Guest Clara McKenna- and a Giveaway!

Jessie, in New Hampshire where the crocuses bloom throughout the lawn!

I first met Clara McKenna several years ago at Malice Domestic. In the intervening years, it has been a pleasure to get to know her better at other events and most notably through our joint participation in the Sleuths in Time group. I am just delighted to welcome her to the Wickeds today to reveal her latest gorgeous cover for her Stella and Lyndy series! She has offered a winner’s choice” of any book in the series to a randomly chosen commenter.

Thanks for having me on the Wickeds, Jessie! I think this is perhaps my favorite cover in the series so far. Don’t they just look like a couple on their honeymoon? What could possibly go wrong?

Clara McKenna returns with the latest book in a historical cozy mystery series sure to appeal to fans of Alyssa Maxwell and Anna Lee Huber.

Against all expectations in Edwardian England, newly married American heiress Stella Kendrick and British aristocrat Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst are bucking traditions—and investigating murder—on their honeymoon . . .
Leaving behind tragedies surrounding their wedding at Morrington Hall, travel-worn Stella and Lyndy arrive at the grand Majestic Hotel in York to more misfortune—their stately honeymoon suite has been given away to Horace Wingrove, owner of England’s largest confectionery. Stella refuses to let an innocent booking mistake spoil the mood, but her optimism vanishes when Horace suffocates in the room where she and Lyndy should have stayed . . .
Unlike authorities on the scene, Stella can’t believe the business magnate’s death can be explained away as an accident. Troubling signs are everywhere—strange murmurs in the hallway, tight-lipped hotel staff, and a stolen secret recipe for Wingrave’s famous chocolate. Then there are Horace’s murky intentions for visiting the historic cathedral city, and those who were closely watching his every move . . .
As Stella and Lyndy tour Yorkshire and mingle with royals as husband and wife, they face a sinister mystery that puts their vows to the test. Can the couple work together to discover the truth about their romantic destination and the strange happenings haunting their trip before they’re treated to another terrifying surprise?

Readers, have you ever had a mix-up with your travel plans? A hotel reservation that was bungled? A missed or canceled flight? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of Clara’s novels!

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Clara McKenna writes the historical Stella & Lyndy Mystery series, about an unlikely couple who mix love, murder and horse racing in Edwardian England. Murder at Keyhaven Castle, the third book in the series was a Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice and voted one of a Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2021. Murder at the Majestic Hotel, fourth book in the series releases in October 2022. 

Clara is the founding member of Sleuths in Time, a cooperative group of historical mystery writers who encourage and promote each other’s work, as well as a member of Sisters in Crime. With an incurable case of wanderlust, she travels every chance she gets, England being a favorite destination. When she can’t get to the UK, she’s happy to write about it from her Victorian farmhouse in Iowa.

45 Thoughts

    1. I left Las Vegas bound for Memphis through Phoenix on a Saturday night. The flight crew was late in Las Vegas so I missed my connection in Phoenix. Guess when I arrived in Memphis? TUESDAY afternoon. Do I win a prize?

  1. We were heading to FL from Boston with our 2 cats and due to weather when we got to Charlotte, NC to change planes the crew had already been past their allotted time so we had to rebook another flight to Ft Myers which there wasn’t another one for over 5 hours. I felt so bad for Belle and Barnabas, my cats. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  2. Yay, Clara! I love this series.

    A few decades ago I forgot to change my clock back to standard time and arrived at the airport an hour late for a flight to Europe. They had just closed the doors and wouldn’t let me on! Luckily I was able to take the same flight a day later.

  3. Fantastic cover and blurb, Clara! The premise of the historical cozy sounds fun, too! After decades of domestic and international flights, I’ve traded my times in the air for slow drives in the country and reminiscing on past adventures with travel shows like those from Rick Steves.

  4. Congratulations, Clara – this sounds delightful!

    My biggest travel mixup was when I was going home for Christmas from St. Croix. I got to Puerto Rico and was informed my reservation had been canceled. I certainly had not canceled it. There was no way I wasn’t going to get back home for the holiday, so I pulled every (limited) string I could and they found me a seat.

  5. “Murder at the Majestic Hotel” sounds like a fabulous book and one I know I’m going to enjoy reading. LOVE the cover!

    Most trips are well planned out due to research to make sure we don’t miss anything and partly because we travel with a 17 year old Chihuahua. On one of our latest trips, we were to have taken a small plane flight in Maine in the attempt to spot some moose. Weather with high winds caused it to be cancelled. At the time we thought it was sad that we missed that change. However, with my fear of heights, I’m sure if we had taken it that I would have never suggested the spare of the moment helicopter rider over Niagara Falls, which was heavenly even if I don’t remember the flight itself.

    About the funniest mishap of changed plans was years ago when we took our daughter to Springfield, MO. Again lots of things planned, but we weren’t expecting a/c problems with the car. In the south, in the summer time, this is a BIG deal. What made it funny was that fact that it stopped working in the middle of drive through safari park. We would roll windows down and when an animal approached we had to roll them up sweating big time. We laughed and made it through, but it changed a lot of the rest of the trip. We ended up doing more outside stuff at the end of the day when it started to cool down or first thing in the morning before it got so miserably hot. In the heat of the day, we went to indoor activities. To say all our plans changed is a vast understatement, but it was still a fun trip.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. Traveling to and from Maine in the fall, winter and even spring, is usually tricky with the weather. My kids, my cat and I were flying from California to Maine one Christmas, and hit bad weather coming back east. The airline put us up in a hotel in Chicago and we had to smuggle the cat to the room. Thank goodness he didn’t meow!

    1. Doesn’t it seem they always want to sing the song of their people at the worst possible times! I was planning a trip from Florida to Virginia and I asked my boss – who frequently traveled the route with his two black labs for pet friendly hotel recommendations. He said he never used pet friendly hotels and that if you couldn’t smuggle your critters into motels, you shouldn’t have critters! This guy was a straight-arrow attorney and a southern gentleman of the old school. I think it was his one rebellion.

  7. The cover is fabulous! Makes me want to step inside.

    Travel mix-ups? I’ve always been a seat of the pants traveler. To the point that one of my bosses would sequester my passport if we had deadlines coming up. Any mix-ups were due to my impulsiveness. And they were all fun!

  8. Congratulations on the new book! I love the cover! I checked into a hotel, got my key, and went up to my room while my husband parked the car. I opened the door, but it immediately hit something and would only open a couple of inches. I tried again and a man looks between the crack! There was already someone in the room. Thank heavens he had the closet door open or I would have walked right in!

  9. I had had to cancel hotel reservations because of Covid. I agreed to let them keep the money and take a gift certificate instead. This a was a place I really loved so this wasn’t a problem. When I knew we would be going through Winslow, AZ, again, I called and made reservations, specifying which rooms I wanted. When my daughter and I arrived, the rooms had been given to someone else. I was furious. So they gave us “upgraded” rooms, only they weren’t in my opinion. The “view” was the parking lot, the Jacuzzi bath didn’t work – it would come on with no water in the middle of night, and it was much farther to everything We were tucked away. I’m very disappointed and certainly will never go back.

  10. COINGRATULATIONS CLARA!!!! After over 60 years of international travel (mostly for business), I have had so many travel mishaps, but they were all experiences that taught me so much about myself, people in general, and how to better prepare for my next journey, understanding I could only control very little, and that the fun was in the mishaps…after all, if nothing happened, what stories would I be able to tell when I got back home? l I can share takes place in a little village near the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania…On a hot early morning during an African Safari we boarded our tour company jeep after breakfast at our resort to go into today’s wild experiences…but we got a surprise…after about 1/2 an hour our jeep started acting up, and the driver was able to drive it to a tiny village consisting of a 2-block street. That was to be our tour for the day, since the jeep just ‘died’ and the company would send a replacement jeep to rescue us, but it was 10 hours away in Nairobi!! Though unexpected, this turned out to be a most rewarding full day at the village. We coped with the heat while we went ‘shopping’ away from our dead jeep base, encountering dozens of smiling children eager to touch us, especially my wife’s blond hair. And about hair: there was a barbershop who offered to cut the men’s hair for free…payment was to be the wives!!! One daring German gentleman tour participant was able to negotiate a terrible haircut by paying in dollars & a couple of dirty T shirts. We got to use the ‘facilities’ (a square hole) which were very clean toured a sugar mill that still used donkeys to drive the rotary wheel that crushed the sugarcane. We made so many friends that day, and some 30 years later we keep reliving that very unique adventure! Thank you for sharing your writing talents! Luis at ole dot travel

    1. Luis, your travels sound like mine in South America. The best of times were when things didn’t go according to plan. Makes wonderful “war stories”.

  11. I once missed a flight by minutes because the shuttle service I was using decided to skip one of their runs. Fortunately, I was able to get the next flight, which only delayed me about an hour.

    (Unless book four is a possibility, no need to enter me in the giveaway since I already have books 1-3.)

  12. Yes! My husband and I got married in my parents’ home in Metairie, LA and were to spend our honeymoon night at a brand new hotel at the foot of Canal Street in New Orleans. We were to have a special corner room overlooking the Mississippi. Wonderful view! The Shriners were having a convention and the hotel was overrun with people. We were shown to a room that was NOT the one we reserved. I balked and refused it. Fortunately the hotel got with the program and put us in the right room. But we still had run-ins with drunk guests in the halls, elevators, you name it. It was nuts.

  13. Love this series! Can’t wait to read the latest. It’s a wonderful cover!

  14. I once forgot my wallet at home in rush to catch the Tran west to Dener then Wyoming to visit our dsughter.I discovered it when we tried to pay for rental car. Had to have travelers checks and wallet overnighter to Denver hotel. Hope to win.

  15. I’ve had a hotel mix up before. When we arrived with the key, someone was already in the room. LOL.

    Thanks for the chance!

  16. Quite a few canceled flights, including one which meant sleeping on a bench overnight at Istanbul airport.

  17. I never had my checked baggage go completely, permanently missing, but I’ve had some close calls! The terror still haunts me!

  18. The day before I was suppose leave for a Hawaiian cruise, the cruise was cancelled. We could of taken the cruise three months later for half price. I was scheduled for two weeks vacation and the office manager wouldn’t let me change my vacation. I was so disappointed. I didn’t unpack for weeks and I have no desire to go to Hawaii now.

  19. I don’t fly. Train or bus. Longest lay over was 8 hours. Haven’t stayed in a hotel much. Always go to see family.

  20. I once had a hotel reservation that apparently was lost. Some kind of basketball tournament was going on in town and there were no hotels or motels with empty rooms. I even called the police station and asked if I could sleep there (the answer was no). The police did find a bed and breakfast with a room so all was well. I’ve also had my luggage lost and had to wear my Grandma’s polyester pants for a week ( I was 25 years old and not happy).
    I absolutely love the Stella and Lyndy books.

  21. Right before I was to fly to Florida to vacation with my aunt, Reagan fired the traffic controllers. Luckily they settled so I got there. We had just gotten to Naples when my aunt’s car got a flat tire. Instead of touring Naples, we sat for hours while they put 4 all new tires on. I was calm because of getting to Florida in the first place, and because we could have gotten stuck on the Tamiami Trail. I’d like the 3rd book if I win. Thank you for the chance.

  22. I have had a missed flight to the first flight coming in late and having to go to a different terminal at DFW and the plane was still at the gate but it was closed. Another time, I missed a Southwest Flight after having a flat tire on the way to the airport in Dallas by three minutes. I had a cancelled flight, rebooked, cancelled, and on an on for two days when I tried to go from Dallas to Atlanta during Snowmageddon. Then on the way from Dallas to Harlingen, it made an emergency landing in Laredo after a stop in San Antonio and they could get no planes, so they put us all on the milk run bus that stopped at every town from Laredo and down to Harlingen. That took over 4 hours and got in at like 4 am and the bus station was closed down tight. One person was there and had to give all of us rides home. . I think the worst was when we were on a Southwest flight from Harlingen, Texas to Dallas and a bird hit the engine on takeoff and we had to get in the crash position and re land. It took them 4 hours to get another plane to take us out and they told no one on the other end what happened and this was before cell phones.

  23. I have not traveled much so I do not remember a time that was a problem. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  24. I do so much business travel that I find it pretty easy to let the hiccups go pretty quickly. I’ve been pretty lucky, but my husband made some flight reservations under his last name, forgetting that my IDs all used my maiden name. We spent a stressful few hours on the phone trying to get that fixed!

  25. Yes, the first night of our honeymoon our reservation was “lost”. We did eventually end up with an upgrade so it worked out but it was exhausting waiting for an hour to finally have a room after a busy wedding day.

  26. We were able to go to a wedding at the end of last summer. Car rental mix up , but wound up in a 2021 Toyota!

  27. I got to the airport late and missed my flight to the West Coast once and there was no flight until the next day. It was an expensive mistake.

  28. Got behind on a train trip and had to stay overnight to get connection but Amtrak paid for the room so not bad. I love this series and remember meeting you at the last Malice Domestic.

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