Showing posts with label cozy mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cozy mystery. Show all posts

Monday, November 26, 2018

"Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger" by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger
(Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Book 3)
by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger (Odboddy Mysteries Book 3) by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: Hometown Patriot by Elaine FaberMrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

While the “tiger of war” rages across the Pacific during WWII, eccentric, elderly Agnes Odboddy, “fights the war from the home front”. Her patriotic duties are interrupted when she is accused of the Wilkey’s Market burglary.
A traveling carnival with a live tiger joins the parishioner’s harvest fair at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. Accused again when counterfeit bills are discovered at the carnival, and when the war bond money goes missing, Agnes sets out to restore her reputation and locate the money. Her attempts lead her into harm’s way when she discovers a friend’s betrayal and even more about carnival life than she bargained for.
Granddaughter Katherine’s turbulent love triangle with a doctor and an FBI agent rivals Agnes’s own on-again, off-again relationship with Godfrey.
In Faber’s latest novel, your favorite quirky character, Mrs. Odboddy, prevails against injustice and faces unexpected challenges ... and then There Was a Tiger!

Excerpt from Chapter One
“What in tarnation is all that mess on the front porch?” A tattered shoebox leaned against the newel post beside the front step. Clumps of string lay amidst more shredded paper on the porch.
Agnes switched off the motor of her 1930 Model A Ford. She pulled on the hand brake, jammed her silver chopsticks firmly into the bun on the back of her hennaed hair, and stepped out of the car.
Shreds of brown paper skittered across the lawn. Her frown deepened as she picked up pieces of cardboard and string.
Agnes Agatha Odboddy, in big bold letters, was scribbled across the middle of the brown wrapping paper. She flipped the shoebox over. An offensive odor wafted up from inside. “What the devil…”
Agnes glanced toward the porch and noticed the front door standing ajar. “Jumping Jehoshaphat.” Her granddaughter, Katherine, must have forgotten to lock it when she took their ward, Maddie, to school this morning.
She pushed open the front door, and peeked inside. “Good gravy!” Pillows–askew on the sofa. Magazines–scattered across the rug. Remnants of her grandmother’s vase speckled the hearth.
“Oh, my stars. We’ve been burgled.” Agnes rushed through the living room and into the kitchen. Breakfast coffee puddled in the middle of the table. A cup lay shattered in the sink. A kitchen chair lay sideways on the linoleum floor.
A scuffling sound came from the back bedroom. Agnes spun around. Was someone in there, ransacking her jewelry box? Should she run back out the front door? Agnes Odboddy, self-appointed scourge of the underworld–run for cover? Not on your tintype!
She grabbed a rolling pin from the drawer, the weapon of choice for a woman of a certain age, planning to sneak up on the thief, crack his head, and bring him to his cowardly knees.
Before she had taken three steps, a rat barreled out of her bedroom and down the hall. Agnes jumped back. “Yikes!”
The spindly-tailed rodent raced into the living room and scrambled up the flowered drapes to the top of the curtain rod. Ling-Ling, a feline nemesis in camo-gray, followed.
Merciful Heavens. A measly rodent? Agnes sent the rolling pin flying. It hit the wall, barely missing the front window, and clattered to the floor.
Rrowww! Ling-Ling clawed her way up the curtain, knocking a table lamp to the floor. Thud! The fringed shade spun off the lamp and rolled toward the front door. Down came the rod with a crash, as the rat dropped to the floor and raced out the front door with the Ling-Ling, the Siamese avenger three leaps behind.
Agnes shook her finger. “Ling-Ling. Bad girl. No! No…” What was she saying? “Go get her, girl.”
Agnes stepped onto the porch and put her hand to her eyes in time to see the pair racing up the street, headed toward The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. She checked her watch. Yep, folks should just about be arriving for the afternoon prayer meeting. That’ll give them something to pray about. She stepped back into the house to assess the damage.
Never in her seventy-plus years had she seen such destruction. What unknown scoundrel hated her enough to leave a rat-filled shoebox addressed to her on the porch?
Agnes pondered the situation. Ling-Ling must come upon the shoebox and smelled the rodent through the wrapping paper. She could almost see her determined Siamese killing-machine scratching and kicking the box until she had shredded a hole big enough for the rat to escape, dash through the open door, and into the house. The image sent shivers up Agnes’s spine.
Ling-Ling would have followed with murder in her crossed blue eyes and the chase ensued. Not even an air raid from the Flying Tigers could have left her living room and kitchen in such a mess. No telling how the rest of the house would have suffered if Agnes hadn’t returned just at that moment.
What if Ling-Ling hadn’t found the box and taken matters into her own paws? Why, she might have cut the string herself, opened the box, and the rat would have leaped into her face. Maybe that was exactly the sender’s intention.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“The story does keep you on your toes, and you never see what is about to happen, and the setting is WWII, and even Mrs. Roosevelt is back. A don’t miss read that will make you want more once that last page is turned!” ~ Maureen’s Musings
“If you love wacky but fun adventures, this is the series for you. The historical detail adds additional depth.” ~ Laura’s Interests
“From page one, Faber's lively writing style and authentic language capture the mood of the 1940s and pull me along as a helpless captive to this engaging story. Highly recommended for entertainment value!” ~ June Gillam
“If you've not read this author before this is a must to pick up. She captivates you from the beginning and you just cannot put the book down. Some surprises in it you'll love, too.” ~ Ruth Powers
“With Agnes, there's never a dull page. Expect unceasing entertainment!” ~ Ellen Cardwell

Guest Post by the Author
Expectations of the Reader
A reader spends four to five hours immersed in a book from cover to cover. If the story is well written, for a time, she forgets her personal life. She sees herself either traveling alongside the main character or, if the writer is talented enough, the reader ‘becomes’ the character as the story moves forward.
She may wish to be transported into a romance where she feels loved and cherished. She may be a frustrated crime fighter who receives satisfaction from following clues and perhaps solving a mystery before the end of the book. She may hope to experience the thrills and chills of a thriller-suspense novel. Or, perhaps, to experience life in a different world or a different time in history. She may hope to learn more of the traditions of people from other lands or other cultures, presented in a way she can identify with.
How do these various types of book come about? Does the reader ever think about what was involved before this story could magically appear on the pages and land on a book store shelf for the benefit and pleasure of our reader?
Unless a reader is an author herself, it is doubtful that she could conceive of the time and energy that goes into writing a novel – plotting, writing, researching, editing, reviewing, formatting, and finally to cover design and publication. Each step takes hours and hours and hours.
The author must first come up with a premise for the story. Some authors outline the entire novel before they ever put fingers to keyboard. Others have a general idea of the story line, and let the story evolve as they write, figuring how to bring it all together in a cohesive manner. She thinks about the characters and the story line most days and often into the night. Every little thread must come together in the end. It is essential to keep the suspense or momentum throughout the middle, lest we lose the attention of the reader. She must keep each reaction and comment true to the personality of the characters as she envisions how they might respond to a certain event. She must make the reader understand the motivation and resulting actions or comments of the character through the dialogue.
The end must make sense and, preferably, be a satisfying conclusion to the reader, leaving her wishing there was another hundred pages in the story. She is left wondering where the sequel can be found, if there is one. In ideal circumstances, the characters have become real enough that she can almost see them as next-door neighbors or someone in her circle of friends.
What a challenge and what a victory when a reader comes back and says, “When is the next book coming out?” That is the reader’s expectation and the goal authors seek. That is the highest compliment.

About the Author
Elaine Faber
Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and two feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking on author panels, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies. She has published seven books. In addition to the Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Elaine writes the Black Cat Mysteries.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Back Stabbers" by Julie Mulhern

Back Stabbers
(The Country Club Murders Book 8)
by Julie Mulhern

Back Stabbers (The Country Club Murders Book 8) by Julie Mulhern

Back Stabbers is the eighth book in Julie Mulhern's Country Club Murders series set in the 1970s. Also available: The Deep End (read my blog post), Guaranteed to Bleed, Clouds in My Coffee, Send in the Clowns, Watching the Detectives (read my blog post), Cold as Ice (read my blog post), and Shadow Dancing (read my blog post).

Back Stabbers is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

All Ellison Russell wanted was an update on her stock portfolio. Instead, she found her broker dead.
With an unexpected out-of-town guest at her house, Ellison is too busy for a murder investigation. Only this time, Detective Anarchy Jones wants her help, and she can’t deny the handsome detective. Can Mr. Coffee supply her with enough caffeine to keep her brain sharp and everyone else happy?
Juggling bodies (one, two, three, four), two-faced friends, her social calendar, and a cat (yes, a cat) is taxing but Mother might be the biggest challenge of all.
With a killer drawing closer, can Ellison put together the pieces or will she be the one getting stabbed in the back?

March, 1975
Kansas City, Missouri
The woman in the chair opposite me was hacking up a lung.
If the sick woman died, Mother would have a conniption fit.
Not because the poor woman was dead. No, Mother would be upset I’d been present at her passing. Mother took a dim view of death. She took a dimmer view of my unfortunate habit of stumbling over bodies.
I glanced at my watch. My broker, Winthrop Marshall, had kept me waiting for nearly thirty minutes.
The woman’s eyes streamed. Her nose ran like a faucet. Overwhelmed by her cold, she didn’t cover her mouth when she coughed.
Cough, cough.
I sympathized. I did. But the woman should have stayed home. In bed. With chicken soup, a bottle of 7UP, a box of Kleenex, and a gross of cold pills.
I abandoned the leather club chair (where I sat) and the most recent copy of Barron’s (where I’d found nothing of interest—the magazine had no fashion stories and probably didn’t even block the woman’s germs) and approached the receptionist’s desk.
“I’d like to wait someplace else.” I said.
The receptionist, an exceedingly pretty woman with very white teeth, donned a I-know-you’ve-been-waiting-with-the-plague-but-there’s-nothing-I-can-do smile. “I’m sorry. We don’t have another waiting area but—” her smile grew brighter “—Mr. Marshall should arrive momentarily.”
Winthrop wasn’t even here? That meant his office was empty.
Cough, cough. COUGH!
“Either I wait in Winthrop’s office, or I’m leaving.”
The receptionist eyed the germ (masquerading as a woman) who was busily infecting the brokerage’s elegant waiting room. A wrinkle marred her pretty brow. “I can check with his assistant.”
“Please do.” I stood at the front desk (as far from the sick woman as possible) and waited.
I did not tap my fingers against the high polish of the receptionist’s desk as Mother would have. I did not dig in my purse for a travel pack of tissues as my housekeeper, Aggie DeLucci, would have (then she’d have given them to the sick woman). I did not roll my eyes as Grace, my daughter, would have. I simply fixed a polite but firm smile on my face.
The receptionist pushed a button on what looked like a very complicated switchboard. “Debbie, Mrs. Russell would like to wait in Mr. Marshall’s office.” She glanced (more of a glare) at the coughing woman and lowered her voice to a whisper. “There’s a sick woman up front.”
Cough, cough.
She listened, glanced at me, and manufactured a small smile of her own. “She insists. If she can’t wait in his office, she’ll reschedule.”
She listened again. “Debbie will be right out.”
Winthrop Marshall’s assistant appeared a moment later. Debbie, another exceedingly pretty young woman, had bouncy blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and vivid red lipstick. She wore a dress so short that I hoped, for her sake, she never dropped anything—bending over would give anyone watching a view of everything God gave her.
In her shoes, working for Winthrop as she did, I would have worn a nun’s habit. As it was, I wore pants and a turtleneck sweater in the most serious shade of gray I could find.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Fast paced and with wonderfully descriptive details of the era, the multiple plotlines weave together smoothly and in such an enjoyable way.” ~ Laura’s Interests
“I love the series. Ellison is a precious personality; although born into wealth and married into wealth and raised by a very ‘upper-class disdainful’ mother, she is very much an ‘at-home’, loving, compassionate and generous individual, an artist, and a devoted mother and dog lover.” ~ Mallory Heart’s Cozies
Back Stabbers is well-written, well-paced, and includes an occasional touch of humor.” ~ Christa Reads and Writes
“With life getting crazy outside of the mystery hunting, Ellison reminds me of why I love moms that are strong and smart in novels. This latest mystery brings out the best thus far in Ellison and I wouldn’t miss reading this one for the world.” ~ Bibliophile Reviews
“Narrated from Ellison’s first person perspective, the novel is quick-paced and enjoyable, with lots of sleuthing and jumping around.” ~ Nadaness In Motion
“I love going back to this time frame where people talked and not texted it was such fun!” ~ Community Bookstop

About the Author
Julie MulhernJulie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym, and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean - and she's got an active imagination. Truth is - she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog, and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed print copy of Back Stabbers by Julie Mulhern (US only).


Monday, October 8, 2018

"The Spirit in Question" by Cynthia Kuhn

The Spirit in Question
(Lila Maclean Academic Mystery Book 3)
by Cynthia Kuhn

The Spirit in Question (Lila Maclean Academic Mystery Book 3) by Cynthia Kuhn

The Spirit in Question is the third book in the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series by Cynthia Kuhn. Also available: The Semester of Our Discontent and The Art of Vanishing (read my blog post).

The Spirit in Question is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

English professor Lila Maclean knew drama would be involved when she agreed to consult on Stonedale University’s production of Puzzled: The Musical.
But she didn’t expect to find herself cast into such chaos: the incomprehensible play is a disaster, the crumbling theater appears to be haunted, and, before long, murder takes center stage.
The show must go on - yet as they speed toward opening night, it becomes clear that other members of the company may be targeted as well. Lila searches for answers while contending with a tenacious historical society, an eccentric playwright, an unsettling psychic, an enigmatic apparition, and a paranormal search squad.
With all of this in play, will she be able to identify who killed her colleague … or will it soon be curtains for Lila too?

“Commence the murder!” Everything went dark, a shot rang out, and something crashed to the ground.
I held my breath, unable to move.
“No!” the man next to me yelled, disgusted. “The effect’s all wrong. Let’s reset.”
So we reset. For the twelfth time.
I honestly couldn’t tell the difference among any of them.
But the director Jean Claude Lestronge could. And that’s all that mattered. He was an intimidating man who had achieved a level of celebrity most of us couldn’t even imagine–globally recognized for his directing work, both on stage and screen. In many ways, he reminded me of a bear, with his large build and his dark, shaggy hair. Plus, when he was displeased, he roared.
“Are you sure you don’t want to let them run through the whole scene?” I ventured. “Maybe we could come back to this later.”
He turned to me, his thick eyebrows raised almost to the top of his head. “Did I ask for your opinion, Lila?”
“No,” I admitted. It was my first time working as a dramatic consultant, but so far, my contributions had been comprised of offering opinions that he ignored and telling him that his own decisions were brilliant.
While the crew scurried about, preparing for our next attempt to perform up to Jean Claude’s standards, I gazed around the Stonedale Opera House. Built in 1878, it was definitely showing its age. The ceilings still soared, but the gilded paint on the beams was chipped and the red velvet seats were downright tattered. On either side of a center aisle, the house rows angled sharply toward the wooden stage, which had several candle boxes set into the floor. Electricity was used nowadays—though every time a stagehand turned on the main lights by lifting the large metal lever protruding from the box, sparks shot out.
My thoughts were interrupted by the director’s loud voice. He was barking at everyone as he settled on the arm of the chair next to me. The table that had been placed in front of the first row lurched slightly when he slammed his clipboard down on top of it.
“Show me murder!” He thundered as though he were presiding over a gladiator event, and the theater went black again. A shot rang out, this time accompanied by a larger burst of light, and a loud thud was heard.
“Finally,” he said. He mumbled something else, but I ignored it. He was always muttering things under his breath. I’d often catch random syllables that I suspected belonged to French swear words—I’d studied the language in school, and one does acquire a certain amount of vocabulary not printed in textbooks but whispered from student to student.
The lights came up, the actors professed surprise, then broke into a rousing chorus of “Once the Body Drops, You’ve Got a Story.”
I watched as they performed the high-energy clog dance, more in unison than they’d appeared the previous week. Jean Claude sat through the entire number without stopping them, which was a first. Maybe he was realizing that it should be cut.
In fact, the whole play should be cut.
It was a disaster, from start to finish.
Puzzled: The Musical was the brainchild of Tolliver Ingersoll, a Stonedale University professor who once had a play produced off-off-off-off-Broadway and had somehow transformed that success into a tenure-track job at the same school where I taught English. From what I’d heard, the Theater department was less than enthusiastic about his work, but since he was a campus fixture, they had no choice but to every so often allow him to put on one of his plays. The local small theaters were more excited about his writing, as they were made up of younger folks who found his incomprehensible plotlines to be great fun.
[Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I'd like a front row seat for Puzzled: The Musical, please.” ~ G. Smith
“There is a lot happening in this book, and at times, the plot appears to ramble as a result. The murder definitely takes a back seat to some of the other things going on, but I never found myself getting board since everything was entertaining. And the various bits and pieces do begin to tie together the further we get into the book. Because we get so many new characters, we don't see much of most of the series regulars, but the new characters are all developed enough to make us care about the outcome, and Lila continues to be a strong lead. And the play! I was laughing at the little bits we did learn about it over the course of the book. Heck, the song titles alone are great. It looks like a fun spoof of the mystery genre that I would go see if I could.” ~ Mark Baker – Carstairs Considers
“I'm always on the lookout for a lighthearted academic mystery. With a touch of the paranormal, The Spirit in Question is a perfect October read. Kuhn's take on academic life is spot-on, and the theater theme adds intrigue and insight. […] The Spirit in Question is smart, funny, and engaging - another great Lila McLean mystery!

About the Author
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series: The Semester of Our Discontent, an Agatha Award recipient for Best First Novel; The Art of Vanishing, a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery; and The Spirit in Question. She teaches in Denver, serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado, and blogs with Chicks on the Case.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win any two ebooks in the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series by Cynthia Kuhn plus a $25 Amazon gift card.