Posted in Giveaways Thoughts

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book is 11! – – – Let’s Party – Blogoversary Giveaway – Day 5 – 11 YEARS —11 BOOKS + JOURNAL #GIVEAWAY @KensingtonBooks

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book is 11! – – – Let’s Party – Blogoversary Giveaway – Day 4
– 11 YEARS —11 BOOKS + JOURNAL #GIVEAWAY – 
1 WINNER

From Kensington




Murder in the Lincoln White House (Lincoln’s White House Mysteries)
by C. M. Gleason

A historical mystery from a New York Times–bestselling author that “[evokes] the period with convincing detail” (Publishers Weekly).

It is March 4, 1861, the day of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, and the president-elect’s trusted entourage is on their guard. Allan Pinkerton, head of security, is wary of potential assassins. And Lincoln’s oldest friend, Joshua Speed, is by his side, along with Speed’s nephew, Adam Quinn—called back from the Kansas frontier to serve as the president’s assistant and jack-of-all-trades.

Despite the tight security, trouble comes nonetheless. A man is found stabbed to death in a nearby room, only yards from the president. Not wishing to cause alarm, Lincoln dispatches young Quinn to discreetly investigate. Though he is new to Washington, DC, he must navigate through high society, political personages, and a city preparing for war in order to solve the crime. Quinn finds unexpected allies in a determined female journalist named Sophie Gates, and Dr. Hilton, a free man of color. Together they must make haste to apprehend a killer. Nothing less than the fate of the nation is at stake.

Murder in the Oval Library (Lincoln’s White House Mysteries)
by C. M. Gleason

In 1861, rebel troops are within striking distance of the president—but a murderer is even closer: “An excellent mystery . . . Brilliant historical detail” (Kirkus Reviews).

As the Civil War begins, an invasion of Washington, DC, seems imminent. Lincoln’s trusted aide, Adam Speed Quinn, and Quinn’s old friend, Sen. Jim Lane, hastily assemble a motley crew of just over a hundred men and garrison them in the East Room of the White House. But even as dawn breaks, a single act of violence intrudes. One of the Frontier Guard lies dead in the oval library, throat slit ear to ear. A murderer is among them.

Lincoln promptly assigns Quinn to deal with the matter, and he in turn is aided by journalist Sophie Gates and Dr. George Hilton. And to Quinn’s chagrin, the Southern belle Constance Lemagne insists on being involved in the investigation as well. But when Dr. Hilton examines the body, he makes a startling discovery that overturns all Quinn’s assumptions about the murder. With his president at grave risk from without and within, Quinn must act quickly to catch the White House killer in this historical mystery from a New York Times–bestselling author whose work has been praised as “delightfully entertaining” (Chicago Tribune).

Murder Flies the Coop (A Beryl and Edwina Mystery)
by Jessica Ellicott

One would hardly call them birds of a feather, but thrill-seeking American adventuress Beryl Helliwell and quietly reserved Brit Edwina Davenport do one thing very well together—solve murders . . .

Sharing lodging in the sleepy English village of Walmsley Parva has eased some of the financial strain on the two old school chums, but money is still tight in these lean years following the Great War. So when the local vicar—and pigeon-racing club president—approaches them with a private inquiry opportunity, the ladies eagerly accept. There’s been a spot of bother: the treasurer has absconded with the club’s funds and several prized birds.

Beryl and Edwina hope to flush out the missing man by checking his boardinghouse and place of employment at the coal mine. But when they visit the man’s loft, they find their elusive quarry lying in white feathers and a pool of crimson blood—the only witnesses cooing mournfully. Beryl and Edwina aren’t shy about ruffling a few feathers as they home in on their suspects, but they had better find the killer fast, before their sleuthing career is cut short . . .

Murder in an Irish Pub (An Irish Village Mystery)
by Carlene O’Connor

When competing card sharps stir up Siobhán O’Sullivan’s quiet Irish village, a poker tournament turns into a game of Hangman . . .

In the small village of Kilbane in County Cork, for a cuppa tea or a slice of brown bread, you go to Naomi’s Bistro, managed by the many siblings of the lively O’Sullivan brood. For a pint or a game of darts—or for the poker tournament that’s just come to town—it’s the pub you want.

One player’s reputation precedes him: Eamon Foley, a tinker out of Dublin, called the Octopus for playing like he has eight hands under the table. But when Foley is found at the end of a rope, swinging from the rafters of Rory Mack’s pub, it’s time for the garda to take matters into their own hands. Macdara Flannery would lay odds it’s a simple suicide—after all, there’s a note and the room was locked. But Siobhán suspects foul play, as does Foley’s very pregnant widow. Perhaps one of Foley’s fellow finalists just raised the stakes to life and death.

With conflicting theories on the crime—not to mention the possibility of a proposal—tensions are running high between Siobhán and Macdara. Soon it’s up to Siobhán to call a killer’s bluff, but if she doesn’t play her cards right, she may be the next one taken out of the game . . .

Bite Club (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
by Laurien Berenson

Melanie Travis’s new book club caters to readers craving fiction—with bite! But when a real-life murder case bares its fangs, she’ll need to swap dog-eared novels for a lengthy suspect list . . .

Thanks to Aunt Peg and her enthusiastic pedigree dog show pals, Melanie’s aptly named Bite Club reading group has book lovers all over town burying their noses in thrilling murder mysteries. But another pet project surfaces when Melanie reluctantly agrees to train a Bulldog puppy for elusive member Evan Major. Between the unusual bruise on his face and a bizarre run-in with an unknown dog show attendee, introverted Evan can’t dodge trouble. It even sends him to an early grave—while landing Melanie in the hot seat for homicide . . .

Caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, Melanie delves into the victim’s shady past to prove her innocence. As she uncovers a juicy scandal that cost Evan his marriage and, possibly, his life, Melanie realizes that booking the real culprit comes down to gathering her pack of suspects together at the next Bite Club meeting. What she doesn’t know is Aunt Peg has been hiding some explosive secrets of her own—secrets that, once unleashed, could pit Melanie against an unpredictable killer bent on bringing this story to an abrupt end . . .

The Gold Pawn (An Art Deco Mystery)
by L.A. Chandlar

November 1936. Mayor La Guardia’s political future buckles under a missing persons case in New York City. Simultaneously, Lane unravels devastating secrets in the outskirts of Detroit. As two crimes converge, judging friends from enemies can be a dangerous game . . .

Finally summoning the courage to face the past, Lane Sanders breaks away from her busy job at City Hall to confront childhood nightmares in Rochester, Michigan. An unknown assailant left Lane with scattered memories after viciously murdering her parents. However, one memory of a dazzling solid gold pawn piece remains—and with it lies a startling connection between the midwestern tragedy and a current mystery haunting the Big Apple . . .

Meanwhile, fears climb in Manhattan after the disappearance of a respected banker and family friend threatens the crippled financial industry and the pristine reputation of Lane’s virtuous boss, Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia. Fio’s fight to restore order leads him into more trouble as he meets a familiar foe intent on ending his mayoral term—and his life . . .

Guided by overseas telegrams from the man she loves and painful memories, only Lane can silence old ghosts and derail present-day schemes. But when the investigation awakens a darker side of her own nature, will she and New York City’s most prominent movers and shakers still forge ahead into a prosperous new age . . . or is history doomed to repeat itself?

The Pearl Dagger (An Art Deco Mystery)
by L.A. Chandlar

As the Great Depression loosens its grip on New York City, Mayor La Guardia and his team meet their greatest foe in the fight against organized crime …

Lane Sanders and her fiery boss, Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia have managed to contain the explosive underground conspiracies of New York’s most sinister schemers. But after a seemingly harmless pinball racket claims the life of a trusted ally, a new ringleader signals the rebirth of an all-too-familiar crime network at home and across the pond …

Spurred on by the possibility of a violent syndicate spreading like wildfire through Europe, Lane sets sail for London—the city where her parents began the undercover work that led to their tragic undoing. And this time, she won’t chase down childhood nightmares without Finn Brodie, who vows to dispel his own difficult secrets abroad …

While Finn confronts a devious sibling’s plot that echoes Orson Welles’s Voodoo Macbeth, Lane discovers that a dazzling pearl dagger may wield the ultimate clue to guide their hunt for justice on two sides of the ocean. With terrors from the past and present converging, Lane can’t save herself unless she starts believing that, like her weapon of choice, she also has the power to be both beautiful and dangerous.

A Tale of Two Murders (A Dickens of a Crime)
by Heather Redmond

On the eve of the Victorian era, London has a new sleuth . . .

In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist on the rise at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at the estate of the newspaper’s co-editor, Charles is smitten with his boss’s daughter, vivacious nineteen-year-old Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the pleasant evening. Charles, Kate, and her father rush to the neighbors’ home, where Miss Christiana Lugoson lies unconscious on the floor. By morning, the poor young woman will be dead.

When Charles hears from a colleague of a very similar mysterious death a year ago to the date, also a young woman, he begins to suspect poisoning and feels compelled to investigate. The lovely Kate offers to help—using her social position to gain access to the members of the upper crust, now suspects in a murder. If Charles can find justice for the victims, it will be a far, far better thing than he has ever done. But with a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times . . .

Final Exam (A Witch City Mystery)
by Carol J. Perry

A cold case update in Salem, Massachusetts . . .

Life at the house on Winter Street is abuzz with preparations for Aunt Ibby’s 45th high school reunion, and Lee Barrett is happy to pitch in, tracking down addresses and licking envelopes. But as a field reporter for Salem’s WICH-TV, her priority is to be on top of the town’s latest news before anyone else.

When the local police dredge up a vintage sports car containing human remains, Lee is thrilled to be the first reporter on the scene. Once she learns the car is connected to the cold case her boyfriend Pete happens to be working on, her powers of investigation are quickly alerted. But it’s her Aunt Ibby’s emotional reaction to Lee’s TV report that puts her on the case. With the help of O’Ryan, her psychic feline sidekick, she’ll have to unravel a tangled past of secrets and promises to stop a killer from making history again . . .

‘Tis the Season Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery)
by Leslie Meier

Christmas has come to Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and sleuthing skills are at the top of Lucy’s Stone’s wish list in these two beloved mysteries—now collected in one festive volume for the very first time! . . .

NEW YEAR’S EVE MURDER

After the annual parade of Christmas presents in Tinker’s Cove has ended, Lucy Stone and her daughter are ready to ring in the new year in style. Elizabeth has won mother/daughter winter makeovers in Manhattan from Jolie magazine! But the all-expenses-paid trip is bound to have some hidden costs—and one of them is murder. Soon it will be up to Lucy to dress down a killer before the ball drops in Times Square . . .

CHRISTMAS CAROL MURDER

Lucy Stone is excited about acting in the town’s production of A Christmas Carol. But a real-life Scrooge has everyone feeling frosty. While Tinker’s Cove has fallen on hard times, Downeast Mortgage owners Jake Marlowe and Ben Scribner are raking in profits from misfortune. So when Marlowe is murdered, the suspects are many. But Scribner claims Marlowe’s ghost has come to warn him of his own impending demise—and he’s soon receiving death threats. Now Lucy will have to solve the case faster than she can say “Bah! Humbug!”. . .

 

From Escape With Dollycas

Séances Are for Suckers (An Eleanor Wilde Mystery)(ARC)
by Tamara Berry

When something goes bump in the night . . . it’s most likely a plumbing problem. But fake medium Eleanor Wilde is happy to investigate and cleanse your home of spectral presences—for a fee. Hey, it’s a living . . .

Ellie has an ailing sister to care for and working as a ghost hunter who doesn’t believe in ghosts helps cover the bills. When she’s lucky, it also pays for the occasional tropical vacation. On her latest job, though, she may be in for some genuine scares.

The skeptical, reserved, and very rich Nicholas Hartford III has flown her all the way to his family’s ancestral estate in England—supposedly haunted by a phantom named Xavier. Nicholas thinks it’s all just as much a crock as Ellie’s business is, but his mother is sure that Xavier is real, and he’s willing to employ Ellie if she can put a stop to the nonsense. But when an actual dead body appears—and subsequently disappears—at Castle Hartford, she’ll have to apply her talent for trickery and psychological insight to solve a flesh-and-blood murder.

I Just Really Like Giraffes, OK: Giraffe Notebooks And Journals Giraffe Gifts – Blank Lined Journal Notebook Planner
by Eve Emelia

This is a perfect blank, lined journal for men, women, and children. Great for taking down notes, reminders, and crafting to-do lists. Also a great creativity gift for decoration or for a notebook for school or office!

Your new journal includes
Beautiful matte-finished cover
Fresh white paper
108 pages
6×9 inch format

This giveaway is sponsored by Kensington Books
and Escape With Dollycas!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
See Follow Me Links Up in the Sidebar.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you SHARE the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 10, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Giveaways

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book is 11! – – – Let’s Party – Blogoversary Giveaway – Day 4 – Historical Mysteries #Giveaway

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book is 11! – – – Let’s Party

Clearing one of my shelves today.
This giveaway is a mix of hardcovers and trade paperbacks.
All books will be award to 1 winner.

Historical Mysteries


Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong (A Victorian Mystery Book 35)
by Emily BrightwellMrs. Jeffries is back in the New York Times bestselling Victorian Mystery series, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey.Thomas Mundy checks in to London’s Wrexley Hotel, but he never checks out. The maid finds him on the floor of his room, bludgeoned to death by his own walking stick. Inspector Witherspoon is soon on the case and learns Mundy had a reputation for being polite, charming, and diligent—an unlikely victim for such a violent crime.But Mrs. Jeffries and the household staff uncover that Mundy was less an amiable businessman and more a duplicitous con man with enemies on both sides of the Atlantic. Now Witherspoon and his staff must determine who on their lengthy list of suspects had the motive to put Mundy in the red.

A Mrs. Jeffries Mystery

She keeps house for Inspector Witherspoon . . . and keeps him on his toes. Everyone’s awed by his Scotland Yard successes—but they don’t know about his secret weapon. No matter how messy the murder or how dirty the deed, Mrs. Jeffries’ polished detection skills are up to the task . . . proving that behind every great man there’s a woman—and that a crimesolver’s work is never done.

Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women (A Victorian Mystery Book 36)
by Emily Brightwell

Mrs. Jeffries returns for the holidays in the latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling Victorian series.

Christopher Gilhaney isn’t a popular man, and he proves why once again when he insults every guest at Abigail Chase’s Guy Fawkes Night dinner party. When Gilhaney is shot dead under the cover of the night’s fireworks, his murder is deemed a robbery gone wrong. But when the case hasn’t been solved six weeks later, Inspector Witherspoon is called upon to find the killer—and quickly!

With Christmas almost here, Inspector Witherspoon and everyone in his household is upset at the possibility of having to cancel their holiday plans—all to solve a case that seems impossible. Only Luty Belle, Ruth, and Mrs. Goodge refuse to give up and let the crime become a cold case. In fact, the American heiress, the charming next-door neighbor, and the formidable cook use all of their persuasive powers to get the others on board, because these three wise women know justice doesn’t take time off for Christmas.

Mrs. Jeffries Delivers the Goods (A Victorian Mystery Book 37)
by Emily Brightwell

When poison fells an arrogant and rude businessman in public, Mrs. Jeffries and Inspector Witherspoon both realize they are looking for a deranged maniac in this all new installment in the beloved Victorian Mystery series

On a cold night in February, the popular Lighterman’s ball festivities are cut short when a guest of honor, Stephen Bremmer, goes into spasms and abruptly collapses. Once again Inspector Witherspoon returns to the Wrexley Hotel to investigate a murder.

The victim was considered a boorish snob who felt entitled to anything and anyone he wanted. Yet despite his Oxford education, he was barely literate, lazy, and prone to make stupid mistakes – his last mistake turned out to be crossing a killer.

The owners and management of the Wrexley Hotel clearly don’t welcome the return of Inspector Witherspoon but he has his job to do, and Mrs. Jeffries, and the rest of the household must do their best to catch a murderer who shows no signs of slowing down…

Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel (A Victorian Mystery Book 38)
by Emily Brightwell

When a wealthy widow is murdered, Mrs. Jeffries investigates what happens when money can’t buy your life in this all-new installment in the beloved Victorian Mystery series.

Margaret Starling wasn’t the sort of woman anyone expected to be murdered. She was on the advisory board of the London Angel Alms Society, she was an active member of St. Peter’s Church, and, best of all, she was always willing to lend a hand to a friend or a neighbor in need of advice. She was also a wealthy upper-class widow. But money alone won’t protect you when someone decides it’s high time you met your maker.

Margaret’s next-door neighbor considered her an odious busybody, the Reverend Reginald Pontefract wished she’d never set foot in St. Peter’s, and half the advisory board of the London Angel Alms Society heartily hoped she’d come down with pneumonia before the next quarterly meeting.

All in all, Margaret wasn’t as well regarded as she’d always thought she was. But Mrs. Jeffries and Inspector Witherspoon know that justice isn’t a popularity contest, and they won’t rest until they sift through the suspects to catch a sinister scrooge.

A Merry Murder (A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery
by Kate Kingsbury

It is an Edwardian Christmas, and the Pennyfoot Hotel is all dressed up. But when one of the guests turns up dead, owner Cecily Sinclair Baxter realizes it is not only the Pennyfoot that is back in business—the hotel’s Christmas curse is, too…

The Pennyfoot halls are decked with boughs of holly, a magnificently decorated tree graces the lobby, and the hotel’s bookings are finally looking up. Owner of the Pennyfoot, Cecily Sinclair Baxter is in high holiday spirits until disaster strikes, threatening to ruin yet another Yuletide. Her chief housemaid Gertie McBride has found a man’s body in the hotel laundry room—with a woman’s scarf wrapped around his neck and a note in his pocket from the hotel’s new maid.

Cecily is determined to track down the culprit, but with multiple suspects icing her out of crucial clues, she realizes this killer may be more slippery than most. With Christmas right around the corner, it is up to Cecily to prevent this holiday season at the Pennyfoot from turning out more fatal than festive.

A Brush with Shadows (A Lady Darby Mystery)
by Anna Lee Huber

Sebastian Gage returns home to battle the ghosts of his past and prevent them from destroying his future with Kiera in the latest exciting installment in this national bestselling series.

July 1831. It’s been fifteen years since Sebastian Gage has set foot in Langstone Manor. Though he has shared little with his wife, Lady Kiera Darby, about his past, she knows that he planned never to return to the place of so many unhappy childhood memories. But when an urgent letter from his grandfather reaches them in Dublin, Ireland, and begs Gage to visit, Kiera convinces him to go.

All is not well at Langstone Manor. Gage’s grandfather, the Viscount Tavistock, is gravely ill, and Gage’s cousin Alfred has suddenly vanished. He wandered out into the moors and never returned. The Viscount is convinced someone or something other than the natural hazards of the moors is to blame for Alfred’s disappearance. And when Alfred’s brother Rory goes missing, Kiera and Gage must concede he may be right. Now, they must face the ghosts of Gage’s past, discover the truth behind the local superstitions, and see beyond the tricks being played by their very own eyes to expose what has happened to Gage’s family before the moors claim yet another victim…

Murder on Trinity Place (A Gaslight Mystery)
by Victoria Thompson

The devil’s in the details when a man is found murdered near Trinity Church in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight Mystery series…

The year of 1899 is drawing to a close. Frank and Sarah Malloy are getting ready to celebrate the New Year at Trinity Church when they notice Mr. Pritchard, a relative of their neighbor’s, behaving oddly and annoying the other revelers. Frank tries to convince Pritchard to return home with them, but the man refuses and Frank loses him in the crowd. The next morning Sarah and Frank are horrified to learn Pritchard was murdered sometime in the night, his body left on Trinity Place, the side street near the church.

The police aren’t too interested in the murder, and the family are concerned that the circumstances of the death will reflect badly on Pritchard’s reputation. To protect the family from scandal, Nelson asks Frank to investigate. Frank and Sarah delve into Pritchard’s past and realize there may have been a deadly side to the dawning of the new century.

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs (A Royal Spyness Mystery)
by Rhys Bowen

Georgie and Darcy are finally on their honeymoon in Kenya’s Happy Valley, but murder crashes the party in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

I was so excited when Darcy announced out of the blue that we were flying to Kenya for our extended honeymoon. Now that we are here, I suspect he has actually been sent to fulfill another secret mission. I am trying very hard not to pick a fight about it, because after all, we are in paradise! Darcy finally confides that there have been robberies in London and Paris. It seems the thief was a member of the aristocracy and may have fled to Kenya. Since we are staying in the Happy Valley—the center of upper-class English life—we are well positioned to hunt for clues and ferret out possible suspects.

Now that I am a sophisticated married woman, I am doing my best to sound like one. But crikey! These aristocrats are a thoroughly loathsome sort enjoying a completely decadent lifestyle filled with wild parties and rampant infidelity. And one of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, has the nerve to make a play for me. While I am on my honeymoon! Of course, I put an end to that right off.

When he is found bloodied and lifeless along a lonely stretch of road, it appears he fell victim to a lion. But it seems that the Happy Valley community wants to close the case a bit too quickly. Darcy and I soon discover that there is much more than a simple robbery and an animal attack to contend with here in Kenya. Nearly everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead and some will go to great lengths to silence anyone who asks too many questions. The hunt is on! I just hope I can survive my honeymoon long enough to catch a killer. . . .

This giveaway is sponsored by Escape With Dollycas!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
See Follow Me Links Up in the Sidebar.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Berkley Mystery on Twitter for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you SHARE the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 9, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

#SpecialGuest – P.A. De Voe – Author of No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery – Great Escapes Book Tour @PamelaADeVoe

No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery
by P.A. De Voe

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

I am pleased to welcome P.A. De Voe to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Hi P.A.,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an anthropologist and Asian specialist. I write contemporary cozy mysteries, as well as historical mysteries and crime stories immersed in the life and times of Imperial China. I am a Silver Falchion award winner and an Agatha and Silver Falchion award finalist. I am a member of Sisters in Crime National and Guppy Chapter, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Saturday Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and Mystery Writers of America/MWA Midwest.

I live in the Midwest with my husband and a feral cat that came in from the cold. Although I spend most of my time writing, I also enjoy spinning yarn, knitting, and making bears from vintage furs.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. That I spin my own wool, alpaca, and angora yarn on a beautiful wheel made just for me.
  2. That I make bears from vintage furs I find in antique shops. I only use vintage furs that are torn and not readily wearable anymore.
  3. That I love to bake, especially to make breads from heritage grains, whole wheat and rye flours.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Nancy Drew. My Dad bought a book for me when I was home sick. I also read the Cherry Aims books.

What are you reading now?

I’m rereading Tony Hillerman’s books.

What books have most inspired you?

It’s hard for me to say what books have most inspired me, however, I do remember the impact Ernest Hemingway’s style of writing had on me. He used a clean, simple style to tell wonderful stories.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I like reading mysteries. For a long time, however, I didn’t think I could actually write a mystery. Eventually, I decided to give it a try and find it a constant challenge, which I enjoy.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I have an office in my home. I am surrounded by my books. It’s a happy place.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

My Chinese historical fiction comes from reading court cases from Imperial China. I also read broadly covering a wide range of topics, such as letter writing, popular fiction, medicine, law… All of this helps fill in information on how people lived at that time.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

For me, doing research for a story easily is the most fun. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult for me to put my books aside and start writing an outline for the next novel or short story.

What do you think makes a good story?

First, a story has to be entertaining. Second, the readers have to be able to relate to the characters at some visceral level.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

None, really. Quite frankly, I’m not interesting enough to carry a whole story. Plus, I am too American to be anything like my Chinese characters. J

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

No Way to Die is an amateur sleuth/cozy mystery set in a different time and place from most cozies. Rather than a contemporary setting, No Way to Die’s story takes place in the 14th century. And, whereas most cozy mysteries take place in the US or England, No Way to Die’s story is set in Southern China.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I am currently putting together a collection of my Judge Lu short stories. At this time, they are spread out over various anthologies and an e-magazine. I hope to have the collection out within the next several weeks.

I am also working on the third novel in the Ming Dynasty Mystery series. This novel will come out next year.

 

About No Way To Die  


No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Drum Tower Press, LLC (April 18, 2019)
Paperback: 210 pages
ISBN-10: 1942667116
ISBN-13: 978-1942667117
Digital ASIN: B07PWJ715D

Through mystery and intrigue, No Way To Die transports the reader into the complex and engaging world of early Ming China.

When a peddler finds a partially mutilated body of a stranger, the unlikely duo of a young scholar and a local women’s doctor once more join forces to discover who killed him and why. In probing the highly gendered world of early Ming China, unanticipated questions surface, complicating their investigation.

As their case rapidly transitions into the unexpected, they find all roads leading away from the victim, forcing them to consider alternate routes. Was the death the result of inexorable bad karma and beyond their purview, or merely the result of mortal foul play? Was the murdered man the intended victim? If not, who was and why? The investigation leads to a growing list of potential suspects: a lustful herbalist, an unscrupulous neighbor, a vengeful farmer, a jealous husband, a scorned wife, and a band of thieves. Who is innocent and who is the culprit? To solve the murder and bring peace to the victim’s spirit, the duo must untangle the truth and do it before the murderer strikes again.

Praise for No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery
by P.A. De Voe

If you love Historical Cozy mysteries and the Judge Dee stories then this is the series for you!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

I loved the mystery and was able to follow the clues, though there are certainly quite a few red herrings thrown in to throw us off! The historical accuracy in No Way to Die enthralled me . . .
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

More About P.A. De Voe

 

P.A. De Voe is an anthropologist with a PhD in Asian studies and a specialty in China. She has authored several stories featuring the early Ming Dynasty: The Mei-hua Trilogy: Hidden, Warned, and Trapped; the A Ming Dynasty Mystery series with Deadly Relations and No Way to Die; Lotus Shoes, a Mei-hua short story; and a collection of short stories: Judge Lu’s Case Files, stories of Crime & Mystery in Imperial China. Warned won a Silver Falchion Award for Best International Mystery; Trapped was a finalist for an Agatha Award and for a Silver Falchion Award. Her short story, The Immortality Mushroom, (a Judge Lu story) was in the Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks edited by Art Taylor.

Author Links – Website  – FacebookTwitterGoodReads

Purchase Link – Amazon

Find more by this author here.
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Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Fatal Fondness (Mary MacDougall Mysteries) by Richard Audry #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

A Fatal Fondness (Mary MacDougall Mysteries)
by Richard Audry

 

About A Fatal Fondness

A Fatal Fondness (Mary MacDougall Mysteries)
Historical Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Conger Road Press (November 15, 2019)
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN-10: 0985019697
ISBN-13: 978-0985019693

Digital ASIN: B08158Y78D

It’s September 1902, and Mary MacDougall has fulfilled her greatest dream—opening her own detective agency. But this achievement doesn’t come without complication.

Mary’s father insists that an older cousin come to work with her—as both secretary and minder. Jeanette Harrison pledges to keep the plucky sleuth away from danger, as well as from her unsuitable suitor Edmond Roy. This arrangement, embarrassingly, makes Mary the only detective in the state with a chaperone.

The new agency’s first cases hardly seem to portend danger or significance. There’s the affair of the nicked napkin rings…the problem of the purloined pocket watch…and the matter of the four filched felines.

Mary and Jeanette have not the slightest notion that one of these modest little jobs will blow up into the most consequential and perilous case of the heiress-sleuth’s budding career. What begins in triviality mushrooms into disappearance, betrayal, international intrigue, and murder. As she learns more and more, Mary’s prospects for making the acquaintance of an assassin’s blade improve exponentially.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Mary MacDougall is back and she is now opening up her very own detective agency. Her new independence comes with a condition from her father, her older cousin, Jeanette Harrison will be employed as her secretary with the true job of keeping Mary out of trouble. She has also been tasked with keeping Mary away Edmond Roy, a man she has become close to even though her father finds him unsuitable for his daughter. Jeanette’s job is not going to be easy. Mary is a headstrong woman who does what she wants, even sticking her nose in a case a local detective has instructed her to stay away from.

Surprisingly the agency quickly has four cases. Some stolen napkin rings, four catnapped felines, a missing pocket watch, and a con man trying to fleece a talented young woman. But that isn’t enough for Mary. She learns of a drowning while handling the napkin ring case and as the body is identified she finds there may be a connection to one of her other cases. Mary realizes this is the case the detective warned her about, a case she now realizes has international ramifications. A case that could lead to her death if she doesn’t back off.

____

Mary MacDougal is a strong protagonist. At times, she is wise beyond her 19 years, others she acts like the young heiress she is without the sense to be fully aware of the danger. I really enjoyed Jeanette and her love of her Remington typewriter. She does her best to stand up to Mary but can’t totally reel her in. They are very entertaining as they sort out the details of this new business.

We catch up with Aunt Tena from afar and she has some fun news that sends Mary’s father into a tizzy that has him traveling to meet with her. Edmond Roy also returns with some big ideas of his own. The characters are all richly written and are easily envisioned.

The story this time starts slowly and builds to a very intriguing mystery. Mary has good instincts but she continues to put herself in risky situations. I really enjoyed following both her sleuthing process and her travels around town following every clue.  The ending was exciting but heartbreaking too.

Reading A Fatal Fondness was a delightful way to spend a couple of evenings. The first two books in this series are novella length, A Daughter’s Doubt was longer at 204 pages, this one comes in at 268 pages and I feel the longer length gives space for more details and character development. I have enjoyed the entire series but this one is my favorite. I am already looking forward to the next installment to see what Mary MacDougall gets herself entangled in next.

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You can read my reviews of A Pretty Little Plot and The Stolen Star here.

You can read my review of A Daughter’s Doubt here

About Richard Audry

Richard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. He is the author of the Mary MacDougall historical mysteries (four titles) and the King Harald canine cozy series (three titles). Under his own name, he has written the Johnny Graphic ghost adventure trilogy, the Marta Hjelm hardboiled mystery Smoking Ruin, and two books on some of his favorite authors: Travis McGee & Me and Four Science Fiction Masters.

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Purchase Links – Amazon

Also by Richard Audry

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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.”

Posted in Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Penny for Your Secrets (A Verity Kent Mystery) by Anna Lee Huber #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


Penny for Your Secrets (A Verity Kent Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – England
Publisher: Kensington (October 29, 2019)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713192
ISBN-13: 978-1496713193
Kindle ASIN: B07NCN3L74

England, 1919. In Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery, former Secret Service agent Verity Kent is finding that life after wartime offers its own share of danger . . .

The Great War may be over, but for many, there are still obstacles on the home front. Reconciling with her estranged husband makes Verity sympathetic to her friend Ada’s marital difficulties. Bourgeois-bred Ada, recently married to the Marquess of Rockham, is overwhelmed trying to navigate the ways of the aristocracy. And when Lord Rockham is discovered shot through the heart with a bullet from Ada’s revolver, Verity fears her friend has made a fatal blunder.

While striving to prove Ada’s innocence, Verity is called upon for another favor. The sister of a former Secret Service colleague has been killed in what authorities believe was a home invasion gone wrong. The victim’s war work—censoring letters sent by soldiers from the front—exposed her to sensitive, disturbing material. Verity begins to suspect these two unlikely cases may be linked. But as the connections deepen, the consequences—not just for Verity, but for Britain—grow more menacing than she could have imagined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Verity Kent and husband Sidney attend a party at the home of the Marquess of Rockham. There is clearly tension between Lord Rockham and his wife, Ada but when she pulls out a gun at the dinner table and makes a joke about killing her husband Verity knows there could be trouble ahead. When she receives a frantic call from Ada saying the Lord was dead, Verity fears her friend followed through on her statement.

Verity is also called on by a woman she met working with the Secret Service to investigate the death of her sister. Verity can’t say no, but as both investigations continue she sees her two cases may be connected and may have more deadly consequences.

___

What I really enjoy about this series in the depth of the characters. The war had profound effects on everyone, but we get a personal look at Verity and Sidney as they try to deal with his return and the PTSD and guilt he is fighting while dealing with the Verity’s independence has gained while he was gone. The struggle is real and told in a very believable way. They are surrounded by a cast of characters all dealing with issues of their own and again Ms. Huber gives them depth and their circumstances real.

I found both mysteries to be very interesting. I was more drawn to the Marquess of Rockham’s murder. It was a different time and marriages were made for stature and wealth instead of love.  Ada really had trouble adjusting to the aristocratic ways and clearly isn’t happy. I didn’t condone her behavior but understood part of where she was coming from. Verity has to see something in this woman and I was trying to find some redeeming qualities.

The other death drew Verity back to her Secret Service sources. The victim had a tough job during the war which opened the case which was first classified as a bungled home invasion to so much more. Verity was pulled in several directions and I enjoyed following alongside her as she did her best to find answers, even putting herself in the line of fire.

Anna Lee Huber has a very detailed writing style. You know she has well researched this time in history and does a great job fictionalizing the time period and giving readers a story filled with imagery to bring the story alive. People and places were easy to see in my mind’s eye.

Each book in this series can be read on its own but I recommend reading them in order to really get to know Verity Kent.

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You can read my review for This Side of Murder here and Treacherous Is the Night here.

About the Author

Anna Lee Huber is the author of the historical mystery series. She received the Daphne du Maurier Award for her national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries. She is a summa cum laude graduate from Lipscomb University in Nashville. To find out more about Anna Lee Huber visit her website here.

Also by this Author


GIVEAWAY

I am giving away my review copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Contest Will End November 26, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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.”

Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

City of Scoundrels (A Counterfeit Lady Novel) by Victoria Thompson #Spotlight / #Giveaway @gaslightvt @BerkleyMystery


I am happy to shine my spotlight on City of Scoundrels today!


City of Scoundrels (A Counterfeit Lady Novel)
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Berkley (November 5, 2019)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1984805657
ISBN-13: 978-1984805652
Kindle ASIN: B07NKN3Q3L

An exciting new book in the series featuring Elizabeth Miles, con woman turned Lady, from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.

Elizabeth Miles finds herself in a position no con can help her escape. Her beloved fiancé, Gideon Bates, is awaiting his turn in the draft to fight in the Great War. Elizabeth is finding it hard to think of anything else, but Gideon has thrown himself into his work, preparing wills for soldiers before they ship out. Corporal Tom Preston is part owner of Preston Shoes, a company that is making footwear for the army, so he has a rather large estate. He needs a new will, however, because he has just been secretly married to a woman whom his family would never approve. He wants to make sure she and their unborn child are provided for if he does not return.

When Tom is later reported killed, Elizabeth and Gideon learn that the new will has gone missing after Tom’s bride revealed her identity to his family. Unless the new will is found and validated, the original will, which leaves everything to Tom’s brother, will prevail and the wife and child will get nothing. If Tom’s new bride survives, that is. Some terrible threats have been leveled against her, and Elizabeth and Gideon must figure out a way, legal or not quite, to secure Tom’s fortune for his wife and child while saving her life in the process.

About Victoria Thompson
You can find Victoria at www.victoriathompson.com. Follow her on Facebook at Victoria Thompson. Author or on Twitter @gaslightvt.

Edgar® and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. She also contributed to the award-winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Indiana with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.


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I am giving my hardcover copy away!
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Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Dollycas
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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

Tell Me No Lies: A Lady Dunbridge Novel by Shelley Noble #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Tell Me No Lies: A Lady Dunbridge Novel
by Shelley Noble


I am thrilled to kick this tour off today!!

About Tell Me No Lies


Tell Me No Lies: A Lady Dunbridge Novel
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Forge Books (November 5, 2019)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0765398745
ISBN-13: 978-0765398741
Kindle ASIN: B07LF6FR2L

Miss Fisher meets Downton Abbey in Tell Me No Lies, part of the critically acclaimed Lady Dunbridge Mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble.

Rise and shine, Countess, you’re about to have a visitor.

Lady Dunbridge was not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s come to New York City, ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm. The social events of the summer have been amusing but Lady Phil is searching for more excitement—and she finds it, when an early morning visitor arrives, begging for her help. After all, Lady Phil has been known to be useful in a crisis. Especially when the crisis involves the untimely death of a handsome young business tycoon.

His death could send another financial panic through Wall Street and beyond.

With the elegant Plaza Hotel, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the opulent mansions of Long Island’s Gold Coast as the backdrop, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

About Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction. (Beach Colors, Whisper Beach, Lighthouse Beach.) And the author of the Lady Dunbridge Gilded Age  Manhattan mysteries. Tell Me No Lies is the latest of the series.

She has written eighteen amateur sleuth and historical mystery novels and novellas as Shelley Freydont. (The Sudoku Murders,  Celebration Bay mysteries, The Gilded Age Newport mysteries.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to discover new beaches and indulge her passion for lighthouses, vintage carousels, and the past.

Author Links – Website –  Facebook  –  Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

Also by Shelley Noble

Written as Shelley Freydont

Find more books by Shelley Freydont Here.

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Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders (A Woman of WWII Mystery) by Tessa Arlen #Spotlight / #Giveaway

I am pleased to shine the spotlight on Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders today.
This book will be released on Tuesday!


Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders (A Woman of WWII Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (November 5, 2019)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1984805800
ISBN-13: 978-1984805805
Kindle ASIN: B07NKNHR62

Charming and feisty Poppy Redfern stumbles into murder in this exciting new World War II historical mystery series from critically acclaimed author Tessa Arlen.

Summer 1942. The world has been at war for three long and desperate years. In the remote English village of Little Buffenden, Poppy Redfern’s family house and farmland has been requisitioned by the War Office as a new airfield for the American Air Force. As the village’s Air Raid Warden, Poppy spends her nights patrolling the village as she tries to ease her neighbors’ fears about the “Friendly Invasion” and what it means to their quiet way of life.

When two young, popular women who were dating American servicemen are found strangled, Poppy quickly realizes that her little town has been divided by murder. The mistrust and suspicion of their new American partners in war threatens to tear Little Buffenden apart. Poppy decides to start her own investigation with the help of a charismatic American pilot and she soon unearths some chilling secrets and long-held grudges. Poppy will have no choice but to lay a trap for a killer so perilously close to home, she might very well become the next victim….

About the Author

Tessa Arlen is an experienced author who specializes in historical mysteries. Born and raised in the beautiful Chiltern Hills of England, she currently resides in New Mexico, where she gardens in the summer and writes in the winter.

Find out more on her website here.

Also by this Author


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 16, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

A Merry Murder (A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery) by Kate Kingsbury #Spotlight / #Excerpt / #Giveaway / @BerkleyMystery


A Merry Murder (A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery)
Historical Holiday Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Publisher: Berkley (October 1, 2019)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1984805924
ISBN-13: 978-1984805928
Kindle ASIN: B07PLFH8BJ

It is an Edwardian Christmas, and the Pennyfoot Hotel is all dressed up. But when one of the guests turns up dead, owner Cecily Sinclair Baxter realizes it is not only the Pennyfoot that is back in business—the hotel’s Christmas curse is, too…

The Pennyfoot halls are decked with boughs of holly, a magnificently decorated tree graces the lobby, and the hotel’s bookings are finally looking up. Owner of the Pennyfoot, Cecily Sinclair Baxter is in high holiday spirits until disaster strikes, threatening to ruin yet another Yuletide. Her chief housemaid Gertie McBride has found a man’s body in the hotel laundry room—with a woman’s scarf wrapped around his neck and a note in his pocket from the hotel’s new maid.

Cecily is determined to track down the culprit, but with multiple suspects icing her out of crucial clues, she realizes this killer may be more slippery than most. With Christmas right around the corner, it is up to Cecily to prevent this holiday season at the Pennyfoot from turning out more fatal than festive.

Excerpt – A Merry Murder (A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery)

Chapter 1

Pausing to catch her breath at the top of the backstairs, Gertie McBride shifted the pile of linens she carried higher in her arms. From the kitchen below, she could hear the clatter of pots and pans, and Michel’s strident voice bitterly complaining in his stupid French accent that didn’t fool anyone.

The volatile chef always got frantic at Christmastime, and today was no exception. Mrs. Chubb could be heard screeching at him to shut up. Shaking her head, Gertie thanked the heavens that, for a change, she wasn’t the one on the business end of the housekeeper’s wrath.

Breakfast had been served over an hour ago, but already the midday meal was being prepared. Gertie could detect a faint whiff of onions, but the smell was overwhelmed by the fragrant aroma of pine and cedar that wafted across the hotel lobby.

In just a few days it would be Christmas Eve. She cast a glance at the grand curving staircase leading to the upper floors, where huge boughs of evergreens hung on the railings. Bright red ribbons decorated the wreaths as well as little silver bells that tinkled when Gertie’s skirts brushed against them on the way down from the guest rooms.

In the far corner, the magnificent Christmas tree glowed a welcome to the arriving visitors. Gold and silver stars covered the branches, while little white angels with silvery gowns and red and green balls sparkled in the light from the massive chandelier above. A couple of guests passed by the tree, pausing to admire the decorations before strolling on toward the staircase.

Heaving a sigh, Gertie stomped down the stairs. The sooner she got the linens down to the laundry room the better. Mrs. Baxter, or madam as everyone called her, would get testy if she saw her chief housemaid carrying dirty washing across the foyer.

The Pennyfoot’s owner was always kind and considerate to the downstairs staff, as long as they obeyed the rules and minded their manners. She could be an ogre, however, if one of them did something to upset the hotel guests.

Normally the sheets and pillowcases would be sent down the chute to the downstairs hallway, but the upstairs door was stuck again and Archie would have to mend it. Thinking about the new handyman reminded Gertie of Clive, who used to have the job.

She tried not to think about Clive these days.

She had always loved this time of year. Besides the housekeeping, Mrs. Chubb also baked, and nothing spelled “Christmas” like the enticing smell of her mince pies and plum puddings. Unless it was the sound of Phoebe Fortescue’s dance group practicing their horrible out-of-tune singing in the ballroom, or the decorations brightening the halls of the Pennyfoot, or the excitement in her own twins’ faces as they eagerly awaited the visit from Father Christmas.

This year, however, was different. It didn’t seem possible that it had been a whole year since Clive had proposed. She’d been so excited and happy. She’s accepted on the spot, and by rights she should be celebrating the season with a new husband and father to her twins.

It was only three months later when everything fell apart. Clive-the gentle, considerate man she’d fallen in love with-had turned into a domineering, selfish bugger.

When she’d told him that after she was married she still wanted to work at the Pennyfoot, he’d thrown a bleeding fit. He’d told her no wife of his would be anyone’s maid, and that her place was in the home, taking care of him and her children. He’d made it sound as if her work was too blinking beneath him to be worth anything. As if she wasn’t worth anything.

Well, that did it. Just because he’d left his job as the Pennyfoot’s handyman and bought that flipping toy shop didn’t make him bleeding royalty. He was no better than she was, and she’d wasted no time in telling him that. They’d had a good old blowup and she’d told that snot to shove off.

Reaching the floor, she closed her eyes for a moment to picture the scene, as she had done so many times since the spring. She’d missed him at first, but she’d kept reminding herself that she’d had a lucky escape. He would have dominated her whole life, and no one dominated Gertie Brown McBride. Still, the memories kept coming back to taunt her, making her wonder what might have been if she’d done what he asked.

In the next instant, she heard a grunt of pain as she smacked into something soft.

Opening her eyes, she stared into the gaunt face of Lilly Green, one of the latest maids to have been hired at the Pennyfoot. Lilly was almost as tall as Gertie, who towered over the rest of the staff with the exception of Michel. While Lilly was as skinny as a rake, however, Gertie was fighting a tendency to balloon out of her clothes.

She was built like a bloody bull to begin with, but had always managed to keep everything in proportion until this last year. No matter how little she ate now, it all seemed to end up on her blinking hips. She’d soon be as plump as Altheda Chubb. The bossy housekeeper was always complaining that her corset was pinching her.

“You smacked me in the stomach with those,” Lilly said, frowning at the linens in Gertie’s arms.

“Sorry, luv. I wasn’t looking where I was flipping going, was I.” Gertie paused for a moment, silently chiding herself. She’d promised herself so many times that she’d try to stop the curse words that seemed to explode from her lips with no way to stop them.

She’d grown up hearing that language from her dad all day long, and sometimes all night, too, and it had become so much part of her speech, she didn’t even know she was doing it until someone said something. Usually Mrs. Chubb, who was always on at her to talk like a lady. Some bleeding hope of that.

“Why weren’t you?” Lilly seemed about to cry. Then again, Lilly looked like that much of the time. She’d been working at the Pennyfoot for over a year, and she still acted like she’d wandered into a house of mirrors and couldn’t escape.

There was an air of desperation about her that Gertie simply couldn’t understand. It had taken Lilly months to get used to the work, and at times she still turned her nose up at some of the tasks, as if the whole thing was beneath her. She was finicky about everything, and went out of her way to avoid contact with the guests. Especially the men.

Gertie tried to get along with her, but was irritated by such a lack of gumption. As for herself, she would tackle anyone or anything that got in her bloody way. Besides, it irked her that Lilly always had her cap on straight and the straps of her apron sitting firmly on her shoulders. Gertie, on the other hand, rarely accomplished either. “Why wasn’t I what?”

“Looking where you were going.”

“Oh!” Gertie frowned. “I was thinking about something, that’s why. Where are you off to anyway? Aren’t you supposed to be cleaning the silver?”

Lilly raised her hand to tuck her hair more securely beneath her cap. “Mrs. Chubb sent me to tell madam that she’s baking the Christmas puddings. She wants to know how many madam wants her to make.”

“Then you’d better get on with it, hadn’t you.” Gertie stepped past her, adding over her shoulder, “You don’t want Chubby after you for loitering. She’ll have your bloody guts for garters.” Bugger it, she thought. She was swearing again.

She could hear Lilly’s black patent leather shoes clicking on the stairs as she hurried up them. Shaking her head, Gertie headed for the laundry room. If she didn’t get back to the kitchen right away, it would be her guts turning into bloody garters.

Mrs. Chubb was like a mother to her, and to the rest of the maids. Her sharp tongue, however, would give them all a lashing if they got behind in their work. Gertie grinned as she shoved the door open with her shoulder. Chubby didn’t take no nonsense from anyone. Not even madam, or Mr. Baxter. Gertie liked that. You knew where you was with her.

Stepping inside the empty room, she marched over to one of the sinks and dumped the linens into it. Three of the ironing boards were stacked against the wall, while a fourth stood a few feet from the window. One of the maids had forgotten to put it away.

Gertie was tempted to leave it there and get back to the kitchen. She had actually turned toward the door when habit, engrained by years of following the strict rules of the Pennyfoot Hotel, forced her to turn back and fold up the ironing board.

As she carried it over to its place against the wall, something caught her attention in the dark corner by the sinks. A bundle of dirty clothes. Someone must have been in a hurry, chucked them at the sink, and missed. She probably hadn’t even noticed that they’d landed on the floor. Most likely it was the same bloody twit who’d left the ironing board in the middle of the room.

Cursing under her breath, Gertie stomped across the room to pick up the bundle. As she drew closer, however, cold shock slammed into her chest. It wasn’t a bundle of clothes after all. It was a man, lying curled up on his side, his eyes open and staring blankly into space.

“Here!” Gertie demanded, backing up a step or two. “What the bloody hell are you doing in here? You’d better get out of here before I call the copper and have you thrown in the bloody clink.”

The man didn’t even twitch, and looking at the bloodless face, Gertie thought she knew why. This man wasn’t getting up again. He was bleeding dead.

Upstairs in the lavish suite overlooking the bowling greens, Cecily Sinclair Baxter watched her husband settle into his comfortable armchair with the latest edition of the Illustrated London News.

It had been almost a year since a bout of pneumonia had come close to taking Baxter’s life. Every time she looked at him, she felt again the anxiety and dread that had filled her very soul when Dr. Kevin Prestwick had turned to her in that dim, candlelit room, his face grave with concern. She had lost her first husband in that same room. She could not bear to lose another.

Baxter had survived, thank the good Lord, but the illness had left him weak and depressed for months. So much so that he had officially declined the position offered to him as a director of overseas acquisitions-work that would have taken them to all four corners of the world.

Baxter had declared one evening over dinner that he had come to the conclusion he was too old to be taking on such a monumental task. “I am much more suited to managing one hotel in one place, rather than chasing all over the world taking on one headache after another,” he’d told her.

She’d pretended to be dismayed, but had fallen to her knees later that night and given thanks for this reprieve. The only reason she’d agreed to the opportunity in the first place was because Baxter had come close to being seriously hurt while aiding her in a murder investigation. She had decided they would both be on safer ground away from the Pennyfoot and her penchant for tangling with villains. The possibility of seeing her sons again, both of whom lived abroad, was also an incentive.

Even so, she’d hated the very thought of leaving her home and the staff who had become as close as family to her. She had become even more overjoyed when Baxter had surprised her later with a suggestion.

“I think we should purchase the Pennyfoot from your cousin,” he’d said, and for a long moment Cecily had stared at him, afraid to believe what she was hearing in case she was mistaken.

When she didn’t answer him, Baxter had added, “We could turn it from a country club back into a hotel. The memberships have been dwindling in the last year or so, and with a hotel we would attract a more diverse and hopefully a more abundant clientele.”

She had leapt at the idea with so much enthusiasm, Baxter had told her he wished he’d thought of the idea sooner.

So now that they were once again the owners of the Pennyfoot Hotel, Baxter seemed happy and content and, more important, healthy again. He had maintained his business in London, though he had cut back a good deal of it and now did most of the work at home.

Christmas was less than a week away, and the aroma of seasonings and spice from the kitchen, blending with the fragrance of fresh greenery from the woods, filled the halls.

It was her favorite time of the year, and Cecily was so overjoyed, she felt a strong urge to hug her husband. She had actually stretched out her arms to do just that when a sharp rap on the door halted her.

Baxter sighed and rattled his newspaper as she turned toward the door.

“Come in!” Cecily seated herself on her gold Queen Anne armchair as the door opened and Gertie edged into the room.

“I’m sorry, m’m,” she said, dropping a slight curtsey. “I got some bad news.”

Baxter groaned, and lowered his newspaper. “What now?”

Gertie’s gaze seemed to fix on Cecily’s face. “I was in the laundry room and I thought it were a bundle of clothes lying on the floor, but it weren’t.” She appeared to have something to add, but apparently had trouble getting it out.

Cecily was already getting a nasty feeling in her stomach. Every year at this time they seemed to have some kind of disaster. She called it the Christmas Curse, and for years the name had been whispered among the downstairs staff with the same dread that she felt right now.

She tried to sound calm as she gave Gertie an encouraging smile. “So, what is it, Gertie?”

Baxter, who had none of his wife’s patience and restraint, growled, “Come on, girl. Spit it out.”

Gertie swallowed, heaved air into her lungs, and announced in a voice hoarse with anxiety, “It were a dead body, m’m. Mr. Baxter. Mrs. Chubb has already sent for the police constable.”

“Oh, Lord,” Baxter muttered, folding his newspaper.

Cecily could feel her heart pumping. Not again. Not now. Just when they were beginning to see a large increase in bookings. They were already taking reservations for next year. They didn’t need another calamity to frighten off prospective guests, or the ones still due to arrive for the holidays, for that matter. “Who is it, Gertie? Is it one of the staff? A footman? Could you tell how he’d died?”

~From Amazon

Find about more about Kate and her books here.

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Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel (A Victorian Mystery) by Emily Brightwell #Spotlight / #Giveaway @BerkleyMysteries



Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel (A Victorian Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
38th in Series
Berkley (September 24, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0451492242
ISBN-13: 978-0451492241
Kindle ASIN: B07MPSYGW2

When a wealthy widow is murdered, Mrs. Jeffries investigates what happens when money can’t buy your life in this all-new installment in the beloved Victorian Mystery series.

Margaret Starling wasn’t the sort of woman anyone expected to be murdered. She was on the advisory board of the London Angel Alms Society, she was an active member of St. Peter’s Church, and, best of all, she was always willing to lend a hand to a friend or a neighbor in need of advice. She was also a wealthy upper-class widow. But money alone won’t protect you when someone decides it’s high time you met your maker.

Margaret’s next-door neighbor considered her an odious busybody, the Reverend Reginald Pontefract wished she’d never set foot in St. Peter’s, and half the advisory board of the London Angel Alms Society heartily hoped she’d come down with pneumonia before the next quarterly meeting.

All in all, Margaret wasn’t as well regarded as she’d always thought she was. But Mrs. Jeffries and Inspector Witherspoon know that justice isn’t a popularity contest, and they won’t rest until they sift through the suspects to catch a sinister scrooge.

from AnazonAbout The Author

Emily Brightwell was born in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. Her family moved to Southern California in 1959 and she grew up in Pasadena. After graduating from California State University Fullerton, she decided to work her way around the world and started in England. She didn’t get any further because she met future her husband there, got married and moved back to California. While living in Long Beach, she decided to pursue her dream and become a writer – despite having two children and a full-time job. She began the Mrs. Jeffries series in 1993 with “The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries” and has written thirty-four more mysteries in the series in the following twenty-one years. Now that her children are grown and have left home – Emily and her husband live in the Bay Area.

Find out more about the author on her webpage here.

Click here for the complete series of Mrs. Jeffries Mysteries on Amazon.

GIVEAWAY

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