The beginning of the new crime mystery series has been a joy for me as a writer. Plot and clues are always a challenge to invent.
I would love to get any feedback the readers of Murder at the Oasis , Empty Cradle , Diplomatic Immunity , A Silent Cry, and Missing Bridegroom have to offer. Send me an e-mail message to email@example.com.
"A tangled web of lies begs to be unraveled," Josie Palmer tells her new FBI partner.
JOIN JOSIE AND BRIAN ON THEIR QUEST TO SHIFT THROUGH THE LIES AND HALF-TRUTHS THAT SURROUND A MURDER IN THE QUIET, PEACEFUL LITTLE TOWN OF SPENCER CITY.
Here are exerpts from my new Just a Gumshoe Murder detective series novels.
Murder at the Oasis
The Oasis Bed and Breakfast officially opens for business when the O'Shay family's invites the whole town of Spencer City, Connecticut to theirThanksgiving dinner. The day is spent reminiscing with their family and friends sitting on every available spot on the porch and steps of the new hostelry.
With the Christmas season approaching, there isn't any time for the newlyweds to reflect on their new life together. The entire staff has to start decorating the country inn with fragrant balsam boughs, holly branches with bright red berries and stringing the twinkling lights on all the shrubs and trees on the grounds.
Everything is going according to plan until a body is found underneath one of the gazebos. Dr Maxwell Fox, the newly elected county coroner, rules the death suspicious when he sees the knife still embedded in the chest cavity.
Who is the mystery man and who murdered him? The ensuing investigation brings out a few surprising facts about more than one prominent person in the small town.
Is the spark between FBI Agent Brian Miller and Josie Palmer, a Private Eye hired to help find the killer, animosity between two competing investigators or something else?
* * *
Camille strolled to the end of the hallway and unlocked the corner apartment. Closing the door, she latched the chain but an odd silence alerted her that something was wrong. It was way too early for the nanny to go to bed. That fact alone kicked up her heart rate. "Mignon, I'm home."
When there was no anwering "Bonjour", the lawyer opened the nursery door, but there was no sleeping cherub to be found. Next she went to the kitchen to check the chalkboard where the nanny left a message when she went out. The big block letters made her heart still for a long beat then pound in terror.
WE HAVE YOUR CHILD. YOU WILL BE CONTACTED SOON. DO NOT CALL THE POLICE.
A cry of anguish from her mouth brought a moan from the pantry. Grabbing a carving knife from the counter, the distraught mother turned the knob and jerked open the door. She found Mignon Broussard trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Camille quickly sliced the cords tha bound her hands and feet. The servant slipped the kerchief from her mouth.
"Mon Dieu! Forgive me, Madame. I could not stop the bad people from taking le petit."
The mother picked up the portable receiver and punched in a single digit. She spoke one sentence to the voice that answered. "I need your h-help, Jo. Someone kidnapped Jean-Claude."
"I'll be there as soon as I can." The private investigator closed her eyes and aksed for a little divine guidance to keep another tragedy from her friend who had lost enough already.
Can Josie save the day or will Fate be a cruel master once again?
Join the private eye as she races with the clock to find one small boy and bring him home to his mother.
If your French is as shaky as mine, below is a list of French to English translation for Mignon's excited dialogue.
Empty Cradle French to English translations:
Page 16 - Mon Dieu, je ne
My God, I
Page 18 - Dieu Interdit
Page 18 - Il peut chauffer mon lit n'importe quelle nuit ou jour.”
He can heat my bed any night or day
Page 25 - Quel bon bidon un estropié font s'il est lié par cette chaise?
What good can a crippled man be if he is bound by this chair?
Page 25 - Mais Mignon. chérie, un home n’a pas besoin de jambs pour tenir tendrement le Coeur d’une femme.”
But Mignon, darling, a man does not need legs to hold the heart of a woman tenderly.”
Page 25 - Naturellement.
Page 33 - “Mon Dieu ! Y a-t-il une odeur particulière à un kidnappeur?”
My God! Is there a particular odor to a kidnapper?"
Page 33 - Je comprends
Page 36 - Je, je pense qu'ils méritent ce qu'obtiennent ils et j'aime ainsi un homme puissant,
I, I think that they deserve what they get and I love a powerful man
Page 69 - Mademoiselle, c'est un plaisir de vous rencontrer.”
Miss, it is a great pleasure to meet someone so attractive."
Page 70 - “Bonjour, monsuir. Maintenant je sais pourquoi Jackson est si beau, si beau.”
Hello. Now I know why Jackson is so beautiful, so beautiful."
Page 77 - Laissez la dame seule et concentrez sur récupérer mon garçon debébé
Stop with the jokes and concentrate on finding my baby boy
Page 84 - Pitié. L'homme est meilleur regarder encore avec la chaume d'une nuit sur ce visage.
Merci. The man looks better with the one night old beard on his face.
In spite of the woolen trench coat she wore, the wind blowing through the trees made Josie Palmer shiver. She walked slowly between the headstones of the dearly departed members of the Sewell family toward the two men who stood beside upturned earth in one corner of the cemetery. When she approached them she knew why they stared so intently at the ground. They were transfixed by the sight of an exposed human leg with mangled flesh attached to the bone. Nodding at the silver-haired politician she knew only by sight, Josie looked from him to the remains.
"Congressman, I hope you have a good reason for getting me out this early on a Sunday morning."
"This unfortunate woman is not a member of my family," he answered. "As quietly as possible, I need you to find out who she is and why someone buried her here."
This request will send Josie to the streets of Washington, D.C. where intrigue is a natural part of the political scene.
A SILENT CRY
The desparate, pleading eyes of the woman in her dream vision has Private Investigator, Josie Palmer in a quandray. How can she save someone whose name she doesn't even know or what city she lives in? These are the perplexing thoughts that keeep running through the PI's brain. The only thing she knws for sure is that time is running out. Can Josie save the woman from this unknown threat? Will her new found ESP sbility lead her tot he victim before it's too late?
Taking the stairs two at a time, the PI checked each door on that floor. Most of them were unlocked bedrooms or bathrooms until she came to the one at the end of the hall. Josie took a small leather pouch from her back pocket. Inserting the lock pick tool into the keyhhole, she turned the metal pick until she heard a click. Taking a deep breath, she knocked and waited for a response.
"Why knock when you have the key?" a weak female voice remarked
Turning the knob, Josie slowly opened the door until she could see inside. "Hello, are you Mirabel Cook?
"Yes. Who are you?"
"I'm Josie Palmer, a private investigator. I've come to help you escape this lovely jail cell"
* * *
The community center reception hall was ablaze with a hundred tiny candles. The wedding rehearsal members were milling around waiting for the bridegroom to return. Josie checked her watch surreptitiously, once again. It had been ten minutes since Brian excused himself to take a phone call. Her fiance was supposed to be on personal leave not taking FBI calls.
Slipping out the side door, Josie went to remind Brian Miller that their guests were waiting. The playground area beside the center was empty except for the colored chalk blaicks of a hopscotch pattern on the concrete. A pair of car keys was lying on the ground at the roots of a rosebush next tothe corner of the recreation hall.
Where on earth could he be?
The PI strolled briskly around the corner to the parking lot but there was no Federal Agent Miller anywhere in sight and his car was still in the parking lot. Taking her cell phone from her jacket pocket, Josie hit #1 on her speed dial and waited. And waited. After the tenth ring with no answer, a knot begacn to form in her stomach. This was not Brian's usual behavior. If he was getting cold feet, he would have just told her, which meant something bad could be going down.