Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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In Pieces

I ordered some eggs over easy and toast and then heard the ding on my phone as the waitress left our table.

“Do you need to get that?” my friend asked me.

I hated interrupting the way-too-infrequent times I get to see my friend, but sometimes my mom’s caregivers will text instead of call when she’s having a problem. “Just a sec.”

I opened the text and found the picture of a headless doll. The next image was of the missing head. And it wasn’t exactly a doll. More of a nutcracker. You know the type: dressed in a soldier uniform with a big head that allows for the nuts to fit in between his wide-opening mouth. This one had a tiny sword in one hand and a tall hat like a palace guard.

“Check this out.” I handed my phone over to my friend.

“Is this some sort of threat or just some weird coordination between mystery writers?”

I snorted. “Probably more of the latter than the first. It’s from April Hayman, one of the authors of the Ever After series.”

“Do y’all exchange pictures of broken dolls often?” She handed the phone back to me. “And should I ask for the check now?”

“No.” I laughed. “Apparently, the nutcracker from Chautona Havig’s new book, The Nutcracker Suite, has lost his head somehow.”

“Probably over some Raggedy Ann doll.”

“Cute.” I looked up at the ceiling. “April thought I might know who broke it.”

“Do you?” Her eyebrow arched and she leaned over her elbows on the table.

“I could probably make a pretty good guess. I mean, if it has to do with a nutcracker, then there are likely some mice involved.” Though I really didn’t think Chautona would have mice in her house.

“Maybe the mouse king shoved him off a high shelf?” my friend suggested. “Like yours. Don’t you have a nutcracker on that high shelf in your living room?”

“Yeah, but it’s not a soldier. Mama brought it back from Germany, though it looks more like a Leprechaun.”

My friend took a sip of her coffee. “So, if Chautona doesn’t have mice that could have broken the nutcracker, who broke it?”

“Well…” I thought of some of the sundry characters who fill my own books, but there would be no reason for them to hop into Chautona’s book to create havoc. “While Chautona doesn’t have mice, she does have a passel of kids.”

“I seem to remember somewhere that a couple of kids fought over a nutcracker and broke it. Do you suppose that’s what happened?”

I remembered that story. “I think at least one of those kids was pretty bratty. Chautona’s kids aren’t like that.”

“But it could have still happened that way, maybe they were playing with it?” My friend was certainly getting into the spirit of the mystery. “Or it could have fallen when Chautona was cleaning.”

I couldn’t answer for Chautona, but the poor guy on my high shelf likely had an inch of dust on his little green cap, not that anyone would be tall enough to see it. Which was exactly why I didn’t worry over keeping him dusted. “Either way, I certainly think she’s the one we should ask next about all of this.”

I typed in a short message and attached the pictures to the text. She had some explaining to do.

This little mystery celebrates the release of The Nutcracker Suite, the newest book in the Ever After series by Celebrate Lit. Chautona Havig offers this take on the famous Christmas story:

“Time to dance, sugarplum.”

A painter at the Meyer’s Toys factory, Clarice Stahl, knows something is strange about the way so many men come and go through Mr. Meyer’s office, especially one in particular.

Then murder strikes a little too close to home and uncorks a barrel of secrets.

When mob king, Mario Topo’s, enforcer goes missing the race is on to prove he’s behind the murder. Police and mobsters alike are after Milo Natale, and he who finds Milo first might determine the enforcer’s fate.

A race through the city, a new friend… or more… a new life in the offing. Milo and Clarice must find who killed Topo’s man and why before the police arrest him for murder or Topo’s men bump him and Clarice off,
too.

This next book in the Ever After Mysteries combines “The Nutcracker Suite” with a murder mystery set in the heart of 1920s Rockland.

Order your copy HERE.

And don’t forget to enter at the link below for an Amazon gift card giveaway.

ENTER HERE!


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Who Stole Cinderella’s Slipper?

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.

“And.”

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.”

“Then?”

“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!”

“So?”

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!