Sylvia Auclair is the winner of Libby’s books. Look for an email from Libby!
Sherry — If you need a funny post to warm you on a cold almost winter’s day read on. Guest Libby Klein is visiting to celebrate the upcoming release of Theater Nights Are Murder, the fourth book in the Poppy McAllister Mystery series. Look for a give away at the end of the post. Here’s a little about the book: The last thing gluten-free baker Poppy McAllister needs in her life is more drama—or more murder . . .
Poppy thought her toughest challenge this winter would be sticking to her Paleo diet and filling all her orders for her gluten-free goodies, but now she has to choose between two suitors. She’s not the only one with boyfriend drama. Aunt Ginny’s long-ago high-school beau, Royce Hanson, a retired Broadway actor, has returned to Cape May, New Jersey, to star in a Senior Center staging of Mamma Mia. Leaving Aunt Ginny to wonder: What’s his motivation?
Slated to open February 13th, the problem-plagued production seems to be cursed—with stolen props, sabotage, and even a death threat. But when a cast member plunges to his death from a catwalk, it soon becomes clear a murderer is waiting in the wings. Now Poppy, Aunt Ginny, and a supporting cast must take center stage to catch the killer—before it’s curtains for someone else . . .
Libby: I’m a child of the 70s. And like every other red-blooded American kid of the decade, the highlight of my week revolved around brightly colored breakfast cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. Of all the technicolor offerings from Hanna-Barbera, Scooby-Doo was hands down my favorite.
Over the past few months, one of my grandsons visited me every week, and I had the pleasure of introducing him to Shaggy and the gang on DVD. It became our thing. Friday mornings, watching Shaggy make giant sandwiches that Scooby would snarf down in one gulp. Watching my grandson eat his weight in goldfish crackers and chocolate milk. (don’t tell his mother) I came to realize just how many ways Scooby-Doo and the gang had influenced my Poppy McAllister Mysteries.
First, you need a good sidekick.
Scooby and Shaggy go together like peanut butter and jelly – or sardines and marshmallow fudge if Shaggy is to be believed. Everyone needs a buddy when you’re locked in a museum in the middle of the night and a creepy mummy crawls out of the Egyptian sarcophagus. Fortunately, Poppy has Sawyer, her lifelong best friend. Poppy and Sawyer tend to dive headfirst into sticky situations just to back each other up. So far, they’ve faced the high school reunion from hell, the midnight romp of the snack bandit, and a chef competition so traumatic you’ll want to order delivery for the rest of your life. Like Shaggy and Scooby, Poppy wants nothing to do with finding bad guys. She just wants to hang out with her friends and maybe have some snacks.
Add in a dash of snappy dialogue
Fred: “Stay here Scoob, we’re going to go check out these weirdos.”
Velma: “There’s a very logical explanation for all this.”
Shaggy: “Quick, tell me.”
Velma: “The place is haunted.”
Fred: “We’re going back to find out what it was.”
Shaggy: “Swell. I’ll wait here and when you find out, send me a telegram.”
If you’ve read my series, you can clearly see that my dialogue is on par with the words of Shaggy and the gang. I’ve aspired high and I believe I’ve reached the pinnacle of success that only a select few have mastered.
Everyone needs the voice of reason
Poor Velma did all the work. Week after week, figuring out that bad guys did it with smoke and mirrors and luminescent paint. But did she ever get the credit? No. Fred set up some lame trap that Shaggy and Scooby barreled into and accidentally unmasked the villain by falling on them. Then it was all shaking fists and, “You meddling kids!” Aunt Ginny is Poppy’s eighty-ish year old great aunt, and she’s often the voice of reason. No one listens to her either, but in their defense, it is difficult to take someone seriously when they’re dressed in a Little Bo Peep costume because, “it’s Tuesday.”
Have a good Incentive plan.
Fred and the gang can get Scooby to do just about anything by waving a box of scooby snacks under his nose. Scooby has been the bait used to lure the villain towards one of Fred’s traps enough times to learn to just say no. But still he gives in to the lure of temptation. Sir Figaro Newton, Poppy’s black smoke Persian, can sniff out trouble like Scooby sniffing out a box of scooby snacks. And just like Scooby, he’ll also work for treats. Figaro is smarter than Poppy gives him credit for. He knows when people are trying to hide secrets, and he’s a very good judge of character. Most of the time. He can be bought with bacon. Other than that, his detecting skills are sharp.
Everyone likes a little side romance.
We’re talking about you, Fred. You’re not fooling anyone. We know why you always suggest you and Daphne go “search for the ghost” in another room. Even Velma is tired of your shenanigans. Poppy has more romance than she can handle. Her life is right back in the same romantic crossroads she found herself in twenty-five years ago. This is her chance for a life do-over and she’s trying to listen to her heart. When she can hear it over everyone impatiently pushing her to choose. Give the girl a minute!
Finally, people are never what they seem
If we learned anything from Scooby Doo, this is the big one. In the end, every villain had to be unmasked – sometimes more than once – to reveal their true identity. They were never who you first suspected, and their motives for murder always seem justified in their minds. Sometimes the bad guys are just good guys with bad ideas. People are complicated. They usually only show you what they want you to see. Poppy’s biggest challenge in solving mysteries is digging deep to find out who’s behind the mask.
That’s where the gang comes in. You need a good support system to handle life’s trials and disappointments. A cast of friends who love and accept you for who you are. Each having their own role in bringing justice back into the world. Plus, it helps to have someone along who always has a box of snacks.
Readers: Did you love Scooby Doo? Which character was your favorite? Libby is giving away two of her ebooks to one person who leaves a comment! A winner will be chose by 5:00 pm eastern on Saturday the 21st.
About Libby Klein: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She loves to drink coffee, bake gluten free goodies, and befriend random fluffy cats. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.