New Hamptons Murder Mystery: Death on West End Road by Carrie Doyle

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Like a basket of warm cinnamon buns, an unsolved crime is something that Hamptons innkeeper and sleuth Antonia Bingham just can’t resist. Despite a busy high-season schedule and an inn booked to capacity, Antonia has agreed to investigate a cold case in her beloved adopted hometown, East Hampton, NY: the killing of Susie Whitaker, whose brutal 1990 slaying on a tennis court in the poshest part of town was never solved. And the person who has hired Antonia? Prime suspect Pauline Framingham, a manipulative pharmaceutical heiress from a powerful family. The crime scene is compromised, the circumstances are complicated, and former witnesses are cagey, haunted and very reluctant to revisit what happened on that sun-splashed afternoon decades earlier. As Antonia attempts to unravel the mysteries of the past she unearths even darker secrets and ultimately wonders if it would have been best to let sleeping dogs lie. To make matters worse, past acquaintances and love interests reappear in the Hamptons, disrupting Antonia’s world and causing her to scurry to the fridge for comfort.

Death on West End Road is the third book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery Series. Along with a colorful cast of supporting characters, the beating heart of the book is Antonia Bingham, restaurateur, gourmand, and nosy carb-lover.

Praise for Death on Windmill Way by Carrie Doyle:
“Doyle is an enthusiastic guide for Long Island’s East End village…fun and satisfying”
–Kirkus Reviews

“…a fast-paced, cozy mystery story set within the well-heeled confines of East Hampton, New York…[it] will keep audiences guessing right up until the end…”
–Foreword reviews


Island Confidential: Antonia, welcome back to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers something about yourself that we might not know?

Antonia Bingham: Despite the fact that I am chatty and love to engage with people I actually can be quite secretive. I think the readers would be shocked to know that I am planning a trip. Pretty soon I will be heading back to California and I will confront my past. It’s time that I come face to face with my fears and ensure that my ex-husband will never harm me again or anyone else for that matter. No one who knows me would imagine that I am planning this, and if they knew they would surely stop me. That’s why no one can know.

Are you and Joseph Fowler still on good terms? Does he have any competition in the BFF department?

AB: Joseph Fowler, the acclaimed author of many award winning historical novels is my best friend and really like a father to me. I am so lucky I have him in my life. But recently, believe it or not, Larry Lipper, the annoying crime reporter from The East Hampton Star, has been instrumental to me. Now I definitely do not want to say we get along best—he’s irritating, vain, narcissistic and believes every woman is in love with him. But actually, I was recently asked to solve a cold case and it was Larry who was my wingman. He helped me more than I could imagine.

Now that you and Larry seem to have declared a truce, is there any other character do you have a conflict with? 

AB: I have a one-sided imaginary conflict with Melanie Wells, a famous actress and the wife of Nick Darrow, the famous actor. The truth is, I have a giant crush on him and wish she were not around. I know that’s terrible, terrible! But they have such a toxic relationship to begin with that it makes me angry. I despise how she treats him. Okay, of course I only know his side of things. But still. Look, I know I am no competition to a gorgeous movie star, but a girl can dream, right?

Last time we spoke, your told me your author, Carrie Doyle, was procrastinating. But now it sounds like she’s been working hard and might want to take a little time for herself!

AB: I think that like me, she spent too much time in the kitchen this year and needs to get out and enjoy the sun! East Hampton is beautiful so I would encourage her to take a bike ride or go for a swim in the ocean. There is so much to see and do away from the desk and the computer and summer is so short!

What’s next for you?

AB: A mysterious man has booked the inn for a weekend and several guests will be joining him. They are all addressed by pseudonyms. It all sounds very creepy and dramatic but I am looking forward to it!


About the Author:

 

Carrie Doyle was the founding Editor-in- Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire Magazine. She is currently a Contributing Editor of Hamptons Magazine and has written extensively for Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and has also written for Women’s Health and Avenue on the Beach. With Jill Kargman, Carrie co-wrote the film Intern (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), as well as several screenplays sold to Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Films and the Oxygen Network. Carrie and Jill co-wrote five books together, including three teen books for HarperCollins and two bestselling women’s fiction books, The Right Address and Wolves in Chic Clothing (Broadway Books). Carrie also penned the popular novel The Infidelity Pact (Broadway Books). Carrie lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is currently at work on an animated series for broadcast as well as her new series, the Hamptons Murder Mysteries.

 

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New Bakeshop Mystery: A Crime of Passion (Fruit)

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Torte―everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop―is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .

Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary . .

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” ―Fresh Fiction

“A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.”
―Library Journal

 

 


About The Author  

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

 

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First in Series Country Music Murder Mystery: Killer Music by Tammy L. Grace (with a guest post)

 

When private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington meets record label mogul Grayson Taylor at a swank gathering of country music artists and politicians he never imagines he’ll be investigating his brutal murder less than twenty-four hours later.

 

The suspects are plentiful. More than a handful of people could have wanted him dead. Retained by Taylor’s widow, Coop works alongside his best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben Mason. The investigation leads Coop and Ben to visit the luxurious mansions of recording industry magnates, navigate the murky undercurrents of the political world, and probe complicated family matters. Scandalous indiscretions, secrets, and hints of corruption swirl in the midst of their pursuit of the killer.

Coop’s faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle and his loyal golden retriever, Gus, both lend a hand during the investigation. Even his Aunt Camille mines the local gossip mill to unearth potential killers with motive. Yet the case seems hopeless until a crucial piece of evidence emerges that sends Coop and Ben on a race to catch the killer before someone else dies.


Characters and Setting
Tammy L. Grace

I love to write for the same reasons I read—enjoyment and escape. I’ve been an avid reader all my life and find myself most attracted to characters in novels. Not to say I don’t pay attention to plot, but if push comes to shove, I’ll stick with a character I like over a well-developed plot with mediocre personas. I’m embarrassed to admit, but many times I remember the main character’s name in a book, rather than the author’s name.

I need to relate to the character and more importantly, I need to care about what happens to her. I read a bestselling novel not long ago and despite the rave reviews, hated it because I didn’t care about any of the characters. I thought they were all horrible and frankly didn’t care what happened to any of them…live or die.

When I’m creating my main characters I work hard to make them believable and relatable. The female protagonists in my Hometown Harbor series are all women with whom I’d enjoy spending my free time. I strive to create individuals readers love or sometimes love to hate. I believe central characters should be memorable.

Speaking of villains, they’re rather fun to construct. I take a lot of time with my characters and keep a notebook full of traits and characteristics for each of them. I pay attention when I’m out and about and take note of peculiarities or mannerisms I observe. When it comes to the bad apples, I tend to extract the most detestable traits I’ve seen and concoct an amalgamation to form the perfect evil character. It’s a fun exercise and as an author I enjoy embellishing a minor irritating quality I’ve noticed and turning it into a revolting character. This is especially fun in my mystery series where I get to create lots of suspects.

In my Cooper Harrington series I chose to use a male protagonist with a strong female supporting character in Annabelle. I made this choice because I wanted to differentiate my novels from the typical female amateur sleuth type of story. My mysteries are full of twists, but leave out the gore, sex, and violence associated with many of the typical male detective characters in the genre. Coop is capable, but quirky. Endearing and hardworking. He’s a forty-something bachelor and a chronic insomniac with commitment issues. He’s addicted to caffeine and lives with his wealthy aunt. His relationship with his mother is, uh…complicated and Coop spends more time with his dog than anyone else. He’s loveable and the reader cares about him, but he doesn’t overshadow the whole point of the book—solving the murder.

With Coop I focus mostly on the plot, revealing bits about the main characters, but the overriding theme of the book is the whodunit, not the character relationships. Readers tell me how much they like Coop and Annabelle and I must confess they are two of my favorite characters. But the plot drives the mystery, which is the exact opposite of the Hometown Harbor series where the whole story revolves around the lives of the characters and their emotional journeys.

I chose Nashville for the setting of my mystery series after a trip there a few years ago. I loved the area and while driving around the idea for a mystery series began to form. I found the perfect spot for a murder and the plot started to percolate. From there I built the characters and have since collected more ideas for upcoming cases for Coop. I do extensive research online and incorporate my own observations from my visits to give the reader an authentic experience. I want the reader to feel like they’ve visited Nashville or Friday Harbor after reading my books.

The Hometown Harbor series is my women’s fiction series and each book focuses on a different female protagonist. All of the women are connected through friendship and their lives are intertwined in the small island community of Friday Harbor. Each woman faces struggles that take her on an emotional journey of self-discovery. Complex family relationships and enduring friendships are key elements for the group of women. The choices they often have to make are difficult and risky.

While my mystery series is more of a fast-paced whodunit (on the cozy side), readers find my Hometown Harbor series to be relaxing and often describe them as books that transport them to another place. In this case, the gorgeous San Juan Islands. For me the quaint island community that is the setting almost becomes another character. They are an ideal read for vacations, relaxing breaks, or just an escape from everyday life. I tend to indulge in books as a reward to myself and they are the perfect calorie-free treat.

The female leads are more mature women in their 40’s and 50’s. I made this choice for a few reasons—I don’t relate to the twenty-something crowd and I think women of a certain age are underrepresented in mainstream novels, but have the most to offer readers.

The Cooper Harrington Detective Novels are designed to be stand-alone books, but I think they’re better when read in order, so start with Killer Music—it’s an award-winning mystery. Deadly Connection was released last year and I have plans for the third one to be released in 2018.

The Hometown Harbor Series has to be read in order, so start with Finding Home. I’m finishing up the fifth one now and it will be released in the summer of 2017.

I love to hear from readers and invite you to follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tammylgrace.books or Amazon http://www.amazon.com/author/tammylgrace or visit my website at http://www.tammylgrace.com to contact me. I’d love to add you to my newsletter and send you some free content just for subscribing. You’ll be the first to know about book news, blog posts, contests, and giveaways.


About The Author  

Tammy L. Grace is the award-winning author of The Hometown Harbor Series of women’s fiction set in the picturesque San Jan Islands in Washington and a mystery series set in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring Cooper Harrington, Private Detective.

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

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From Dorothy Cannell, “The American P.G. Wodehouse”: The Trouble with Harriet

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In a murder mystery so charming it could only have come from Dorothy Cannell—hailed by Nancy Pickard as “America’s P. G. Wodehouse”—Ellie Haskell is shocked when her long-lost father shows up on her doorstep with some rather . . . compromising baggage.

Ellie Haskell and her husband, Ben, haven’t taken a vacation in years. Now their suitcases are packed, their tickets are booked, and they’re ready for a romantic getaway in France. But everything goes awry after a chain-smoking fortune teller makes a dire prediction: “Take that trip at your peril!” Those ominous words ring true when Ellie’s prodigal father, Morley, suddenly appears with the remains of his ladylove, Harriet, whose untimely death in a car accident has left him bereft.

But after Morley loses the urn in a bizarre series of events, Harriet’s family is furious. Now a bewildered Ellie finds herself asks some probing questions: Who or what was in that urn? Could her father be a pawn in a deadly game? And what exactly is the meaning of that darn prophecy? Ellie just hopes she lives to find out whether the answers are worth the trouble.

Praise for Dorothy Cannell and the Ellie Haskell series

“A thoroughly entertaining series.”—Cosmopolitan

“It is the absurd predicaments of her central characters that readers find themselves recalling, and Cannell is cunning at devising outlandish situations for them.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Cannell is a master of subtle wit and humorous asides that lift her cozies to great heights. Before the influx of writers trying to out-humor Janet Evanovich, there was Dorothy Cannell. Long may she write!”—Library Journal

 

 


 

About the Author:

 

Dorothy was born in Nottingham, England and came to the U.S. in 1963. She married Julian Cannell and they lived in Peoria, Illinois, from 1965 to 2004. They then moved to Maine where they now reside with their two dogs, Teddy and Watson.

Dorothy became an aspiring writer after taking English 110 at Illinois Central College and being encouraged to write for publication by the class teacher. Seven years later she sold her first short story.

Her first novel, The Thin Woman published in 1984 has been selected as one of the 100 favorite mysteries of the Twentieth Century by the Mystery Book Sellers of America. In 2014, Dorothy received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Malice Domestic. Dorothy has published eighteen novels and a collection of short stories.

 

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New Teddy Bear Shop Mystery: Bearly Departed by Meg Macy

>>>Enter to win Gummi Bears, a teddy bear and a Print Copy of the book <<<

As manager of the family teddy bear shop and factory, thirty-one-year-old Sasha Silverman leads a charmed life. Well, except for the part about being a single divorcée with a ticking biological clock in small-town Silver Hollow. And that’s just kid’s stuff compared to Will Taylor, the sales rep who’s set on making drastic changes to the business her parents built from scratch—with or without Sasha’s approval . . .

 

But before Will digs his claws in, someone pulls the stuffing out of his plan . . . and leaves his dead body inside the factory. Reeling from shock, Sasha’s hit with more bad news—police suspect her hot-tempered Uncle Ross may have murdered him. Sasha knows her uncle would never do such a thing, and she’s launching her own little investigation to expose the truth. As she tracks Will’s biggest rivals and enemies for clues, Sasha can’t get too comfy—or she’ll become the next plaything for a killer

 


About The Author  

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the area she chose for the setting of her new “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mystery series for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series; two books have been named Agatha Award finalists. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. She’s a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Meg loves reading mysteries, historicals, and other genre fiction, and also enjoys gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

 

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Who is your favorite fictional professor?

The Chronicle of Higher Education wants to know: Who is your favorite fictional professor?

Fictional characters exhibit some of the distinct qualities — whether weird, malicious, or magical — of real-life instructors. So we want to know: Who is your favorite fictional professor?

To respond, fill out this form. The Chronicle of Higher Education plans to share the responses in future coverage.


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New Country Club Murder Mystery: Watching the Detectives

>>>Enter to win an ebook by Julie Mulhern!<<<

Ellison Russell wanted a decorator, not a corpse. Too bad she finds Mrs. White in the study killed with a revolver. Things go from bad to worse when she finds Mr. White in the dining room killed with a candlestick. With so many bodies, is it any wonder Detective Anarchy Jones’ new partner considers Ellison a suspect?

With the country club gossips talking a mile a minute, an unexpected cocktail party, a visit from Aunt Sis, and a romantic decision, Ellison hardly has time to think about murder. Unfortunately, the killer has plenty of time to think about her.


Guest Post by Julie Mulhern

The world has changed.

Hardly news. But…

The Country Club Murders are set in the 1970s and recently, I blithely wrote about a get-together party to watch a basketball game on television. After all, there’s a basketball game on television at least eight months of the year. Right?

Wrong.

Not in 1975. There were three stations with prime-time line-ups. That was it. No ESPN. Sports viewing was limited to weekends and Monday nights.

The world has changed.

In 1975, phones had cords.

In 1975, the national speed limit was 55 mph.

In 1975, you’ve come a long way, baby was somehow meant to be empowering and smoking was a dieting trick.

In 1975, no one texted, Facebooked, posted on Instagram, tweeted, or blogged.

In 1975, if a mother wanted to know where her ten year-old was, she stepped out on the front stoop and yelled, “Julie, come home!” And Julie went home.

In 1975, Casey Kasem counted down the hits on a list that included Elton John, Glen Campbell, the Rolling Stones, and Abba.

In 1975, the term “domestic violence” was freshly coined and the abuse that term represented was little understood.

In 1975, it was widely (erroneously) believed domestic disturbance calls were the most dangerous type for responding officers. Perhaps that explains their usual response—telling men to cool off and instructing women not to upset their husbands.

In 1975, I was eight years-old. Aside from phone cords, being called home when my mother wanted me, and Casey Kasem, the seventies that appear in the Country Club Murders is based on research not memory.

I’m curious, what are your memories from the 70s?


About The Author  

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. Julie spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean is an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog, and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Julie Mulhern

 

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A new Blossom Valley Mystery: Marriage is Pure Murder by Staci McLaughlin

>>>Enter to win a paper copy of Marriage Is Pure Murder by Staci McLaughlin (U.S. Only)<<<

Wedding bells are ringing at the O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa in California’s postcard-perfect Blossom Valley. The entire staff is pitching in to send one of their own down the aisle. But no one knew the nuptials could turn up so many secrets—or that marriage and murder could go hand in hand . . .

Dana Lewis is marrying Jason Forrester, a talented reporter and the love of her life. She couldn’t dream of a better venue than the farm where she works, and her friends are determined to give her the wedding of her dreams. Even her florist, Bethany Lancaster, is making sure she has just the right flowers. But Dana’s happiness wilts when she finds Bethany shot dead—and discovers her friend was a busybody with a blackmail list longer than a cathedral veil. With so many enemies, finding Bethany’s killer seems all but impossible. And when Dana herself is eyed as a suspect, she’ll have to chase down the culprit faster than she can say, “I do”—or she’ll be trading in her wedding dress for prison stripes.


Island Confidential: Staci, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, Dana Lewis?

Staci McLaughlin:  Dana is in her late twenties and living on her own when she is unexpectedly laid off from her marketing job in the San Francisco Bay Area. She finds herself moving back to the small Northern California town where she grew up. Now she has to put her life back together and rethink her career while living with her mom and annoying younger sister.

How much of you is in Dana?  How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

SM:  Dana is a lot like me. We share the same core values and interests. She tries her best, even when she doesn’t always succeed, and values her family. I think Dana and I would have a lot of fun together, especially since we both love junk food!

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

SM:  Yes, definitely. Dana starts out a little uncertain about where her life is headed in the first book, but in each progressive book she starts to gain confidence in both her career and her personal life. Similarly, her younger sister Ashlee, who is an absolute brat in the first book, matures somewhat as the books progress.

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

A:  Not yet! I’ve heard of writers doing that, but I can’t think of anyone I have ever been so mad at that I would wish them dead, either on the page or in real life.

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

SM: Blossom Valley is a fictional town, but it is loosely based on Ukiah, a real town in Northern California where I grew up. The population of Blossom Valley is considerably smaller, and the town more closely resembles the Ukiah of my childhood rather than today, but it has the same atmosphere and kinds of people. One thing I like about using a fictional place is the flexibility. I can create a new business at the spur of the moment if needed or add other features that are important to the plot.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

SM: I love how you say, “when”! I think Jennifer Lawrence would be a good pick for Dana, since Dana is mostly practical but can also be a bit goofy. Ryan Reynolds would be great as Dana’s love interest, Jason.

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

SM: The best advice I have ever received was to just keep writing. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you get. When I make sure to write every day, it’s much easier to get into the proper mindset and come up with ideas. If I don’t write for a week or longer, it can take me a day or two to get back into the rhythm.

I guess the worst advice would be to write what you know. If I were to stick to only what I know, it would be a very short book! Plus, one of the fun aspects of writing is doing research and learning about new topics. I love to then share that information with the readers.


About The Author

Staci McLaughlin graduated from the California State University, East Bay before becoming a technical writer for a number of years. Now she is a stay-at-home mom and a cozy mystery writer in my spare time (Ha!). Once she can wrangle the kids into bed, my husband and I enjoy watching scary movies and playing both board games and video games.

She is currently a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, as well as a contributor to the LadyKillers blog. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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New Paranormal Cozy Cat Mystery from Vicki Vass: Bloodline

>>> Enter to win a coffee mug and a print copy of the book <<<

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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