Welcome To Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to welcome Terrie Farley Moran here today!
She is touring with Great Escapes Book Tours too.
The tour wraps up tomorrow so you still have time to check out all of the stops!!
Get Cozy on Fort Myers Beach
When I think about escaping to a warm place filled with sunshine to set up a chair and umbrella, Fort Myers Beach, Florida is the first place that comes to mind. Today it is a modern town set primarily on Estero Island which is about seven or eight miles long and probably not much more than a mile wide at its widest point. It sits on the Gulf of Mexico coast of south Florida and is one of the most delightful beach communities in the world. From the northern tip at Bowditch Point Park, to the wonderfully named Lovers Key, the west coast of the island is pure, pristine beach front. And you have to love a town that requires that any lights that may disturb the turtles during Sea Turtle season must be turned off or covered all night from May to October, so as not to discourage the baby turtles from finding their way into the Gulf.
And like every community, Fort Myers Beach has a charming, adventuresome history. According to the http://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/ town website, the history “spans back over 2,000 years when the Calusa Indians constructed shell mounds along the bayside of our island. As the ruling chiefdom in south Florida, the Calusa resisted Spanish colonization including attempts by the conquistador Ponce de León in 1513 and 1521 (during the latter encounter he was mortally wounded by the Calusa). The Calusa met their demise almost 150 years later due to increasing hostilities, disease, and political and economic upheaval.
From the late seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century the political landscape of southwest Florida was dynamic as the territory changed hands between British and Spanish control. Between times of turmoil, Cuban fishermen established small seasonal fishing villages known as Ranchos throughout southwest Florida, including Estero Island. By the mid to late 1700s, active trade was established between the Ranchos, Cuba, and Creek Indians who displaced the remaining Calusa. As Florida eventually became the 27th state in 1845, many of these families stayed and blended with the new American population.”
It is a vibrant history of a stunning locale. On the island, the oldest structure is the Mound House, built on top of a Calusa Shell Mound that is about two thousand years old. A more modern area is the local “Times Square.” Created around a fifteen foot high square clock, Times Square is a great place for ice cream or snacking or a little touristy shopping. Is it any wonder that I decided that Fort Myers Beach lends itself as a setting for fiction?
And since we cozy readers love to have our books around us and snacks available for noshing while we read, what better imaginary place could I decide to put in Fort Myers Beach than the Read ’Em and Eat Café? Picture a light and airy café where book clubs meet. The café tables are all named for writers, and the tops of the tables are laminated over snippets of their work. Can you imagine the fun of sitting at Doctor Seuss, or taking the poetic step back into time when you sit at Emily Dickinson? Hungry? How about a Swiss Family Robinson Cheeseburger? Too much food? You want a snack instead? Try some Miss Marple Scones. And don’t forget to have a glass of sweet tea. Refills are free.
My recently released cozy novel, titled Well Read, Then Dead is set in that very homey café on the main street, Estero Boulevard, of the coziest island imaginable. The café owners are two young women, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield, former Brooklyn girls who have been Besties since elementary school. They combined their fortunes and their futures to operate the Read’Em and Eat. Their book club members are an eclectic group, including a newly retired judge, a shop keeper, a pastor’s wife, a teenager along with her yoga instructor mom and two cousins whose family has been in the islands for generations. Unfortunately the café chef breaks his leg and Bridgy’s Aunt Ophelia, she of the impossibly high heels and cinched waist belts, spins through the café door ready to help. Before she can bake so much as one buttermilk pie, a sweet and much beloved book club member is murdered, and well, the chase is on.
The peace and tranquility of the Read ’Em and Eat is shattered but Sassy and Bridgy are determined to put it back together. Sassy is not above using her friendship with local newspaper reporter Cady Stanton or her antagonistic but flirtatious relationship with Lieutenant Frank Anthony to find out anything she thinks will help identify the killer and restore order to the regulars at the Read ’Em and Eat.
I hope you’ll want to stop by for breakfast, lunch, a snack or a book club meeting. As Aunt Ophie would say, “We’d be delighted to see y’all.”
About This Author
Twice short-listed for Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran’s cozy mystery novel, Well Read, Then Dead is the first book in the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookstore series. You can find Terrie blogging amid the grand banter of New York writers known as the Women of Mystery. www.womenofmystery.net Terrie tells anyone willing to listen that hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren provides life’s grand and joyful moments.
Well Read, Then Dead
(Read Em and Eat Mystery)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Company (August 5, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by S. Micoque
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book File Size: 1499 KB
Nestled in the barrier islands of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Fort Myers Beach is home to Mary “Sassy” Cabot and Bridget Mayfield—owners of the bookstore café, Read ’Em and Eat. But when they’re not dishing about books or serving up scones, Sassy and Bridgy are keeping tabs on hard-boiled murder.
Includes a buttermilk pie recipe!
The Read ‘Em and Eat sounds like a perfect escape if you ask me. Delicious food served at tables named for famous authors with author and book trivia encased in the tabletop. Plus you are surrounded by shelves and shelves of books without all the hustle and bustle of a major chain store. And did I mention the beaches!! This store is on an island south of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. I would get there and never want to leave. It would be an idyllic place to write this blog, but I am getting ahead of myself. This is a location in book…not a real place, but if it was I would be there! The author has brought so much life to this place and these characters I was packing by bags to go visit but I will have to settle for a virtual trip.
Mary Sassafrass (“Sassy”) Cabot and Bridget (Bridgy) Mayfield are fantastic characters. They are partners and best friends and are trying to grow their business with good food and book clubs.
They have quite an eclectic group of regulars including Miss Augusta Maddox and Miss Delia Batson, they are elderly cousins and true Southern ladies and expect everyone to mind their Southern manners. You rarely see one without the other. Then there is Judge Harcroft, he always sits at the Dashiell Hammett table and let’s just say his “Dash” humor is an acquired taste and most times he is the only one tasting. Jocelyn Randall is the pastor’s wife and very maniplutive. I have no idea how the pastor put up with her, he definitely has my sympathy.
Miguel is the cook at the Read ‘Em and Read and comes up with the most wonderful tasty treats like the Swiss Family Robinson Cheeseburger and Robert Frost Apple and Blueberry Tartlets. When Miguel has an unfortunate kitchen accident Bridgy’s Aunt Ophelia shows up to help before they can even call her. “Facebook, my darlin’ girl. I saw your status about Miguel…” She would have arrived sooner but she had to wait for the grocery store to open to get the ingredients for her famous buttermilk pie! She is definitely a force to be reckoned with but Bridgy and Sassy know they need her so they will adjust.
Miguel is not the only one out of commission. Miss Delia missed her ride to the shop with Miss Augusta and Sassy knew something was wrong. Soon after Miss Augusta arrived Sassy got word that Miss Delia was found dead in her home and that she was murdered. Breaking the news to Miss Augusta was hard but when she asked Sassy to track down the person responsible Sassy had no choice but to say yes. She knows the sheriff’s office won’t be happy, especially a certain new lieutenant, that she is doing a bit of investigating herself but she can’t let Miss Augusta down.
I absolutely loved this story. Friendship was the basic theme throughout the story and not just the friendship between Sassy and Bridgy. Delia and Augusta had been friends forever and they had such a rich history. It is going to be hard for Miss Augusta going on without her cousin but she is part of the Read ‘Em and Read family so I know she will have people looking after her.
Well Read, Then Dead is an excellent start to the Read Em and Eat Mystery Series. Fabulous characters, awesome setting and a fantastic whodunit. I can’t wait to see what the author serves up next on Sassy and Bridgy’s menu!!
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
PLUS – Terrie is giving away these beautiful bookie pair of earrings!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”