The authors of the Ever After Mysteries are celebrating today’s release of my newest book! Enjoy a little mystery this week and be sure to get your copy of A TROLL FALLS on Amazon at this link!
“I just found it on the porch,” I told my daughter as we put up the groceries.
“Well, it’s a lovely rose.” My daughter collected the bags and put them in our storage bin.
“Not such a lovely message, though.” I tugged the ribbon that held the card in place and pulled it through the hole in the card, untangling it from the leaves of the flower. Leaving the flower on the counter, I squatted and dug through the lower cabinet to find the heart-shaped bud vase that had belonged to my mother. “And it was rather strange to just find it laying on the doorstep.”
“No one rang the bell,” my daughter said. “The dogs would have thrown a fit, and I never left my office. I would have heard it too.”
“Strange.” I shut the cabinet and paused. “You didn’t leave it there did you?”
She halted and tilted her head. “Really, Mom? If I’m going to spend the big bucks to get flowers for you, then I’m sure as heck gonna take credit for them.”
I chuckled. “True enough.” I filled the vase and picked up the bud. “Ouch.”
I dropped it immediately and stuck my finger in my mouth. One of the ugly thorns that covered the stem caught my finger just above the knuckle.
“You’re bleeding.” She trotted to the bathroom and came back with an antiseptic and a bandage. “Who leaves so many thorns on a flower, especially when it’s a gift?”
I stuck my finger under the faucet. “Someone who uses a rose to camouflage a threat.”
“You think it’s a threat?” She dabbed my finger with a kitchen towel and then sprayed it with an antiseptic.
“I do.” I flinched as the burn connected with my exposed nerve endings. “What else could it be?” I smoothed the bandage around my finger.
“Maybe we’re missing something.” She collected the trash and tossed it in the wastebasket. “Maybe one of the other authors like Chautana Having wanted to congratulate you about your coming release.”
“That could be.” I slipped an oven mitt on my injured hand and snipped several of the thorns and most of the leaves from the stem before dropping it into the vase. “I should give Chautona a call just to see. If she did send the flower, then I want to thank her.”
“Even with the thorns?” My daughter laughed, picked up her coffee, and went back to her office.
I reached for the card that had come with it. I should probably just toss it in the trash and not think about it again, but the message bugged me. How else could it be taken except as a threat? Surely, Chautona wouldn’t have been threatening me, though.
What type of wicked troll would send a note like this?
They must have gone together at some point! See in the 1940s, when my book A TROLL FALLS is set, Dallas had the most amazing downtown. Elm Street was still considered the Broadway of the Southwest. And then there was the Century Ballroom at the Adolphus Hotel.
The Ice Skating shows began in 1943 and ran until 1965. This article actually has a film clip from many of the shows at the Adolphus itself.
When the ice show ended, a dance floor skimmed into place over the ice and Herman Waldman and his Orchestra continued to play long into the night. This was the date that my character, Ruby Stedman, had with her new beau. Ruby, with her perfect complexion and elegantly coifed brunette hair must have looked amazing in the Dior creation that Mrs. Halling let her borrow. Even if it was a couple of seasons old.
Ruby might have been a looker in the 1940s, but the young woman, an orphan by all accounts, merely served as a companion for an elderly woman in return for her room and board. How amazing it would have felt for her to wear such a dress and join the society of Dallas with a handsome, debonair man at her side.
Well . . . now that I think about it, amazing wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. In fact . . . let’s just say that Ruby has a habit of finding herself in trouble. She gives her older sister Opal all sorts of reasons to worry and pray!
It’s been a minute! Actually, it’s been closer to a year and seven months since my last release. And it was a year and eight months for the release before that one. Blows my mind how time flies!
But I do have a new book that I’m so excited about. I enjoyed releasing A GIANT MURDER as part of the historical “Ever After” mystery series. That one was set in Dallas in the 1920s, and I had a blast doing research on my grandparents and great-grandparents and their lives in my hometown.
Well, I got to revisit Dallas history again with this new book, A TROLL FALLS.
This time, the era is the late 1940s. While the first book focused on downtown, this second one actually takes place closer to where I grew up.
White Rock Lake is the backdrop for this story. My mom swam there before they closed it to swimming in the early 1950s. I used to take my kids there as a homeschooling field trip, and I still visit the beautiful Dallas Arboretum near the shores of the lake. It has the most magnificent view of downtown which is six miles away.
One of the main structures of the Dallas Arboretum is the DeGolyer House, built in the mid-1930s. It looks like a Spanish Hacienda and I had fun “borrowing” it to create the Halling Estate in my book. The house I created might be fiction, but the vistas and the sprawling lawns and gardens are very real! This is actually a postcard with the image of the DeGolyer house on it from the 1940s.
Stick around for more details about 1940s Dallas and information about A TROLL FALLS!
“Do what? Madam?” The airport security guard had introduced himself as Toussant. He had only a mild accent, but he didn’t fool me. He’d pulled me into this bare, little room for something.
“Whatever it is you’ve brought me in here for.” I wasn’t making a whole lot of sense, but such was typical when I got nervous.
“We merely want to speak to you, Madam Laine.” He gestured to a chair on one side of a small table, but I didn’t feel like sitting.
How did the man know my name? I’d just been sitting in the waiting room when he stepped up and ushered me in here. It certainly wasn’t the random choice I’d thought it was. “About what?”
“What is it that brought you to Paris, Madam?” He seated himself in the chair across the table and steepled his fingers.
I don’t know what bothered me most about the man: his condescending tone or his half-lidded eyes. But since he’d sat down, I went ahead and sat across from him. “I was in Germany, visiting a mission with one of my friends, and I decided to come to Paris, just to say that I’d seen the place, and fly out from here.” I know I’m weird, but Paris has never been one of my dream vacays. Still, when I was only a hop, skip, and jump away, I needed to see what all of the fuss was about.
“And the Louvre?” The man lifted an eyebrow in, clearly doubting all that I’d just said.
“Was open when I got here. I decided to visit.” I lifted my chin and held his gaze for a second. “What’s the look for? I like art.” My mind flitted to the painting of the dogs playing cards that had hung in my game room when I was a kid.
I liked all sorts of artistic stuff.
“You were in the Louvre this morning?”
“Yes.” What was he getting at?
“And last night?” He gave a lazy blink as though he was working at being patient with me.
And I had no idea what he was fishing for. “I stayed in a little village just over the border from Germany. I can’t pronounce the name, but the chalet was owned by a family named Fontaine.”
“Then you did not come into Paris last night.”
“No.” Wasn’t that obvious? “I traveled yesterday and stayed at the chalet. Then I drove into Paris today and went straight to the museum.”
“To see the art.” He took out a notepad and jotted something down.
“Yes.” What was with this guy?
“And then you came straight here to the airport.” He didn’t look up at me this time.
“Yes.” I had a late afternoon flight to Heathrow. Was that so odd?
The man stood and gazed down at me. “So how did you enjoy the painting of the Russian Princess?”
I thought through the rooms I’d visited. I’d made a point to put my eyes on every picture, but that didn’t mean I would remember them all. Or any of them. Well, a few stood out in my mind. And some of them had looked royal. “Was that the painting of the little girls near the roses?” They had been dressed in multiple layers, so they might have been royal.
He merely shook his head.
“Well, I liked most of what I saw, so I’m sure I liked it.” Wait, why had he asked about that specific painting? “Was there something odd about it?”
“Only that it is missing.”
So that was why I’d been pulled aside. I stood. “Okay, I really didn’t take that. The only thing from Paris that I have in my bag is a magnet for my fridge and a thimble for my collection.” Well, and a couple of photos on my phone, but they didn’t count. I pushed my carry-on toward him as the door behind me opened.
I turned in time to see another guard step in and simply shake his head.
Toussant smiled benignly. “It seems you were indeed where you said last night.”
No news to me. “So I’m free to go?”
“I do have one other question.” He eyed me again. “When did you decide to go to the Louvre? I mean, there are many sights here in Paris. And you only had time for one of them. What made you choose that particular place?”
I’d actually planned this jaunt before I’d even purchased my plane tickets. “A friend of mine back in the states talked to me about the Louvre. Come to think of it, she mentioned some painting of a princess.” I immediately wished I hadn’t added that comment.
The guard pounced on it. “And who was that friend?”
Well, at least I didn’t need to worry about that. She was safely in California. “Chautona Havig. You might have heard of her. She’s the author of over seventy books.”
“Spell, please?” He jotted down the name as I spelled it for him. She couldn’t even be a suspect since she wasn’t even in France, but he wrote it down anyway.
“Thank you for your time, Madam.” He ushered me to the door and closed it behind me. The little room in the airport hadn’t been on my list of things to see in Paris, but I was glad that at least I wouldn’t be missing my plane.
Have you been able to follow this mystery? The Ever After authors are again caught up in a theft, this time of priceless art. Follow the trail of the missing painting:
I’m so excited to celebrate with Liz Tolsma on her Ever After mystery Slashed Canvas. Here’s a little more about her new book which is now available in paperback and ebook at Amazon:
Held prisoner by all she’s lost, Katarina’s about to lose all she has.
Grand Duchess Katarina Volstova barely escaped the Russian revolution, arriving in Paris just before the birth of her twin daughters. With her heart still captive in her homeland, she haunts the Louvre each day, spending hours gazing at one painting, lost in her pain.
Not the man he once was, Timothy Smythe never returned home to England after the Great War. Instead, he hides himself away doing maintenance in the Louvre and watching the beautiful woman whose pain seems riveted on one painting.
When Katarina returns home to find her daughters and their nanny missing, the loss opens her eyes to all she has to lose now.
Frantic to find her girls, her distress causes Timothy to offer his assistance. Together they put together clues to a puzzle they must complete before the kidnapper ensures Katarina and her daughters are never reunited.
Slashed Canvas offers a retelling of The Lost Princess that mingles self-centered grief, spoiled little girls, and proof that nothing will stop a mother from saving her children.
“And gone is exactly what it was.” I tried to be nonchalant as I pulled a candy cane from beside my front walkway. I wasn’t fooling any of my neighbors, though. I never did outdoor decorating, or undecorating, as in this case. And when the police car pulled in front of the house, at least three of the houses nearby suddenly had activity at their windows.
Blinds suddenly had a kink in them. Curtains were pulled back. A crazy dog started barking and pawing in the front window at the house across the street. I knew Mrs. Myers was crouching in the dark behind the dog. She probably even had her binoculars out.
I resisted the urge to wave at her and pulled up another candy cane as I turned my attention to the young officer.
He eyed me, holding a stylus above an iPad. “I realize the poster was gone, but I need to know what happened leading up to that moment.”
“Well, there isn’t much to tell. The auctioneer announced that the freakshow poster was the next thing to be auctioned. I picked up my paddle, but I never got the chance to bid. When they revealed the item, all they revealed was a big fat empty.”
“And you . . .”
I felt the heat rise up my neck. “Well, I had a plane to catch. I couldn’t bid on the item I wanted, so what was the point of me staying?”
“You went directly to the airport?”
Sort of. I reached for another candy cane and dropped my voice to a little over a whisper. “I did have to use the ladies.”
“So you stopped along the way.”
I merely nodded at this point. I wasn’t about to go into detail. “Bottom line, I had nothing to do with the disappearance of the poster.” I shook a candy cane in his direction. “No matter what you heard from Cathe Swanson. I was only interested in it for memorabilia anyway. I’ve collected all the books of the series; why not add to the presentation. And it really is a nice poster – was a nice poster.”
“And you never went near the poster before the auction began?”
Okay, that was a different question. I certainly couldn’t outright lie about it. Even if I could force out something that might sound rather affirmative, my flaming face would give it away. Judging from my feverish cheeks, it already was. “I wanted to see the thing before I began bidding on it. You know how it is. I had to be sure it was the real thing.”
“So . . .”
I glanced up at the sky and then down the street toward the corner. Why was some officer questioning me about the auction now? Out of the blue? I spotted a car parked on the entry road to my neighborhood. Cars never parked down there. A head ducked as I looked at it. Was that Cathe Swanson? Surely not. She lived way up north, for pity’s sake.
Was that why the officer was here?
“So you were the last to view it.” This officer, young or not, wasn’t missing anything.
I thought back to the episode I’d seen. Cathe had raced out of the auction house dragging some poor terrier in a hideous Christmas sweater. A moment later, security guards followed in hot pursuit. I had the chance to check under the red drape over the picture. “I wasn’t alone. April Hayman wandered over as well. She held up one edge of the drape and I held up the other.” It had been the real thing, all right.
“I see.” He lifted one eyebrow and jotted something into his iPad.
I pointed at him with the cane. “All I did was look at it. I didn’t touch it. I wasn’t even the last one with it.”
I couldn’t really be sure about that. A few others joined us as we viewed it. “I think there were a few people there when I dropped my corner of the drape. I know April Hayman was. Have you even spoken to her?”
He ignored my question. “You’re certain she was there?”
“Yes. She had been standing right next to me and went around to the other side as I was leaving.” I took a breath, hoping this would encourage him to leave. I’d already tangled myself up in the candy cane wires and I still had about a dozen of them left to remove.
“I’ll see about this.” He didn’t even say goodbye as he strolled back to his car and got in. The dog across the street stopped barking. The curtains in the house next to it fell back into place. The blinds next door suddenly lost their kink.
I glanced toward the car parked at the corner as it pulled away. If it was Cathe Swanson, she’d been meddling in the wrong barrel. I had nothing to do with the theft no matter how much I’d wanted that poster. I pulled up another cane and solidified a huge tangle around the others and myself.
There was a reason why I didn’t do the outdoor decorating.
The authors of the Ever After series are celebrating Denise Barela’s release of Silencing the Siren, even more special because it is her premier publication! Woohoo! It’s available today on Amazon. Here’s a little more about her story:
Andrew Grayson thought he had everything… until he met her.
The indulged son of wealthy parents, Andrew has always gotten whatever he wanted almost before he knew he wanted it—clothes, gadgets… even a car! What more could a young man desire?
Enter Annabel Thompson. Freakshow mermaid extraordinaire… in a wheelchair!
Of course, her beauty attracts him. How could it not? Add to that a kind heart, and Andrew can’t help but fall for her.
Annabel’s connection with the freakshow repels his parents and their society friends. They want him to sever all ties with her and his new friends. Oh, and marry the “right” girl with the “right connections.” But he won’t do it. He’ll defy them and marry his little mermaid.
When Annabel turns up missing, declared dead, things don’t add up, Andrew begins asking some difficult questions, the most important being, “What happened to the little mermaid of the Coney Island freak show?”
Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. Silencing the Siren offers a retelling of “The Little Mermaid” that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat as you watch the story unfold.
The knock at the door interrupted my new story. Again. I was determined to complete this 1940s retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but between phone calls and errands, most of my story remained in my head.
My loveable rescue mutt started in on a tirade of protective barks when someone rang the doorbell.
Really? The Amazon delivery person was more than a little determined to get me to empty my porch. I put Rosie (aka Madam Barksalot) into her crate and went to the door.
Now, I live in the suburbs of Dallas, but even in my quiet neighborhood, I know better than to simply open my front door, broad daylight or not. But the fall wreath that I had put up last week completely blocked the peephole.
The best I could do was to crack the door open. I thought there was probably a door-to-door salesman there. Over the last couple of months, we’ve entertained cable salesmen, a roofer from down the street, and a fellow attempting to sell us new windows. Well, and a girl scout, but since she came bringing me extra thin mints, I won’t count her among the nuisances.
Either way, I wasn’t expecting dusty men with crumpled fedoras pushing their way into my house.
Instant terror. The thing of nightmares. Or my suspense stories.
Rosie let out a blitz of non-stop barks in the living room. What I wouldn’t give for her sharp little teeth chasing the men off. But I took comfort that sweet hubby was only out on a short walk, and dear daughter and her taser were in the next room. She’d probably even seen the men approaching the place. “Get out of my house.”
The taller one walked through the entry hall looking at my shelves and the pictures on the wall. He made it to the living room, took one glance at Rosie in her crate, and backed away. “Not ’til you tell us where it is.”
“Huh?” I guess my expression confused them. They looked at each other and then back at me. Not that I had any answers. “What is it?”
Rosie had finally stopped barking, and the first man shushed me. “Keep your dog calm.”
The second man stepped into my dining room. “Drawers in here.”
Only in the china cabinet. “Hey.” I held up my hands, but the first guy shushed me again.
The second man pulled out the wide drawer under the glassed cabinets, and, as I discovered several years ago, learned that the drawer has no stopping device. It came out of the slot, and heavy as it was with flatware and Christmas utensils, it fell to the floor, slamming into his toes. “Ow.” He hopped up and down on first one foot and then the other. His friend, the last one at the door, came to help, but the injured man shoved him away.
“Who you shoving?” The last man acted as though to tackle the hopping fellow.
His friend who had returned from the living room yelled at him. “Keep it down.”
They hadn’t closed my door behind them, and my neighbor across the street was out sweeping the acorns off of his sidewalk. He kept glancing in the direction of my doorway. That was good.
And with so much commotion, my daughter had probably already called 911.
I lowered my voice, hoping a calming tone was coming out. “Look, this is a quiet area with nosy neighbors. The police are probably already on their way”
The first one held his hands out toward me. “Ain’t no need for that lady. We just wants the location.”
Did they break into the wrong house? “Location to what? I don’t even know you.” What in the world were they talking about?
“We wants to know where to find the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, and don’t say you don’t know ’cause Chautona Havig done mailed choo the map.” The last fellow pointed a finger at me.
I would have to remember to thank Chautona, but I hadn’t gotten the mail yet. Had it come today? “But what if I don’t know where your mine is?” I almost said mind which would also have been appropriate.
At this point, I could see the lady who lived catty-corner to me join my across-the-street neighbor in open curiosity. I resisted the urge to wave. Wouldn’t want them to think I was okay with the men bursting in.
“Prove it.” This time, the first man pointed at me.
Were these guys for real? How was I supposed to prove that? But then, I’m a words person. Maybe I could reason with them? “Well, first, the mine is lost, right?”
“Yeah,” the trio chorused.
They might have been dressed like Indiana Jones, but they didn’t seem to be all that intelligent, though that’s a rather harsh thing for me to think. Still, I had few other options since neither the police nor my family members had made an appearance as yet. I pursued my line, “I’m at home here, so clearly I am not… lost, that is. Wouldn’t you agree?”
The expressions on the men’s faces dumbed up with wrinkles across their foreheads and their mouth’s looking like they’d just had a bite of months-old stew. “Uh, okay,” the third guy grunted.
“Second, do I look Dutch to you?” Okay, there might’ve been some Dutch ancestors way, way back in the family tree, but the question just intensified the confusion on the men’s faces. “I can prove to you that I am not.” I pulled out my phone and opened the app that had my family tree in it. Well, at least the first eight generations. “See here? Scottish.” I showed them the line from two of my grandparents. “It’s that way all around.” I didn’t mention the Native American, the French, or the German ancestors, but they couldn’t have handled anymore anyway.
Their faces looked like their brains were fairly about to pop as it was.
I casually wandered into the living room and the men followed me. “And you said it was the ‘Dutch man‘ goldmine, right?”
“I’m am happily female. Not a man.” I shrugged. “In conclusion, I am not lost, not Dutch, and not a man. But I do have a goldmine.” I neared the crate where my silent dog lay. Bright orange with tan markings, my Rosie can easily be described as gold.
I unlatched the door and flung it open. She immediately advanced on the trio with her protective bark and growl performance. “Madam Barksalot is my own personal goldmine.”
The men backed up, fairly falling over each other. “Cain’t you get her to quit.”
“Believe me, boys,” I shout over her earsplitting tirade. “I have tried.” Many times, but not so much in this case.
Rosie escorted them to the door. The post office deliverer was on the other side of the street, way down on the east end. I had to think of something quick before they noticed the truck. “You might give Denise Barela a holler. She lives out in California, and at one time, they had quite a lot of gold out there.” It was the first thing that I thought of and purely by accident. I really expected the police to have been here by now. They’re usually so quick.
The men glanced at each other one last time as a distant siren blared. Then they scrambled out the door and ran west, down the street and around the corner.
I gave my neighbors a wave and a thumbs-up as the siren grew closer. Then I shut the door and went to my daughter’s room. I tapped on the door and opened it a crack. “What did you tell the dispatcher, so I can connect the dots.”
She whirled around and pulled an earbud from one ear. “Did you need something?”
So much for the cavalry. And sure enough, the siren faded as he obviously passed my neighborhood. Thankfully, I hadn’t needed him.
But if the map they’d mention did end up here… well, Denise was pretty creative. She’d figure out what to do with it once she moved those fellows along. Check-in with Denise Barela tomorrow to see how she works with them.
I love these blog hops for the Ever After series! And these mysteries are so much fun. This blog hop celebrates the latest release from Rebecca Jones, The Lost Dutchman’s Secret. Here’s a little about the book:
There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.
Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take to take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.
With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough? The next?
When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?
Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.
The Lost Dutchman’s Secret is available. And don’t miss entering the giveaway at the link below for an Amazon gift card! Yea!
This trip was becoming more and more disorienting. How could they ever get to Chicago, let alone the Empire Theater? They didn’t even seem to be in the 1920s anymore.
This time when the train stopped, Freida Tilley was the first off. Her brother Hans had about smothered her with his protection, hardly even letting her see anything at the last stop. She clutched her beaded necklace in her right hand and scampered toward an empty building. Where were the people waiting for the train?
“Freida, wait.” Hans had caught up with her.
Eleanor followed him down the steps. “Where are we?”
Frieda halted on the other side of the empty train station, staring out at an endless expanse of ocean. “Well, we aren’t in Chicago.” She stepped off the platform and into sand. The gold sequins and fringe of her costume shown in the bright sunlight and she reached down and slipped off her shoes. Holding them in one hand and securing the beaded headband that held her short blond bob in place, she scanned the area around her as the others joined her on the sand.
“Dis is baloney, dis is.” Ivan Moss, already in his clown costume and make up came up beside her, though he stood almost a foot shorter. “And lookie that.” He pointed to a lot full of… were those cars? Bright colors and most of them without lids.
Back toward the ocean, a large group of people were gathering near a little stage. “Let’s find out where we are.” Eleanor passed her, trotting off toward the group.
Frieda ignored another protective call from Hans and followed Eleanor. This place was strange. If nothing else, the costumes were… well, she thought her costume was a little on the racy side. It didn’t touch what the women around her were wearing, or rather not wearing. Little bitty… unmentionables? Is that what they wore?
A man bumped into her. “Whoa there, Chickie.” A very muscular, very shirtless man, and his britches were rather small as well.
She averted her eyes, but the man turned back to her gave her a strange look, his gaze traveling from her face to the hose rolled down past her knees and back again. She was used to men looking at her, but not with such open bewilderment.
He cocked his head to the side. “Hey, sweet cheeks, you look a little bummed out. You here with the band?”
She recognized the word band, but it didn’t register. “Uh . . .”
Eleanor stepped alongside her. “What did he say?”
Frieda had no idea, but the man pointed up at the stage. A group of men with shaggy, sun-bleached hair made their way onto it, some of them carrying various guitars. One sat behind a Jazz-er-up drum system, and all of them were barefooted and almost as unclothed as the rest of the people on the beach. Though they did have the sense to wear short jackets over their bare chests.
“Let’s get a groove on,” one of the men near her called up to the stage.
The men strummed their guitars and started singing. Not like the crooners she was used to, and even though they had harmonies, they weren’t at all like the barbershop that her old man had sung in. She hadn’t expected such loud drumming or the fast-paced, rollicking music. The men sang about things she didn’t understand, but she caught the words hamburger, library, and radio. What that all had to do with some bird that got taken away, she had no idea.
A woman next to her shouted at them. “I can dig it.”
In this sand, it wouldn’t be that hard, but Frieda had no intention of joining her in that effort.
The people around her started jumping around, bobbing, and jiggling. She caught Eleanor’s eye and they traded smiles. Nobody jiggled or shook as well as the two of them did in their fringed gowns. Grabbing her friend’s hand, she jumped up onto the stage and began matching the odd dance that the people around them were doing. Not like the Charleston in that it didn’t seem to have any regular steps, but she recognized the hip action. And she shook her fringe for all it was worth.
“That’s a gas,” the guitar player next to her called out.
“It’s a gas, gas, gas,” replied the other one.
Frieda didn’t have time to try to muddle through their need for petroleum. Hans and a few of the others had reached them on the stage. Her brother took her hand. “We’re already behind the eight-ball. We have to get back on the train.”
The moment of uninhibited freedom had passed. Frieda glanced back at the man who had bumped into her. He lifted two fingers spread out. She copied the symbol back in his direction.
Is that where they were, someplace called, Two?
* * *
The troubles with the Ever After mysteries continue! This time it’s Cathe Swanson’s Murder At The Empire. Here’s a little about the book:
Gayle Wells is a killer organist, but does a killer have her in his sights?
They call him the Emperor. John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees.
Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky.
Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next?
Murder at the Empire brings the Nightingale into an elegant movie palace in the roaring 20’s – but the real excitement is all off-screen.
Today is the fifth day of the release fun for the Ever After Mystery series. You can find the beginning of this mystery HERE on Cathe Swanson’s blog! I’m so excited as mine is the second book to be release, A Giant Murder. All the stories have their roots in a fairy tale. Can you guess mine?
The first release, The Last Gasp is available now HERE. Squee! The Last Gasp is based on Cinderella, so to celebrate that book release, all of the Ever After authors are doing a short blog hop – complete with a mini-mystery and prizes.
Someone has stolen Cinderella’s glass slipper.
Why Rebekah Jones thought it was me, I’ll never know. (Read her post about it HERE!) But I was sure shocked when an officer showed up at my door.
“You are Marji Laine?”
“Yes.” I peeked across the street where Mrs. Myers was pretending to water her plants with an empty pitcher. Ugh. Gossip central. I stepped outside and waved in her direction as if I hadn’t a care in the world.
The officer barely paused. “And you picked up and have in your possession a glass slipper belonging to Cinderella?”
Mrs. Myers shot me a suspicious look and went back inside her house. At least, if I did hear gossip, I would know where it came from. “Yes and no.”
“You did not pick up the slipper?” The short man lifted an eyebrow and pierced me with a suspicious gaze.
“I picked it up all right. I hate spiders.”
“Excuse me?” Obviously, I had lost him, but I had no idea how. Seemed perfectly clear to me.
“I was wearing sandals when I visted that mine. I didn’t want to take the chance that the creepy bug would skitter onto my toes.” And that little thing was speedy, too. “The glass slipper was just there on one of the displays at the little souvenir store. I picked it up and smushed that bug, quick as a wink.”
He looked at me like he was waiting for more.
I glanced back toward the Myers’s house just in time to see the blinds on one of her windows drop back into place.
I let my head roll back and looked up at the ceiling of the porch. “I didn’t mean to take it. I didn’t even know it was in my bag. It had slipped down to the depths of my mammoth purse and I didn’t even uncover it until I got off the plane at DFW airport.”
“Well, I couldn’t take it all the way back. And I didn’t want to keep it. I might be willing to murder a wandering bug, but I’m no thief.” Of all the nerve. “Besides, if the thing got busted, I’d have felt horrible!”
If I didn’t get this man out of here, my whole neighborhood would be spinning stories in no time. “I took it into the airport restaurant and left it next to a pile of menues. That’s all I know about it.”
The eyebrow rose again as he jotted something into his notepad. “Can anyone corroborate your story?”
I lifted my chin and raised an eyebrow at him for a change. “As a matter of fact, April Hayman can. She was seated next to the hostess stand where I put the slipper. I left it there, found my baggage, and zipped back home.” So there.
As you can see… I am not the guilty party.
Thankfully, the officer left and Mrs. Myers was robbed of her juicy, spreadable tidbit.
But apparently, some princess’s prom shoe is still missing. Maybe April knows something about it? You can find out what she has to say on her blog HERE, tomorrow!
Follow the clues each day to discover the culprit. And click THIS LINK to enter to win an Amazon gift card!