by Jo A Hiestand
GENRE: Mystery (British)
Each year the residents of Nether Haddon celebrate the village’s founding in the time-honored way with games, music, and performances by their sword dancers. But something new is added to the fancy footwork this year: a team member dies ... murdered. Fear, jealousy and suspicion quickly engulf the group, emotions as tightly interlocked as the five swords used in the dance: a series of turns, jumps and clogging steps intricate as Celtic knots. Was the victim the intended target, or should it have been someone else? In the course of the CID investigation, a mysterious 17th century puzzle is discovered. Does it hold a clue to the murder? Detective Brenna Taylor and her colleagues have more than enough to worry about. But unbeknownst to her, career criminal King Roper has escaped from prison where he was serving time for murder. Now free and eager to settle the score for his capture, Roper tracks down Brenna’s whereabouts, ready for revenge...
“You’re going to let me do your makeup for your wedding, aren’t you, Bren?”
“I learned how to put on lipstick when I was a teenager, Margo. Thanks all the same, but I think I’m sufficiently big enough to do that.”
“And that’s exactly what you’ll do. All you’ll do. Swipe a lipstick across your mouth, blot most of it off, and if Adam’s lucky, you’ll pinch your cheeks before heading out. It’s your big day, Bren. You should look your best for him.”
“If I’m too gorgeous, the shock might be too much for him. You want me to be Cinderella-at-the-ball for one day and have the poor man live with Cinderella-at-home for the rest of his life.”
“He doesn’t have to. You could wear lipstick, blush and mascara every day, you know. It wouldn’t kill you, and it’d take you two minutes to apply in the morning.”
“Adam knows he’s not marrying Kate Middleton.”
“Sure, but can’t you let your beauty out now and then? You’ve got it, you know. You just keep it bottled up, for some reason.”
“Practice your amateur psychology on someone else, Margo. I need to start my day. Now, if I could find Mark…” I turned in my chair to glance at the staircase behind me when Mark strolled up to our table.
“Morning, ladies. Lovely day when I’m greeted by two beautiful faces.”
I glared at Margo. “You told him to say that.”
“I did not!”
Mark sat down beside me and grabbed a menu. “What am I interrupting?”
“We were just talking about Brenna’s wedding,” Margo said, closing her handbag.
Mark grinned and tossed the menu onto the table. “My favorite subject.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British. Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times and lived there during her professional folksinging stint.
Jo’s insistence for accuracy--from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area--has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the details filling both her Peak District mysteries and the McLaren mystery series.
In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.
Her McLaren mystery, BLACK MOON, received the ‘N.N. Light Best Mystery Book’ award for 2019.
Jo lives with her cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts in the St. Louis-area.
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