Title: Murder Mansion by M.K. Scott
The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries
Publisher: Sleeping Dragon Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 266 pages
Donna’s dream of running a Victorian Bed and Breakfast is almost a reality. Her lack of inn keeping expertise, a shabby house in need of dire renovation and lack of money has slowed her down a bit. The murdered man in the upstairs parlor is her biggest obstacle. Less determined people might give up, but not Donna. No killer is going to stop her from serving apple crumb cake to high paying guests.
Her natural skill at the Clue board game, along with the grudging assistance of veteran detective, Mark Taber, an overweight Puggle, and a chatty octogenarian neighbor should help her sniff out the killer unless she’s snuffed out first.
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The detective reached back into his jacket, despite the significant look she gave him. His fingers withdrew a long narrow tablet instead of the dreaded smokes. Her gaze dropped to the ground as her cheeks reddened at her bold action.
“Ms. Tollhouse, can you run me through your day?”
Naturally, he assumed she was single. Was it the man’s coat she wore or the ball cap? Did he think she was playing for the other team? Then it hit her. Oh yeah, Ms. The outdated term identified women whose marital status was uncertain or those who bristled when asked. Hard to say which one applied to her.
She cleared her throat. “I left my coffee in the house. Could I go get it?” If she was going to recite her morning of feeding her dog, grabbing the paint chips and her short wait at Great Awakenings coffee shop, then she needed something to soothe her throat.
No, really? It was her coffee. She was the one who had overpaid for the meager paper cup of the sweetened brew she used to jumpstart her day. “Why?”
He furrowed his forehead, allowing his eyebrows to meet. Sure, he measured a few inches taller than she did, but definitely not a giant. If he thought to intimidate her, the man needed some work. She had the dubious privilege of working with numerous doctors who considered themselves gods, not to mention dozens of truly arrogant patients. Eyebrows in need of grooming did not do it.
“It’s a crime scene.” He said the words slowly, enunciating them as if she were either deaf or stupid.
Donna’s nose crinkled in response to his condescending tone. “I know that. I called 911 when I found the dead trespasser.” Someone might have considered her tone abrupt also. Her brother glanced at her, turning away from his enraptured audience, and mouthed the words watch it.
“Trespasser?” The detective pushed his jacket aside and placed his hand on his hip, exposing his holstered weapon.
Was the move supposed to scare her? To prove he was a big bad cop who carried a gun? Somehow that made him better, smarter than her? Not happening. “That’s what you call somebody who is on your property without permission. The fact he’s dead just makes it more mysterious.”
“Dead. Yeah, he’s dead all right. Murdered.”
Hilda gasped and grabbed her husband’s arm at the detective’s overloud words. The tiny woman directed a baleful glance Donna’s way, acting like she had something to do with the dead man. Home values in the neighborhood immediately plummeted with Taber’s pronouncement. Everyone looked at her, including her brother.
“Hey, I didn’t know he was murdered.” She held up her hands waist high, but dropped them when she realized it looked too much like she was surrendering. “I checked his pulse and called the police. There wasn’t any blood that I could see.”
“That’s because,” The detective halted his words, noticing everyone’s intent stares. “Never mind. Forget about it.”
M.K. Scott is the pen name of husband and wife team, Scott & Morgan. This is their first cozy mystery together, although Scott has worked with several of the Morgan K Wyatt books. The couple has several books planned for the series. In an effort to give the series an authentic touch, Scott and Morgan participated in cooking lessons, winery tours, and stayed at several Bed and Breakfasts. Research is a hard job, but someone has to do it.
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