Tuesday, January 16, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: JOHN GASPARD



ABOUT THE BOOK

Eli's trip to London with his Uncle Harry quickly turns homicidal when the older magician finds himself accused of murder. A second slaying does little to take the spotlight off Harry, instead making it clear that someone is knocking off Harry's elderly peers in bizarrely effective ways. But who? The tale takes an odd twist when the prime suspect appears to be a bitter performer with a grudge . . . who committed suicide over thirty years before.

While Eli struggles to prove his uncle's innocence--and keep them both alive--he finds himself embroiled in a battle of his own: A favorite magic routine of his has been ripped off by another, hugely-popular magician.

What began as a whirlwind vacation to London with girlfriend Megan turns into a fatal and larcenous trip into the dark heart of magic within the city's oldest magic society, The Magic Circle.


Book Details:

Title: The Linking Rings

Series: Eli Marks, 4th in series

Author: John Gaspard

Genre: Mystery, amateur sleuth

Publisher: Henery Press (January 16, 2018)

Paperback: 252 pages








LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH JOHN GASPARD


Easiest thing about being a writer: Saying you're a writer.

Hardest thing about being a writer: Actually writing.


Things you need in order to write: An outline.
Things that hamper your writing: Writing the outline.

Things you always put in your books:
I like the word "snick," describing the sound of a door lock as it closes. Recently I've also tried to add in "Harry pocketed it" to each book, to trip up my audiobook narrator. (Apparently, Stephen Fry had a lot of trouble with that phrase. J.K. Rowling made a point of putting it in every one of the Harry Potter books after Fry was a bit rude to her).

Things you never put in your books: People keep begging me to not kill off Uncle Harry, so that's one thing that will never be in an Eli Marks book.

Things you love about writing: Just like filmmaking, editing is the best part of the process–once all the pieces are in place, the process of putting them together and refining them makes the arduous task of actually doing the initial writing almost bearable.
Things you hate about writing: The writing part. The coming up with ideas part is fun and–see above–the editing and shaping part is fun. But just like shooting a movie, actually writing the first draft can be a real slog. (Note: I'm writing these answers while in the midst of writing a first draft.)

Favorite books: I'm a big fan of audiobooks of all genres. Eddie Izzard's reading of his book, Believe Me, is a phenomenal listen and highly recommended.

Books you would ban: Ban is a strong word. Let's say avoid. The books I would avoid are (some, not all) audiobooks which are read by their authors. Many authors should really think twice before doing that. I know I did and have never regretted that decision--my narrator (Jim Cunningham) is fantastic!

Things you love about where you live: Spring, Summer, Fall.
Things that make you want to move: Winter.

People you consider as heroes:
People who adopt dogs (and, to a lesser degree, cats.) (That is, people who adopt cats. Not cats who adopt dogs.)

People with a big L on their foreheads: People who are mean to dogs (and, okay, to cats as well).


Things you never want to run out of: Chocolate chip cookies.
Things you wish you’d never bought: Chocolate chip cookies.


Favorite music:
I never get tired of the theme from Casino Royale. How can you not love that? I think I'd like it played at my funeral.
Music that make your ears bleed:  Jo Stafford's version of "Carioca." (To be honest, I really sort of like it. I'd also like that at my funeral.)

Favorite smell: Chocolate chip cookies
.
Something that makes you hold your nose: Tomato juice–I have no understanding why that is.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I never lie.

A lie you wish you’d told: Just did it.



The Eli Marks mystery series:




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


John is author of the Eli Marks mystery series from Henery Press.

In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He’s also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, they’ve made more than the films.

John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several dogs, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

Connect with John:
Facebook  |  Twitter  

Buy the book:
Amazon




Listen to the first chapter of The Linking Rings




Sunday, January 14, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: JEANNETTE DE BEAUVOIR



ABOUT THE BOOK

Wedding coordinator Sydney Riley never thought she’d get caught up in a murder investigation, but she became an amateur sleuth when her boss was killed during Bear Week. Now she’s back, this time as the Race Point Inn hosts Provincetown’s venerable transgender event, Fantasia Fair… and murder is once again an uninvited guest!

It’s all hands on deck at the inn as visitors arrive for the week-long event and Sydney helps coordinator Rachel Parsons organize the occasion. Guest Elizabeth Gonzalez is attending with her spouse, Bob, who–as Angela–is taking a bold first step into a whole new existence. Angela, Elizabeth, and Sydney learn the ropes and politics from other guests, some of whom have attended annually for more than forty years.

But the next day, Sydney’s detective friend summons her to one of the town beaches where Angela’s body has been found–with a knife in her back, a knife stolen from Adrienne, the Race Point Inn’s diva chef.

Fair organizers and attendees try and carry on as Provincetown is overrun with police, press, and rampant speculation. Sydney, her boyfriend Ali, her friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, and a host of Fantasia Fair participants scramble to find out who killed Angela–and why–before the killer strikes again.



Book Details

Title: Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown Mystery

Author: Jeannette de Beauvoir

Genre: Cozy Mystery, 2nd in series

Publisher: HomePort Press (September 28, 2017)

Paperback: 282 pages

Touring with: Great Escapes Book Tours







LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH JEANNETTE DE BEAUVOIR



Things you need in order to write: Silence. My MacBook. Um, did I mention silence?
Things that hamper your writing: Music. Others love to write to music; I find it completely distracting!



Hardest thing about being a writer: Keeping the seat of your pants in the seat of the chair.

Easiest thing about being a writer: When your characters are talking to you and telling you the story.



Things you love about where you live: I live in a cottage by the sea and get to start every day with a walk on the beach. How lucky am I?
Things that make you want to move: Tourists in the summertime, the inconvenience of isolation in the winter.



Favorite foods: Wine, bread, cheese, coffee, chocolate, shellfish.
Things that make you want to throw up: Hot dogs, tripe, yuck!

Favorite beverage: Red Bordeaux wine.
Something that gives you a pickle face: Gatorade.

Something you’re really good at: Driving—my mother taught me performance driving when I was young, and it’s served me well ever since.

Something you’re really bad at: Math. I count on my fingers. It’s really pathetic.



Things you always put in your books: Places. Real places. I think the location is as important as the characters.
Things you never put in your books: You know, I can’t think of anything! I try to stay open to whatever is going to make the story work.



Things to say to an author: I couldn’t put the book down, I was up until 4:00 reading it!
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I don’t like to read.



Favorite places you’ve been: Montréal, my hometown of Angers (France), some fictional places (Ledwardine in Phil Rickman’s books, for example!).
Places you never want to go to again: Dentist’s office, middle school.



Favorite genre: Mysteries! Anything by Phil Rickman or Tana French. I especially like British authors; they tend to be smart and articulate.
Books you would ban: Bodice-ripper romances—they diminish women.



People you’d like to invite to dinner: The cast of Hamilton.
People you’d cancel dinner on: Anyone in the current US administration.



Things that make you happy: My cat, early summer mornings, a great book and glass of wine in a warm place during a snowstorm.
Things that drive you crazy: People who travel poorly: act as though they own the places they visit.



Best thing you’ve ever done: Bringing joy to people.
Biggest mistake: Taking myself too seriously.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she’s not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling . . . to inspire her writing. The author of a number of mystery and historical novels, de Beauvoir’s work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley.


Connect with Jeannette:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Goodreads  

Buy the book:

Amazon   


Friday, January 12, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: KATE PARKER





ABOUT THE BOOK

Why would a man, knowing his life was in danger, turn his back on his killer?

In pre-war London, Olivia Denis wins a plum assignment from her newspaper when she meets the glamorous French fashion designer, Mimi Mareau. Mimi has it all—wealth, talent, acclaim, and a British duke for a lover. But on her first visit to Mimi’s new Mayfair house of haute couture, Olivia finds something else—the body of an unknown man.

Mimi and her three French assistants say they don’t know the man, but is that true? As Olivia spends time around the salon, she learns at least one of the women knew the dead man and all four women are lying.

A British agent in possession of a terrible secret, an attempt on the life of a British leader, a fashion house in the middle of it all, while war marches closer. Can Olivia stop a murderer before he or she strikes again, or will time run out on the fragile peace, ending Olivia’s efforts? 


Book Details:
Title: Deadly Fashion (The Deadly Series) 
3rd in Series
Author’s name: Kate Parker       
Genre: historical cozy mystery
Publish date: (print 12/8/17) (ebook 1/11/18)
Publisher: JDP Press (December 8, 2017)
Paperback: 324 pages








INTERVIEW WITH KATE PARKER


Kate, what books do you currently have published?

So far I’ve published five Victorian Bookshop Mysteries about a young lady in the 1890’s in London who runs a bookshop while assisting in investigations with the secret Archivist Society. 

Deadly Fashion is the third of the Deadly series about a young widow who is a society reporter while secretly carrying out searches and smuggling for her boss, the publisher of the London daily newspaper where she works. These stories take place just before World War II, and in Deadly Fashion, the reporter finds a murdered man in the London fashion salon of a famous French designer.

In the spring, The Killing at Kaldaire House will come out, about a milliner in London in 1905 who is caught between the widow of the murdered man she found, a Scotland Yard detective who suspects she is guilty of murder, and her father’s family of conmen.  


Is writing your dream job?
How could it not be my dream job? After a terrible commute in the DC suburbs, I now go to work each day by walking across the house in my pjs. I get to dream up exciting tales of murder and mayhem and set them in the past. Digging through arcane sources online isn’t wasting time, it’s research. I’m my own boss…oh, wait. I named my publishing imprint after my husband, and now he’s decided he’s in charge of my career.  I let him think that. ;-)

This is the first job I’ve ever had that I wanted to go to work each day, and every day is different. Since I write mysteries set in England in the past, this necessitates research trips overseas, purchases of fascinating book reprints from the eras that I write about, and tours of sites that provide insights that make my stories come alive. I feel blessed to have this job.

And if I didn’t write, the voices in my head would never leave me alone.


If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Most of the time when I watch TV, I’m watching PBS. Our local affiliate runs a lot of British and Australian  mysteries, including some I’d never heard of before they appeared in the TV lineup.

What do you love about where you live?
I live on the southeast coast of the US, and I love being where I can walk on the beach 12 months of the year. We seldom get snow, and if we do, it disappears in hours. Of course, since it is often hot out, and I love hot tea, air conditioning is essential to life as I want to live it. Our town has been around since colonial times and we are lucky enough to have some wonderful old buildings. Since I’m fascinated with the past, I love to stroll the downtown area. Small, friendly, and not too busy.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
London. Hand me a plane ticket and I’d go in a minute. Every time I go, I’m researching a different book and I’m looking for different buildings, museums, and tours. I can spend hours in the newspaper collection of the British Library, finding such gems as the real female German spymaster who’d been in and out of England twice. No one was quite sure what she looked like, no one knew her real name, and they couldn’t catch her. I used her as a model of the French assassin in Deadly Fashion. And from London, nowhere I need to research is too far by train. I love European trains.

What would you name your autobiography?
Dropping the Ball. Many, many years ago when my children were small and I was working outside the home full-time, I read an article called “Juggling.” That was when I knew if I was to write nonfiction on my methods, I would call it Dropping the Ball.

What’s your least favorite chore?
I hate washing dishes. The first time my husband of forty years came over to my house, he found a neat, clean house and a sink full of dirty dishes. He washed them for me, and I was instantly in love. He’s washed them ever since. He’s a keeper.


Sounds like it! What’s one of your favorite quotes?
George Eliot’s “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” I suspect this has nothing to do with playing tennis or being a ballerina, but since I was retired before I was published, I’ll take this as my guiding star.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
The British Library near King’s Cross in London. I could get lost for years in the newspaper reading room with all those fabulous issues, year after year, on microfilm. The gift shop on the ground floor is fascinating. And there’s a pub that does great lunches right across Euston Road. 


What are you working on now?
I’m getting The Killing at Kaldaire House, my 1905 story about a free-spirited milliner, ready to send to my editor. In my spare moments, I’m doing research for Deadly Deception, the fourth in the Deadly Series, that immediately follows Deadly Fashion. I know that Olivia, my heroine in Deadly Fashion, will be following another mystery with twists and turns as Europe prepares for war.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Parker grew up reading her mother’s collection of mystery books and her father’s library of history and biography books. Now she can’t write a story that isn’t set in the past with a few decent corpses littered about. It took her years to convince her husband she hadn’t poisoned dinner; that funny taste is because she can’t cook. Now she can read books on poisons and other lethal means at the dinner table and he doesn’t blink.

Their children have grown up to be surprisingly normal, but two of them are developing their own love of creating literary mayhem, so the term “normal” may have to be revised.

Living in a nineteenth century town has further inspired Kate’s love of history. But as much as she loves stately architecture and vintage clothing, she has also developed an appreciation of central heating and air conditioning. She’s discovered life in coastal Carolina requires her to wear shorts and T-shirts while drinking hot tea and it takes a great deal of imagination to picture cool, misty weather when it’s 90 degrees out and sunny.


Connect with Kate:

Website  |  
Facebook  |  
Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: TRACY WEBER



ABOUT THE BOOK

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is ready to marry her boyfriend Michael, so she’s disappointed when a special dinner doesn’t end with a proposal. But disappointment turns to dismay and outrage as she learns the real problem: Michael is already married and his green card-seeking wife is blackmailing him.

When his wife’s body is found—by Kate and her dog, no less—Michael is strangely unable to remember where he was the night she died. Since Michael has no alibi, Kate steps up to uncover what happened. What she walks into is a tangled web of deceit, obsession, and immigration fraud . . . with Michael trapped in the middle.

Book Details:
Title: Pre-Meditated Murder (A Downward Dog Mystery)

Author: Tracy Weber
Genre: Cozy Mystery, 5th in Series
Publisher: 
Midnight Ink (January 8, 2018)

Paperback: 288 pages

Touring with: Great Escape Book Tours






LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH TRACY WEBER


A few of your favorite things: Dogs, Cats, Fuzzy slipper socks, Warm blankets, Seahawks tickets.
Things you need to throw out: Old clothes, Expired dog treats, All that stuff taking up space in the garage.  (Whatever it is!)


Things you need in order to write: Silence, Inspiration, A glass of champagne doesn’t hurt.
Things that hamper your writing: Music, My husband.  ;-)


Things you love about writing: Interacting with readers! Making new fictional friends, learning. Things you hate about writing: Writing first drafts. I’d rather have a root canal.


Things you love about where you live: The scenery, Green Lake.
Things that make you want to move: Traffic, cost, lack of parking.

Favorite foods: Black bean Pita burgers.
Things that make you want to throw up: Walnuts.

Favorite smell: My dog’s fur.

Something that makes you hold your nose: Cat litter boxes.

Something you’re really good at: Writing (I hope!).

Something you’re really bad at: Drawing or creating art of any kind.



Last best thing you ate: A chocolate chip cookie from Seattle’s Best Cookie Company.  YUMMERS!
Last thing you regret eating: A chocolate chip cookie from Seattle’s Best Cookie Company. I’ll be exercising it off for weeks.

Things to say to an author: “I love your work!”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “I have a great idea for a book. All you have to do is write it!”

Favorite places you’ve been: Cannon Beach, Oregon, Maui, Hawaii.

Places you never want to go to again: Ocean Shores, WA.  Most people love it. I call it “Shores of Hell.”

Favorite books: Anything by Susan Conant or Stephen King.

Books you would ban: Anything that tortures an animal.  I can’t stomach it.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and is a 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

Connect with Tracy:
Website  |  Blog Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: HEATHER WEIDNER



ABOUT THE BOOK

Private investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in The Tulip Shirt Murders. When a music producer hires the duo to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered.

The Tulip Shirt Murders is a fast-paced mystery that appeals to readers who like a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations such as larping and trading elbow jabs with roller derby queens.


Book Details
Title: The Tulip Shirt MurdersAuthor: Heather Weidner

Publisher: Sandpiper Productions

Pages: 264

Genre: Mystery – Female Sleuth
Touring with: Pump Up Your Book






LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER WEIDNER


A few of your favorite things: Books, chocolate, my two Jack Russell Terriers.
Things you need to throw out:
 Old clothes (I tend to keep stuff until it comes back in style).

Things you need in order to write: Chocolate, Paper/Pen or Laptop, Music (loud for writing; calmer for editing).
Things that hamper your writing: Distractions (Usually the Internet) – I’ll go to research something and get lost in the world wide web.


Hardest thing about being a writer: Balancing the writing life with all the other things life throws at you.
Easiest thing about being a writer:
 Getting in the zone and writing; plotting a new mystery.

Things you love about where you live: I love that we are central to just about everything in Virginia. I can be at the beach, mountains, or in Washington, DC in a few hours. I love taking day-trips. Virginia has so much history, beauty, cultural sites, and wonderful restaurants.
Things that make you want to move: We usually have moderate temperatures, but we do have a few cold snaps. And during winter, I always get the urge to move somewhere warm.

Things you never want to run out of: Chocolate, iced tea, electricity (I am not a ruffing-it kind of girl).
Things you wish you’d never bought:
 I have some clothes that have inspired buyers’ remorse. It looked good in the store…

Words that describe you: Creative, energetic, sassy.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Tired (I try to cram a lot into twenty-four hours. I have to take a break once in a while).

Favorite foods: Pizza, cheese, apples, chocolate, french fries.
Things that make you want to throw up: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrot/raisin/mayonnaise salad, the smell of eggs.

Favorite beverage: Dr. Pepper (once in a while); iced tea, iced coffee.

Something that gives you a pickle face: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, the smell of eggs.

Something you’re really good at: Scrabble and Yahtzee.

Something you’re really bad at:
 Cooking when multiple dishes have to come out hot and ready at the same time – Cooking stresses me out.


Last best thing you ate: Chocolate Fudge Pie.

Last thing you regret eating: Greasy tacos.

Things you’d walk a mile for: Caffeine.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Too much talk radio or TV; Golf on TV.

Things you always put in your books:Pets (usually dogs).
Things you never put in your books: People who hurt/endanger animals.

Things to say to an author: I liked your book, and I left you a review online.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Here’s my idea for a book. You should write it. I don’t have time.

Things that make you happy: A fully edited/finished manuscript, when my husband finishes his latest classic car project, and my two crazy Jack Russell Terriers
Things that drive you crazy: Telemarketers, paper cuts, people who leave their grocery carts in parking spots instead of returning them.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, Lethal Ladies Write, and James River Writers. The Tulip Shirt Murders is her second novel in her Delanie Fitzgerald series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She blogs regularly with the Pens, Paws, and Claws authors.

Connect with Heather:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  LinkedIn  |

Buy links:
Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Apple  |  Kobo 

Monday, January 8, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: VICTORIA BERNADINE




ABOUT THE BOOK

Benjamin Ferrin Macon-Jones has it all: a luxurious lifestyle in Toronto and the love of an intelligent, ambitious woman…until that same woman refuses his marriage proposal, tells him he’s a detriment to her career, and leaves him. Unable to deal with his cantankerous family trying to be supportive, he quietly slips away into the Canadian countryside.

Lou Upjohn has problems of her own. She’s a recluse and agoraphobic, staying safely within the walls of her ancestral home in small town Saskatchewan and depending on Ike, her best and only friend, to deal with the outside world. Only Ike’s just married another woman and now he’s moving to Vancouver. Before he leaves, he hires the new guy in town, Ferrin Jones, to run her errands and do her yard work. Lou isn’t happy, but even she has to admit the stranger looks mildly interesting.

Both their lives could be changed forever if she only has the courage to open the door.

Book Details
Title: Along Came Jones

Author: Victoria Bernadine 

Publisher: Love of Words Publishing 

Pages: 324

Genre: Chick Lit/Contemporary Fiction

Touring with: Pump Up Your Book




LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH VICTORIA BERNADINE


A few of your favorite things:  Cats, books, summer, Cary Grant, David Tennant, Broadchurch, Star Wars.
Things you need to throw out:  My old dishes. YOU GOT NEW DISHES FOR A REASON!!

Things you need in order to write: Something that makes me say, “Hm.  I wonder what happens next…”
Things that hamper your writing: Working for a living.

Things you love about writing: The sheer bliss of the ideas taking shape on the page/screen when I’m writing the first draft.
Things you hate about writing: Editing aka smoothing out all the rough edges of that first draft that was so much fun to write.

Things you love about where you live: Low crime rate, high standard of living, free health care, and the Canadian attitude.
Things that make you want to move: An extraordinarily cold winter…or a mild winter…or a normal winter…winter.  Just winter.

Things you never want to run out of: Pens and paper.
Things you wish you’d never bought: Every gadget that just sits gathering dust.

Words that describe you: Funny and friendly.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Lazy, or, more politely, procrastinator.

Favorite foods: Garlic, perogies, steak, potato chips.
Things that make you want to throw up: Liver.  UGH.

Favorite music or song: Country music; favourite song at the moment is "Somewhere on a Beach" by Dierks Bentley.
Music that make your ears bleed: Nothing really makes my ears bleed, although I’m not overly fond of jazz or rap or screaming metal.

Favorite beverage: Coca-Cola Classic.
Something that gives you a pickle face: Pepsi…but any port in a storm and at least it’s a cola.

Something you like to do: Travel, especially to a tropical location in the dead of winter.
Something you wish you’d never done: I wish I’d never learned about contracting and procurement, which is my day job. I’m sure I could have found something more exciting to do…right??

Things you always put in your books: Witty banter. At least, I hope it’s witty banter.
Things you never put in your books: Graphic violence. I mean, I have novels with violent events in them, but nothing graphic.

Things to say to an author: “I love your book!" (I’m easy.)
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:  “You don’t know anything about Character A! They would never have done such a thing!”

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Robert Downey Jr. and David Tennant. I’ve seen/read their interviews; I’d just be sitting there with my mouth hanging open and wondering what the heck they’re talking about now.
People you’d cancel dinner on: Politicians. Any of them.

Favorite things to do: Writing and reading.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Cleaning house.

Things that make you happy: Warm weather, cats snuggling close and purring, writing, reading, movies.
Things that drive you crazy: People who ask for my advice, don’t follow it, then expect me to clean up the mess they would have avoided if they’d listened to me in the first place. Hm. I seem rather passionate about this one.

Best thing you’ve ever done: I quit my job and took a year off work.
Biggest mistake: Not doing it sooner, or more often.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: Ziplining, given I have a fear of heights.
Something you chickened out from doing:  FINISHING the ziplining course, because there was a “jump into a hole” thing at some point and…no. Just no. I stopped half-way through and went for a beer instead.


EXCERPT


“Marry me.”

Olivia laughs.

“What?” she teases with a fond, slightly mocking smile.  “Are you ‘proposing’ because you think it’s what people are supposed to do on New Year’s Eve?”

Ferrin smirks his lopsided, endearing smirk as he lowers himself to one knee and proffers the small, square velvet box he dug out of the pocket of his tuxedo.

The beautiful brunette laughs again.  “Oh, Ferrin, get up—you’re being ridiculous!  And the joke really isn’t all that funny.” 

Olivia glances at the crowd of beaming friends and family surrounding them and Ferrin watches as realization slowly dawns on her face.  Her gaze snaps back to his as realization morphs into horror, and Ferrin feels a corresponding sick, sinking feeling grow in his stomach as her expression changes.  His own smile slips away and his face freezes into an expressionless mask.  Their spectators’ hissed in-drawn breaths and sudden, uncomfortable silence barely register given his complete and utter focus on Olivia.

He knows what she’s going to say before she says it, but like any impending disaster, he can’t seem to look away.

“Oh, my God,” she whispers.  “Oh, shit!”  She bites her lip, then says in a rush, “I love you, Ferrin, I really, truly do...but I can’t marry you.”  Her voice breaks; her eyes fill with tears.

The silence that follows seems to grow and envelop them in a stifling cocoon built from his humiliation and suddenly terrified heart.  Ferrin hears, as if through cotton wool, subdued voices and the shuffling of feet as their family and friends gather their things and leave the apartment.  In some distant corner of his mind, he’s mildly surprised they're all leaving so quietly...or maybe he just can’t hear them across the yawning divide that’s opened between him and Olivia.

As the door closes, she whispers, “Get up.  Your knee must hurt.”

Does it?  He can’t tell over the crushing pressure in his chest, his stomach, his head, but he struggles to his feet anyway, like she asks, because she asks, aching and sore and suddenly ancient.  He straightens and becomes, as always, self-consciously aware of how big he is in comparison to her, and how his bulk looming over her always makes her edgy.  He automatically slouches his shoulders, trying to minimize his size, trying to make her comfortable.

“Say something,” she begs, and her voice breaks.

His voice is cracked, hollow, distant, as he says, “Is this it?”

‘It’, he thinks with despair.  Such a tiny word with such a huge meaning.

She hesitates, then nods, not quite looking at him.

“This can’t come as that much of a surprise.  Not if you’re honest with yourself.”

Ferrin can’t seem to make his brain work.  He shakes his head, trying to force something—anything—loose so his world—his life—will start to make sense again.

“I—I—no.  Yes.  Why?” he asks, and winces at just how lost he sounds.

Olivia sighs and says, very gently, “I want other things in life than you do, Ferrin.  My career means everything to me and I want to make it to the top of Macon-Jones Enterprises, or as high as I can get without being a blood relative.”

Finally, finally, anger flares inside him.

“And I’m holding you back?  In my own family’s company?”

Olivia hesitates.

Ferrin’s eyes widen.  “You really believe it,” he breathes.  “When have I ever stood in your way, Olivia?”

This time her sigh is long-suffering.  “You’ve never stood in my way, no, but you’ve never actively helped me, either.”

“I didn’t think you wanted me to!  If I recall correctly, you told me so in no uncertain terms when we moved in together.  That’s only a couple of years ago!  What’s changed?”

“I didn’t want you using any undue influence with Abram to get me promotions I didn’t deserve,” Olivia snaps, her own anger flaring.  “That didn’t mean I didn’t want you to help me at all!”

Ferrin snorts.  “Nobody has undue influence with Abram.  You should know that by now!”

“Abram isn’t the point!  The point is that I could have used your support when some of my projects came up for a vote before the Board.  Instead, you, as always, stayed out of it and gave your vote to the first cousin who asked for it, without any regard to how the decision would impact my career or my projects!  Half the time, you didn’t even bother asking me how I wanted you to vote!”

“I never ask anyone about the projects or how they want to use my vote!  The cousins know how I play the game and it works well for all of us.  Why do you think I’m the only one any of them will talk to without a witness present?”

Olivia throws her hands up in the air as she whirls and paces away.  “There!  That’s exactly the problem!”

He takes a step back, blinking.  “What?  The fact that I’m friendly with all my cousins?  That’s a problem?”

“No!”  She brushes a hand over her face in exasperation.  She turns to him, and now he recognizes that look on her face.  It’s the one she has when she’s getting ready to lecture him on what, exactly, he’s done wrong, and what he needs to do to avoid making the same mistake again.

She says, “It’s not the fact the cousins all like you that’s the problem; it’s the reason they all like you!  You’re such a goddamn fixer, itching to solve everyone’s problems that you’ve become a complete pushover!  I don’t want to hurt you, Ferrin, but, let’s face it:  you’re a sucker.  You’re gullible.  And I hate to say this, but you’re also a bit of a wimp.  You’ll do whatever anybody tells you to do, and that’s proven in spades by your so-called ‘business investments’!  All anybody needs in order to get money out of you is a sob story and a half-assed idea!”

His mouth sags open as he rocks beneath her barrage, every word slamming into his heart and his gut and his mind.

“What the hell?” he chokes.

Olivia deflates, pity in her eyes.

“Look,” she says, and now her voice is calm and firmly matter-of-fact, the way Ferrin has so often heard her speak whenever he’s forced to attend a board meeting with her, “I’m going to be CEO someday of a multi-billion-dollar multinational company.  Your family’s multi-billion-dollar multinational company.  It’s ruthless and cutthroat, and a spouse’s strengths and talents are just as important to an executive’s rise as the executive’s own skills and talents, especially in Macon-Jones Enterprises.  You know how outright Machiavellian your family can be, and that’s when they’re arranging Christmas!  If you think they’re ruthless in their personal lives, they’re ten times worse in the boardroom, trust me!”

“Yes, I know,” Ferrin says drily, and is almost glad he’s starting to feel something—anything—now.  “I have met my cousins and I’ve even been to a board meeting a time or two.  Abram seems to have done all right without a spouse to support him.”

She snorts.  “He’s Chair and he was handed the job by your great-grandfather!  He’s never had to prove anything to anybody!”

His laugh is harsh and barking.  “Now you’re the one who’s forgotten what my cousins are like!” He waves his words away.  “Doesn’t matter.  You knew when we met that I do everything I can to avoid anything to do with the company.”

“You’re not supposed to avoid it by giving your vote to whichever cousin gets to you first!  Besides, you’re your father’s only surviving child, the last of your particular branch of the family!  You out of all your cousins shouldn’t avoid the company at all!”

Ferrin flinches.

She grimaces.  “I’m sorry; that was low...but you know I’m right.  You could wield enormous influence and power in the company, and not only with the family when they want something, if you’d just take an interest!  If you would listen to me, let me guide you, advise you so you don’t believe everything you’re told, and let me stop Carson, Dyson and Jack from constantly distracting you, you could be the next Chair of the Board instead of Jack!”

“So I’m not only gullible and a wimp, I’m also so stupid I can only trust you to advise me?” he says, incredulous.

“Of course not!  But you’re wasting your potential—and your birthright!  Your father was Abram’s second-in-command, for God’s sake!  All you have to do is step up and follow in his footsteps!”  She runs a hand through her hair and groans.  “Face it, Ferrin, I’m never going to be CEO if I remain allied with you, not unless you change your approach to the business.”

Ferrin rears back and stares.

“‘Allied’?” he says slowly.  “Is that what the last five years have been about, Olivia?  An alliance?”
“No!  Of course not!  I love you.  I do!  You’re a wonderful man, Ferrin.  But you’re...” She spreads her hands and shrugs helplessly.

“Weak,” he says flatly, “and obviously a little stupid.  Have I got it right?”

“Ferrin…”  She takes a step towards him, but he quickly retreats.  She stops and stares at him, her large, brown eyes brimming with tears.  For once, he’s unmoved.

“I’m sorry I’ve been such a disappointment to your professional ambitions,” he grates out, a bitter twist to his lips.  He turns and heads for the exit.

“Where are you going?”

“I have no idea,” he says, and slams the door behind him.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a "woman of a certain age." After twenty-something years of writer's block, she began writing again in 2008.

Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody's guess.

She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). Along Came Jones is the second novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.



Buy the book:
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Saturday, January 6, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: KATHERINE HALL PAGE



ABOUT THE BOOK


The inimitable Faith Fairchild returns in a chilling New England whodunit, inspired by the best Agatha Christie mysteries and with hints of the timeless board game Clue.

For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts and Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. "I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me."

Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain call.

Full of delectable recipes, brooding atmosphere, and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in the Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap.


Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: William Morrow

Publication Date: December 5th 2017

Number of Pages: 238

ISBN: 0062439561 (ISBN13: 9780062439567)

Series: Faith Fairchild, 24
Touring with: Partners in Crime







INTERVIEW WITH KATHERINE HALL PAGE


Katherine, tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone or do readers need to read the series in order?
I have been fortunate to write a long running series starting with The Body in the Belfry (1990) and now #24, The Body in the Casket, all in print. I had no idea that I was writing a series when I wrote the first book, but as soon as it appeared there would be a few more I realized I needed to make each one work as a stand alone. Reading in order is a matter of temperament, but not a necessity! My amateur sleuth is Faith Sibley Fairchild who grew up in the Big Apple, but falls in love, marries and finds herself in Aleford, a small town west of Boston. Her husband is the Reverend Thomas Fairchild. Daughter and granddaughter of clergy, she had vowed to avoid the fishbowl existence of a parish, but the heart knows no reason. In the first book she has her infant son in a Snugli when she stumbles across the still warm body of a parishioner in the town’s old belfry and rings the bell setting off a chain of events and characters that continue in spirit throughout the books. She left her highly successful Manhattan catering firm, “Have Faith” when she moved, but starts it up again in Aleford. Along the way she has another child, daughter Amy. I didn’t get the memo about not putting kids in murder mysteries. Motherhood seemed to go with my character, but childcare can become difficult when pursuing a hot lead!

Where’s home for you?
I live in two small towns, one twenty minutes west of Boston and not unlike the completely fictitious town of Aleford. I am surrounded by woods and very nice people. The other town is on an island in Penobscot Bay, Maine fortunately connected to the mainland by a lovely suspension bridge. I am surrounded by water and very nice people.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Livingston, New Jersey about forty minutes from Manhattan. When we first moved there in the 1950s, it was a farm community. That continued for a while—there was a 4H Club in my high school. But the post war baby boom changed things—over 500 in my graduating class—and the farms were covered by malls and housing. It was, however, a wonderful place in which to grow up. I’m a Jersey Girl—and no, I don’t pump gas.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

That as I grown older, a lot of the baggage I’ve carried around would become lighter and even fall by the wayside.

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Was conned during a sales call into one of those “free” vacations—NYC—in return for listening to a brief sales pitch about vacation condominiums. If it sounds too good to be true it is. We went on the “vacation” during which the pitch went on for hours, increasingly aggressive and splinters under my nails would have been a relief.

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
That much of the time would be veiled by the mists of time—and that my braces would eventually come off!


What makes you happy?
My friends and family, specifically my husband of 42 years and our son. Nothing will ever equal the joy we felt when baby Nicholas was placed in our arms. I tear up thinking about it now 34 years later. On another note, I am made quite happy by chilled, not cold good champagne and tasty nibbles.

What makes you scared?
Aside from noir mysteries—when I read, I am right there in the book—I am frightened about what the future hold for my son, his cohort, and the next generation because of climate change in particular. We saw the effects in Maine this summer on the fishing industry that was down because of warming waters.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
I have had two (so far) great careers. My writing job started in the late 1980s and before that I was a secondary school teacher and administrator. The last 5 years I was the head of a program within a public school for teens with special emotional needs due to chronic truancy, difficult family situations and substance abuse. It was rewarding and exhausting. I miss the classroom, and I miss those kids.

How did you meet your spouse? Was it love at first sight?
My husband and I were fixed up, although we did not know it at the time. Mutual friends invited us to dinner, a rather large party. It wasn’t love at first sight, but definitely second as he left to do research in Canada immediately after for some weeks and I pretty much forgot him. Not his wonderful deep voice though—he’s from the Bronx—when he got in touch upon his return. The friends reminded him to call, although he says he didn’t need it. We went out the following night. And here we are.

If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
Taking family and the cat—Samantha, the daughter I never had—as givens, I would take one of my mother’s paintings. She was a professional painter and one large one, an abstract landscape she titled “Winter Light” is my favorite. She gave it to me for a significant birthday. It was one she never wanted to sell, and she knew I loved it. Miss my parents every day.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
This is very easy. “Bad Taste Leads to Crime” (Le Mauvais Gout Mène Crime) from the Baron Adolphe De Mareste (1784-1867). Definitely words by which we all should live!

What would you like people to say about you after you die?
“She tried her best.” This is actually on a woman’s tombstone from the 1800s in a Deer Isle, Maine cemetery.

How did you create the plot for this book?
I have always wanted to write a traditional country house murder in the spirit of many of Agatha Christie’s set in such places. Hercule Poirot was introduced in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, a quintessential country manor house. I have also always had a passion for the theater, especially Broadway musicals. Growing up not far from New York City, this was an important part of my life and my parents had friends in that world. I wanted to draw on those experiences. Faith is catering a weekend long 70th birthday party that legendary Broadway producer Max Dane is throwing for himself. The twist is that all the guests were connected in some way with Max’s only failure: Heaven or Hell The Musical twenty years ago.  He hasn’t produced anything since, retreating to his isolated large mansion not too far from Faith’s Massachusetts home. Giving her a tour of the house and interrupting her menu suggestions, he tells her that although he is sure she is a fine chef, he has hired her for her sleuthing abilities. A macabre early birthday gift convinced him that one of the invitees wants to kill him. Before long the two elements became one. Broadway meets Havencrest (Max’s house) equals murder.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
I enjoy research, and for this book I read a number of theatrical biographies, specifically ones about the Broadway producers David Merrick and Hal Prince. I also went back to some of my favorite movies: The Wrong Box (1966), Sleuth (1972 version), Deathtrap (1982), Clue (1985), and especially Murder By Death (1976). These also explain why Max Dane and Michael Caine became one in my imagination.

With what five real people would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore?

Dorothy Cannell, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Roger Lathbury, and Gregory Maguire.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Again, this is very easy. Being interrupted. Even by my near and dear. There had better be a good reason—fire etc.


Do you have a routine for writing?
I started out writing when the school bus came to pick my son up and stopping when it dropped him off with breaks for housework and even a walk. All these years later it’s still what works for me. I don’t write on weekends if at all possible. And I take more walks now. I have dedicated offices (small) in both my houses now, which is heaven.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
“She gave me all the clues and I should have guessed the murderer!” Hear it with happy frequency.

What would your dream office look like?
I’ve always been envious of those who have writing sheds or shacks outdoors. E.B. White had a perfect small one that you can see still from the waters of Eggemoggin Reach. I’ve seen some in beautiful gardens in Britain like Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst one. Would also like to have work in my tiny abode interrupted by someone bringing me elevenses complete with tea and biscuits (I know this happens-will not name the writer though and dare I mention he had a wife?)

How did you find your publisher, and how long did your query process take?

This comes under the good old “Had she but known.” My husband took a sabbatical in France. Our son was two years old, and the French have excellent day care. Each morning I took him to a lovely little nursery school in the center of Lyon where we were living and returned home to write the book that had been percolating for a very long time in my mind on a manual (old Underwood) typewriter friends loaned me. I went to pick Nicholas up each noon and by the end of the year I had a book. I used the same method I do now. To essentially jump-start myself I rewrite what I’ve written the day before, so I can’t say how many drafts. Not realizing (the had I known part how difficult it was to get published) I saw a query from an agent looking for manuscripts, including those for adults, in the Society for Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator’s newsletter. I had originally thought I’d do a YA book, so was getting the newsletter. I wrote to her, and she asked to see it, had three offers and we’ve been together ever since. Cue eerie music. My agent’s first name is “Faith.”

What are you working on now?
The 25th in the series—Silver Anniversary—The Body in the Wake, working title.


Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

“Have Faith in Your Kitchen,” Faith Fairchild said, answering the phone at her catering firm. She’d been busy piping choux pastry for éclairs onto a baking sheet.
“Mrs. Fairchild?”
“Yes? This is Faith Fairchild. How may I help you?”
“Please hold for Max Dane.” The voice had a plummy, slightly British tone, reminiscent of Jeeves, or Downton Abbey’s Carson. The only Max Dane Faith had heard of had been a famous Broadway musical producer, but she was pretty sure he’d died years ago. This must be another Max Dane.
She was put through quickly and a new voice said, “Hi. I know this is short notice, but I am very much hoping you are available to handle a house party I’m throwing for about a dozen guests at the end of the month. A Friday to Sunday. Not just dinner, but all the meals.”
Faith had never catered anything like this. A Friday to Sunday sounded like something out of a British pre-World War II country house novel—kippers for breakfast, Fortnum & Mason type hampers for the shoot, tea and scones, drinks and nibbles, then saddle of lamb or some other large haunch of meat for dinner with vintage clarets followed by port and Stilton—for the men only. She was intrigued.
“The first thing I need to know is where you live, Mr. Dane. Also, is this a firm date? We’ve had a mild winter so far, but January may still deliver a wallop like last year.”
A Manhattan native, Faith’s marriage more than 20 years ago to the Reverend Thomas Fairchild meant a radical change of address— from the Big Apple to the orchards of Aleford, a small suburb west of Boston. Faith had never become used to boiled dinners, First Parish’s rock hard pews and most of all, New England weather. By the end of the previous February there had been 75 inches of snow on the ground and you couldn’t see through the historic parsonage’s ground floor windows or open the front door. Teenage son Ben struggled valiantly to keep the back door clear, daily hewing a path to the garage. The resulting tunnel resembled a clip from Nanook of the North.
“I’m afraid the date is firm. The thirtieth is my birthday. A milestone one, my seventieth.” Unlike his butler or whoever had called Faith to the phone, Max Dane’s voice indicated he’d started life in one of the five boroughs. Faith was guessing the Bronx. He sounded a bit sheepish when he said “ my birthday,” as if throwing a party for himself was out of character. “And I live in Havencrest. It’s not far from Aleford, but I’d want you to be available at the house the whole time. Live in.”
Leaving her family for three days was not something Faith did often, especially since Sunday was a workday for Tom and all too occasionally Saturday was as he “polished” his sermon. (His term, which she had noticed over the years, could mean writing the whole thing.)
Ben and Amy, two years younger, seemed old enough to be on their own, but Faith had found that contrary to expectations, kids needed parents around more in adolescence than when they were toddlers. Every day brought the equivalent of scraped knees and they weren’t the kind of hurts that could be soothed by Pat The Bunny and a chocolate chip cookie. She needed more time to think about taking the job. “I’m not sure I can leave my family…” was interrupted. “I quite understand that this would be difficult,” Dane said and then he named a figure so far above anything she had ever been offered that she actually covered her mouth to keep from gasping out loud.
“Look,” he continued. “Why don’t you come by and we’ll talk in person? You can see the place and decide then. I don’t use it myself, but the kitchen is well equipped—the rest of the house too. I’ll email directions and you can shoot me some times that work. This week if possible. I want to send out the invites right away.”
Well, it wouldn’t hurt to talk, Faith thought. And she did like seeing other people’s houses. She agreed, but before she hung up curiosity won out and she asked, “Are you related to the Max Dane who produced all those wonderful Broadway musicals?”
“Very closely. As in one and the same. See you soon.”
Faith put the phone down and turned to Pix Miller, her closest friend and part-time Have Faith employee.
“That was someone wanting Have Faith to cater a weekend long birthday celebration—for an astonishing amount of money.” She named the figure in a breathless whisper. “His name is Max Dane. Have you ever heard of him?”
“Even I know who Max Dane is. Sam took me to New York the December after we were married and we saw one of his shows. It was magical—the whole weekend was. No kids yet. We were kids ourselves. We skated at Rockefeller Center by the tree and…”
Her friend didn’t go in for sentimental journeys and tempted as she was to note Pix and Sam skated on Aleford Pond then and now, Faith didn’t want to stop the flow of memories. “Where did you stay? A suite at the Plaza?” Sam was a very successful lawyer.
Pix came down to earth. “We barely had money for the show and pre-theater dinner at Twenty-One. That was the big splurge. I honestly can’t remember where we stayed and I should, because that’s where—” She stopped abruptly and blushed, also unusual Pix behavior.
“Say no more. Nine months later along came Mark?”
“Something like that,” Pix mumbled and then in her usual more assertive voice, added “You have to do this. Not because of the money, although the man must be loaded! Think of who might be there. And the house must be amazing. We don’t have anything booked for then and I can keep an eye on the kids.”
The Millers lived next door to the parsonage and their three now grown children had been the Fairchilds’ babysitters. Pix played a more essential role: Faith’s tutor in the unforeseen intricacies of childrearing as well as Aleford’s often arcane mores. Faith’s first social faux pas as a new bride—inviting guests for dinner at eight o’clock— had happily been avoided when her first invite, Pix, gently told Faith the town’s inhabitants would be thinking bed soon at that hour, not a main course.
Faith had started her catering business in the city that never slept before she was married and was busy all year long. Here January was always a slow month for business. The holidays were over and things didn’t start to pick up until Valentine’s Day—and even then scheduling events was risky. It all came down to weather.
Pix was at the computer. Years ago she’d agreed to work at Have Faith keeping the books, the calendar, inventory—anything that did not involve any actual food preparation.
“We have a couple of receptions at the Ganley Museum and the MLK breakfast the standing clergy host.”
The first time Faith heard the term, “standing clergy”, which was the town’s men and women of any cloth, she pictured an upright somberly garbed group in rows like ninepins. And she hadn’t been far off.
“That’s pretty much it,” Pix added, “except for a few luncheons and Amelia’s baby shower—I think she baby sat for you a couple of times when she was in high school.”
“I remember she was very reliable,” Faith said.
“Hard to believe she’s the same age as Samantha and having her second!” Pix sounded wistful. She was the type of woman born to wear a “I Spoil My Grandchildren” tee shirt. Faith wouldn’t be surprised if there were a drawer somewhere in the Miller’s house filled with tiny sweaters and booties knit by Pix, “just to be ready.” Mark Miller, the oldest, was married, but he and his wife did not seem to be in a rush to start a family.
Samantha, the middle Miller, had a long-term beau, Caleb. They were living together in trendy Park Slope, Brooklyn and Sam, an old-fashioned pater familias, had to be restrained from asking Caleb his intentions each time the young couple came to Aleford. Pix was leaning that way herself, she’d told Faith recently, noting that young couples these days were so intent on careers they didn’t hear the clock ticking.
Faith had forgotten that Amelia—who apparently had paid attention to time— was Samantha’s age and quickly changed the subject to what was uppermost in her mind—the Dane job. “Where is Havencrest?” she asked. “I thought I knew all the neighboring towns.”
“It’s not really a town so much as an enclave between Weston and Dover. I don’t think it even has a zip code. I’ve never been there, but Mother has. You can ask her about it. The houses all date to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I believe there’s a gatehouse at the entrance. It’s an early equivalent of the mid century modern planned communities like Moon Hill in Lexington. Havencrest wasn’t a bunch of architects like that one though. Just very rich Boston Brahmin families who wanted privacy and plenty of space. I wonder how Max Dane ended up there? From what Mother has said, the houses don’t change hands, just generations.”
“I think I’ll check my email and see if there’s anything from him yet,” Faith said. “And maybe drop by to see Ursula on my way home.” Stopping to visit with Ursula Lyman Rowe, Pix’s mother, was no chore. The octogenarian was one of Faith’s favorite people. She turned back to the éclairs, which were part of a special order, and added a few more to bring to her friend.
“I know you’ll take the job,” Pix said. “I’m predicting the weekend of a lifetime!”
***
Excerpt from The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page. Copyright © 2017 by William Morrow. Reproduced with permission from William Morrow. All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-three previous Faith Fairchild mysteries. The recipient of Malice Domestic’s Lifetime Achievement Award, she has received Agathas for best first mystery (The Body in the Belfry), best novel (The Body in the Snowdrift), and best short story, (“The Would-Be Widower”). She has also been nominated for the Edgar, the Mary Higgins Clark, the Macavity, and the Maine Literary Award. She lives in Massachusetts and Maine with her husband.



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