by Julie, summering in Somerville
I am delighted to welcome FOTW (Friend of the Wickeds) Debra Goldstein to the blog today so that we call celebrate the release of Five Belles Too Many tomorrow!
Really Wicked? Acts of Kindness.
by Debra H. Goldstein
Although I know that The Wickeds write “Wicked Good Mysteries,” I also know that behind the scenes, The Wickeds aren’t particularly wicked. In fact, they’re downright nice.
The first time I went to Malice Domestic, I knew no one. I happened to stand behind several Wickeds also attending the conference. They were patiently waiting to sign up for a banquet table. Turning to me and sensing my confusion, Edith Maxwell/Maddie Day suggested I join them at the table they signed up for. An act of kindness. Later, when I went to Crime Bake, their home state conference, I wasn’t quite sure why each was walking around with Dru Love’s head on a stick (she had won the honorary Wicked fan who wasn’t at the conference, so they brought her along), but I understood when they adopted/befriended me throughout the weekend. Another act of kindness. Later, Julie Hennrikus and I paired up for speed-dating at Malice Domestic, Barb Ross co-wrote three blogs with me, and Sherry Harris was my comic foil when we sat together at a Kensington signing where all my books had been lost so I could only give out swag and recommend her books. More acts of kindness.
What I’ve learned from all this is that behind-the-scenes people and actions may be far different than their monikers. That is part of the premise for my new book, Five Belles Too Many, which finds Sarah involved in the behind-the-scenes world of a reality TV show which is offering five finalists the opportunity to win a perfect Southern wedding. Although her age is the same or close to four of the finalists, Sarah is drawn into the show when her sixty-plus-year old mother, the fifth finalist, is required, like the other finalists, to have a chaperone.
Not wanting to bother any of her friends and because Sarah’s twin, Chef Emily, works at night, Mother Maybelle “enlists” Sarah. It’s bad enough that Sarah must juggle her day job and take care of her own furry pets, RahRah and Fluffy, but the show contracted for rooms for the belles and their chaperones at her all-time nemesis, Jane Clark’s, bed and breakfast. Despite Sarah’s protests, her mother assures Sarah that she can survive the few hours a night she’ll have to be at Jane’s Place, especially since she’ll be sleeping. What neither Mother Maybelle nor Sarah foresaw was that on the very first night they’d find the show’s producer dead, with Jane, blood on her hands, leaning over him.
This situation forces Sarah, who has been involved in solving several murders in Wheaton, Alabama, to face a dilemma. She hates Jane. Jane is the bimbo that broke up Sarah’s marriage, forced her to go from a life of luxury to an efficiency apartment, tried to steal RahRah, the Siamese cat that was the only thing she got out of her marriage, and has been a consistent thorn in her side, but Sarah doesn’t think Jane is a murderer. One part of Sarah wants to avoid helping Jane, but Sarah’s loyalty and fear for her mother’s well-being prompt her to get involved before Mother Maybelle or any of the other contestants are permanently eliminated from the competition.
Will her decision prove to be an act of kindness or the beginning of something wicked?
Rather than telling me something else that is wicked, for a chance to win a copy of Five Belles Too Many, please share an act of kindness either by a member of The Wickeds or that someone has done for you.
Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Four Cuts Too Many, Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, and One Taste Too Many). Her short stories, which have been named Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer finalists, have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Malice Domestic Murder Most Edible, Masthead, and Jukes & Tonks. Debra served on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and was president of the Guppy and SEMWA chapters. Find out more about Debra at https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com .
ABOUT Five Belles Too Many:
When Sarah Blair’s mother participates in a reality show competition for brides in Wheaton, Alabama, things get a little too real as a murderer crashes the wedding party . . .
Sometimes Sarah’s mother, Maybelle, can be higher maintenance than her Siamese cat RahRah. Maybelle and her friend, Mr. George Rogers, have been chosen to be one of five couples competing for a small-town “perfect” wedding and dream honeymoon on a Southern Belles reality show—and guess who has to be chaperone. Even more vexing, the producers have decided to put up the crew and participants at the restaurant/bed and breakfast owned by Sarah’s nemesis Jane Clark.
But when someone turns up dead with Jane kneeling by the body with blood on her hands, she goes from being Sarah’s chief rival to the police’s chief suspect. Neither Sarah nor her twin, Chef Emily Johnson, can stand Jane—still, they don’t think she’s a murderer. The producers vow the show must go on, but to protect their mother and the other contestants, Sarah vows to find the true killer before someone else gets eliminated . . .