Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wedding Bell Blues

by Lizzie Turner from the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries
             by Erika Chase

Have you ever noticed how many reality wedding shows are on TV? Too many, one might say (that would be me) while others I’m sure, say not enough. Well, when you’re watching as many as possible in a short space of time, and all the while going through a real-in-the-flesh-life version of Say Yes to the Dress … you get where I’m coming from.
I’ve been binge watching what feels like weeks’ worth of taped shows along with my good friend, Sally-Jo Baker because, guess what --- she and fellow book club member Jacob Smith are getting married! We’ve all seen it coming over the past few books but now that the date’s been set, the planning begins in earnest.

And while there are a lot of details to take care of, her mama is handling the Fort Myers end of things. That’s where Sally-Jo hails from and that’s where the action will take place. Unfortunately, Mama is wanting to take over a few too many details, like what the bride should wear. Straight out of a Say Yes to the Dress episode, you know, the one where the mama has her mind set on one style while shooting down the one that Sally-Jo loves. She’s petite and full of fun, so her dress should reflect that. Just saying. All the gals in the book club agree with Sally-Jo’s selection. But mama, she sees her daughter in something princessy, you know, ball gown and glamor. And face it, Sally-Jo just disappears in a shape like that.

The date’s getting closer and Sally-Jo will have a face-to-face when she goes home to go shopping with her mama over Spring Break. Do you see where this is heading?

I will tell you it is resolved by the end of Law and Author. That’s the latest Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery. Talk about problems! This book’s just full of them. Of course, there’s a murder for us to solve, too.

But you can’t imagine what Sally-Jo is going through. Or can you?

Look for A KILLER READ,  (#2 on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Bestseller List and an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Mystery),  READ AND BURIED, COVER STORY, and BOOK FAIR AND FOUL on-line or at your favorite bookstore.


Book #5, LAW AND AUTHOR, now available.

Visit Erika at 
Love to hear from you on my Facebook author page
on Twitter  @erika_chase.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Love and Money

by Vaughn McMichael
from the Material Witness Mystery Series
by Diane Vallere

You know how sometimes you meet somebody and everything about them is wrong—they judge you before they know you, they assume you’re out to get them, they insult your family, and they accuse you of, well, let’s not get into the accusations. You know that feeling? That’s what happened when I first met Poly Monroe. It was last year. She came to San Ladrón to inherit her great uncle’s fabric store. I was there because I work for my father’s development and investment firm and he’s been interested in the property but had another appointment so he sent me. It was strictly business. But then Poly fell through a window (what kind of a girl climbs through a window?) and knocked me over.

You’d think, after a first meeting like that, I would have learned to steer clear of her.
I’ve never met a girl like Poly. She’s smart, resourceful and loyal—at least with her friends. A little foolhardy. She’s taller than most girls, but she’s the klutziest one I’ve ever met. Even though the situation with the fabric store worked out (in her favor, I might add), she doesn’t seem to trust me, and all because my family has money and hers doesn’t.

After private school, my dad expected me to follow in his footsteps: Harvard, then back to San Ladrón to work for him. But when I said I wanted to go to William and Mary instead, he said I could do it on my own. I did, too. Took a couple of years to work whatever jobs I could find and got a partial scholarship. I paid for my own education and proved to my father that I didn’t need him to bankroll my life. After I graduated, I stayed on the east coast and worked for an investment firm. At least until my dad had a heart attack. That’s when I moved back to San Ladrón to help him out, which is how I ended up at the fabric store the day Poly fell on me.
You want to know the truth? Having money doesn’t make life easier. It makes it different. I’d rather have had two parents who loved each other than two who divorced and now are in a constant battle of wills. Poly had that. Her parents are still together and you can tell how close they are just by being around them. I’d like to have that someday.

In the meantime, I think I’ll try to prove to Poly that man cannot be judged by wallet alone. I haven't figured her out yet, but something about her makes me think she's worth the effort.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Do You Believe?

By Bea Cartwright from the League of Literary Ladies Mysteries by Kylie Logan

October is here and fall is in the air.  Here on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, there are pumpkins on front porches, cider simmering on stoves, and the crisp ting of autumn breezes flow over the lake from Canada.

I’m just itching for Halloween and in honor of the holiday, I’ve been asking some of my neighbors to share their local ghost stories.  Who knew there would be so many!  So what kinds of spooky things happen here on Lake Erie’s islands?  Here are just a few of the tales I was told.

Kelley’s Island is the largest island on Lake Erie and it’s just five miles southeast of South Bass as the crow flies.  History tells us that there was once a limestone quarry on the island and legend says that it was run by a nasty boss who forced his workers to work long hours at break-neck speed.  The quarrymen were working on a tunnel to the Ohio mainland and the foreman ordered a man named Battaglia to use a dynamite charge to blast through some rock.  Battaglia knew the charge was too powerful for the job, but the foreman wouldn’t listen.  The more Battaglia protested, the louder the foreman yelled.

Battaglia finally gave up and set the charge.  The explosion was so large, it ripped out part of the quarry wall and an avalanche of giant rocks hit the waters of Lake Erie causing huge waves that swept the workers out into the lake.  Most of their bodies were never found.

Legend says that the spirits of quarrymen rise whenever there’s a storm, and anyone who’s associated with the quarry and happens to be out on the water is in danger.  In fact, a ship went down in 1932 and all but five of its crewmembers were killed.  Those who survived swore that as the ship was sinking, ghostly hands came out of the waves to drag them to their graves.

The lighthouse right here on South Bass Island is said to be haunted, too, and according to the stories I’ve heard, it’s all because of a man who was hired to be the assistant to the first lighthouse keeper.  The man became so obsessed about a smallpox outbreak, he jumped into the waters of Lake Erie and drowned himself.  These days, the lighthouse is owned by the Ohio State University and people who stay there say they hear noises and have witnesses strange paranormal activity.  The drowned worker?  No one knows.

Johnson’s Island is a 300-acre spot of land that housed a Confederate prison camp during the Civil War. The compound was designed to house 1,000 men.  At one time, there were 15,000 prisoners there.  For most of the year, it wasn’t a bad place, but winters on Lake Erie are brutal and the prisoners suffered terribly.

These days, folks who visit the island swear that they sometimes see Confederate soldiers near the cemetery there.  And many years ago, an even stranger thing happened.

Italian immigrants (most of whom did not speak English) were hired to work nearby.  Amazingly, they began to sing a song none of them could have possibly known.  It was “Dixie.”

Happy Halloween from the League of Literary Ladies!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Nothing to Fear

by Professor Anderson (Andy) Fear, Ph. D. of Dinkytown
from the FAT CAT series by Janet Cantrell

I believe you met my dear next door neighbor last month, Ms. Hilda Bjorn. Such a sweet old soul. I worry about her. A couple of men have been coming around and trying to…but wait, I need to introduce myself.

My name is Anderson Fear. I’m a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota. I live close enough to bicycle to work, which is why I bought this house. When the weather is nice, it’s a pleasure to bike. I also have a car, but I try not to use it too much. When Ms. Bjorn has trouble with her insulin port, I drive her to the hospital. That doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, she asks for my help. She reminds me of my grandmother, who left this earth a few years ago.

What was I saying? Oh yes, those men that have been coming to her house, trying to get her to sign their papers. Shady characters, if you ask me. I know you didn’t ask, but if you did—now that big tabby cat is there again, Quincy. He gets loose and comes straight to Ms. Bjorn’s porch because she feeds him. He seems like a glutton.

Ms. Bjorn says I’m absentminded. That’s what my dear grandmother used to say, too. But I need to find out what’s going on over there. I wonder if that guy who’s running for mayor knows about this. He handed out pamphlets on campus, but I don’t know. He doesn’t look like the trustworthy type. It’s a relief that Julie Larson, the lawyer, is looking into things.

Guess I’ll go over and say hello to Ms. Bjorn and Quincy. His owner will be here for him soon, I’m sure.

FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE is the third mystery in the Fat Cat series. Please
check Janet’s webpage for preorder links.

When their former classmate Richard “Dickie” Byrd throws a high school reunion to gather support for his mayoral campaign, it drums up some not-so-sweet memories for dessert shop proprietor Chase Oliver and her friend Julie Larson. Julie would rather not reconnect with Ron North, the creepy kid who had a crush on her back in the day. His social graces haven’t exactly improved with age, but is he creepy enough to kill?

The next day, Chase is in the park testing a new cat harness for Quincy, who quickly proves that he cannot be leashed. But when his escape leads Chase to Ron’s body, the police wonder who else got away. Now, with Julie suspected of murder, Chase must prove her innocence before the real killer plans another fatal reunion.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Adele Jordan Saves the Day

Howdy, there. I'm Adele Jordan, and I'll tell you, the day my niece Robbie opened up her new country store restaurant, things about went south before they even got off the ground! Shoot, after she worked so hard and all to fix it up, doing all the carpentry herself, just like my little sis taught her.

But the girl Robbie'd hired up and quit, and Robbie, she needed some help. So I took a break from my sheep tending and pitched right in. I'm seventy, but still strong as an ox. Or almost, anywho.

And that opening day crowd was a sight to be seen. Why, even the mayor came in, all six foot of her, plus four-inch heels, of course. We was running our tushes
off from seven until well into the afternoon serving up pancakes, cheesey biscuits and gravy, and lots more.

You might should stop by South Lick for breakfast if you're in the hills of southern Indiana. Robbie's banana-walnut pancakes are dang tasty, if I do say so myself.

And there's this book some author wrote all about Robbie, her store, and even me! It'll be out on the 27th of this month, I hear tell. Should be a right good read.

Maddie Day (also answers to Edith Maxwell) says she'll give away a copy of the book to somebody who comments here. So fess up: What's your favorite breakfast food? Ever had whole wheat banana walnut pancakes? How about some of them fried biscuits?

Friday, October 2, 2015

I Read Banned Books and Give Them to the Amish too

by Austina Shaker from the Murder, Plainly Read by Isabella Alan

I am a librarian and I will not censor. Every year, books are challenged in schools and in libraries for their questionable content. The American Library Association monitors these challenged books. So many wonderful books have been banned, including classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind.

As a librarian in Amish Country, books being challenged is a constant battle, especially those books that I deliver to the Amish communities with the library's bookmobile. Some of the more conservative Amish do not want their church members reading anything other than the Bible. I’m not one to tell someone what to believe, but if a patron comes to me, Amish or English, looking for a book I will find him or her the book he or she want no questions asked. That is my job and calling as a librarian.

One bishop who is  particularly vocal about his disdain for the written word is Bishop Bartholomew Beiler. Beiler has been a thorn in my side for months as he’s chased my bookmobile from many Amish schoolyards and chastised his members, many of whom are young women, for reading fiction. Living in Holmes County, Ohio, I have a respect for the Amish, but men like Beiler, who care more about controlling the members of their churches not sharing the word of God with them, I have no use for.

I am at my wit’s end with this odious man, and I have a feeling that things are about to come to a head with him. I will be ready. I will protect my patrons right to read at any cost.

Visit Amanda's website for an exciting giveaway!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October is a GREAT month for Mystery!

Killer Characters for October
A full month of great mysteries!

Superstition Mystery # 2

Linda O. Johnston
Knock on Wood
Midnight Ink
ISBN:  978-0738745527
series and # in series:  Superstition Mysteries #2

Rory Chasen, now the manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, is delighted when her best friend Gemma arrives a day early for her visit. Gemma’s just broken up with her boyfriend in Los Angeles, so Rory is especially eager to cheer her up. But before they get a chance to talk, two of the town’s most eligible bachelors sidle in. Their amorous advances—and an unexpected job offer—seem to take Gemma’s mind off her ex until he arrives in Destiny. As Gemma tries to sort out what to do, one of her suitors is murdered, leaving Rory to wonder if a black cat has crossed Gemma’s path. Is Rory’s friend guilty of murder—or is she just having a run of bad luck?

Retired Witches Mystery #2

Looking for Mr. Good Witch
Joyce and Jim Lavene
Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 978-0425268261

Everyone’s favorite retired witches from Spell Booked have returned and are diving into troubled waters to find a sinister sea witch. A sea witch has been leaving bodies in her wake up and down the Carolina coast, baffling authorities who are finding drowning victims with no water in their lungs. The fin-icky female will continue to kill young male witches until she finds her perfect man—the one who survives her mating ritual—so she can live for another hundred years. And now coven hopeful Brian Fuller is about to be ensnared in her net. Retired witches Molly and Elsie, along with the ghost of Olivia and her daughter Dorothy, need all the help they can get to stop the sea witch. Aided by a selkie and a crème puff–craving mermaid, they’re determined to keep Brian out of her murky clutches. But are they all about to get in over their heads?

Happy Homicides
Multiple authors
  • Spot On Publishing 
    ASIN: B015D1E6TQ

A huge collection of heartwarming, brain-puzzling, and character-driven traditional mysteries that'll keep you entertained for hours. (At 213,000 words, this is 627 pages of reading material!) Plus, you can email to get a FREE Bonus File with recipes and holiday craft ideas. Celebrate the holidays with stories by these thirteen bestselling and award-winning authors: Joanna Campbell Slan, Neil Plakcy, Lois Winston, Annie Adams, Jenna Bennett, Nancy Jill Thames, Sara Rosett, Camille Minichino, Nancy Warren, Linda Gordon Hengerer, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Teresa Trent.

Orchard Mystery #9

Sheila Connolly
A Gala Event
Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN:  978-0425275818

Wedding bells are ringing for Meg and Seth in the latest Orchard Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Picked to Die. The fall harvest may be just about over, but orchard owner Meg Corey is busier than ever planning her wedding to Seth Chapin. Who knew picking apples would be less work than picking out rings and a dress? And even though the happy couple has invited most of Granford, Massachusetts, to the ceremony, they might have to make room for one more guest.

Amish Quilt Mystery #4

Isabella Alan
Murder, Plainly Read
ISBN: 978-0451475022

In the latest from the author of Murder, Served Simply, an Amish man checks out permanently, but quilt shop owner Angie Braddock’s got this mystery covered. With so much to do between running her shop and spending time with her new boyfriend, it’s amazing Angie is able to help organize the Rolling Brook library's annual book sale. Luckily she’s working alongside brash librarian Austina Shaker, a lady who isn’t afraid to make waves to get books to her patrons—even the Amish. Unfortunately, this draws the ire of cranky Bartholomew Belier, an Old Order Amish bishop, who publicly vows to ruin Austina. And she certainly might be ruined after Belier is found dead in her bookmobile. Now Angie must employ the help of her loyal quilting circle—as well as her beloved French bulldog, Oliver—if she hopes to prove Austina’s innocence before the real killer books it. INCLUDES QUILTING TIPS

Andi Unstoppable #3

Amanda Flower
Andi Unstoppable
ISBN: 978-0310737667

Andi Boggs and her best friend Colin Carter are at it again … in this third book of the Andi Boggs series, Andi Unstoppable, school has begun for the two Killdeer middle schoolers and the science teacher has a great idea! He is an expert birder and wants his class to share in the fun. In a birding group with Colin and her biggest school rival, Ava, Andi sets out to be the first student in class to spot the elusive Kirtland warbler but ends up spotting the town’s resident ghost instead! Together with her friends, Andi takes on another small town mystery—is the legend of the ghost of Dominika Shalley more than just a story? And does her sudden appearance have anything to do with the holes the friends find in the Shalley graveyard as they look for the rare bird?

Amanda Flower and Multiple Authors
Amish Christmas at North Star
WaterBrook Multnomah/Random House
ISBN: 978-1601428141
Novella Collection

One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania. Rebekah’s babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Country Store Mystery #1

Maddie Day
Flipped for Murder
Kensington Publishing
ISBN: 978-1617739255

Nursing a broken heart, Robbie Jordan is trading in her life on the West Coast for the rolling hills of southern Indiana. After paying a visit to her Aunt Adele, she fell in love with the tiny town of South Lick. And when she spots a For Sale sign on a rundown country store, she decides to snap it up and put her skills as a cook and a carpenter to use. Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of Pans ‘n Pancakes, but when the mayor's disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she'll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town's darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer--before she's the next to die.

Murder She wrote #44

Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, and Renee Paley-Bain
The Ghost and Mrs. Fletcher
ISBN: 978-0451477361

An ailing Cliff Cooper says he’s dying and insists upon dictating his last will and testament to Jessica Fletcher:  Real estate agent Eve Simpson is to sell his house and give the proceeds to Cliff’s grandson who lives in Alaska.  Sounds simple enough, but as always, nothing goes according to plan. While Eve is stuck with trying to market a white elephant of a house, chock full of thousands of books and suspected of being haunted, Seth Hazlitt, Jessica’s good friend and Cabot Cove’s favorite physician, suspects foul play in Cliff’s demise.  Jessica is caught between the two and has to juggle their competing needs while an ambitious medium and a pair of pixilated twins pull the tale in different directions, much to the confusion of Sheriff Mort Metzger.

Candy Coated Mystery #4

Nancy Coco
All I Want For Christmas is Fudge
Candy-coated Series, Book 4

This Christmas, event planner Jenn Christensen has come back to the winter wonderland of Mackinac Island, Michigan, to race for charity in the Santa Fun Run, rekindle her love for CSI tech Shane Carpenter, and indulge in her BFF Allie McMurphy’s fabulous fudge. But there’s one event she didn’t plan—chasing down a killer. After finding a deceased Santa in a snowbank, she’s shocked to discover the police suspect her of murder. It’s up to Jenn, Allie, and a helpful golden retriever named Marley to catch the killer and find out who’s at the top of the naughty list.