by Cynthia Chow
This week in honor of Earth Day we are primarily featuring ebooks. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of The Advice Column Murders, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
The momentous decision to temporarily shutter her vintage clothing business in order to rebuild and expand into the wedding and baby retail market isn’t what’s keeping Charley Carpenter awake all night. That dubious honor goes to her new neighbors, whose loud and acrimonious arguments are led by its patriarch, thoracic surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Paxton Sharpe. The household of twins and step-children even return an unwashed plate of welcome cookies, in strict violation of Oakwood, Ohio’s policies of politeness and community. That’s not to say that the massive renovations on the future site of Old Hat New Beginnings are going that smoothly, since accidents and perhaps not-so-accidental disasters are slowing progress and increasing costs.
Even with those troubles on Charley’s mind, she’s a bit bored with no crimes to solve and her boyfriend Marc Trenault off in Chicago for a week of law enforcement seminars. That may explain why she and her staff find the Oakwood Register’s new “Ask Jackie” column so enjoyable, as its wicked and biting wit pokes fun at the ignorant while still offering practical advice. One letter does prove to be alarmingly serious in its query and response, especially in light of the body discovered by Charley’s neighbors.
Having been involved in helping to solve two previous murders, Charley’s not about to sit on the sidelines when there’s another literally on her doorstep. While investigating nearly ended her relationship with the man she’d had a crush on for nearly fifteen years, Marc has since learned to accept her inclinations and gives her far more leeway than one would expect in a detective. His gift of a repainted Scooby Mystery Machine van is only one of the signs that he has relaxed his attitude as he watches Charley question her neighbors and those associated with the abrasive Sharpe family.
Unfortunately, the investigating officer on the case takes a far less complacent approach, with one interaction between himself and Charley crossing the line into a nearly violent assault. It’s fortunate then that Charley has the support of her father, his live-in caretaker, and her enthusiastic employees. A completely unpredictable twist leads Charley and her friends in new directions, and the resulting emotional impact is compelling. There are enough red herrings woven into the plot that few will solve the mystery before Charley, who never relents in her pursuit of the truth. Her intensity is matched only by her compassion, and readers will look forward to joining her on a path of promising new adventures.
To enter to win an ebook copy of The Advice Column Murders, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “advice,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 21, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section, including more ebook giveaways and reviews in this week’s issue.
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