By Jordan Kelly Bingham, soon to be found in The Christie Curse, a book collector mystery, a new series by Victoria Abbott. It hits the shelves on March 5th.
I never dreamed my career path would take me to such a mysterious spot. You see, this time last year I was bound for grad school; now I’m back home in Harrison Falls, New York, working for the most hated woman in town: Vera Van Alst, the well known book collector and general misanthrope. I owe it all to my ex.
Mind you, the less said about him –and his magic trick of maxing out my credit cards before disappearing out of my life – the better. Maybe I just imagined that sulphurous puff of smoke. Never mind, I’m here now. It would take a lot more than him to drag me down.
I am determined to get back on my feet and not to go back to living with Uncle Mick and Uncle Lucky. I mean, they are lovable rogues (as are all my uncles), but a girl’s got to have a life and that means a place of her own.
When the job came up as assistant to Vera Van Alst, I couldn’t say no. I had the skills, education and experience for this dream job, I was pretty sure I could fake liking cats. Vera wanted a male assistant, but she got me.
Vera is cantankerous, demanding and a few more unflattering things, but she loves her book collection and she’s willing to pay me to find items for her. Van Alst House may be a crumbling pile, but it’s still full of antiques and the sense of history. Senora Panetone is the cook and let me say that her mushroom risotto is a cut about franks and beans, my Uncle Mick’s specialty, not that I’d ever let on to him. While I’m here I get the most beautiful little apartment, in the third floor garret. As a lover of all things vintage, I prize that cabbage rose wallpaper, the sloping ceilings and the view of the gardens. If only I could figure out how the blasted cat keeps getting in and learn how to tell if it’s in a good mood (lovely) or a bad mood (dangerous for ankles).
A bigger worry is the local cop, Officer Tyler Dekker. I think of him as Smiley. He is adorable with that little chip in his incisor and his tendency to blush. But – and it’s a big but – although my name is Bingham, I am part of the Kelly clan and Kellys do not mix with the police, at least not if they have any say in it.
Never mind, I’m really too busy to worry about him. I’m still feeling more than a bit burnt. And I have lots to do, such as tracking down the mysterious collector known as Merlin. I’m trying not to worry about the fact my predecessor met his end while searching for the same Agatha Christie manuscript that I need to track down. After all, his fatal fall onto the train tracks was ruled accidental.
Today’s Cozy Christmas Countdown giveaway prize is a copy of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder (winner of the RT award for best amateur sleuth). It’s by one-half of Victoria Abbott, Mary Jane Maffini, as Victoria’s first book doesn’t arrive until March. The other half is her daughter, Victoria Maffini. If you already own The Busy Woman, deals can be made.
Drop in to see Victoria at www.Victoria-Abbott.com and Mary Jane at www.maryjanemaffini.com
You know how lonely writers get. They’d both love to see you on Facebook too!