A New Provincetown Mystery: Murder at Fantasia Fair by Jeannette de Beauvoir


Wedding coordinator Sydney Riley never thought she’d get caught up in a murder investigation, but she became an amateur sleuth when her boss was killed during Bear Week. Now she’s back, this time as the Race Point Inn hosts Provincetown’s venerable transgender event, Fantasia Fair… and murder is once again an uninvited guest!


It’s all hands on deck at the inn as visitors arrive for the week-long event and Sydney helps coordinator Rachel Parsons organize the occasion. Guest Elizabeth Gonzalez is attending with her spouse, Bob, who–as Angela–is taking a bold first step into a whole new existence. Angela, Elizabeth, and Sydney learn the ropes and politics from other guests, some of whom have attended annually for more than forty years.

But the next day, Sydney’s detective friend summons her to one of the town beaches where Angela’s body has been found–with a knife in her back, a knife stolen from Adrienne, the Race Point Inn’s diva chef.

Fair organizers and attendees try and carry on as Provincetown is overrun with police, press, and rampant speculation. Sydney, her boyfriend Ali, her friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, and a host of Fantasia Fair participants scramble to find out who killed Angela–and why–before the killer strikes again.

Guest Post

I’d been living in Provincetown for about eight years when my friend Michelle said to me, “Seriously, why do you keep writing books that take place in Montréal and Boston? You live in a postcard here!”

She was right, of course; I do live in a postcard. We were having this conversation at the Provincetown Bookshop, and Deborah immediately said, “She’s right. We could absolutely sell Provincetown mysteries!”

I tucked that into the back of my mind—I was very engaged with my Montréal series at the time—but returned to it when a new publisher, interested specifically in Ptown books and Ptown authors, contacted me over a historical novel he was interested in publishing. Several conversations—and several bottles of wine!—later, we’d come up with a new series that takes place during Provincetown’s “theme weeks,” when the town is overrun with all sorts of holidaying folks, from Family Week to the Portuguese Festival to Women’s Week and beyond.

And along with the new series is, of course, a new protagonist, Sydney Riley, wedding consultant for a fictional Provincetown inn. Like me, Sydney’s lived here for a few years, and like me, she has friends in all the different communities that coexist at Land’s End. When the first theme week murder—of her boss, the owner of the inn—plunged her into amateur sleuthing, I took it as an opportunity to explore all the different events and occasions that Provincetown offers its visitors.

Murder at Fantasia Fair is the second in the series, and deals with a subject that’s not for the faint of heart to take on: a transgender woman attending the annual week-long event has been found with a knife in her back, and Sydney—and her author creator!—must learn about this challenging community.

I say challenging, because that’s what it is to the uninitiated. Transgender identity is both a concept and a community that’s in flux, and its complexities are sometimes baffling to an outsider such as myself. It encompasses a wide range of people, from those who see themselves a “gender fluid” to those who have surgery to bring their physical beings into alignment with their psychological and social ones. It challenges language (unlike Mandarin, for example, English doesn’t have a gender-neutral personal pronoun), it challenges politics (transgender women didn’t grow up with the same experiences as those who navigated society as a girl), and it challenges one’s level of comfort with those who are different from oneself.

All that, and a couple of murders, too!

So join Sydney and her cast of characters—her boyfriend Ali, her best friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, her police detective friend Julie, and the inn’s diva chef Adrienne—as they try to figure out who wants the Fair’s attendees dead… before Sydney herself becomes one of the victims!


The inn looked fantastic: I had to give Glenn that. Well, it had always looked fantastic, but there was a certain gaiety about the place today that had me humming the moment I got in. Rachel Parsons, the coordinator for Fantasia Fair, was standing beside the front desk, calmly ticking off items on a clipboard. I tapped her on the shoulder. “Hey, Rachel.”

She glanced at me. “Good morning, Sydney,” she said. “You look awful.”

“Thanks ever so much,” I said sourly. “Couldn’t sleep.”

“They make pills for that sort of thing nowadays,” she observed, her eyes back on her paperwork.

“None that are available at three in the morning.”

She glanced at me, amused. “You should live in New York City,” she said. “There’s nothing that you can’t get at three in the morning there.”

“Thanks, but no thanks.” Provincetown’s just the right size for me. In the winter I can go to the Stop & Shop and recognize everybody I see there. In the summer the town is flooded with visitors; and, in some way or another, most of us who live here year-round make our livings catering to those visitors. Sometimes I think it’s the contrast between the two seasons that’s most appealing. “Anyway, my cat would have kept me awake even with pills. He snores.”

“Cats snore?” She stared at me, momentarily distracted. “Who knew?”

“Stick with me. I’ll fill your head with all sorts of useless facts.” I slid past the counter to the space where I worked, tucked aside from the day-to-day business of the inn: a roll top desk, a very big calendar, and a wastepaper basket. My domain, such as it was. “Anyone arrive yet?”

“Heavens, yes,” Rachel said. “The meet-and-greet isn’t until six o’clock tonight, it always is, but that’s never stopped people from getting here early, and already there are about a million questions.”

I sat down and opened my laptop. “You must be used to it,” I said.

She sighed. “Yes, I suppose I must.”

I looked up at her. Rachel is tall—well, many trans women are, having begun life as males—and seemed even taller from where I was sitting. “You suppose you must? That doesn’t sound so positive. Isn’t that your job?”

“Of course it is. But sometimes I feel like, gosh, maybe they can just look at the schedule I hand them, or even go all-out and Google something for themselves. How far to the Monument?” She rolled her eyes. “How far is it? You can see the frigging Monument from here.”

“Ah, that kind of question,” I said, nodding sagely. “Welcome to my world.” I grinned. “Last week, someone asked me what we do with the Monument in the winter. I wanted to say that we roll it up and put it in storage.”

Rachel laughed. “Tourists. Gotta love them.”

“Well, that, or starve,” I said cheerfully.


Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she’s not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing. The author of a number of mystery and historical novels, de Beauvoir’s work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley. More at JeannettedeBeauvoir.com

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New first in series: Engaged in Trouble (An Enchanted Events Mystery Book 1)

>>> Enter to win an e-copy of Engaged in Trouble <<<
When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.
Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.

Jenny, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist? 

JBJ: Paisley Sutton is a former member of an uber popular girl band. If you think about the band Destiny’s Child, there’s at least one member you might not be able to name. That’s Paisley. She rose to fame as a teen, but now over ten years later, she’s barely getting gigs singing on cruise ships. When she unexpectedly inherits her great-aunt’s mothball ridden wedding business, Paisley moves back to Sugar Creek, Arkansas, planning to keep the business afloat long enough to sell the vintage home its housed in and cash in the profits. But when she rolls in to Sugar Creek, she realizes the moldy business is now a booming event planning agency, which is just the beginning of her complications. A dead bride in a waiting room doesn’t help either.

How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

JBJ: I’d love to meet Paisley in real life. She wears her funky stage clothes to work, has stories of rock stars to tell, and has a gun-toting granny who’s former CIA in her corner. But Paisley’s also battling some demons and is the underdog. I’ll always root for the underdog. 
Paisley might be like me in a few ways—she’s sarcastic, likes to keep things on the bright side, and has a grandmother she adores.

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

JBJ: I’m just finishing book two, Royally in Trouble, but the series is somewhat planned out. Paisley really struggles with self-esteem issues and earning the approval of her super successful parents. Her siblings are brainiacs, and Paisley’s always been the artsy gypsy who never quite fit their mold of what success should look like. Through the series she has to slowly let go of the old dreams to grab hold of the new ones life is offering her, including a romance with a man who was once her childhood enemy.

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

JBJ: Ha, no, but maybe I need to up my game? I have named some bad guys or annoying characters after a few people who’ve crossed my path who weren’t the kindest.

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

JBJ: My setting is very realistic. It’s set in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, which is an interesting blend of Mayberry meets Los Angeles. It’s the home of Wal-Mart, which means that celebrities are occasionally there to do business with the mega retailer. The downtowns in the area cities have undergone renovations and are rebuilding and rebranding, including some downhome stores/restaurants, as well as some trendy, urban upper scale venues. So you might go eat a favorite Mexican restaurant, walk the square, hear some bluegrass, and even see someone like Tom Cruise or Hugh Jackman. Sugar Creek is a fictional town on a very real creek that nestles next to these Northwest Arkansas cities. And a Rockwell town is a perfect place to have a fictional murder, right? The locals all seem so innocent…

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

JBJ: I’m not totally sure, but I do know I want a walk-on part. I think Emma Stone would make a great Paisley, and for her romantic interest, I’ve been modeling him after an actor named Ross Marquand. Luke Evans is welcome to audition as well. I wouldn’t turn him down, though I might make him go through a few call backs.

What’s the best advice you’ve had as an author?

JBJ: Six months before I got my first contract, I was at my first writing conference. I had paid to have a few chapters of my manuscript reviewed by an author I admired. She asked me if I had pitched to any agents or editors. I said, “No, I was told not to since my book isn’t done.” And she said words I will never forget. “The rules are made for everyone but you.” In other words, push through those barriers and doors. Assume the answer is yes until you hear a no. Assume you can be an exception. Expect a miracle. Years later that author and I are now friends, but I’ll be her fangirl forever and owe her so much. She passed my few chapters on to a publisher, and six months later, I had the contract that launched my career.

About The Author

Award-winning, best-selling author Jenny B. Jones writes romance, cozies, and YA with sass and Southern charm. Since she has very little free time, Jenny believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as eating ice cream, watching puppy videos, and reading celebrity gossip. She lives in the beautiful state of Arkansas and has worked in public education for half of forever.  She loves bluegrass, a good laugh, and strong tea. She adores hearing from readers.

Webpage: www.JennyBJones.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jennybjones/
Twitter: @jenbjones

Instagram: @JennyBJonesAuthor
Good Reads: www.goodreads.com/JennyBJones

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New Wedding Planner Mystery: Dying on the Vine by Marla Cooper

>>>Enter to win a hardcover copy of Dying on the Vine<<<

When wedding planner Kelsey McKenna goes to the Wine Country Wedding Faire, the last thing she expects to do is take on new clients. After all, she’s just there to help out her friend Brody and maybe score some free cupcakes. But when a young couple in a pinch asks for her help, she just can’t say no.

There’s only one problem: they’d been working with Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings—and things did not end well. Kelsey wants to make sure there are no hard feelings, but unfortunately she never gets the chance. When she goes to Babs’ office, she finds the wedding planner dead on the floor.

Babs’ high-strung assistant Stefan knows exactly who killed Babs: Kelsey. At least, that’s what he very publicly accuses her of at Babs’ funeral. When Kelsey decides to do a little sleuthing to clear her name, she uncovers a myriad of secrets and lies. And when a second wedding planner is attacked, Kelsey begins to wonder if she might be next.

Set against the stunning backdrop of California wine country, Marla Cooper’s Dying on the Vine is a mystery brimming with gossip, wine, and, of course…murder.

Aloha Marla, and thanks for stopping by! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist? 

Marla Cooper: Kelsey McKenna is a destination wedding planner who lives in San Francisco. She has a fun job that’s the envy of everyone she meets—but it’s not all international flights and champagne toasts. She also has to deal with tricky family dynamics… and an occasional murder.

How much of you is in Kelsey?

MC: There’s a lot of me in Kelsey. I love planning and organizing, and we also share the same sense of humor. Her best friend Brody is based on two of my real-life BFFs, and I love writing scenes where they’re together, because they banter in the exact same way we do. If I ever met her, we’d probably have tons of fun—or we’d find each other completely annoying in that way you do sometimes when you meet someone who is too similar.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life—on the pages of a murder mystery?

MC: Absolutely! In Dying on the Vine, a certain high-strung wedding planner is based on a former co-worker, and in Terror in Taffeta, the bridesmaid who dies may or may not share the same first name as my college roommate who was just as impossible as her fictional counterpart.

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

MC: Each book in my series takes place in a different real-life location, and I love to give the reader a real sense of the setting. Terror in Taffeta is set in San Miguel de Allende, and you can’t write about it without mentioning the cobblestone streets, the gothic church that looms over the town plaza, or, of course, the tequila donkey (a local wedding tradition). Dying on the Vine is set in the California wine country, and although I didn’t use their actual names, each winery, restaurant and bed and breakfast is based on a real place.

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

MC: I like the way you say “when” instead of “if”! The first book in the series, Terror in Taffeta, is actually under option right now, so someone could be sitting in a room discussing this very topic at this very moment. I usually pick Cristin Milioti to play Kelsey, but I just saw a movie with Anna Kendrick and I think she could pull off the humor really well. (Anna, if you’re reading this, call me!)

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

MC: There’s something I’ve seen bandied about on Twitter a lot, and someone liked it enough to turn into a graphic, but it’s never resonated with me at all: “Writers write. Every single day. Period.” I’m a writer, and I don’t write every single day. Sometimes you’re between projects. Sometimes you’re out experiencing life so that you have something to write about. Sometimes you’re in the hospital undergoing a minor surgery, or perhaps driving across country. If you told me I really did have to write every single day, I’d turn in my laptop right now.

On the flip side, there is a kernel of truth in that rather strict maxim. When you’re in the middle of a project, you should write consistently so that you don’t lose momentum. And you should definitely learn to write even when you don’t feel like it—because sometimes you’re just not going to feel like it. So yes, if you want to be a writer, you do have to actually do the writing. But please, take a weekend off every once in a while.

About The Author  

As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives inOakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

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Character Interview and #Giveaway: Wedding Planner Kelsey McKenna from Terror in Taffeta

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Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.

Terror in Taffeta Book cover

Q: Kelsey, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

A: First of all, there’s the whole marriage thing. Everyone assumes that since I’m a wedding planner, I secretly want to get married. But really, that’s like saying you secretly want to be an elephant because you work at the zoo. No, I chose wedding planning as my career because I’m organized and resourceful and I love a good party. Plus, it is pretty fun getting to be there on one of the biggest days of people’s lives.
I really do love my job, and I love traveling to different places. Take San Miguel de Allende, for example. It’s a really magical place, with cobblestone streets and a three-hundred-year-old gothic church sitting on the town plaza. A lot of artists live there, and most people who go there end up falling in love with it. If I ever do get married, I could see doing it in San Miguel. Or in a Tuscan villa. Or on a private beach on some faraway island… Actually, the expectations would be so high that I’d probably just elope.

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

A: Brody Marx. He’s an amazing wedding photographer, so I always recommend him to my clients—which works out pretty well because I love it when he gets to come along with me on a wedding. There’s nothing romantic between us, because I’m not his type. In fact, I’m off by a whole Y chromosome. But he’s a good guy to have on your side when you’re trying to juggle wedding planning and fighting crime. I always have to bite my tongue in front of clients, but when it’s just the two of us, I can say whatever I’m thinking and he doesn’t judge. Well, maybe a little. But we have fun.

Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?

A: I had a hard time with the mother of the bride, Mrs. Abernathy. I can get along with anyone, and I’m used to demanding clients, but she must have thought I had magical powers, because she fully expected me to fix everything that went wrong, even though I’m pretty sure investigating a murder wasn’t part of my contract. I did it though, because I hate saying no to my clients. After all, my whole business is built on referrals, so I do whatever it takes to make them happy. That’s something I should probably work on.

Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author,  Marla Cooper?

A: We have a lot of fun together! She and I share a similar sense of humor, and she loves it when Brody and I get going. I catch her eavesdropping on us all the time and sometimes we say things that make her laugh out loud. She also doesn’t mind when I’m cranky from having to bite my tongue around my clients all day long. Sassy chicks unite!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m planning a wedding in the California wine country. It’s a little awkward, because my clients were using a rival wedding planner, then they fired her and hired me. I’m sure it’ll all be fine, though. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?






About The Author  


As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives inOakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

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