The Watchman of Rothenburg Dies by Adriana Licio – Guest Post and Giveaway

Synopsis:

A holiday is a time to relax, unwind and see the sights. But for two adventurous sexagenarians, the sights have a tendency to include dead bodies.

Etta and Dora, both newly retired teachers, travel from their home in Southern Italy to a fairy-tale German town for their first home swap holiday, delighted by their neighbours’ warm welcome. But the welcome turns sour when the Night Watchman of Rothenburg is brutally murdered while his tour group takes photographs nearby, a halberd buried in his chest and a peculiar iron mask by his side.

When the murderer claims a second victim and the son of their hospitable neighbours becomes the number-one suspect, Etta’s analytical mind goes to work. Why was a shame mask left at the scene of each murder? Is there a clandestine trade going on behind the scenes of apparently upstanding local businesses? And why does every lead take her back to the sinister Devil’s Ale pub and the terrifying gang who lurk within?

Meanwhile, Dora has a puzzle of her own – how can she persuade Etta that a loveably disobedient Basset Hound called Napoleon is now a permanent part of their lives?

◆◆◆ Pack your bags, jump into the backseat of Etta and Dora’s old Fiat 500, and join them on their travels around Europe. There’ll be mystery, murder and mayhem aplenty wherever they go. ◆◆◆

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Dough or Die by Winnie Archer – Blog Tour & Giveaway

Synopsis:

Known for its mouthwatering traditional breads, the Yeast of Eden bakery has gained fame across Northern California’s coast. Now the shop is bound for Reality TV—but a murder may kill its reputation . . .

People come to the beach town of Santa Sofia as much for the healing properties of Yeast of Eden’s breads as for a vacation getaway. And now a cable food channel has selected the bakery as a featured culinary delight for a new show. Baking apprentice Ivy Culpepper is excited as the crew arrives, ready to capture all the ins and outs of the renowned bread shop. But instead they capture something much harder to stomach: the attempted murdered of the show’s cameraman just outside Yeast of Eden . . .

With no motive and no clues, and the town craving answers, it will be up to Ivy to sift through the evidence to find the truth. But she’ll have to move quickly before someone else is targeted or the wrong person gets the heat—and the business collapses like a deflated soufflé, right before her eyes.

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Guest Post from C S Alleyne – Author of Belle Vue

Hi everyone. The kids are back in school and fall is just now visible in the distance (it can’t get here fast enough for my taste). To me that means cooler weather, pumpkin everything, and spooky books! I admit I’ve been reading more paranormal and horror than cozy mystery lately. I’m pleased to welcome paranormal mystery author C S Alleyne to the blog. Her novel Belle Vue comes out today and she will be sharing her inspiration for the book. I’ll be finishing it and posting my review soon so keep an eye out for that, and check the author links below for a chance to read an excerpt for yourself. (Just a note to my cozy readers – this novel is a far cry from cozy!)

Belle Vue by C S Alleyne

Inspiration – that feeling of enthusiasm and the source for new and creative ideas can strike an author in the oddest place. For me, it was my occasional journey past a block of luxury apartments which was converted from the original Leavesden Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles – a name not to be reckoned with now. As I walked past the main building it stirred my interest and I searched for more information about its history. Finding other pictures of evocative old asylums either in ruins or also converted into residential accommodation, I soon had lots of story ideas and started jotting notes for what would become Belle Vue.

I did a lot of research into Victorian asylums which was a real eye-opener. At the turn of the nineteenth century, England and France combined had only a few hundred individuals in asylums, but by 1900 this number had risen to the hundreds of thousands. This epidemic of madness suddenly gripped Europe and the US too. Records of reasons for admission to an asylum make for fascinating reading – and not a little concern that had any one of us been around then we may just have found ourselves in a new – and unwelcome – address!

These entries have been a source of amusement on the net with such things as ‘novel reading’, ‘tobacco and masturbation’, ‘over study’ and ‘sudden loss of several cows’ listed as causes of mental illness requiring asylum incarceration.

Women in particular were at risk – Maureen Dabbagh‘s 2001 book reveals women were admitted for –

“…laziness, egotism, disappointed love, female disease, mental excitement, cold, snuff, greediness, imaginary female trouble, “gathering in the head,” exposure and quackery, jealousy, religion, asthma, masturbation, and bad habits. Spouses used lunacy laws to rid themselves of their partners and in abducting their children.”

And these were not places you would want to go – local magistrate Godfrey Higgins, who investigated York asylum in 1814 found ‘evidence of wrongdoing on a massive scale: maltreatment of the patients extending to rape and murder; forging of records to hide deaths among the inmates; an extraordinarily widespread use of chains and other forms of mechanical restraint; massive embezzlement of funds; and conditions of utter filth and neglect.’ On one visit he forced his way through a hidden door to expose a tiny room crammed with thirteen elderly ladies, practically naked and covered in their own excrement. Higgins ‘became very sick and could no longer remain in the room.  I vomited.’

So amongst all that, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that a murder had taken place in the Leavesden Aslyum in 1899 albeit by an outsider and reading about it gave me another idea. Mary Ansell was found guilty of poisoning her sister Caroline who was an inmate in the asylum. She was hanged at St. Alban’s Jail (though in this case there was considerable public pressure for a reprieve as she too was believed to lack ‘mental capacity’). But Mary had taken out an insurance policy on her sister’s life…

As I was mulling over other possible plot lines, my ears pricked up (and sure I would not be alone in this lol!) at the mention of satanic orgies. I heard about the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe where such practices had taken place and duly paid a visit. The caves, excavated between 1748 and 1752 for Sir Francis Dashwood, were used as a meeting place for his notorious Hellfire Club.

Members included various politically and socially important 18th century figures such as William Hogarth, John Wilkes, Thomas Potter and John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Though not believed to have been a member, Benjamin Franklin was a close friend of Dashwood who visited the caves on more than one occasion.

img1  Underground Statue at the Hellfire Caves (Scott Wylie)

According to Horace Walpole, the members’ “practice was rigorously pagan: Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they almost publicly sacrificed; and the nymphs and the hogsheads that were laid in against the festivals of this new church, sufficiently informed the neighbourhood of the complexion of those hermits.” Dashwood’s garden at West Wycombe contained numerous statues and shrines to different gods; Daphne and Flora, Priapus and the previously mentioned Venus and Dionysus.

Many rumours of black magic, satanic rituals and orgies were in circulation during the life of the club. Club meetings often included mock rituals, pornographic materials, much drinking, wenching and banqueting. The early 1760s saw the downfall of Dashwood’s exclusive club but its tantalising premise caught my imagination and I decided to incorporate a secret society, orgies and all, into Belle Vue.

So that was my inspiration for the Mephisto Club…

Writers are often advised ‘write what you know’ but given Belle Vue is about murder, satanic orgies and mistreatment in Victorian lunatic asylums I am not putting my hand up to any of these and all down to diligent research of subjects that fascinate me lol!

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Not all asylums were as bad as this – Belle Vue simply reflects the conditions of those that were…

About the Author

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C S Alleyne grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean she changed tack and completed her MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. She is a management consultant and also lectures in several universities. Belle Vue is her debut novel and in December last year, her novelette, POWEЯ, was published.

LINKS

Excerpt – Read the first 2 chapters here – http://csalleyne.com/excerpt-belle-vue/

Website – http://www.csalleyne.com

Blog – http://csalleyne.com/blog/

Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19806081.C_S_Alleyne

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53318594-belle-vue

Twitter – https://twitter.com/csalleyne

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/csalleyne/

Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/C.S.-Alleyne/e/B082P1H49C%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Amazon Author Page UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1646693116/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Universal purchase link – BELLE VUE – http://getbook.at/BelleVue

Universal purchase link – POWEЯ – http://getbook.at/CSPower

Midtown Huckster by Leopold Borstinski – Alex Cohen #3

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Midtown Huckster (Alex Cohen, #3) Synopsis: 

Can you keep your gelt and freedom when the cops have enough evidence to take you down?

1930s Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion–he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends.

If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?

The third book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical noir novel, which plunges you deep into the early days of narcotics trafficking and the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction delivers a fix to every reader like heroin from a needle.

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Spotlight – A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

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Happy pub day to Esme Addison! I haven’t had a chance to read this one myself yet, but I have already added it to my TBR pile. 

9781643853031 (1) Synopsis: 

Aleksandra Daniels hasn’t set foot in the quiet seaside town of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina in over twenty years. Ever since her mother’s tragic death, her father has mysteriously forbidden her from visiting her aunt and cousins. But on a whim, Alex accepts an invitation to visit her estranged relatives and to help them in their family business: an herbal apothecary known for its remarkably potent teas, salves, and folk remedies.

Bellamy Bay doesn’t look like trouble, but this is a town that harbors dark secrets. Alex discovers that her own family is at the center of salacious town gossip, and that they are rumored to be magical healers descended from mermaids. She brushes this off as nonsense until a local is poisoned and her aunt Lidia is arrested for the crime. Alex is certain Lidia is being framed, and she resolves to find out why.

Alex’s investigation unearths stories that some have gone to desperate lengths to conceal: forbidden affairs, family rivalries, and the truth about Alex’s own ancestry. And when the case turns deadly, Alex learns that not only are these secrets worth hiding, but they may even be worth killing for.

About the Author
Esme Addison_AuthorEver since Esme discovered Nancy Drew, she’s wanted to solve mysteries. As a mystery author, she’s finally found a way to make that dream come true. A former military spouse, Esme lives in Raleigh, NC with her family. When she’s not writing or dreaming up new mysteries for her sleuths to stumble upon, you can find her dancing her calories away in Zumba, patronizing her local bookstores or visiting the beach, the mountains and all historical sites in between. Learn more about Esme at https://esmeaddison.com and follow her on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @EsmeAddison.

 

Author Links

Purchase Link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/622792/a-spell-for-trouble-by-esme-addison/

Website: https://esmeaddison.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EsmeAddisonAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/esmeaddison/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EsmeAddison

A Sprinkling of Murder by Daryl Wood Gerber – Blog Tour & Giveaway

Synopsis:

Fairy garden store owner Courtney Kelly believes in inviting magic into your life. But when uninvited trouble enters her shop, she’ll need more than a sprinkling of her imagination to solve a murder . . .

Since childhood, Courtney has loved fairies. After her mother died when she was ten, she lost touch with that feeling of magic. A year ago, at age twenty-nine, she rediscovered it when she left her father’s landscaping business to spread her wings and start a fairy garden business and teashop in beautiful Carmel, California. At Open Your Imagination, she teaches garden design and sells everything from fairy figurines to tinkling wind chimes and trickling fountains. Now she’s starting a book club tea.

But the light of the magical world she’s created inside her shop is darkened one night when she discovers neighboring dog-grooming business owner Mick Watkins dead beside a fountain. To make matters worse, the police suspect Courtney of the crime. To clear her name and find the real killer, Courtney will have to wing it. But she’s about to get a little help from an unexpected new friend . . .

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Upcoming Release and a Free Short Story from Author Roy Huff

Author Roy Huff has a new release, Seven Rules of Time Travel, coming in July. Read on for more details and deals (including an upcoming FREE ebook) on some of his previous work. Check out the short story “Sand Dunes of Time” below, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Thank you Roy for sharing with us!

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Synopsis:
Quinn Black is an ordinary New York salesman about to be thrust into the greatest race in human history. After a shocking turn of events, he discovers his current troubles were just the beginning. After numerous failed attempts to rewrite the recent past, Quinn learns the rules of time travel are not what he imagined. After a tragic loss, he enlists the help of an old friend. Together, they rush to fix the unfixable and invent the impossible. As their plight worsens, Quinn discovers all is not what it seems. And his actions could either save the human race or result in its ultimate destruction. Only time will tell if he succeeds. Seven Rules of Time Travel is a fast-paced science fiction thriller. One packed with a roller-coaster of twists and turns, moral challenges, and tempting opportunities that readers will be reliving years after they finish the final page.
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Synopsis:
Two very different worlds, Easton Falls University and the magical realm of Everville are in dire need of a hero. Owen Sage embarks on an epic journey of monumental proportions to save these worlds all while fighting to keep the world within himself intact. This quest is not for the faint of heart nor is it for the weak of mind—only the bravest will succeed. Discovering the well-kept secret of The Fourth Pillar of Truth is only part of the feat. Owen will have to outwit the ever-powerful villain Governor Jahal and overcome countless other challenges along the way. Amongst all of the dragons, giants and grand chaos, will Owen’s acquired skills and wisdom be enough to save both worlds or will peril be the ultimate fate of all?

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Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert – Blog Tour & Giveaway


Synopsis:

From the critically acclaimed author of SIBA Okra Pick A Murder for the Books, Victoria Gilbert embarks with a new series for perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell.

A book lover’s B&B in an idyllic waterfront village becomes the scene of a grisly murder–and a ruthless battle between treachery and the truth.

Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader’s paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It’s the perfect literary retreat–until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey.

The victim’s daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises.

Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt’s name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer’s death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer–or end up writing her own final chapter.

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Don’t Make a Sound by T.R. Ragan – Blog Tour & Giveaway


Synopsis:

Her own past could be a reporter’s biggest story in this twisting thriller about murder and family secrets by the New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Plagued by traumatic childhood memories, crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still struggles to gain control of her rage, her paranoia, and her life. Now, after finally getting promoted at work, she is forced to return home and face her past.

River Rock is where she’d been abandoned by her two older sisters to suffer alone, and in silence, the unspeakable abuses of her family. It’s also where Sawyer’s best friend disappeared and two teenage girls were murdered. Three cold cases dead and buried with the rest of the town’s secrets.

When another girl is slain in a familiar grisly fashion, Sawyer is determined to put an end to the crimes. Pulled back into the horrors of her family history, Sawyer must reconcile with her estranged sisters, who both have shattering memories of their own. As Sawyer’s investigation leads to River Rock’s darkest corners, what will prove more dangerous—what she knows of the past or what she has yet to discover?

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Murder in the Wine Country by Janet Finsilver – Blog Tour

Synopsis: 

Weeding out killers wasn’t part of the job description . . .

Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is excited to participate in an event to raise awareness for the plight of struggling veterans in their Northern California coastal community. Local wineries are sponsoring tastings, and to prepare for a culinary competition, professional chefs will forage for wild edible greens. Kelly plans to come along, despite a warning to beware of poachers, who have been stealing the highly valued succulent Dudleya farinosa. The senior sleuths who call themselves the Silver Sentinels join forces with environmental activists known as the Succulent Saviors to thwart the poaching operation. When a consultant for the sale of a local winery is murdered, the poachers are suspected—but so is a wine merchant, Kelly’s friend Phil. As Kelly and the Silver Sentinels attempt to root out the real killer, what she digs up might just put her permanently underground . . .

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