by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a signed ARC of The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
It’s October, 1934. Things are starting to look a bit better, at least compared to what it’s been lately. There’s still a long way to go. The small town of Darling, has to find encouragement where it can. Their local barbershop quartet, the Lucky Four Clovers, is the odds on favorite to win the Dixie Regional Barbershop Competition—until one of the Clovers loses his voice and another loses his life.
Meanwhile, the telephone exchange needs a major update to keep up with technology. It’s getting to be more work than one operator can handle and calls are being dropped. It seems the dead man invested in several local businesses with an unusual arrangement. He’d supply a one-time injection of cash in return for half the business’ profits forever. The telephone exchange is one of the businesses that benefitted, but when upgrades are needed, he wouldn’t turn loose of another dime.
Lizzy is at the heart of things as usual. She’s living alone since she found a little house she loves. Her mother got remarried, a total surprise to everyone, and that has taken pressure off Lizzy to get married right away. Lizzy’s written a book and has an agent! On the downside, her boss thinks he might have to cut her hours since business has been slow. People just don’t have money and bartering only goes so far to pay the bills.
The garden club supplies fresh produce to those in need, which is most everyone. Lizzy keeps busy with that, her work, her book, and collects information about the dead man for her boss who is out of town. It seems a number of people had a problem with the man, for one reason or another. The question is, was his death an accident or a murder?
On the romantic front, Lizzy’s former boyfriend is again available and thinks they can pick up where they left off. Lizzy’s not so sure. She likes her independent life.
The Dahlias take readers back to a time when community meant taking care of each other. There were restrictions in what was acceptable and not, but times were changing and so were attitudes, not all willingly. Local calls were made by ringing the operator who would call you back when she’d reached the number you wanted. Party lines, shared among neighbors, let others listen in while you talked, although it was discouraged. You could get a good meal for what is now considered small change. Although times were simpler, often, so was the motive for murder.
In between all her duties, Lizzy found the time to write out favorite recipes from the pie supper fundraiser for readers to enjoy—pecan pie, lemon ice box pie, shoofly pie (like a custard filling), vinegar pie (uses inexpensive ingredients like sugar, eggs and a bit of vinegar, cooked on the stovetop and served cold), and green tomato pie. From all reports, the pies sold like crazy!
Current day mysteries often rely on technology-a cell phone with a dead battery or a Google search to find a suspect’s shady past in 4.2 seconds. The Dahlia books are a refreshing change of pace and a reminder of how resilient and creative people can be when times are hard, making it one of my all time favorite series.
To enter to win a signed ARC of The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “unlucky,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 17, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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