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Character interview and #giveaway: Mrs. Odboddy, Undercover Courier

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Asked to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour, Agnes and Katherine travel by train to Washington, D.C. Agnes carries a package for Colonel Farthingworth to President Roosevelt.

Convinced the package contains secret war documents, Agnes expects Nazi spies to try and derail her mission.

She meets Irving, whose wife mysteriously disappears from the train; Nanny, the unfeeling caregiver to little Madeline; two soldiers bound for training as Tuskegee airmen; and Charles, the shell-shocked veteran, who lends an unexpected helping hand. Who will Agnes trust? Who is the Nazi spy?

When enemy forces make a final attempt to steal the package in Washington, D.C., Agnes must accept her own vulnerability as a warrior on the home front.

Can Agnes overcome multiple obstacles, deliver the package to the President, and still meet Mrs. Roosevelt’s plane before she leaves for the Pacific Islands?

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is a hysterical frolic on a train across the United States during WWII, as Agnes embarks on this critical mission.


Island Confidential: Mrs. Odboddy, welcome back to Island Confidential! Would you mind introducing yourself to our new readers?

Agnes Odboddy: My name is Agnes Agatha Odboddy. I live with my granddaughter, Katherine, and my Siamese cat, Ling-Ling. Generally I keep busy volunteering, and keep my eyes open for Nazi spies. I’m sure you know every citizen must be on the look-out for miscreants and conspiracies that try to undermine the war effort.

During WWI, I worked as an undercover agent for the USA. That’s why Colonel Farthingworth thought it would raise less suspicion to have me carry this package to President Roosevelt, since we’re headed to the Capitol anyway. We plan to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island Tour.

Katherine and I will cross the country by train from California to Washington. Now you mark my words. I fully expect to deal with Nazi agents along the way, as I’m sure the package contains secret war documents.

Who’s the character you get along with the best?

AO: Katherine is my late son’s daughter. After she lost her fiancé at Pearl Harbor, she moved in with me and went to work as a beautician at Curls to Dye For. She also does the hair and make-up at the Whistlemeyer Mortuary. She has beautiful red hair like me. And no…I don’t dye my hair…. Only fast women and European spies dye their hair. I keep my natural color by freshening it with a special henna shampoo.

Which character do not get along with so well?

AO: Once we get on the train, it becomes fairly obvious that fancy-man, Irving, is a Nazi spy and after my package. The only way he’ll get it is over my dead body! Katherine says that’s what she worried about, but he doesn’t scare me. I brought my WWI service pistol and I know how to use it. Now, if I can just remember which suitcase I put it in…

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author Elaine?

AO: She’s the cat’s meow! Literally! I’m not her first literary fictional creation, you know. She wrote three cozy cat mysteries before the Mrs. Odboddy series. She writes a pretty good story…long on humor, adventure and mystery…as long as I keep telling her what to say.

What’s next for you?

AO: My third adventure is already completed. Mrs. Odboddy –And Then There Was a Tiger, to be published sometime next year. Yes. There is a real, live, breathing tiger, and he plays into an exciting tale of counterfeit money, a county fair, and someone determined to destroy Mrs. Odboddy’s stellar reputation. If I only knew who was behind it…but in the meantime, I know you’ll enjoy a hysterical romp across the country with me as I match wits with a train full of suspicious characters.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers and Cat Writers Association. She lives in No. Calif with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).
Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. Two more Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.

Keep up with Elaine:

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New Paranormal Cozy Cat Mystery from Vicki Vass: Bloodline

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Fleeing from the witch trials in Salem, Terra Rowan finds herself in modern day Asheville, North Carolina.

A dark spirit from the past hunts this last witch of Salem. With the help of the ladies of the Biltmore Society, Terra must discover the secret within the forest to preserve the bloodline.


Thank you so much, Frankie, for inviting me. My name is Terra Rowan, I am the heroine of Bloodline: A Witch Cat Mystery.

Island Confidential: Welcome, Terra! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

TR: I’m not as confident as I appear. I’ve had glimpses of my future, and it scares me.

Who’s the character you get along with the best?

TR: I have a kinship with Abigail and a great love for Mrs. Twiggs but to narrow it down to one if I have to, it would have to be Pixel. He is a gentle soul who takes pleasure in the simple things. He’s brave and a faithful friend and will not waver in dire straits.

Which other character do you have a conflict with?

TR: That would be Tracker. My first instinct is to avoid creatures of his ilk but there is a strength in him that I admire.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

TR: I think that she understands my world. She knows the hard work and research to earn my trust. She struggles with forming the perfect words to tell my tale but that makes her even more endearing. I believe the true measure of a person is in the effort not the result.

What’s next for you?

TR: To continue the journey that was set forth in Bloodline, my companions at my side.


About the Author:

With a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.

Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief.

She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, writer and musician Brian Tedeschi, son Tony, Australian shepherd Bandit, kittens Terra and Pixel, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

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New Series (Big Lake Murder Mysteries) and Character Interview: Dumpster Dying

>>> Enter to win a book AND YOUR NAME in the next Emily Rhodes mystery! <<<

Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster.

Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.


Toby, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? 

Toby Sands: My name is Toby Sands, and I’m a detective with the local police department, but I’m treated like dog doo doo by my fellow officers. Only my captain is any kind of friend, and that’s because we go way back to the police academy where we first met. I did well there–

I’m sorry, it says here you barely passed? Um, never mind. Go ahead.

TS: Yea, anyway, when I graduated, I took a job in Miami where I ran into a bit of trouble. It was all a big misunderstanding on the part of my partner who told my boss I was pocketing money from local merchants. My partner, a woman wouldn’t ya know, said I was claiming to give businesses special protection in high crime areas if they slipped me some cash under the table.

The real story is that a lot of businesses were grateful to me when I warned off gang members and other bad dudes and showed their appreciation by giving me a “tip”, especially if I let them know I could close them down for some legal infractions on their part. I mean, pay at that time was lousy. Everyone knew it, so these friendly folks wanted to show their appreciation for my going out of my way for them. My durn partner also claimed I showed excessive violence when I “talked” to guys we encountered on the street. She said they was just standing there. I said I could tell they was thinking of doing some illegal. That’s why women shouldn’t be cops. They are so bad at reading criminal minds. Anyway, I was encouraged to move on. In return, my record in Miami remains spotless, as well it should cuz I was innocent. Durn femiNazi partner! Luckily, my old classmate from the academy understood how it was, and he hired me.

Someone told us you were hired by your old classmate because the city was desperate to fill a vacancy and you were available. The same source claimed that you got down on your knees and begged, then rolled around on the floor blubbering and crying until you were finally taken on with a warning to behave. Is there any truth to that?

TS: Who told you that?

It’s not important. Let’s move on to something more positive. Who’s the character you get along with the best? 

TS: Well, like I said, my captain gave me a break when I needed it, but he’s coming around to share others’ views of me. It’s totally unfair, and it’s only because everyone is jealous of how quickly I get things done.

I see here that your collars occur in record time.

TS: Darn straight.

How many of those have resulted in convictions? Uh, never mind. You were talking about your colleagues?

TS: So I can’t really say I like too many people. I’ve got a cop’s mindset and that means I can see larceny in a person. I kinda favor some of the bigwig lawyers in town who ask me to do jobs for them. They know how to get around severely restrictive laws and they pay nicely for my help. In a recent event where I took an early retirement, I drew the line at excessive violence. I’m now doing some work for the county as an undercover informant.  [Interviewer’s note: Toby couldn’t be convicted of murder in this case due to lack of evidence.]

Which other character do you have a conflict with?

TS: Like I said, I’m not real crazy about women who stick their noses into other people’s business whether that be another cop who tattles on me or that snoopy little bartender Emily Rhodes who’s sweet on my partner here in rural Florida, Detective Stanton Lewis. See, I know wimmin are best suited to the kitchen or the bedroom. She gives him too many ideas about what I should or shouldn’t be doing with my time. If I’ve been working hard on a case, why shouldn’t I enjoy the afternoon in the bar or a siesta in my cruiser in the shade of a palm tree. This is rural Florida and it’s hot here. A working man needs a drink and a nap to get through this heat and humidity. But I almost got her back for all her snooping. She’d be a white slave in some African country if she hadn’t sicced that wild pig on me. Like to scare me half to death. I still shake thinking about it.

What..? Why don’t we move on to the next question. Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

TS: Just another uppity woman who thinks she knows more ’ bout right and wrong than I do, me, Toby Sands who’s been in the crime business for years.

Yes, everyone I’ve spoken to agrees you’ve been in the crime business since you graduated from the academy.

TS: I don’t need no Yankee school teacher telling me when and where I can chew a wad or where I can spit it or nothin’ about how a man should treat his wife. Okay, so I did help kidnap that Rhodes’ woman’s daughter for her husband, but she’d sassed him and no man needs a wife like that. She needed to be taught a lesson, and I was the one who could teach her one—for the right amount of money.

So what’s next for you?

TS: The court says I got to do some time, but I guarantee you I’ll be out sooner than you can spit a wad in an alligator’s eye. No sir. Toby Sands can work the system. I’ll be living the good life soon. Meantime, if you can believe it, the man is free on bail.
It just ain’t fair. No one appreciates me.

[Note: there are so many charges against Toby that it may take the legal system some time to sort them all out.]


About The Author

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks, frequents yard sales and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. The third book in the Eve Appel murders (from Camel Press) A Sporting Murder was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Five Star Award and her short story Gator Aid a Sleuthfest (2009) short story first place. She has fired the alligator that served as her literary muse when she is in Florida and is interviewing applicants for the position.

 

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Something sweet for the kids (and the grown-ups): an inspirational orphan story

As a baby, Daisy Stranger lost her parents to the Spanish Influenza pandemic. Now eight years old, Daisy has seen many of her friends adopted, but she remains at the Bide-a-While Home and School for Children. Daisy does all her lessons, helps the younger orphans, and prays diligently for a real mother. And then one day, her prayers are answered in a most unexpected way…

This gentle and inspirational novella is a wonderful gift for anyone looking for a sweet and wholesome read. Available on Kindle Unlimited and in paperback.


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New Western Cozy: Ivy Get Your Gun by Cindy Brown

>> Enter to win an e-copy of Ivy Get Your Gun <<<

There’s a new sheriff in town—and she can sing! When Gold Bug Gulch’s actor-gunslinger Mongo winds up shot for real, actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows goes undercover as the ingénue in the tourist town’s melodrama. Unfortunately, she’s distracted by a pack of marauding Chihuahuas, a problematic love life, auditions for Annie Get Your Gun, and a personal mission: to show people the real Annie Oakley.

What’s more, the no-good, yellow-bellied varmint who killed Mongo isn’t finished with the Gulch—or with Ivy. Will our heroine prove she can get a man with a gun—before the killer gets her?

Books in the Ivy Meadows Humorous Mystery Series:

MACDEATH (#1)
THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2)
OLIVER TWISTED (#3)
IVY GET YOUR GUN (#4)


About the Author

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

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New Bakery and Biscuits Mystery (with interview!): Bad to the Bone by Linda O. Johnston

>>> Enter to Win a Print Copy of Bad To The Bone by Linda O. Johnston <<<
Veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly, owner of the Barkery & Biscuits bakery for dogs, is reluctant to sell her recipes to pet food manufacturer VimPets. Jack Loroco, a VimPets representative, assures Carrie that it would be a great opportunity to grow her business. His promising new relationship with Carrie’s friend, Billi Matlock, doesn’t hurt his cause. But the budding romance takes a bad turn when Wanda Addler, another VimPets employee, sets her sights on Jack.


After threatening to ruin Jack’s career if he doesn’t give her what she wants, Wanda is found dead. Jack and Billi are put at the top of the suspect list, and Carrie is doggone determined to rescue them from a life behind bars.


Island Confidential: Linda, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Carrie?

Linda Johnston:  Carrie Kennersly is a veterinary technician who always wanted to be her own boss.  She also loves creating healthy dog treats for the patients she helps to care for.  When a friend has to leave the town of Knobcone Heights, California, where she lives, Carrie buys the friend’s bakery and turns half into a barkery where she bakes and sells those treats.  The other part remains Icing on the Cake, the bakery for humans.  And when someone who badmouths her efforts is murdered in the first book and Carrie’s considered a suspect, she also becomes an amateur sleuth first to help save herself and, in subsequent books, to help friends who are also accused of murder.

How much are you like Carrie?

LJ: I’m a real animal lover like Carrie, but I couldn’t be a veterinarian or vet tech because of having to potentially cut patients open or give them shots to save their lives.  Nor am I much of a cook, as Carrie is.  But yes, I’d love to meet her and talk to her about saving and feeding animals, particularly dogs.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

LJ:  Since the protagonists in all my mysteries have love interests, those relationships tend to evolve throughout the series, mostly drawing them closer.  Also, my protagonists kind of get used to the idea of being amateur sleuths, though they didn’t start out that way.  That’s definitely true of Carrie in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, including her relationship with veterinarian Dr. Reed Storme.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

LJ:  Yes.  Let’s leave it at that–although I of course would not harm anyone for real.  But that’s part of the fun of writing murder mysteries!

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

LJ: For most of my stories now I make up the small towns where my stories occur.  However, my first published mysteries, the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and the spinoff Pet Rescue Mysteries, all took place in Los Angeles, where I live.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

LJ: As I first saw this question, I got online and looked at the actors and actresses who star in the mysteries shown on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries TV channel.  I even got to hear one of them speak at a Sisters in Crime conference held near my home in the Los Angeles area.  I think it would be great fun to have my Barkery & Biscuits series featured there.  Who could play Carrie Kennersly?  Well, maybe Allison Sweeney, Lori Laughlin or Candace Cameron-Bure.  And of all the love interests in those stories, I’d kind of like to see Cameron Mathison play Dr. Reed Storme from my stories.  I haven’t met a dog who’s just like Biscuit, but I’d be happy with a rescue dog taking her place.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

LJ: The worst advice?  I’ve heard other authors say they’ve been told by editors or agents that their work isn’t good enough and that maybe they should give up.  I’ve even had a couple of new editors stop buying my work over the years, though fortunately none has been that cruel.  But I’ve also been at this long enough to realize that not everyone will like what you write, so never, ever give up no matter who tells you to quit! The best advice I’ve heard, and that I always pass along?  Keep on writing!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.   Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 38 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.  She additionally writes the Superstition Mysteries and the the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries  for Midnight Ink.

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A New Nic and Nigel Mystery: A Perfect Manhattan Murder

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Thrilled that their friend’s Broadway debut was a rousing success, Nic and Nigel Martini, along with Nic’s college pal Harper, are trying to enjoy the exclusive after-party. Unfortunately, all the champagne and repartee in the world aren’t enough to overlook the churlish behavior of Harper’s husband, Dan. Nic is shocked the next morning when she learns that Dan’s been murdered. Nigel thinks the world may be a better place without him.
Still, Harper’s their friend and they’re intent on helping her any way they can. The Martinis will stop at nothing—with the possible exception of cocktails and walks with their bull mastiff Skippy—to see that the killer ends up behind bars.


About the Author

tracyportrait

Tracy Kiely is a self-proclaimed Anglophile (a fact which distresses certain members of her Irish Catholic family). She grew up reading Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and watching Hitchcock movies. She fell in love with Austen’s wit, Christie’s clever plots, and Hitchcock’s recurrent theme of “the average man caught in extraordinary circumstances.”

After spending years of trying to find a proper job that would enable her to use her skills garnered as an English major, she decided to write a book. It would, of course, have to be a mystery; it would have to be funny; and it would have to feature an average person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. She began to wonder how the characters in Pride and Prejudice might fit into a mystery. What, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? What if Charlotte snapped one day and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? Skip ahead several years, and several different plot ideas, and you have her first mystery Murder at Longbourn.

While she does not claim to be Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, or Hitchcock (one big reason being that they’re all dead), she has tried to combine the elements of all three in her books.

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Why Two Volcanoes in Hawaii Are So Close, but So Different


By JOANNA KLEINA
The New York Times
Mauna Loa, the biggest volcano on Earth — and one of the most active — covers half the Island of Hawaii. Just 35 miles to the northeast, Mauna Kea, known to native Hawaiians as Mauna a Wakea, rises nearly 14,000 feet above sea level. To them it represents a spiritual connection between our planet and the heavens above.

These volcanoes, which have beguiled millions of tourists visiting the Hawaiian islands, have also plagued scientists with a long-running mystery: If they are so close together, how did they develop in two parallel tracks along the Hawaiian-Emperor chain formed over the same hot spot in the Pacific Ocean — and why are their chemical compositions so different?

“We knew this was related to something much deeper, but we couldn’t see what,” said Tim Jones, an earth science Ph.D. student at Australian National University and the lead author of a paper published in Nature on Wednesday that may hold the answer.

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New Garage Sale Mystery: A Good Day to Buy by Sherry Harris

>>> Win a print copy of A Good Day to Buy <<<

HER BROTHER IS NO BARGAIN
When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town—especially her ex, the chief of police—the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.

BUT IS HE A KILLER?
All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex . . .


About The Author  

Agatha award nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

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A new Mary-Alice mystery in the Miss Fortune world: Black Widow Valley

Young men have been disappearing in Black Valley, New York–which now has the misfortune of being known as “Black Widow Valley.” As it happens, Mary-Alice Arceneaux has a personal connection with the tiny community, and is called in to help. Mary-Alice is thrilled to be a part of the investigation–but by the time she arrives at the forbidding Kilmer House where she will spend the night, she realizes she may be in over her head. Fortunately (?), Sinful’s Sheriff Robert E. Lee is on the case too!

This modern retelling of Lost Man’s Lane takes the action from the sultry bayous of Southwest Louisiana to the rustic hamlets of upstate New York State.

 

The Miss Fortune series has been described as Miss Congeniality meets Golden Girls, a lighthearted fish-out-of -water adventure with a dash of romance in Louisiana bayou country.

Black Widow Valley is an authorized Kindle Worlds novella written in Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune world.

$1.99 on Kindle


The Mary-Alice Files  

We first meet Mary-Alice Arceneaux in SCHOOLED, where she plays a supporting role. In MARY-ALICE MOVES IN, our heroine relocates to Sinful and takes center stage. In BAYOU BUSYBODY, Mary-Alice uses her expert knowledge (derived entirely from her mystery reading) to deal with a strange missing-person case while Ida Belle and Gertie are out of town. In THE VANISHING VICTIM, Mary-Alice is eager to join Gertie and Fortune to do whatever it takes to save Ida Belle from a terrible injustice. ALOHA Y’ALL takes the action from the bayous to the Big Island. BLACK WIDOW VALLEY gives Sheriff Robert E. Lee a turn in the spotlight, and brings Mary-Alice way up to New York State.


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