Friday, April 20, 2018

Bezel Time

By Ruth Clagan, from the Clock Shop Mystery series by Julianne Holmes

In my life, the word bezel has two meanings. First, it is the grooved ring that holds the crystal of a watch or clock in place. Bezels in this context serve an important role, and are a decision that clock and watch makers consider carefully. I consider it very carefully, and have dozens and dozens of options at my disposal every day.

Bezel is also the name of my cat. I inherited my gray haired beauty along with my shop, The Cog & Sprocket. She was named by my grandfather. He always named his cats after clocks. I remember Simon and Seth from when I was a little girl. The cat right before Bezel was named Silas. There was a Sprocket and Fly Wheel (Fly for short) in between.

That doesn't mean that having cats living above a clock shop is easy. It isn't. Especially this time of year, where the weather fluctuates between winter and spring on an hourly basis. Shedding is happening, but Bezel feels like it would make more sense to hold on to her undercoat given the flurries this morning. (The crocuses are delaying their appearance as long as they can.) Nevertheless, we wrestle with the brush at least once a day, and the fur literally flies. I try and get the fur off before I head downstairs to the shop, but my efforts are futile. No matter how hard I try, stray strands of Bezel fly about and usually land on a crystal. Which is better than on the inside of the clock itself. My step-grandmother Caroline shakes her head every time she picks fur off a clock.

Lately I've taken to wearing a Cog & Sprocket smock (say that fast three times) that Caroline ordered for all of us. It is long, and gray, and has a retro lab look that I don't actually mind, but don't tell Caroline that. I like to make harumphing sounds. Every time I do Caroline says I remind her of my grandfather, and that makes us both smile.

Cat fur and clocks. Not a great combination, but a Clagan family tradition.

Luckily for me.


Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mystery series. J.A. Hennrikus writes the Theater Cop series.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

GIVEAWAYS! One for you and one for your library!

By Sally Caldera from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by Terrie Farley Moran

Hi, my name is Sally Caldera, Head Librarian of the Beachside Community Library in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. I can’t tell you how lucky we are to have a fabulous cafĂ© that also functions as a book store right here in town. The owners, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield, decorate their tables with author related memorabilia and name their menu items after books and authors. (I love, love, love The Secret Garden salad, with a creamy pecan dressing.) And they have book club meetings! Naturally we all became great friends as soon as the Read ’Em and Eat opened. Just last week, April 8-14, we all celebrated National Library Week. The library sponsored a number of fun events, including author readings, arts and crafts, and yoga lessons. When we celebrated National Library Worker’s Day, Sassy and Bridgy were kind enough to donate dozens of Miss Marple Scones for our festivities.  

Our library offers all kinds of wonderful materials to the public, but I am especially proud of our collection of Large Print Books. So many of our patrons are more comfortable reading large print books, we are lucky to be able to give them a terrific selection.

To celebrate libraries our author is offering you a chance to win two copies of Read to Death, a mass market paper back copy for you to keep and a large print copy for your local library.

To enter for a chance to win please comment below and tell us anything at all about large print books. You love to read them, you hate to, your mom reads them, you have never seen one—we want to know. Please include your email in this format: yourname (at) your server (dot) com—so the spambots can’t pick it up.

Comments close at midnight, your time, on Saturday, April 21st.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Knobcone Heights Library


by Carrie Kennersly, veterinary technician and owner of an adjoining barkery and bakery, whose adventures are memorialized in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, everyone.  It's April now.  And yes, I know that National Library Week ran from April 8 to 14, so it ended a few days ago.  Even so, I wanted to say something here about the Knobcone Heights Library. 

Yes, Knobcone Heights has a library.  It's located near the town's Civic Center.  With my dual careers owning my shops, Barkery and Biscuits and Icing on the Cake, plus still working part-time as a veterinary technican at the Knobcone Veterinary Clinic, I don't have a lot of time to read.

Even so, I do pop in at the library whenever I get an opportunity.  I pick up books to read, sometimes mysteries similar to the real ones I've gotten involved with lately, where I've helped to solve some pretty nasty murders.  Other times, I take out books for research on how to solve those murders, although I don't get involved with research nearly as much as my full-time assistant Dinah Greeley  does.  She likes to write as well as work in the shops, so she's always conducting research.

Yes, our library happens to have copies of the books written by Linda O. Johnston that memorialize how I've solved those murders:  Bite the Biscuit, To Catch a Treat,  and Bad to the Bone--and I understand they have on order the new one about to be published next month, Pick and Chews.

Anyway, let me wish all librarians a belated Happy Library Week and thank them for all they do. 

PICK AND CHEWS, the fourth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, will be a May 2018 release.

Barkery, Bakery, Biscuits, Midnight Ink, Linda O. Johnston, Barkery & Biscuits, Bite the Biscuit, To Catch A Treat, Bad to the Bone, Pick and Chews

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Celebrating Libraries - and a Giveaway!

By Chloe Ellefson, Historic Site Curator

of the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries

by Kathleen Ernst

Library week may officially be over, but I'm taking a pause from my own work to celebrate libraries---and the people who work in them.

I'm curator of collections at an outdoor museum, and sometimes do consulting work at other museums and historic sites too. Most have their own library for staff use.

The photo above was taken at an historic site where I recently spent an eventful week as a consultant. (More about that another time.) The point is, historic sites staff are grateful for whatever space they can find.

On the other end of the scale, the photo below was taken in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin's library. The ambiance always reminds me that the work done at museums and historical societies is important.

Whether squeezed into a closet or arrayed on shelves in regal halls. libraries and the materials they collect are important. To all the librarians out there, and library volunteers, thank you.

Want to support your local library? Provide the library name, town, and state or province in the comment section, and it will be entered in a Giveaway. The winning library, chosen at random, will receive the first three books in the Chloe Ellefson series:  Old World Murder, The Heirloom Murders, and The Lightkeeper's Legacy. The Giveaway closes at midnight on April 19, and the winner will be announced on April 20.

* * *
Kathleen Ernst is the author of thirty-six books, including the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries, mysteries for young readers, historical fiction, and two nonfiction books.  Before becoming a full time writer she worked as a curator at Old World Wisconsin.

To learn more about the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series---including the latest, Mining For Justice, see Kathleen's website.

Kathleen is celebrating the series with an eight-month-long retrospective, and it's Heritage of Darkness month! Stop by her blog to learn more about the book, and watch her Facebook Author Page for a Giveaway.

Monday, April 16, 2018

It’s a dog’s life...and that’s not so bad

          Bruce Wills here. The other Bruce Willis with ears, wagging tail and daily yard-waterer in Iced Chiffon
Have you ever noticed all the pets running around in cozies mysteries? And most of them are cats! What the heck? How did that happen? Does a cat greet you at the door, get your slippers, clean the kitchen floor after you spill the bacon and eggs? No! Cats sniff, turn up their nose and prance off.  Dogs have owners, Cats have staff! 

Once upon a time I didn’t have such a great life so I ran away and took up living under Reagan Summerside’s front porch. Don’t know why I chose her. Maybe because at the time Reagan’s life in Savannah sucked almost as much as mine.
But she’s an okay gal, even shared her McNuggets and fries with me but kept the martinis all to herself. I mean to tell you I could do with a martini or two on these hot summer nights.
Reagan has a consignment shop on the first floor of her half-restored Victorian. She and her Auntie KiKi who lives next door were going to name me Calvin Klein to fit in with the upscale clothes she takes in. One look at my mangled left ear, crooked tail and scared snout not to mention my questionable linage and they knew I was much better suited as Bruce Willis.
Life is good right now. Reagan says I’m the worse watchdog on the planet but I sure do make a lot of friends. If I fake a limp I can usually finesse a cookie or two from the customers and if I sit in front of the fridge long enough I get my daily dog…hot dog that is. The warm fall days here in Savannah are just made for me snoozing on the porch and one day I can get a slurp of Reagan’s peach martini.  
So what is your opinion on pets in mysteries? Paw up or down? Do they distract too much from the mystery? Do you like it when they have a point of view? Do you like cats or dogs best in a book? (That’s spelled d-o-g)
Let me know what you think and I’ll have Duffy donate one of her books to the library of your choice. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Death threats?

What?  Are you kidding me?  I’m an attorney.  I live a very circumspect life, a conservative life!  It might be boring to other people but I like it.  I’ve always had great respect for the law and have never committed a crime or really, any sort of wrongdoing.  I founded my law firm twenty-five years ago.  Meyers Dade & Schultz LLP is very well respected in the city.  We have a great reputation!  

Why is this happening?  Why are my attorneys receiving threats to their lives?  I’m sure they’ve never committed a crime?  They couldn’t have.  They’d be disbarred.  I’m also sure they’ve never done anything wrong or unethical in their lives. 
Okay, maybe they’re not the most pleasant of people.  Not everybody likes lawyers.  Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said, “Let’s kill all the lawyers?”  Henry V wasn’t it?  Or maybe it was Vlad the Impaler who did kill all the lawyers.  But all our attorneys are upstanding citizens.  We are all trained in the law.  We would never break the law, so I’m sure whoever is sending these disgusting letters is deranged. 
Maybe it’s an unhappy client.  Maybe . . . well, if it is an unhappy client, why haven’t they sued for malpractice?  I just don’t understand what’s happening.  Three people have come to me and maybe there are more.  Maybe I should talk to some of the other attorneys and staff to see if they’re being threatened?  No maybe not.  That might not be such a good idea after all.
I don’t know what to do.
I’m really stuck.  I don’t know who to turn to.  We’ve contacted the police and made a report, but unless there’s more to go on, there’s nothing the San Francisco Police Department can do unless we can find out who’s sending these threats. 
Maybe I should talk to Julia.  Maybe she’d have some good suggestions.  I don’t tell this to a lot of people, but I consult my astrologer when I don’t know what else to do.  Maybe Julia Bonatti can help.  I’m going to call her right now.  I’m really desperate.  What do you think?  Do you think Julia can help me sort this out?  

You can read all about my troubles in the upcoming Tail of the Dragon.  And you can visit my author at Connie di Marco at her website, at Facebook and Twitter @AskZodia.  

Saturday, April 14, 2018


From:  Tyanne Clark

Of: The Bad Luck Cat Mysteries

By: Kay Finch

I’m sure many of you can relate to one of my favorite sayings – “There’s no such thing as too many books.”  You will find that slogan on my car bumper, my favorite coffee cup, and my tote bag.  No surprise, since I’m the local bookstore owner in Lavender, Texas.  Everyone knows I love books.

Rumor has it that we’ll have a new public library right here in Lavender very soon. I make my living selling books, so you might think I would oppose the notion of a local library.  Certainly there will be days when people choose to visit the library instead of coming into my store to buy a book. Just like there are days when people choose to purchase an e-book online. But remember. . . there’s NO SUCH THING as too many books, whether they’re in my bookstore, the library, on an e-reader, or on one of the – at last count – 17 bookshelves at my house.

The main thing is for people to read, read, read. One of my fondest childhood memories is of going to the library in my hometown.  I’m trying my best to teach my children the same love for books and libraries that I’ve always had. There’s no good reason for kids to stay glued to electronic gizmos. When the new library comes to Lavender, maybe I can work with the librarian on some fun reading programs for kids.  My bookstore cats, Zelda and Willis, would love a Read-To-The-Cats day at the library. I’ll bet I could talk my friend Sabrina into bringing Hitchcock, too. He’s not bad luck no matter what you might hear to the contrary.


To celebrate National Library Week, I’m giving one winner a signed paperback copy of THE BLACK CAT SEES HIS SHADOW, with a duplicate copy for the winner’s local library. To enter, comment about your favorite library memory.  A winner will be chosen on Monday morning, April 16th.


Kay Finch is the National Best-Selling author of the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries by Berkley Prime Crime.  Though her character, Sabrina Tate, has left the paralegal profession behind to move to the Texas Hill Country, Kay still works as a paralegal at a Houston, Texas law firm. She resides in a Houston suburb with her husband and pets. Visit her at