By: Merry Wynter From: Merry Muffin Mystery Series
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Book 1 Title: Bran New Death
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2013
I've always been a city girl, though at 39 I guess I shouldn't say 'girl' anymore. My hippie feminist mother would have been horrified. I wish she were still around to be horrified, but i lost her and my beloved grandmother a long time ago, and my father a long time before that.
Anyway, I love New York City; it's vibrant and hip and fun, and noisy and messy and awful, all at the same time. It has pockets of brilliance and giant swathes of dreadfulness. I've been to a lot of cities in the world and loved many of them for different reasons, but New York City is home. However, fate has determined that for the time being, I belong in the 'wilderness' of upstate New York in my inherited castle near a town that is weird and yet homey. Is that strange, that I find the oddity of the Autumn Vale townees endearing? I'm lucky that Shilo Dinnegan followed me to Wynter Castle, because it would be a whole lot lonelier without a friend to share the weirdness with.
I'd be happier, though, if someone didn't keep digging up the castle grounds, as happened on a night early in my stay...
From Bran New Death...
This was exactly what I had been concerned about. If it was Binny or her brother (doing the digging), I wanted them to know this was not acceptable, and without a thought for my safety, I flung open the pantry door and bolted outside int the dark, toward the roaring machine. The interior light showed some jerk in the driver's seat manipulating the gears and digging.
As I was crossing the
wide open space between me and the Bobcat, I saw something—some creature, a
streak of orange by the light of the excavator—launch into the open compartment
at the operator. There was an unearthly screech, a howl of pain, and then the
man bolted from the driver’s compartment and stumbled toward the woods, pursued
by the animal. I followed as well as I could in slippers and a housecoat, but I
tripped, went down hard, and by the time I clambered to my feet, all I could
see was the fellow disappearing into the woods.
“Merry! Where are you?”
Shilo was at the door, backlit by the overhead light.
I limped back to the
door of the butler’s pantry and gasped, “Call the cops!”
Shilo had her cell
phone, and dialed 911—she got a connection, miracle of miracles, maybe because
it was the middle of the night—and told the operator we were at Wynter Castle,
and what happened in brief. We then we sat in the kitchen with the door locked,
and waited. And waited. Long enough that the excavator sputtered to a stop, out
of fuel, I suppose. Gradually my anger and panic turned to just anger at the
lackadaisical attitude of the local constabulary, so when the sheriff’s car
finally pulled up to the castle, I strode outside to the lane.
As Virgil Grace climbed
out of the car, I stormed over to him and said, “What exactly is the point of
coming now, an hour after the hole digger left?”
“Pardon me for not
coming immediately, Miss Wynter, ma’am,” he said, with a laconic, weary edge to
his voice. “But I had a domestic, and trying to convince a beaten, frightened
woman to file charges against her drunken boyfriend took precedence over a
phantom hole digger.”
In the light from the
open doors I could see that he was smeared with blood, scratches across his
cheek near his hairline, and he looked exhausted. “Okay, all right. You’re here
now,” I said. I told him what I had seen, and we went to look at the machine.
The sheriff played his
flashlight over the Bobcat, and noted some blood on the seat. “Well, whatever
that animal was, it sure left a mark!”
I looked at the
scratches on the sheriff’s cheek and down at the drop of blood and said, “It
I have my suspicions as to who is responsible, but do you think the very handsome sheriff could be the culprit? I just don't know, but I'm determined to find out, and before anything awful happens. You don't think anything awful will happen... do you?
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Expert muffin baker Merry Wynter is finally ready to turn her passion
into a career. But when a dead body is found on her property, she’s
more worried about cooking up an alibi…
making a fresh start in small-town Autumn Vale, New York, in the mansion
she’s inherited from her late uncle, Melvin. The house is run-down and
someone has been digging giant holes on the grounds, but with its
restaurant-quality kitchen, the place has potential for her new baking
business. She even has her first client—the local retirement home.
Unfortunately, Merry soon finds that quite a few townsfolk didn’t
like Uncle Mel, and she has inherited their enmity as well as his home.
Local baker Binny Turner and her crazy brother, Tom, blame Melvin for
their father’s death, and Tom may be the one vandalizing her land. But
when Tom turns up dead in one of the holes in her yard, Merry needs to
prove she had nothing to do with his death—or her new muffin-making
career may crumble before it starts...
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