency – except the unexpected death of her mentor, Mr. Baldacci. But Mikki’s learned a lot about solving crimes from her mother, an almost-published mystery author, so when the local New Jersey police rule Mr. B’s death a heart attack, she knows she has to prove otherwise, even if she’s a very amateur detective.

Mikki grows up fast as she discovers secrets surrounding Mr. B and his restaurant . . . and within her own family.

Wacky characters and situations make this a memorable coming-of-age mystery for readers of all ages.

This was an enjoyable short story that grabbed my attention immediately. When our heroine finds her mentor’s body, she suspects foul play and that’s when the adventure begins for this young amateur sleuth.

This evenly-paced drama perfectly matched how well the story flowed from chapter to chapter keeping me in tuned to all that was happening. From moving across the country and learning about her family’s history, Mikki is determined to find the person involved in Mr. B’s death. The author sets the stage for this light whodunit with a well-crafted mystery with plenty of suspects and I enjoyed watching how it all played out with each clue bringing me closer to the identity of the killer. With a great cast of characters that includes the two “body guards” whose idea of helping is amusing due to their ineptitude at getting the job done, this was a fun read and I would love to read more adventures with Mikki and her family.

Sarah’s Search: A Prequel to Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait

tightening-the-threadsA high dark concrete wall separated the ancient brick building from the busy street on the edge of London. Perhaps once the nursing home had been a hospital. Perhaps fields and flowers had surrounded it. I liked to think that. But today the neighborhood was run down, and those in the streets looked as though they, too were destined for the building designated “INDIGENT HOME” on a plaque next to the creaking gate.

My home in Australia had been small, but bright, and open, and our little town was surrounded by grasslands. What would my life have been if my father hadn’t been taken from here? Would I have grown up in these dreary streets?

I’d come so far. But what would I find behind that wall, in that building?

I glanced down at the address I’d been given, hoping I was mistaken. This couldn’t be where my ninety-year-old grandmother was living.

But the address was correct. I couldn’t turn back.

I walked through the open gate and up the stone steps to the wide paneled doors and pushed one open. The hall inside was dark, covered with old photographs and plaques. Faded drapes covered the four tall windows.

I longed to tear down the drapes and wash the windows and let what light there was on this dismal day inside these walls.

“May I help you?” The gray-haired woman behind the reception desk looked as dour as the walls.

“I’m here to see Serena Byrne. I’m her granddaughter.” What had my great-grandmother been thinking when she named her little girl “Serena” ninety years ago, in another time and world? Whatever it was, it hadn’t guaranteed a good life for her child, although, at ninety, my grandmother had survived more than most. More than any should have to.

The woman looked through a file box of names. Nothing computerized here.

“Ms. Byrne is in Ward 37. Up the staircase to the third floor, and to your left.”

“Thank you.” How old was this building? How many feet had worn down the stairs I climbed so they were lower in the middle than on the sides? How many people had lived here? Had died here?

On the third floor, I explained who I was visiting to a nurse at a wide nurse’s station. The air smelled musty, a mixture of urine and detergent and porridge. No other nurses were in sight, but in the background I heard the low murmur of voices, like a swarm of bees descending on a field of clover.

“I don’t remember seeing you before,” she said. She checked a list taped to the white washed plaster wall behind her desk. “I don’t believe Ms. Byrne has ever had a visitor. Her papers said she had no relatives.”

“I’m her granddaughter.” I said. “Sarah Byrne. She doesn’t know about me.”

The woman looked at me a bit sideways. “I see. Ms. Byrne is not well, you know. I hope you won’t do anything to upset her. At her age, she doesn’t need any undue excitement.”

“I understand,” I said. “But I’ve come a long way.”

“Australia?” the nurse asked.

I couldn’t hide my accent. “Yes.”

“Come with me, then. Your grandmother doesn’t have much time left. And she may not understand who you are. Some days she’s not sure who she is herself.”

I’d waited so long to meet this woman – maybe too long. She’d been told her son died of measles seventy years ago. No doubt she’d believed that. She wouldn’t be expecting to meet a granddaughter born around the world from London.

I swallowed deeply, and followed the nurse down the long corridor to Ward 37.

You can read more about Sarah in Tightening The Threads, the fifth book in the “Mainely Needlepoint” mystery series.

In the coastal town of Haven Harbor, blood runs thicker than water—and just as freely . . .

Antique dealer Sarah Byrne has never unspooled the truth about her past to anyone—not even friend and fellow Mainely Needlepointer Angie Curtis. But the enigmatic Aussie finally has the one thing she’s searched for all her life—family. And now she and long-lost half-brother, Ted Lawrence, a wealthy old artist and gallery owner in town, are ready to reveal their secret connection . . .

Ted’s adult children are suspicious of their newfound aunt Sarah—especially after Ted, in declining health, announces plans to leave her his museum-worthy heirloom paintings. So when Ted is poisoned to death during a lobster bake, everyone assumes she’s guilty. If Sarah and Angie can’t track down the real murderer in time, Sarah’s bound to learn how delicate—and deadly—family dynamics can truly be . . .

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About the author
lea-color-2Maine author Lea Wait writes the 5-book Mainely Needlepoint series, the 8-book Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, and historical novels for young people. She invites you to read her website, leawait.com, for more about her and her books, to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads, and to read the blog she writes with other Maine mystery authors, Maine Crime Writers. Tightening The Threads will be released by Kensington Publishing on March 28.

All comments are welcomed.

Tightening The Threads is available at retail and online booksellers.

My Musing ~ Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait

Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait is the fifth book in the “Mainely Needlepoint” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, March 28, 2017

tightening-the-threadsIn the coastal town of Haven Harbor, blood runs thicker than water–and just as freely . . .
Antique dealer Sarah Byrne has never unspooled the truth about her past to anyone–not even friend and fellow Mainely Needlepointer Angie Curtis. But the enigmatic Aussie finally has the one thing she’s searched for all her life–family. And now she and long-lost half-brother, Ted Lawrence, a wealthy old artist and gallery owner in town, are ready to reveal their secret connection . . .

Ted’s adult children are suspicious of their newfound aunt Sarah–especially after Ted, in declining health, announces plans to leave her his museum-worthy heirloom paintings. So when Ted is poisoned to death during a lobster bake, everyone assumes she’s guilty. If Sarah and Angie can’t track down the real murderer in time, Sarah’s bound to learn how delicate–and deadly–family dynamics can truly be . . .

In the latest adventures in Haven Harbor, the story centers around Sarah and her family heritage. When her uncle is murdered, Angie begins an investigation and during the process uncovers some unsavory family business. This was a well-written multi-plot whodunit that kept me intrigued throughout this drama. The author did a great job in presenting this mystery with plenty of suspects with a few twists and turns that enhanced the telling of this tale. I really enjoyed how the author set-up this story where the main characters had pivotal roles that led to the outcome of this finely tuned mystery. This was a great read and I look forward to reading the next book in this endearing series.

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

Prequel: The Cousins by Lea Wait

dangling-by-a-thread“Got everything we need, Jesse?” The heavyset older man, his ragged gray beard looking as though he’d trimmed it himself with scissors, looked down from the dock into the re-conditioned lobster boat at the skinny kid checking their supplies.

“Everything you said,” Jesse assured him eagerly. “Tent and sleeping bags and two coolers, one with water and one with food. And extra sweatshirts and a change of clothes and a slicker, in case it rains.” He grinned. “Weather report says sunny, though.”

“And life jackets? Fishing poles and buckets? Matches and flashlights?”

The boy nodded, grinning. “And a knife and bait, and your binoculars.”

“Hope that cooler has sandwiches in it,” said a taller boy, still standing on the dock, said. “Last year we didn’t catch any fish and we practically starved.”

“We didn’t,” Jesse started, but his grandfather shushed him.

“Spending three days out on that boring island is the worst part of coming to Maine,” Simon declared. “Some vacation. No television, no phones, no bathrooms. I brought a book.” He held up a thick biography of George Washington. “At least it’s interesting. And I‘ve got extra batteries for the flashlights.”

“I brought a book, too,” Jesse said, defensively. “Grampa’s book that tells all about Maine birds. It’s got pictures of cormorants and herons and black backed gulls and eider ducks, and all sorts of others.”

“Birds!” Simon wrinkled his nose as he stepped carefully into the boat. “Who cares about birds!”

“Lots of people,” said their grandfather, casting off. “Maybe you could learn something from them, Simon. They’re all different. Just like people.”

“I’ll pay attention to birds when they’re on tests in school. No one ever got smarter or richer looking at birds.”

“Maybe not,” said his Grampa. “But maybe they got happier. Leave Jesse alone and enjoy the beautiful weather and the scent of the sea. You won’t smell anything like this back in Chicago.”

“Thank goodness,” Simon muttered. He sat on the low bench in the stern and opened his book.

Their grandfather sighed. “Let’s get going, then. Jesse, you pilot. Tell me when you see buoys. I’ll let you take the wheel once we’re out of Haven Harbor. It’ll take us a while to get to King’s Island.”

Dangling By A Thread is the fourth book in the Mainely Needlepoint mystery series, published by Kensington, October 2016.

The Mainely Needlepointers are about to learn that no man is an island—especially when greedy developers want his land . . .

Hermit Jesse Lockhart lives alone on King’s Island, three miles east of Haven Harbor, Maine, where he’s created a private sanctuary for the endangered Great Cormorants. But when a wealthy family wants to buy the island and Jesse’s cousin Simon petitions for power of attorney to force him to sell, Jesse is the one who becomes endangered.

Mainely Needlepointer Dave Perry, who befriended Jesse in the VA hospital, rallies the group to his defense. Angie Curtis and the ravelers stitch “Save the King’s Island Cormorants” pillows and sell T-shirts to pay for Jesse’s legal counsel. But tragically, on a visit to the island, Angie finds Jesse dead. Now the search is on for a common thread that can tie the murdered man to his killer . . .

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About the author
This is a prequel to Dangling by A Thread, the fourth in Lea Wait’s USA Today best-selling Mainely lea-on-wiscasset-town-pierNeedlepoint mystery series. Lea also writes the Shadows Antique Print mystery series, the most recent of which is Shadows On A Morning In Maine, published last month, and historical novels for ages eight and up. She invites everyone to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads and to check her website, www.leawait.com, for more information about her and her books.

All comments are welcomed.

A Prequel: Brooklin and the Seals by Lea Wait

Shadows on a Morning in Maine“Where are they? I want to see one!” The little girl, her pony-tail bouncing, pulled her mother along the lobsterman’s wharf.

“Maybe they’re fishing,” her mother answered. “Under the water. We won’t see them until after they’ve had their breakfasts.” She sat down heavily on a wooden bench beside the bait box and put her large canvas bag next to her feet. “We’ll have to wait.”

“Like we have to wait for my brother?” Brooklin scrambled up and sat next to her mother.


She put her hand on her mother’s bulging stomach. “Is he playing now?”

Her mom tugged lightly on her pony-tail. “He plays almost all the time now. I think we’ll meet him pretty soon.”

“I want to show him the seals,” said Brooklin, looking out at the harbor expectantly. “He’ll like the seals.”

“I’m sure he will,” said her mother.

The wind picked up and blew a dark threatening cloud in front of the sun for a few minutes. Brooklin shivered. “I want them to come out of the water NOW,” said Brooklin, impatiently. “I want them to see US.”

“Patience. We must be patient,” said her mother, changing the conversation. “When your brother comes, I’ll be very tired, and busy with him.”

“I know that. You told me. He’s going to be a baby,” said Brooklin, rhythmically swinging her feet under the bench and hitting the seat with the heels of her sandals.

“We may not be able to come to see the seals every day.”

Brooklin stopped. “Why not?”

“Because babies need to sleep and eat often. And we can’t leave him alone in the house.”

“They poop a lot, too,” said Brooklin. “They wear diapers, not big girl pants.”

“That’s right. So I got you a friend. To keep you company when we can’t come down to the wharf.”

“A friend?”

Mother reached down and pulled a tissue-paper wrapped package out of her large bag. “This is for you.”

Brooklin tore the wrapping off quickly. “A seal,” she said, smiling at her mother. “You got me a baby seal!”

Mother reached down and hugged her, as Brooklin kissed the gray stuffed animal.

“I love it!”

“And I love you,” said Mother. “For ever and always, as deep as the ocean.”

Shadows on a Morning in Maine is the 8th book in the Antique Print mystery series, published by Perseverance Press, September 2016.

Maggie Summer is making big changes in her life. The antique print dealer has taken a sabbatical and moved to Maine to run an antiques mall with Will Brewer, her significant other. And she will finally adopt the daughter she’s been longing for. However, the troubled girl doesn’t want any part of the plan, showing affection only for the harbor seals, which remind her of her “real mother.” But someone starts shooting the seals―and a young fisherman is murdered. Then Will confesses a secret from his past, and Maggie begins to wonder if this is the biggest mistake of her life.

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About the author
Maine author Lea Wait writes two Maine-based mystery series: the Agatha-finalist Shadows Antique Print series, the most recent of which is Shadows on a Morning in Maine, and the USA Today best-selling Mainely Needlepoint series, the most recent of which is Thread and Gone. She also writes historical novels set in nineteenth century Maine for ages eight and up. For more information about Lea and her books see www.leawait.com. She invites everyone to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Shadows on a Morning in Maine. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 11, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

Mary Clough – Under The Eaves: A Message From The Past by Lea Wait

Thread and GoneMary Clough wiped her dusty hands on her shorts.

No one had cleaned the attic for years. Decades? No; more than that. Centuries. Her ancestors had built the old colonial in 1770. She was the last of them. The one who’d promised her fiancé they’d sell the house.

She’d been working for months, and had finally managed to sort most of the furnishings in the rooms she and her parents had used every day. She’d left the attic for last.

She’d hidden here as a child, behind and between old cartons of books and fabrics, fragile Christmas tree ornaments, warped snowshoes, metal and wooden trunks. She’d curled up on the Victorian horsehair couch to read forbidden books.

This attic had been her sanctuary. Her private place, full of unknown treasures. Long-discarded clothes to try on. Musty books full of stories from the past. Faded ships’ logs left by seafaring ancestors. Quilts stitched by their wives. Samplers proudly embroidered by their daughters.

An occasional field mouse, alive or dead, would appear when she unfolded an old quilt or opened a box of long-discarded toys. She didn’t mind. Mice deserved a warm place to spend the winter as much as she did. Maine winters were long and cold.

Her memories of this place were happy.

But this was July, and it was stifling under the eaves. Mary’s wispy blond hair stuck to her head and dust streaks covered her arms and legs.

How could she discard treasures that had meant so much to generations before? Each crate was filled with stories, she knew, not just flow-blue china from the Far East or school books used to teach a captain’s children on board a schooner heading around the Horn.

But at seventeen she was the only one left. The only one who cared about these things and their stories.

And she loved Rob. They were going to start a life together, and he needed the money this house and its contents would bring to buy a lobster boat to support them, and their children to come.

Mary had a quick vision of the little girl she’d been, loving this place and these things. Her children wouldn’t know that joy.

She wiped away a tear. Rob would laugh at her. Who would cry about getting rid of all this junk?

She reached up to the beams where her great great great grandparents had hung herbs to dry for the winter, and picked up a hummingbird’s nest someone a hundred years or more ago had found. Who’d collected nests? A boy, or a girl? Dozens had been carefully saved.

She dropped the tiny nest into a garbage bag. A treasure once, now junk.

One day when she was twelve she’d unpacked cartons of old books and lined them up on the rough cross boards just above where the slanted roof met the floor. They were still there. This afternoon she had time to fill one more carton with the leather bound (and sometimes mouse- nibbled) books.

The first two slipped from her hands, falling into the narrow space under the beam, next to the outside wall.

She knelt on the rough pine boards and reached for them. Pages had fallen out of one book; the other binding was intact. As she lifted the books out of the dusty opening she felt something else, stuck in the crevice. Leather? Maybe another book had fallen there, years ago. She managed to pull it out.

Not a book. A small leather case, sealed with sealing wax.

How long had it been there, between the floor and the wall?

Carefully, she unfolded the leather, breaking the red wax.

Inside was a folded piece of heavy paper, covered with elaborate hand-writing. She couldn’t read the French words.

Beneath the note was a piece of needlepoint. Needlepoint different from anything Mary had ever seen.

Who’d stitched it? When? And why was it sealed in a leather case in her family’s Maine attic?

As Mary held the message from the past, she vowed to find out.

This is a prequel of Lea Wait’s Thread And Gone, the third in her “Mainely Needlepoint” series set in Haven Harbor, Maine. Angie Curtis runs Mainely Needlepoint, a group of Mainers who create custom needlepoint and identify and restores old needlepoint. And because threads and needles can be deadly, Angie’s experience working for a private investigator helps her to solve crimes, both of today and yesterday. Twisted Threads and Threads Of Evidence, the first two books in this series, were both USA Today best sellers. Thread And Gone will be released December 29.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of THREAD AND GONE. (US entries only, please.) The giveaway will end January 6 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

About the author
Maine author Lea Wait also writes the Shadows Antique Print mystery series, the most recent of which is Lea WaitShadows On A Maine Christmas, and historical novels for ages eight and up, the most recent of which, Uncertain Glory, is set during the first two weeks of the Civil War. She invites readers to check her website, www.leawait.com, for more about her and her books, and friend her on Facebook or Goodreads.

My Musing ~ Thread and Gone by Lea Wait

Thread and GoneThread and Gone by Lea Wait is the third book in the Mainely Needlepoint mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, December 2015

When a priceless antique is stolen, murder unravels the peaceful seaside town of Haven Harbor, Maine.

Angie Curtis and her fellow Mainely Needlepointers know how to enjoy their holidays. But nothing grabs their attention like tying up loose threads. So when Mary Clough drops in on the group’s Fourth of July supper with a question about an antique needlepoint she’s discovered in her family attic, Angie and her ravelers are happy to look into the matter.

Angie’s best guess is that the mystery piece may have been stitched by Mary, Queen of Scots, famous not just for losing her head, but also for her needlepointing. If Angie’s right, the piece would be extremely valuable. For safekeeping, Angie turns the piece over to her family lawyer, who places it in a safe in her office. But when the lawyer is found dead with the safe open and ransacked, the real mystery begins.

The author has penned an excellent tale where the mystery kept me both intrigued and engaged in all aspect of this light drama as I had to know who was behind the theft and the murder. I loved the pacing and the tone of this story as it was so comfortable, I felt like I was there in the middle of all the action with Angie and her friends. I like when an author teases me with plot twists that causes me to ponder which directional changes I’m headed to that will pinpoint the identity of the killer and in this tale, I liked how it was done. This was a great read and I can’t wait to read the next book with Angie and her friends.

Angie Curtis and the Halloween Promise by Lea Wait

Threads of EvidenceThe massive Victorian house was dark, silhouetted against the night sky. The shutters banged with the cold wind, and moonlight reflected off shattered windows

No welcoming lights invited Trick or Treaters to call. No one had lived in the old Gardener place for years. Except, whispered some in Haven Harbor, ghosts.

But the four costumed children were drawn to the mysterious house, fascinated by its past. Every Halloween they stopped here and looked nervously through the high iron gate protecting it.

“Com’on. Let’s do it this year. Let’s go in.” Angie pushed against the rusty gate hanging between stone walls bordering the estate. The gate clanked and then scraped against the broken concrete of the driveway. It opened just wide enough so children could pass through.

“Your mom’ll kill you,” said Clem. “No one’s supposed to go in there.”

“No one will know,” Angie whispered. “No one lives there.”

“Ghosts do,” added Cindy, reaching for her little brother’s hand. He pulled it away.

“There used to be a statue of a naked lady in a fountain,” Henry whispered. “Dad told me. It was right in front of the house, where everyone could see. I wish it were still there.” He held his bag of candy tight and lifted his ghost-costume above his sneakers so he wouldn’t trip. “If it were still there, I’d go in.” He was younger than the others, and the only boy. “I would. I’d go right through those gates and up to the house and look at that statue.”

“Shush, Henry,” his sister said. “No way are we going in.”

“We could sneak in for a few minutes.” Angie hiked up the witch’s costume her grandmother had stitched for her, complete with a treat bag needlepointed with a black cat.

“No one would ever know. We could go just as far as the front doors.” She took a step toward the house. “Com’on! Don’t be chickens. I’ll give you each one of my chocolate bars if you come. The best kind. The kind the Winslows handed out.”

Clem, a rotund Cinderella, hesitated, but then shivered and shook her head. “Not even for chocolate. I’m not going in there.” Clem’s bag of goodies was already heavy. She’d started knocking on doors before the sun had gone down.

“I’ll come with you, Angie,” Henry said, walking toward her.

His sister, Cindy, grabbed his shoulder. “I’m supposed to watch out for you, Henry Titicomb. You can’t go in there. It’s trespassing. We’re not allowed.” Cindy stared at the dark house looming over them. “Mom says that place is evil. A girl died there. Right where that fountain used to be, in front of the house.” She almost dropped her candy bag as she crossed herself. She’d wanted to be a nun for Halloween until her mother told her that was sacrilegious, and she should pray for more suitable choices. Tonight she was a sparkly pink princess.

“The girl’s name was Jasmine. I think she drowned,” said Henry.

“I heard she was poisoned,” said Clem.

“Maybe both,” Henry whispered.

Cindy crossed herself again.

“That was years ago.” Angie moved a few steps down the dark drive; further away from the group.

“Old Mrs. Gardener died there, too. She never left the house. People say her ghost and her daughter’s ghost and the ghosts of her seven black cats are there, in that house,” said Cindy. “Everyone knows ghosts come out on Halloween.” She glanced around, as though a ghost might appear at any minute.

“There’s no such thing as a ghost cat,” Angie declared. “Com’on. I dare you!”

“You do what you want. Henry and I aren’t going in.”

“If we’re not going in, let’s go get more candy,” said Henry. “Mom said we had to be home by 8 o’clock.” He started walking up the street, alone.

“Stop!” Cindy said, holding her sequined crown and running after him. “We promised we’d stay together.”

“We did promise,” said Clem, hesitating. “Angie, come on.”

Angie took two more steps inside the gate, and looked up at the dark house. Then she turned and ran after the others.

Who – or what – was in that deserted house?

Halloween wasn’t the day to find out.

But some day she’d know, Angie promised herself. Some day she’d find out what had really happened in the Gardener house.

Read more about Angie and the Gardener house in Threads of Evidence, the second book in the “Mainely Needlepoint” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Twisted Threads.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on September 1 for the chance to win a print copy of Threads of Evidence. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
LeaWThreads of Evidence is the second book (after Twisted Threads) in Lea Wait’s Mainely Needlepoint series. Lea lives on the coast of Maine with her artist husband, Bob Thomas, and Shadow, her black cat. She also writes the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series and historical novels for young people. She invites readers to check her website, www.leawait.com, and to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads.