Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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BOOK REVIEW: Rules of Murder

There was a time when I read constantly and reviewed at least one book per week. When I started editing for a living, reading become less of a joy and more of a job. As a result, I pretty much stopped reading for fun, but I did listen to books on Audible from time to time.

Well, I’ve begun to listen to books even more than before. I hope to review them more often as well. Lately, I’ve reviewed several books at the Suspense Sisters blog.

My latest review is one that I put up on the Goodreads website. I’ve added that link to the bottom, but suffice it to say that enjoying Julianna Deering’s book, RULES OF MURDER, made my week! Drew Farthering is an outstanding hero – with the status and wealth to do what’s needed, but also possessing just enough humility and insecurity to be real and empathetic. His leading lady has just the right amount of snark combined with spunk and charm. I can’t wait to see what happens in this relationship.

And Farthering’s best friend is quite intriguing. I’m hoping that Ms. Deering has plans for him in the coming stories! And you can bet, with or without the audiobook option, I’ll be reading the rest of the series!

Here are the details of the story:

From the tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his cheviot trousers, he’s the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he’s learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be – not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer – and trying harder to impress Madeline – Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads about the book:

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What a delightful “read.” True confessions, I enjoyed this through audible, and I loved the vocal talent almost as much as I loved the story! Excellent choice!

And this story is one of the best I’ve enjoyed! A tight mystery with the charm and intrigue of days gone by. I can’t wait to enjoy the others from this series!

View all my reviews


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going, Going, GONE!

“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.”

“Who was?”

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.

Enjoy the rest of this little bloghop:

Rebekah Jones – Jan 4
Chautona Havig – Jan 5
Cathe Swanson – Jan 6
Marji Laine Clubine – Jan 7
April Hayman – Jan 8
Liz Tolsma – Jan 9
Sandy Barela – Jan 10
Denise Lauren Barela – Jan 11

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below! Great opportunity to win an Amazon gift card!


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MISSING

I was minding my own business, heading for Michael’s because the fall decorations are calling, even though it’s scorching outside. Well there’s a private airfield right across the street from the craft store, and as I got close to it, this cool plane landed. This thing looked to be 100 years old, and I couldn’t help but think about April Hayman’s hero.

He’s missing, you know. No, really. Somehow he slipped from the pages of her book and took off to parts unknown. Cathe Swanson spotted him yesterday.

So when this super-old plane landed, well, I needed a better look. I zigzagged and did a U-turn, pulling in to park in front of Bread-Zeppelin beside the private field and the neighborhood that borders it. I watched the old plane taxi closer, stopping at the hangar that was on the edge of the field.

The pilot climbed out as I shut off my car engine. Well, I knew that little guy wasn’t April’s hero, but then the passenger climbed down. The guy was a giant, like a big ole bear. He took off the leather helmet that he’d been wearing. His hair was plumb platinum. This was definitely the guy April had told us about.

I got out of my car. “Hey,” I yelled and waved both my hands over my head to get his attention.

He halted just before he reached the hangar and turned toward me, putting his hand on the pilot’s shoulder.

I wave again. “Can I ask you a question?”

He grabbed the pilot’s jacket and pointed back toward the plane. The little guy took off at run.

Oh, no. I was about to miss my chance to . . . what? Catch him? He was a Goliath for pity’s sake. But I had to try. “Hang on, hang on. Aren’t you Hugh?”

He seemed to freeze for a moment. The propellers on the plane started spinning.

I pulled out my phone and took a photo.

He glanced at the plane and then back at me.

“April is looking for you,” I called.

The man took a deep breath and then dashed back to the airplane.

“No, wait.”

“Tell her not to worry.” He climbed into passenger seat and the plane taxied down the runway.

No chance to track him down now. But at least with my photo, I could prove that he’d been here. I pulled up the image on my phone.

Grr. Clearly, I’d moved when I clicked it. Or un-clearly in this case.

Sorry, April. I tried to slow him down. Hope you’ll be hearing from him again soon!

Here’s some information about April’s book, When a Pilot Falls:

In 1923, there aren’t many pilots, but Willie Labeau didn’t let that stop… her.

A bear of a man, Hugh Taylor, needs a stunt plane pilot, and despite their rocky introduction, Willie sets off for golden California and a new life as his pilot. There’s just one little thing she has to do in addition to flying.

Leave his past alone. Period.

When the flame of her own curiosity becomes fanned by encouragement from Willie’s sister, the feisty pilot can’t help but do just a little investigating.

And Hugh vanishes.

Friends rally around her, and with all the information she can find in hand, Willie sets off to rescue Hugh and battle the evil family holding him hostage.

A fierce air race, a sincere act of humility—are they enough to free Hugh and give Willie a chance to be with him… forever?

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. When the Pilot Falls offers a retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat as you watch hearts soar and daring dos.

When the Pilot Falls is currently available for purchase on Amazon.

Check on April’s blog tomorrow to see if she can find her hero!

And don’t miss entering for an Amazon card giveaway. Click the link below!

https://promosimple.com/ps/11b2f/when-the-pilot-falls-marji


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Who Spilled the Beans?

It’s day two of the celebration for the launch of A GIANT MURDER, my new release through Celebrate Lit Publishing. Want the scoop from Day #1? Head over to Liz Tolsma’s blog to learn how it all began.

***

The heat can be unbearable, and my daylilies know it very well. They just suck up the water. That’s what I was doing—watering them with the sprinkle attachment on my hose—when I felt an ominous presence behind me.

“I suppose you’ve heard the rumor.”

I spun, sprinkler still in hand, and almost head-butted my neighbor, Mrs. Myers. Jerking the sprinkler away from her sneakers, now well-watered, I tried my most innocent smile. “I . . . uh. What was it you were saying?”

“Don’t play coy with me, Marji Laine. I know you have the inside information on all of this. The news is spreading like wildfire.”

“News?” I stretched my eyebrows up as far as possible. They had to be reaching my hairline.

“News. I know you’ve heard about it.” She frowned. “You probably created most of it, but that’s beside the point. I want to know what you know. Spill.”

Playing innocent wasn’t working. Yes, I knew all about the rumor, and I did indeed have inside information. Deep, deep inside, but there was a precedent here. I wasn’t about to go gabbing the details of the villains to the chief grape on the neighborhood vine. “Huh, uh. No way I’m spilling the beans. You’ll get nothing out of me.”

The hurt face she turned toward me pinched my determination a bit. She wasn’t really a bad sort, just a nosy one. I turned off the hose and gave her shoulder a pat. “Listen, why don’t you talk to Cathe Swanson? She might have something to share.”

If nothing else, the lady needed to go dry off her tennis shoes.

She pursed her lips and pointed two fingers at her eyes and then at me.

I smiled. “Have a nice day.”

***

I’m not the bean spiller – nope, nope, nope!

But speaking of beans, they play a part in my newest book, A GIANT MURDER. Here’s the low-down:

An exclusive party with the socially elite of Dallas.

   An elaborate venue high atop the downtown Adolphus Hotel.

      A host who is one of the richest men in 1926 . . .

         Also, one of the deadest.

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving the food giant everything except his eternal “parting shot.” With the Century Ballroom literally full of suspects, why has she been pinpointed for shooting TG Taggert? Especially since there are plenty of motives for his death:

   The theft of Chef Ganderson’s “magic” beans,

   TG’s tryst with and mistreatment of songstress Harper Davis,

   And then there’s the thief in the family, TG’s son Jack.

With her long-time friend, Officer Porter O’Brien, Josie attempts to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

You can get your own copy of A GIANT MURDER HERE!

And don’t forget to check in with Cathe Swanson tomorrow. I have a feeling she might have something to share.

And don’t forget to join the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/1137a/a-giant-murder-marji


Christian Historical Suspense Review: PEACOCK THRONE by Lisa Karon Richardson

The Peacock ThroneLet me just say at the beginning that author Lisa Karon Richardson owes me a good night sleep! This intricate story kept me coming back to the book again and again. Finally, even before I was at the halfway point, I surrendered and stayed up most of the night to finish this twisted historical mystery.

Here’s the short version from Amazon:

A mysterious throne holds the key to two murders; an epic adventure steeped in Continue reading