Thirty and a Half Excuses By Denise Grover Swank: Review/Giveaway

Dec 19, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Thirty and a Half Excuses, along with a link to purchase the book.

Rose had made up her mind to move to Little Rock with her boyfriend Joe, a state cop. That was until her sister, Violet, and brother-in-law, Mike, split up. Violet proposed a plan where she and Rose would take over a defunct plant nursery and go into business. It seems Violet had this idea for some time which kind of makes Rose wonder if the breakup was all that sudden. The more she thought about it, the more Rose liked it—except for the part about not moving in with Joe.

Now it’s opening day and Rose is terrified it won’t be a success. On the other hand, she’s had one of her visions and it showed they’d get a huge order, right on the first day. The vision comes true and the orders come from the new church in town: to landscape the whole church yard. Of course, they’ll need help to plant everything, and Rose has just the right guys in mind. book

A few months ago, Bruce Wayne was accused of murder. Rose found the real killer and Bruce Wayne was set free. Still, he’s had problems of the addictive sort and can’t find a job—he’s perfect for digging flowerbeds and planting mums and even finds that he likes the work. His friend David is persuaded to come along (his rent is due and he’s broke).
Jonah, the new minister, seems a little too in-your-space for Rose. She wants to like the church but there’s that and then Rhonda, the secretary, who is the Dragon at the Gate to keep swooning female churchgoers away from the handsome preacher. The church is popular among the younger folks in town and surprisingly, with the older ladies too.

Rose is saddened to see that Miss Laura has died. She was pretty old but still. When a second death occurs, right on her street, Rose is sure something’s wrong. Miss Dorothy was so looking forward to coming to the opening of the nursery, and seemed to be in good health.

No one is more shocked to find out Dorothy left all her belongings and her house to the new church than her niece who expected to inherit all. Rose begins to wonder if Jonah is behind the deaths.

Joe had warned her to keep her distance from Jonah. Mason, the assistant district attorney, did too. Of course, Joe had warned Mason to stay away from Rose too, so there’s a lot of staying away going around. Joe and Mason have a history, but neither one is willing to tell about it. It’s pretty serious from what Rose can tell.

Violet’s starting to date, but it seems to Rose that Violet’s falling for Brody, the mayor, awfully fast. She’s snippy and although she’s been known to be bossy before, this is different.

As Rose says, she doesn’t go looking for trouble, it comes looking for her. She’s more than found it this time. She likes to make lists of the pros and cons of a decision, hence the title of the book. There’s a lot of change going on—will she be up to the task?

This is a great example of things are not always what they look like. Rose has a lot of challenges ahead and readers will want to be at her side when she faces them.

To enter to win a copy of Thirty and a Half Excuses, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “excuses,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 26, 2015. 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 & short stories in our mystery section.

You can use this link to order this book:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her newest, “Arthur”, included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.


  1. This really sounds like a good story to read, because “some things are not as they appear” is what makes a great mystery.

  2. Thank you for the chance to win.

  3. Could be interesting – always looking for a new author.

  4. Thanks so much for the chance!!

  5. Love this series!

  6. I have read the first book in this series and it blew me away. I have the rest on my TBR list and can’t wait to read them. Thank you for the chance to win.

  7. new author, new series – would love to try it

  8. Would love to win! Happy Holidays!

  9. We have a winner!


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