Tag Archives: murder mysteries

#backlistThursday 4.22.2021

This is the first time I’ve ever added an anthology for my backlist.

At the beginning of 2020 ( before Covid ruled the world) Australia was engulfed in flames. One of the Wild Rose Press authors is an Australian and asked if there was some way we, as authors, could come together to raise money for the RedCross to aid the firefighters and the people devastated by the fires.

A three part anthology titled AUSTRALIA BURNS came from that one question. Multiple WRP authors contributed stories to the collection and took no royalties from sales – their money was donated instead.

Love that.

My addition was a little story I’d written when I was concetrating on writing murder mysteries and not romance. The story, THE TUESDAY NIGHT MEETING, is one of my favorite things I’ve ever written.

Here’s a quick excerpt, and if you want to purchase the anthology, here’s the link: AUSTRALIA BURNS. I’m in volume 1

“Cora,” Mavis aid, capturing the entire attention of the room, “do you know anything about our group?”
            She shook her head and swiped at her still running nose. “Not much, Ma-am. I know you give out scholarships to worthy high school girls for college. And you support the poor, especially at the holidays. I’ve seen write-ups in the paper about the good things y’all have done. But aside from those, I don’t know much else. Excepting,” she said, “ that you’re all widows.”

            The members of the club collectively smiled at her.

            “That’s why I thought it strange to be asked here tonight. I’m not a widow.”

            “No, darlin’ you’re not,” Wisteria said, smiling. “Not yet.”

            Cora gaped, openmouthed, at the old woman.

            “Let me start at the beginning, dear, so you’ll understand how our little club came to be.”

            Settling back in the chair, Wisteria took a breath then began her tale. 

            “You probably don’t remember my late husband, Major Plowright. I believe he passed when you were just a baby. Well, my dear, if there was ever a tougher man in the world to live with, I’d be sore pressed to believe it. I truly feel the moment he was brought into the world a military angel crossed his path and predestined him for a soldiers’ life. His mother told me after we’d been married for about a year that even as a child, everything had to be precision perfect in his world. He tolerated no fools, silliness or any kind of good-natured fun. I didn’t realize this when I married him, mind you. I know now I fell in love with his spit and polish exterior and superior manner. I never could resist a good lookin’ man in a uniform.”

            A few well-knowing chuckles escaped throughout the room.

            “Well, married life was kind of sweet for a while. I got used to his ranting and raving about precision and cleanliness and order. But when the Major was forced to retire at a very early age, well, it all changed. He changed. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I was plum worn out with three babies and a big house to care for, and he never helped a lick with anything. One day he came home from his club and my youngest had spilled his juice all over the kitchen floor. I was just about to clean it up, but the Major didn’t let me. He stormed into the room, saw the mess and started screaming and hollering so loud I thought my little Jimmy’s diapers were gonna fall off. When I tired to explain about the mess, he smacked me across the face. Knocked me clear across the kitchen with one felled swoop of the back of his hand. I was so stunned I didn’t see the next one coming. He was raving about me being an inadequate wife and mother and that he was going to teach me a lesson I’d never forget. He was right about it, too. I never forgot that first beating or all the others he gave me after. I do believe he came to enjoy it when he struck me down. I’d see a gleam in his eyes, kind of like the one I’d seen when he was in the throes of passion, whenever he hit me.”

            Wisteria stopped and refreshed herself with a sip of tea.

            “Miz Plowright, ma-am. I had no idea,” Cora said.

            “Of course not, darlin’. In those days, why, a woman was barely a step above chattel.  Men’s property; bought and sold.”

            “What did you do? I mean, did you stay with the Major?”

            “For a while. I ran away with the children once, to my mother. But the Major followed me and dragged us all back. The beating I endured that night broke my left arm and two of my ribs.”

            “I remember he went around town the next day telling everyone who’d listen that you fell down the front steps because you were rushing off somewhere in a dither,” Molly Kane said.

            When Cora gasped, Wisteria patted her hand sand said, “You see, Cora. We’ve all lied at one time or another about our bruises.”

            “Finish your story, Wisteria,” Mavis commanded.

            After taking another sip of tea, she did. ”I knew I had to do something about the situation, but what? I couldn’t leave him. He’d shown me how he’d hunt me down and bring me back. Divorce was out of the question in those days. No self respectin’ woman of the South would ever be seen in divorce court, airing all her dirty personal laundry. I finally figured out I had two options. I could stay and put up with this man I’d grown to fear and hate until he finally succeeded in killing me, or…”

“Or?” Cora prompted.

“Or I could rid myself and the children of him right then and there.”

Cora’s loud intake of air was the one sound in the room. To the question in her eyes, Wisteria merely inclined her head.

“Yes, my dear. I killed my husband. It was the only way I could survive.”

Intrigued? hee hee. I hope so!

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#SaturdaySeven #LASreviews Agatha Christie is my home girl!

I may write romance but I lovelovelove to read MYSTERIES. This love was created when I read my very first AGATHA CHRISTIE novel when I was 10 years old.  She died when I was 16 but before she did I’d found and read every single one of her books in my local library. The way she constructed her plots; the over-the-top characters she breathed life into, even her protagonists like Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple and Tuppance and Tommy, were all valued friends to me during my teen years. So, in no real order, here are my 7 favorite Agatha Christie books

The ABC murders

There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans…

Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with an apparent drug overdose.

However the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information, but before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death. Luckily one of Roger’s friends and the newest resident to retire to this normally quiet village takes over—none other than Monsieur Hercule Poirot.

Murder on the Orient Express

“The murderer is with us—on the train now . . .”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again

And then there were none

Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…

Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

***this was a great stand alone book and has been made into innumerable movie & television adaptations.

Curtain

The crime-fighting careers of Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings have come full circle—they are back once again in the rambling country house in which they solved their first murder together.

Both Hercule Poirot and Great Styles have seen better days—but, despite being crippled with arthritis, there is nothing wrong with the great detective and his “little gray cells.” However, when Poirot brands one of the seemingly harmless guests a five-time murderer, some people have their doubts. But Poirot alone knows he must prevent a sixth murder before the curtain falls. *** Poirot’s last case.

 

 

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorp and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary—from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary.

With impeccable timing, and making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case. *** His very first case.

 

 

 

 

 

The Murder at the Vicarage

Miss Marple ( in her very first appearance) encounters a compelling murder mystery in the sleepy little village of St. Mary Mead, where under the seemingly peaceful exterior of an English country village lurks intrigue, guilt, deception and death.

Colonel Protheroe, local magistrate and overbearing land-owner is the most detested man in the village. Everyone–even in the vicar–wishes he were dead. And very soon he is–shot in the head in the vicar’s own study. Faced with a surfeit of suspects, only the inscrutable Miss Marple can unravel the tangled web of clues that will lead to the unmasking of the killer.

Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to the other writers in the series to see what they’re writing about today concerning the number 7! SaturdaySeven

 

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