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Review: An Intimate Murder

Are you ready for a double dose of Catherine O’Brien? Today I review An Intimate Murder, the third book in the Catherine O’Brien mystery series and tomorrow I have a guest post from author Stacy Verdick Case and a chance to win a copy of An Intimate Murder. And if that isn’t enough you can also stop by Goodreads to win a copy today — but today’s the last day!

An Intimate Murderaim cover Web Large

Author: Stacy Verdick Case

Paperback: 284 pages (also available in e-formats)

Publisher: Before the Fall Books (October 7, 2014)

Synposis:

When Jonathan and Susan Luther are murdered in their home, St. Paul homicide detective Catherine O’Brien and her partner Louise discover this isn’t the first time the Luther family has been visited by tragedy. Is it a case of bad family luck or is there something more?

Review:

Catherine is not a super hero, all-knowing crime solver. She can’t hold her tongue (with suspects, the press or fellow cops), she forgets to call her mother (and her husband), she’s grumpy, she wants to always be right (and is even grumpier when she isn’t), she’s addicted to coffee and in her own words, “short, pale, and too round in certain places to be considered slim. I’m more bumpy than curvy, and more dorky than graceful.” In other words, Catherine is me — with a gun and coffee instead of chocolate. Maybe that’s why I enjoy reading Catherine O’Brien mysteries.

This is definitely a crazy family. It starts out with a husband and wife getting murdered for seemingly no reason. And every time Catherine and her partner Louise (cheers for two female detectives as partners) turn around another crazy family member is turning up. Got to love those crazy families. Are they just garden variety crazy family or the type that resort to shot guns and ice picks?

This book is low on action and high on investigation. But that makes the few scenes of violence even more impressive. There are a few clues that I felt we readers didn’t get a fair chance at considering but for the most part you got to follow Catherine and Louise (along with a cast of humorous assistants) through their investigation and learn what they learned, as they learned it.

Need to play catch up with Catherine O’Brien? You can learn about her debut in my post about A Grand Murder and an interview with author Stacy Verdick Case here.

Review: Never Too Late

Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Revinvention (without getting lost along the way)

Author: Claire Cook

Paperback: 124 pages (also available in e-books)nevertoolate

Publisher: Marshbury Beach Books (July 16, 2014)

Synposis:

Wondering how to get to that life you really thought you’d be living by now?

Claire Cook speaks to real women—our fears and obstacles and hopes and desires—and gives us cutting edge tools to get where we want to go.

Bursting with inspiration, insider stories, and practical strategies. Filled with humor, heart, encouragement, and great quotes.

Claire Cook shares everything she’s learned on her own journey— from writing her first book in her minivan at 45, to walking the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Must Love Dogs at 50, to becoming the international bestselling author of eleven novels and a sought after reinvention speaker.

You’ll hop on a plane with Claire as you figure out the road to your own reinvention. You’ll laugh a lot and maybe even shed a few tears as Claire tells her stories and those of other reinventors, and shares her best tips for getting a plan, staying on track, pulling together a support system, building your platform in the age of social networking, dealing with the inevitable ups and downs, overcoming perfectionism, and tuning in to your authentic self to propel you toward your goals.

Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) is real, grounded, and just the book you need to start reinventing your life.

Review:

It’s easy to feel we are too old, too busy, too ignorant, too…something to become that person you always wanted to be. Claire Cook swipes away all those excuses in Never Too Late not because she is some super inspirational speaker, some psychology expert or some super success (although she is, in my eyes a super success). the reason she makes you believe maybe you can accomplish your goals and become that person you always wanted to be is because she was once in your shoes. She was once the person wondering, Can I really do it? Reading Never Too Late is like talking to an old friend.

You can also download a free Never Too Late workbook as a companion to the Never Too Late book here. It’s a short little booklet but it is a great help pulling what you want to remember from her book and gathering it all in one place.

Review and Giveaway: The Corpse Who Walked in the Door

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The Corpse Who Walked in the Door

by Jackie King

on Tour September 2014


Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Deadly Niche Press

Publication Date: June 2014

Number of Pages: 206

ISBN: 978-162016-112-8

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Former society wife Grace Cassidy is learning to live on the minimum wage she earns as a bed & breakfast inn-sitter. Grace finds her cat’s bloody paw prints leading away from a bathtub and wants to run for her life. But she can’t. Her 19-year-old son is accused of pushing his pregnant girlfriend down a flight of concrete steps and she won’t abandon him.

Review:

In the beginning I thought Grace was just too…accommodating…for her own good. She needed to pipe up and start standing up to the difficult people in her life. Thankfully, as the book went on Grace became spunkier. Happily, she surrounds herself with some interesting people, particularly the folks who have “fallen on hard times” and live in the lower quarters of the B&B where she works.

This was a fun, light-hearted romp of a mystery made memorable more by the people who live in Grace’s life than by the people who die in it. It’s very easy to picture yourself as Grace, juggling all the everyday minutiae: bosses, families, employees, catty women, secrets and just for good measure, throw in a dead body!

Read an excerpt:

Blood colored paw prints trailed from the white tile bathroom onto the faux Oriental rug in the bedroom where Grace stood. The cat-feet marks immobilized Grace. She closed her eyes and prayed that she had been claimed by stress-induced insanity, that there were no dark-red blots before her eyes, but a hallucination. A nice long rest in a mental hospital didn’t sound too bad. Anything except another dead body in this inn where she worked.

Author Bio:

Jackie King loves books, writing tall tales, and murdering the people she dislikes on paper. Her latest mystery The Corpse Who Walked in the Door is available in ebook format. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Oklahoma Writers Federation, and Tulsa NightWriters.To learn more about Jackie, check out my 5Ws interview yesterday here>.

Catch Up With Jackie:

Tour Participants:



Giveaway:

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Free Book: Love Gone to the Dogs

It’s the dog days of summer. So what’s an author with a book featuring neighbors and their battle over their dogs supposed to do? Give away e-copies for the month of August, of course! Don’t miss out on your last few days to download Love Gone to the Dogs. So you’ll have something fun to read on Labor Day after you finish your grilled chicken, corn on the cob and watermelon. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? This book is too.

Love Gone to the Dogs (Second Chances Book 1)

Author: Margaret Daleymargaretdaley

E-Book: 166 pages

Publisher: Amazon Digital (July 4, 2012)

Synposis:

Single mom, Leah Taylor, has her hands full with a grandfather, an inventor, who lives a bit risky when it comes to his job and two sons, one a rambunctious genius. But it is her free spirited beagle who gets her into trouble with her new neighbor, Dr. Shane O’Grady, when her dog makes a move on his champion bichon that he wants to breed.

Leah and Shane clash over their dogs that clearly like each other. Leah is determined to ignore her neighbor, but when her youngest son who tries to defy gravity and fly ends up hurt, it is her neighbor, the doctor, who takes care of her son. Can Leah and Shane find love or has love gone to the dogs?

Read an excerpt here.

Review:

If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance you can enjoy on a hot summer afternoon, Love Gone to the Dogs is it. It’s a classic romance novel boy meets girl, obstacle, obstacle, obstacle and finally, success. The humorous family in this book will make you smile. Actually, it’s the story of three unlikely romances: Leah and Shane, Albert and Princess (their dogs) and a third one I don’t want to spoil for you.

Giveaway and 5Ws with Elizabeth Maria Narnjo

The Fourth Wall

Author: Elizabeth Maria Naranjonaranjobook

Paperback: 235 pages (also available in e-formats)

Publisher: WiDo Publishing (June 10, 2014)

Synposis:

When Marin was little and monsters chased her through nightmares, she learned to weave her own dreams. Her mother called the lucid dreaming a gift, and when an accident takes her mother and leaves her baby brother an empty shell, Marin uses this gift to spin a new reality for herself. One without time or sorrow. A world without memory.
But just when Marin thinks she is safe in her make-believe fantasy world, the monsters come back and her dream turns to a nightmare. Something in the dream doesn’t want Marin to wake up.

In order to heal herself and her family, Marin must face the truth she’s forgotten and conquer what lies behind the fourth wall.

5Ws with Elizabeth Maria Naranjo :

WHO
Who came up with your marvelous book cover? The girl on the cover looks so familiar…is it you? And if not did you purposely choose someone who looked like you?

by Evie Carpenter

by Evie Carpenter

It sure is a beautiful cover, and I’d love to take credit for the photo, but the girl is not me. WiDo Publishing’s talented cover designer, Steven Novak, chose the picture. I was asked for input on the cover, with the understanding that the graphic artist could choose to use my ideas or not. I wanted a simple design and in mostly black, with perhaps an image of shattering glass. I was so pleased when I saw what Steven came up with.

WHAT
What do you dream about?

Most of the dreams that I remember are related to fear. I wonder if that isn’t the case for most people. It could be that since those dreams are more disturbing, they tend to wake me up and that’s why I remember them. I’m sure I have all sorts of nice dreams, but why would I want to wake up from those, right? And the ones you sleep through are harder to recall. That’s why people who keep dream journals start by setting their alarm an hour or so early to interrupt their dreams. Then they write them down. Which is actually the first step toward becoming a lucid dreamer—people who can recognize when they’re in a dream.

WHERE
Where did you get the idea for a book that hides the truth behind dreams?

Marin came to me first; I could picture her and I knew that she was dealing with something terrible. I thought, imagine if a girl that age and in that situation had the ability to lucid dream. She could use her dream to compartmentalize, leaving the conflict in one part of her mind and taking refuge in another. And what would be the cost of splitting yourself that way?

WHY
Why did you decide to abandon poetry and focus on fiction?

Poetry seemed so tightly structured that it was intimidating; there are lots of ways not to do it, and I felt inadequate trying. And I love the flow of prose. The enjambed lines in poetry are difficult for me—I hate trying to break up sentences that way. It’s gorgeous when done right, and I admire poets very much; it’s just not my form. What I do love about poetry is stripping an idea down to its essence, and I try to do that with flash fiction.

WHEN
When will we be reading another one of your novels? Can you give us a sneak peek?

Sure! I’m working on a novel about a 12-year-old boy who runs away with his best friend on a search for the friend’s father. The father is a volcanologist who goes missing in the field. There’s also a light paranormal element to that one. I hope you’ll be reading it in 2016; I’m not a very fast writer and I’m a little obsessive/compulsive about editing, so it could take some time.

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Go Cubbies! Go Margo!

All-Star Game and Break CONTEST and BOOK SALE
Busch Stadium by Phil www.flickr.com
It’s the middle of July. Baseball fans everywhere know that means it’s time for the All-Star Game and short break from regularly scheduled baseball games across the United States. For non-loving baseball peeps, you can just keep on enjoying your summer as you have been: curled up with your favorite book, sipping cold lemonade, and relaxing by the pool. However you want to celebrate this week, please also join in the fun with young adult author Margo L. Dill as she holds a contest and book sale! 
Why during All-Star Game Week?
Great question! Margo’s young adult novel, Caught Between Two Curses (Rocking Horse Publishing, March 2014), is the story of 17-year-old Julie Nigelson, who is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular
curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy
Goat” on the Chicago Cubs, hence the All-Star baseball week celebration.

Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma
and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring
her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive
to her all the time.
Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life—and time is running out! 

What have people been saying about Margo’s book?
Here are a few lines from a couple reviews on Amazon.com:
“This book is one of the best I have read in a long time. Once I opened it up I could not stop until I was finished.”  ~Janet Cannon
 “A baseball mystery and a contemporary, heartfelt romance, CAUGHT BETWEEN
TWO CURSES is sure to score big with the young teen audience!” ~Cathy C. Hall

“I definitely recommend this to young adults, but
really any adult because it’s a story that keeps you interested and
will stay with you long after you finish.” ~Amie Merz
Okay, so what is the contest and the sale???
photo by DonkeyHotey flickr.com
Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for.  First the sale: 
The Kindle ebook is…99 cents July 14/15, $1.99 July 16/17, $2.99 July 18/19, and back to $3.99 July 20.
The print copy is for sale ON MARGO’S WEBSITE (http://margodill.com/blog/books/) and is $5.00 off the cover price, so only $6.95 (+$3.00 for shipping and handling). She will autograph it and gift wrap if it’s a gift, plus include a bookmark for free. More details at the link above. (The print version is also on sale for $10.76 (10 % savings) on Amazon.com.) 
 If you are an Amazon Prime Member, you can check out the e-BOOK for free at anytime!
The contest:
Go to the Rafflecopter form below this post–all you need to enter is your name and e-mail, which is how I contact you if you win one of the prizes. Do at least one of the tasks below and then click on the entry button to enter the contest. You can do as many tasks as you want! If you are confused or have any questions, please feel free to e-mail Margo at margo (at) margodill.com. Tasks range from leaving a review of Caught Between Two Curses to announcing the contest and sale on a social media page to uploading a photo of you in baseball gear. See below for more.
Margo L. Dill
The prizes:
One winner with a United States mailing address will win a $25 gift card to either Applebee’s, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, Panera Bread, or Olive Garden (winner’s choice). One runner-up winner will receive a free 3000-word critique from Margo (Editor 911)–this can be anywhere in the world as long as the document is in English. The contest goes from July 14 to July 20. Winners will be announced on July 21! 
What are you waiting for?

So, join in the fun and while you’re entering the contest or buying a sale copy of Caught Between Two Curses, join in a rousing rendition of  “Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks. I don’t care if I ever get back. . .” 

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Review and Giveaway: The Author Training Manual

The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish EffectivelyThe Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively
by Nina Amir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stop by The Muffin to enter to win a copy of The Author Training Manual here.

Last week my husband painted our living room with nary a grumble. How did I manage this miraculous feat?

Well, I promised to go through my bookshelves and weed out some of the books. Like most writers I am slightly addicted to writer how-to books. Reading them, jotting notes in the margins, marking pages with Post-It notes. Because one of those books will contain the magical advice that makes me an award-winning author. Due to the deal I made with my husband I did donate a few of my writer books to a used book sale. But I couldn’t part with Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book and her latest The Author Training Manual.

One of the best things about The Author Training Manual is that Nina manages to be both friend and teacher. One the one hand she’ll telling you “here are the things I did wrong,” “here are the things I thought” and most importantly, “here are the changes I made.” As I read I’m saying, “OMG, I felt that same way! I did that same thing!” So you look at Nina, now a successful author, and say “Hey, if I do what Nina did I could become a successful author too!”

But Nina isn’t all about being a friend. She’s a tough teacher too (reminds me of a few nuns I had in years past). Happily, The Author Training Manual is very specific. She doesn’t just tell you to check out the competition. She tells you step by step how to do it. Nina doesn’t leave you to your own devices (writers do tend to procrastinate). Set deadlines! Answer these survey questions! Follow this book planning outline. It’s like writer boot camp! Perhaps it is more accurate to call it an author boot camp. The Author Training Manual helps you to plan both how to create the best book possible and how to become the most effective author. It helps you plan in an orderly way while your book is still just an idea. In fact, it way help you decide which of your ideas should become a book.

The Author Training Manual is crammed with extras: planning exercises, sample book proposals, questionaires, and additional reading lists for each chapter. Trust me, The Author Training Manual is one book I will never get rid of–even if my husband promises to paint the entire house!



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Giveaway: Basil Instinct

Basil Instinct

Author:Shelley Costa cover-basil-instinct-big

Paperback: 368 pages (also available in e-formats)

Publisher: Pocket Books (June 24, 2014)

Synposis:

In this second cozy mystery series that started with You Cannoli Die Once, a chef and her cousins launch their own investigation when a new sous chef turns up dead in their Italian restaurant.

When Chef Eve Angelotta’s grandmother, Maria Pia, is invited to join Belfiere, a secret all-female Italian culinary society, Eve is concerned. Rumor has it that membership is lifelong—whether you like it or not. Eve and her cousin Landon try to research Belfiere, but all they come up with is a two-year-old blog entry warning against the two-hundred-year-old society that centers around meals inspired by famous female poisoners.

Soon after, Eve’s new sous chef turns up dead just inside the front door of Miracolo, Eve’s restaurant. When they discover the sous chef had connections to Belfiere, Eve and her Italian cousins start a mission to find out what happened—before Maria Pia is made an offer she can’t refuse.

Review:

I liked You Cannoli Die Once but Shelley Costa really upped the ante with Basil Instinct. It was hysterical (aside from the dead body of course). I was laughing aloud so often strangers were asking me what I was reading. Eve has a lot of balls in the air with this book: secret societies, past murders, inheritances, Grief Week, coummunity college cooking classes, graffiti, pseudo-mob guys, hunky lawyers, kittens and of course, a dead body.

I loved that this book set you up for one situation and then — presto — something totally different happened. It was definitely not predictable and you doesn’t all come together until the last chapter. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the first 90% of the book because it is jam-packed with action (some related to solving a murder and some just related to the craziness that is Eve’s life). I missed the quirky Dana who only made a few cameo appearances in this book but it was fun seeing more of Choo Choo. I can’t decide which of these quirky characters I like best.

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Giveaway: You Cannoli Die Once

You Cannoli Die Once

Author:Shelley Costacover-cannoli

Paperback: 336 pages (also available in e-formats)

Publisher: Pocket Books (May 28, 2013)

Synposis:

At Miracolo Northern Italian restaurant, one can savor brilliantly seasoned veal saltimbocca, or luscious risotto alla milanese, but no cannoli. Never cannoli. Maria Pia Angelotta, the spirited seventy-six-year-old owner of the Philadelphia-area eatery that’s been in her family for four generations, has butted heads with her head chef over the cannoli ban more than once. And when the head chef is your own granddaughter, things can get a little heated.

Fortunately, Eve Angelotta knows how to handle what her nonna dishes out. But when Maria Pia’s boyfriend is found dead in Miracolo’s kitchen, bludgeoned by a marble mortar, the question arises: Can a woman this fiery and stubborn over cream-filled pastry be capable of murder?

The police seem to think so, and they put the elder Angelotta behind bars, while Eve, sexy neighborhood attorney Joe Beck, and the entire Miracolo family— parenti di sangue and otherwise—try every trick in the cookbook to unravel a tangle of lies and expose a killer.

Review:

If you want a fun read for the summer, try You Cannoli Die Once. It was a silly romp where no one is exactly who they seem. The singer is well, not a great singer. The pianist is…well no one’s really sure. The chef is a dancer. The sous chef is a heir. The interior decorator is a financial planner. The waitress is a shoe designer. The homeless person is…Well, you get the idea. Like a great minestrone this is a great mix of characters that at first seem like an odd pairing but once you get them all together…mmmm.

My only problem was having to overlook a few times the amateur detectives beat the cops to a clue that I’m certain in a real murder would have been found more quickly by the pros. But hey, it was fun, it was full of surprises and the characters!

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A Photographic Death

A Photographic Death

by Judi Culbertson

on Tour May 27 – June 27, 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Detective; Women Sleuth

Published by: Witness Impulse

Publication Date: 5/27/2014

Number of Pages: 288

ISBN: 9780062296351

Purchase Links:

Tour Info:

Book Formats: Edelweiss

Hosting Options: Review, Interview, & Guest Post

Giveaway: There will be one rafflecopter form for the tour where we will offer 10 individual promo codes for a free download of the book for the entire tour. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.

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Synopsis:

Bookseller-turned-amateur detective Delhi Laine is back with another atmospheric mystery, but this time, it’s a family affair.

Nineteen years ago, Delhi Laine’s two-year old daughter disappeared. After a frantic but inconclusive search, authorities determined that she must have drowned, her body washed away from the picturesque English park in which she was playing.

Delhi’s heart has never healed, yet her family has since soldiered on. But when a mysterious letter arrives containing the ominous words, YOUR DAUGHTER DID NOT DROWN, their lives are once again thrown into turmoil. With her family torn between fighting for the past and protecting the future, Delhi is caught in the middle. For a mother, the choice to find her daughter seems easy. But for a family left fractured by the mistakes of the past, the consequence, and the truth, may be infinitely more costly.

Fans of Carolyn Hart will be swept away by this story of a family on the brink – and their hunt for the truth.

 

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Review:

A Photographic Death will keep you guessing. First of all, was there really a crime or just an accident? Second, should we try to find the victim? Third, do certain people have nefarious reasons why they don’t want to locate the victim? This book was a tiny bit slow at first (setting up a crime from 20 years ago will do that) but once they hit England it was a rush of not being able to put down the book until you unraveled all the hows, whats and whens of this crime. I thought it was extremely effective to portray some of the people involved as less than enthusiastic about delving into the past. Makes you wonder how you would have felt in this same position. These characters are flawed, many times I was yelling at them “Why did you do that?!” It made the book all the more real. It honestly felt like something you could read in one of the tabloid magazines. This book will reach out and grab you.

Nineteen years

Read an excerpt:

In those days photography had been my passion, my way of escaping from the endless rounds of dirty diapers and runny noses and tears. At home, as soon as the children were bedded down, I’d fled to my darkroom, working into the early hours printing and tinting photos. The quiet darkness was an addiction. As sleepy as I often was during the day, I came alive in those night hours.

I had been taking photos in Stratford to work on, to enlarge and color when we got home.

After that day by the river, I never took another. Growing up I had never daydreamed about having a family, of being surrounded by children. I’d read endlessly, imagined myself in exotic places, even saw myself as an archeologist. So when I met Colin . . . I loved the children, they were mine, but they were part of the scenery of my life.

When I lost one of them due to my preoccupation, I vowed never to let anything distract me again. Not even photography. Especially not photography.

“You thought falling asleep sounded better?” Colin felt menacing beside me, as if he might grab my shoulders and shake me.

I knew then that I should have told him about the note first, that we should not be having this conversation in front of everyone. “I—yes . And after I kept saying it a part of me started believing it. When I finally admitted the truth and told someone else, she pointed out that if I was standing right by the water, I should have heard a splash or seen Caitlin fall in. And I was, right by the edge of the river. I–”

“But the police must have investigated all that?” Patience couldn’t keep out of it any longer.

“Of course they did.” Colin boomed. “They interviewed everyone who’d had been in the park that day. We even hired a private detective. Who found nothing.”

Through the miasma of wine and coffee I tried to remember what had been in the detective’s report. Surely, for all the money we borrowed from Colin’s parents to pay him, he had turned up something. “But the police never found her. They said that was unusual for that part of the river.”

“But not impossible.” Colin held up a professorial hand, a gesture he would use to silence a classroom. Everyone looked at him, waiting. He addressed the girls first. “I’m sorry you had to learn this from someone in a drunken stupor. It’s something that happened long ago. We didn’t want you to grow up thinking something terrible would happen to you too. We didn’t want it to overshadow your childhoods. It was the worst thing that ever happened to us. But your mother has conflated another day when she was taking pictures with the day it actually happened. All I can say is, memory is notoriously unreliable.”

I was so furious that I couldn’t think of which calumny to address first. I was not in a drunken stupor. I was not mixing up the days. But I needed to explain why I was bringing it up now. “What I was doing that day isn’t the point.” I reached in my Mexican jacket pocket and pulled out an envelope. “This is the point.”

A rustling, a squeaking of chairs, as everyone craned to look.

It was a square white envelope, the size of a small greeting card, addressed to “The Fitzhughs.” On the front were stamp images of Queen Elizabeth in red and green and a postmark I could not read. I pulled out the white paper inside, unfolded it, and laid it flat on the table so that the people closest to me could see. In large black letters it read:
YOUR DAUGHTER DID NOT DROWN.

When Colin and the girls had seen it I passed it to Pat who scanned it and gave it back so I could show it to Ben. “This came in the mail Monday,” I said. “I can’t tell what part of England it’s from.”

Colin picked up the envelope and studied it. Again, everyone seemed to be waiting for his official pronouncement. “A mean trick,” he said finally. “Someone’s idea of a bad joke.”

A bad joke? “But why now?” I argued, shocked. “Almost twenty years later? Who would know anything about it now?”

“Maybe they ran a story in the local Stratford papers,” Ben said. “Maybe the detective who investigated it is retiring or something.”

“And that would make somebody track us all the way over here to taunt us, a mention in a retirement story? I don’t buy that. It wasn’t even a criminal investigation, they just thought she’d drowned. No policeman would be remembered for it.”

“Maybe that’s what the story was about then, people drowning in the river.” Ben brightened as if he had solved the problem. I told myself he wasn’t trying to be cruel, that he just liked to fix things.

“They’d hardly go to the trouble of finding Delhi and Colin’s address in another country. That’s ridiculous,” Patience said. “It sounds like whoever wrote it knows something definite.”

“Can’t we have the handwriting analyzed?” Jane interrupted. “Or have it dusted for fingerprints?”

Colin sighed, playing with a small glass salt shaker that had been left on the table. “That note is hardly a criminal matter. They wouldn’t go to the trouble. Besides, the real point is if Caitlin did somehow survive, it’s too late now. Too much time has passed. It’s like an adoption, it’s final.”

“No!” It came out of me as a wail.

Patience gasped. “It is not like an adoption. If your daughter didn’t drown, then she was kidnapped! She has every right to know her real family.”

“Patsy,”—Colin lapsed into her old nickname–“it’s not that simple. You can’t assume a kidnapping. If she didn’t drown, she probably wandered off and someone found her.”

“Daddy, what are you talking about?” Jane grasped his forearm. She was flushed, probably with cabernet, and furious. As close as they were, she often lost her temper with Colin. “People don’t keep lost children. They find a policeman and get them back to their parents! It’s not like a stray kitten that you decide to take in.”

“No, Daddy’s right,” Hannah looked up from where she had been tormenting a cuticle. “How would you feel if someone contacted us and claimed after nineteen years that I had been stolen and was part of their family? That everything I’d thought was true was a lie and they wanted me to come live with them. Anyway, I don’t want a twin. I’m fine just as I am.”

Colin pushed back from the table. “I think it’s time for us to go.”

“But we haven’t had our walk,” Ben protested. “We have to take our beach walk!”

Poor Ben. If he’d been on the Titanic, he would have been demanding his nightly whiskey as the ship went down.

“Yes, go on your walk. I have to show Delhi something of our mother’s that I found. We’ll catch up.”

I knew we wouldn’t.

“Can I see?” Jane asked eagerly.

Patience and I exchanged a look.

“Sure,” I told her.

 

Author Bio:

JUDI CULBERTSON draws on her experience as a used-and-rare book dealer, social worker, and world traveler to create her bibliophile mysteries. She has co-authored five illustrated guides with her husband, Tom Randall, of such cities as Paris, London, and New York. She is also the author of the acclaimed nonfiction titles SCALING DOWN and THE CLUTTER CURE. She lives in Port Jefferson, New York, with her family.

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