August 2014


Inside the Mind of Pendelton Wallace #AmWriting #Mystery #Suspense

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014

Inside the Mind of an Author 

You don’t want to know what goes on in my mind. It will shock and scare you.
I was at a writers conference and heard  James Rollins tell a good story.
He said that most people wake up on Sunday morning and think about the golf game they’re going to play or the football game they want to watch. He lays in bed on Sunday morning and thinks of interesting new ways to kill people.
I’m kind of like that. I don’t make up my story lines. I get them from the newspapers and news reports. I couldn’t make this kind of stuff up. However, once I have the story line, I have to add enough sex, murder and mayhem along the way to keep my readers interested.
I have so much trash and dirt in my mind that it could never be published. Hmm . . . maybe I should take a short at the erotica genre. Seriously though, if you’re a girl, you may not want to date me. Most of my erotic scenes are from memories of “the women I have loved before.”
I’m always looking at people, places and situations and thinking how they could fit into a book. Many of my friends and co-workers have wiggled their way in to books. They may not recognize themselves, but little pieces of their personalities become quirks of my characters.
I have a character in The Mexican Connection, who did not know her husband was a drug dealer until the DEA knocked down her door. This really happened. I met “Lisa” many years after the incident, but it was still indelibly etched on her character. A story like that just had to end up in print.
My head is exploding with ideas, I will never be able to write them all down. I keep a folder on my computer called “Story Ideas.” I have files in it with little kernels that may or may not someday become stories. But I write them down so I don’t lose them.
I know the story line for the next two Ted Higuera novels. I just have to read the newspapers.
I hope someday to be able to write historical fiction. I have at least three stories that I would like to tell. The first is about my great-grandfather in the Civil War. The next is about how my maternal grandfather came to this country and how he met my grandmother. Then there is the story about the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama. What drama.
My mind never stops. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up.

If Clive Cussler had written Ugly Betty, it would be Hacker for Hire. 

Hacker for Hire, a suspense novel about corporate greed and industrial espionage, is the second book in a series about Latino computer security analyst Ted Higuera and his best friend, para-legal Chris Hardwick. 

The goofy, off-beat Ted Higuera, son of Mexican immigrants, grew up in East LA. An unlikely football scholarship brought him to Seattle. 

Chris, Ted’s college roommate, grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father is the head of one of Seattle’s most prestigious law firms. 

Ted’s first job out of college leads him into the world of organized crime where he faces a brutal beating. After being rescued by beautiful private investigator Catrina Flaherty, Ted decides to go to work for her. 

Catrina is hired by a large computer corporation to find a leak in their corporate boardroom when the previous consultant is found floating in Elliot Bay. 

Ted discovers that Chris’s firm has been retained by their prime suspect. Now he and Chris are working opposite sides of the same case. 

Ted and Catrina are led deep into Seattle’s Hi-Tech world as they stalk the killer. But the killer is also hunting them. Can Ted find the killer before the killer finds him? 
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Thriller
Rating – R
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The Beautiful American by Marilyn Holdsworth @M_Holdsworth #AmReading #HistFic

Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

from my novel, THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN, by Marilyn Holdsworth

“Oh, no,” she wailed the moment the door opened revealing the two guards. “The guillotine,” she cried. “It is to be today. Dear God, dear God, have pity on my soul.”
“Oh my dear, my dear,” Elizabeth Monroe soothed, pushing past the two guards and rushing to Madame LaFayette’s side. She stooped down, took the trembling woman’s hands in hers, and knelt down beside her. “No, no; it is nothing like that. I am Elizabeth Monroe. My husband, James, is the United States minister to France and a longtime friend of your husband. They fought together in our revolution,” she explained. “I have come to visit you, assure you how very concerned for you my husband is. We are going to do all we can to help you.” She placed her arms around the sobbing, frightened woman’s shoulders, continuing her reassuring words in soft, flowing French.
I stood watching from the doorway as Mistress Monroe calmed and comforted Adrienne LaFayette. Disregarding the filthy surroundings, Mistress Monroe continued to crouch down before the distraught woman, holding her hands as she spoke. When at last she rose, she drew Madame LaFayette to her feet and embraced her.
“Merci beaucoup, thank you for coming,” Adrienne LaFayette whispered, wiping her eyes. “I was sure they had come to take me to the guillotine. I was so very frightened. My family is all gone. I thought for sure they had come for me too,” she said, fighting back the tears.
“Of course you did, my dear, but have courage. Be assured that James will do all he can for you,” Mistress Elizabeth promised, patting her gently on the shoulder before joining me at the door. “We must go now, Jasmine, get back to the Folie as soon as possible. We must tell James of this poor woman’s deplorable state.”
She glided gracefully back down the long dingy, hall, past the guards to the prison door, where Michael was waiting to escort us safely back to the carriage.
You can read more about The Beautiful American, by Marilyn Holdsworth at:

As a novelist, I draw on many real life experiences to provide background for my books. After completing studies in Literature and History at Occidental College, I became a staff writer on a travel magazine, and throughout my career I have traveled extensively all over the world. Because I love horses, I owned and trained them. I support horse rescue and wild mustang preservation. Based on my experience with horses and my research on abuse issues, I wrote Pegasus.

As a descendant of James Monroe, I did extensive research at the James Monroe Museum in Virginia about him and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. I also visited their home, Ashlawn/Highland in Albemarle County. This resulted in my novel, The Beautiful American. Making Wishes, was based partly on my experiences as creator, owner and operator of a greeting card company.

Making Wishes

Elloree Prince is an attractive, creative young woman who marries a wealthy businessman, Tom Randall. After courting his bride with unrelenting determination, Tom moves her into old-moneyed Oak View, where generations of Randalls have lived for years. Outwardly, Elloree appears to settle into raising their two sons within Oak View's stifling social structure, but inwardly, she yearns for her artistic work. 

An unexpected phone call from Mark Williams, her former employer, offers her the career opportunity of a lifetime, and she must make a choice. She is torn between her devotion to her sons and her love for her work. Her decision to return to Wishes, Inc. brings dramatic life changes to her and the people she loves.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Women's fiction
Rating – PG-13


"Abby Long is thrilled when she offers the winning bid for an antique desk at an auction. With its intricately inlaid woods and elegant style, the desk is perfect for Abby; it is the gift she promised herself to finally celebrate her thriving antique business. She has no idea that the antique desk holds a secret that will lead her on a fascinating, life-changing journey back in time.
When Abby discovers a hidden diary stuffed inside a secret compartment in the desk, she can hardly wait to read the spidery, faded script. As she carefully turns the tattered pages, she reads the captivating story of two remarkable women from opposite backgrounds who somehow manage to form an unforgettable bond against the backdrop of a fledgling America struggling to find its place in the world. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of James Monroe, and Jasmine, a young slave girl, develop an extraordinary relationship as they are united by pivotal historic events, political intrigues, and personal tragedies.
 From a bucolic Virginia plantation to the bloodied, starving streets of post-revolutionary Paris, this powerful tale follows the lives of two courageous women from the past as they quietly influence—and inspire—a woman of today’s world."

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical fiction
Rating – G


Widowed at thirty, Hannah Bradley is a successful journalist focusing on animal abuse issues. An accidental meeting introduces her to lawyer, Winston Caughfield III. Drawn to Hannah’s gentle beauty and fierce commitment to her work, Win joins her in a fight to save wild mustangs from slaughter. Together they rescue a badly injured horse with a mysterious background. Hannah’s search to discover the animal’s true identity leads them into a web of black marketeering and international intrigue. 
Action packed with crisp colorful dialogue the story propels the reader to a race against time conclusion. Marilyn Holdsworth delivers a gripping tale of mystery, adventure and romance guaranteed to hold the interest and capture the heart. She brings true-life characters together with real-life issues to create a fast-paced irresistible story.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Contemporary fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Marilyn Holdsworth on Facebook & Twitter


#Excerpt from The Other Side of the Ice by @TheobaldSprague #Adventure #Climate

Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Before grabbing a book and heading below, I took a stroll out on deck to try and gather in the towering strength and beauty of the mountains that surrounded our still and peaceful anchorage, perhaps the most stunning I’d ever seen. Low, shrub-covered flats quickly ran up to rocky foothills that rose straight up into the monstrous snow-covered peaks. It was an area waiting to be hiked and explored but, for me at least, only after a good night’s sleep. Sometime during the past day, we had crossed an invisible line that moved everyday thinking to a seldom-visited level.
We were anchored now in an area much more raw, powerful, and potentially threatening than we had experienced. On our way into this amazing paradise, we encountered, for the first time, charts that simply didn’t have complete soundings, no channel markers, no warning of shoals or hidden rock outcroppings. While we weren’t exactly flying blind, we were navigating in an area of greatly reduced information. Not for the first time in the trip the thought struck, “If we stick here, we are screwed.”
This new level of thinking and awareness was debilitating, a slowly circling feeling of expected isolation and self-reliance. No longer would a potential emergency be met with a simple call on the ship’s radio to the local Coast Guard or towboat. We were becoming increasingly isolated and as such were going to have to rely on our own wits. My hope was that this mounting sense of isolation would stay beyond the limits of the boat and not work its way inside. Time would tell. For the past two years, the talk had been to simply get to this area and then farther north.
I unexpectedly found my senses coming alive. My sense of smell was more acute, my hearing was finer, and my sight was more focused. It was a feeling, a new way of seeing life, that through the rest of the trip would reach far deeper than I could have imagined.
The Northwest Passage is a ship killer, and always has been.
At various stages of the journey, I found myself numb. Exhausted. Terrified.
How had it all started? What were we doing?
I was leading a crossing of the Northwest Passage, an 1,800-mile channel north of the Arctic Circle, connecting, in theory, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Hundreds of sailors had given their lives trying to do the exact same thing. We were a small boat with a small crew. Bagan is a fifty-seven foot long Nordhavn, and she was manned by six of us, three of whom were my children.
One thought and one thought only kept shouting in my mind, a thought that no expedition leader and, especially, no parent should ever have to think; a thought that held me in a cold, mental death grip, a thought that I still think about.
“Have I brought us all together just to lead us to our deaths?”

TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 
A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir, adventure, family, climate
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Sprague Theobald on Facebook & Twitter


#Excerpt from @MargaretWestlie's ANNA'S SECRET #HistFic #Mystery #GoodReads

Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ian fell silent and thought back over the years of backbreaking toil that had gone into clearing the land. Poppa and I worked side by side until one day Poppa sat down on a stump and said, "I cannot do this anymore," and died. After that I married Belle. She was a pretty fragile girl who wasn't able to work in the fields. She wasn't able to do much more than keep a clean house. Oh, but she was pretty and sweet, and wonderful to come home to. His heart yearned momentarily for a return to the days with Belle. Life was so easy then. At least until the baby wouldn't come, and now the two of them are lying in the same casket, the baby's bones still nestled in the curve of its mother's bones, never born.

"Come in then, dinner's on the table." Mary's voice through the open door interrupted the melancholy flow of his thoughts.

"Sit in to your usual place, Ian," said Mary. "I'll just pour the tea."

Angus pulled the extra chair from behind the stove and placed it for himself and left the stool for Mary.

Mary poured the tea and passed the cups, then settled herself comfortably on her little stool. "Angus, will you return thanks?"

They bowed their heads and Angus began a long prayer of intercession, thanks and apology. The food steamed and cooled in the serving dishes as Angus strolled on through his list of requests. Ian's stomach rumbled and his mouth watered. He swallowed hard. Angus paused to collect his thoughts and mentally review his petitions. "Oh, Lord," he began, then paused again.

"Amen," chirped Mary into the brief silence, a sparkle of mischief in her eyes. "That was a fine prayer, Angus. Pass Ian the potatoes. It's a shame Donald wouldn't join us today."

Ian spooned a generous helping of mashed potatoes onto his plate. "He was invited. He didn't even come to church as he said he would."

"Och, well, maybe something came up that he had to attend to," soothed Mary. "He's always been a responsible lad." She passed Ian the platter of chicken. "See, it roasted up well. It's so tender it's falling off the bones."

"It's a miracle then," Ian helped himself to a thigh. "The squawking and complaining that was coming out of the poor beast when Donald was butchering it, I was afraid it'd be like shoe leather."

"Well, it isn't. It roasted up just fine." Mary helped herself to the vegetables then passed them to Angus. "So, are you all snug for the winter yet?”

"Not yet," said Ian around a mouthful of potatoes and gravy. He swallowed, then said more clearly, "I was just thinking this morning that the banking isn't done and the storm windows aren't on and the storm doors need repair, and I don't know when I'm going to get to it all." He poured his steaming tea into his saucer to cool, then lifting it with his characteristic three-fingered grip, sipped noisily. 

"Anna'd be ashamed of the house too. I'm sorry that I've had to let it go so. There's dust in the corners and the dishes are still there since the day before yesterday. Donald won't do them and I was so tired yesterday that I just didn't do them." He looked around Mary's tidy kitchen. The curtains were bright and fresh, the floor was swept, the wood box was filled to overflowing and there wasn't a speck of dust anywhere. Anna's kitchen used to look like this, he thought.

"I've been thinking," said Mary. "There's a few of us ladies who haven't a lot to do these days. If it wouldn't offend you, we could come over some day this week and do the fall housecleaning for you."

A ray of hope leaped into Ian's eyes. "Would you? I'm afraid I've not been able to keep up with the housekeeping too."

"What do you have over there for cleaning supplies?"

Ian's face fell. "I don't know. Anna took care of all that."

"Never mind then, we'll just bring it all."


Anna Gillis, the midwife and neighbour in Mattie's Story, has been found killed. The close-knit community is deeply shaken by this eruption of violence, and neighbours come together to help one another and to discover the perpetrator. But the answer lies Anna's secret, long guarded by Old Annie, the last of the original Selkirk Settlers, and the protagonist of An Irregular Marriage. Join the community! Read Anna's Secret and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fiction, mystery, historical
Rating – G
More details about the author
 Connect with Margaret Westlie on Facebook & Twitter


Thread End: An Embroidery #Mystery by Amanda Lee @GayleTrent #AmReading #BookClub

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I’d stayed up too late the night before; but even sleep-deprived, I was chipper as Angus and I pulled into our usual parking spot outside the Seven-Year Stitch. I had seen Vera and Paul only briefly at the museum exhibit, so I supposed Vera would be in sometime today. I hoped she would, anyway. It would be fun to relive the evening with her . . . going over the pieces we’d liked best. I wondered if she’d made the collector any offers. I grinned. Knowing Vera, she probably had.
I hopped out of the Jeep and snapped Angus’s leash onto his collar. He jumped out and sniffed the sidewalk while I unlocked the front door. As soon as we got inside, I took the leash off. Angus bounded over to the sit-and-stitch square where he’d left his favorite toy—a Kodiak bear Vera had brought him back from a trip she’d taken a few months ago.
I relocked the door. I still had about half an hour until the shop opened, and I liked to have the shop tidy and restocked when customers started coming in. The first order of business every Saturday morning was to take the trash out. The sanitation truck ran at noon every Saturday, so all the shops on our side of the street scrambled to get their garbage out to the receptacles before then.
Fortunately for me, the Seven-Year Stitch didn’t generate a lot of trash . . . especially when compared to MacKenzies’ Mochas. That shop produced more garbage in a day than the Stitch did in a week. In fact, Blake had to take their garbage out twice a day—double-bagged so the food scraps wouldn’t attract bears.
I was thinking about bears, Blake, Sadie, and how Sadie had talked me into coming to Tallulah Falls and opening my shop—for which I would be forever grateful—when I stepped out the back door with my bag of trash. I tossed the bag into the bin, turned, and then gasped as I saw something lying against the wall.
For the world, the . . . thing . . . looked like the kilim Reggie had admired so much last night at the exhibit. But it couldn’t be. . . . Could it?
I crept closer. It was the rug—I recognized the colors and the unmistakable patterns. But what was it doing here?
I took another step toward the rolled-up kilim and saw that it was badly stained. Had someone bought it, got something all over it, and left it here for the sanitation crew to dispose of? Surely not.
Maybe Vera had bought it, gotten it stained, and then left it here at the back of my store to see if I could clean it. No, that didn’t make any sense to me either, but I was really grasping at straws.
I took one more step closer and nudged the rug with my foot. I wasn’t about to touch such a valuable kilim until I found out why it was lying outside my shop.
When I pushed it, the rug rolled slightly. Then I spotted something . . . a hand! And the hand was attached to a body . . . that was attached to a face . . . a face that looked vaguely familiar.
With trembling hands, I fumbled my cell phone from the front pocket of my jeans and called Ted.
“You’ve got to come,” I said when he answered. “Here . . . to the shop . . . please. There’s this guy . . . a dead guy . . . wrapped up in Reggie’s rug.”
“What? Babe, you aren’t making sense.”
I couldn’t answer. I’d begun to hyperventilate.
“Sweetheart, I’m on my way. Sit down and put your head between your knees,” he said. “Is anyone with you?”
When I didn’t answer, he repeated that he was on his way.
I became vaguely aware that Ted had ended the call, and I returned my phone to my pocket. I didn’t know what to do. Maybe the man wasn’t dead after all. I guessed I could take his pulse to see. Or I should probably wait for Ted. The gray cast to the man’s skin made me fairly certain that there was nothing I could do to help him. And it wasn’t a stretch to assume that the stain on the rug was blood. I’d wait for Ted.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps pounding up the alley behind me. I whirled around, stumbled, and would have fallen had I not been righted by Blake—he whose thundering footsteps had startled me while he was sprinting toward me with a white paper bag in one hand.
“Ted called,” he said, panting for breath. “Are you all right? He said you were hyperventilating. Here—breathe into this. Let’s get you inside.”
I was sort of wondering if maybe Blake didn’t need the paper bag more than I did, but I simply nodded. With one strong arm around my shoulders, Blake started to lead me back into the shop.
As he turned, he noticed the body. “What the—?”
“Exactly,” I said. “Let’s go inside until Ted gets here. This is freaking me out.”
“You and me both.”
We went inside. Blake was now every bit as shaken as I was but was determined to be strong for me.
Angus was thrilled to see Blake and immediately bounded up to him.
“In a minute, boy,” Blake said softly. “First, let’s get Marcy settled on the sofa.”
Sensing something was wrong, Angus sat down and began to whine.
“It’s okay,” I told him as I sank onto the sofa. “Everything’s fine.”
Blake took a seat on the red club chair diagonal to the sofa. “Seriously, breathe into the bag.”
I shook my head. “I’m fine.”
“What happened?”
“I have no idea,” I said, petting Angus’s head in an effort to soothe us both. “I took out the garbage, and when I turned to come back into the shop, I saw the rug. I thought it strange that someone would throw it away like that, and then I saw the hand and realized someone was wrapped up in the rug.”
“That’s all you saw? A hand?” He shrugged. “Do you think maybe it could be a mannequin?”
“No. I saw the man’s face, too. He was real.” I glanced at the front door and realized it was still locked. “I’ve got to unlock the door.”
Blake jumped up from the chair. “I’ll get it. You sit there and rest.”
“Thank you. The keys are on the counter.”
He unlocked the door. “Do you want me to leave the sign as Closed?”
“No. Change it to Open please,” I said.
“Are you sure you’re up to having customers today?”
“Positive.” I smiled slightly. “I’ll take any normalcy I can get right now.”
He returned to his seat. “Are you feeling okay?”
“I’m still shaky—and I’m sorry for that poor man lying outside—but I’ll be all right.”
Sadie hurried through the front door carrying a large to-go coffee cup. “Marce, how are you?”
I assured her that I was fine. “I’m even better if that’s a low-fat vanilla latte with a dash of cinnamon.”
Sadie saw how my hand shook as I took the cup, and her big brown eyes flew to Blake’s blue ones. He gave her a nod, and they communicated volumes merely by holding each other’s gaze for a few seconds. They’ve only been married for five years, but you’d think they’d been together forever. Like every other couple, they’d had their share of hardships. But they’d always persevered . . . and always would. They’d be lost without each other.
I took a sip of the warm, delicious coffee, and Sadie sat beside me on the sofa.
Angus, still confused and upset by the anxiety in the room, sighed and plopped his head onto his paws.
“Aw, look how pitiful he is,” Sadie said. “Now I wish I’d brought him some biscotti.” She spoke to Angus. “I’ll bring you back some biscotti, sweet boy. Yes, I will.”
Angus wagged his tail. He wasn’t convinced everything was okay yet, but he knew it was getting there.
Sadie took my free hand and gave it a squeeze. Like Angus, she didn’t seem confident she knew what was going on, either. But she wanted me to know that she was there. Dog and human best friends share that trait. I quickly filled her in on the situation.
At last, Ted strode through the door. As he took my latte, set it on the coffee table, and gathered me into his arms, I finally felt that everything was truly going to be all right. So, naturally, I began to weep.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” I whispered against his shoulder.
“Everything’s okay, babe. I’ve got you.”
I didn’t know why suddenly feeling secure would make me weep, but it did. Looking back, I usually did hold up fairly well in the midst of a critical moment and fall apart when it was over. Okay, so looking back on my call to Ted, maybe I didn’t hold up that well in the critical moment. But what would you have done if you’d found a dead guy wrapped in an antique kilim in your alley?
Ted sat on the sofa, pulling me onto his lap. He gently wiped the tears from my cheeks and kissed my forehead.
Angus sat up and placed his head on my knee, making us all laugh. He could be such a clown.
“We should go on out back,” I said to Ted.
“Not yet. Manu is there. He said he’d handle that situation while I made sure you were okay.”
“I’m fine,” I said. “Really. You should go—”
“Ted, come out here!” Manu called from the back door. “You’re not going to believe this!”
I got up. “Come on.”
“I think you should stay in here,” Ted said, standing and taking my hand.
“He’s right,” Sadie said. “You’ve had enough of a shock for one day. Who knows what Manu has discovered out there?”
“Besides, you need to be here to wait on your customers,” Blake said. “Speaking of which, I’d better get back down the street.”
Ted shook Blake’s hand. “Thanks for being here for Marcy.”
“Yeah, Blake, thank you for coming to my rescue,” I said as Ted headed for the back door. “And you, too, Sadie.”
Sadie stood and gave me a hug. “I need to get back to the shop as well. But call me if you need anything.”
I promised her I would, and then Angus and I were alone in the sit-and-stitch square. I waved to Sadie and Blake as they passed the window en route to MacKenzies’ Mochas. Then I picked up my latte, sat down on the sofa, and sighed.
“Big morning, huh, Angus?”
In response, he moved closer to me and lay at my feet.
I took a drink of the now lukewarm latte and mused aloud to my faithful hound, “I wonder who that guy out there is. And why did he look familiar?”
I fell silent as Angus rolled onto his side for a nap, and I searched my memory for a different image of the balding gentleman who’d been wrapped in a rug and dumped in the alley behind the Stitch. The man didn’t work in any of the local shops. The museum—was that where I’d seen him? I tried to recall the faces of the people I’d mingled with at the exhibit opening last night, but I couldn’t place the victim’s face. Still, I kept fixating on the museum. Then it dawned on me—the photograph. The victim was Dr. Vandehey, the professor turned art thief.
I scrambled out of my seat, startling Angus, and hurried to the back door. He came chasing after me, but I didn’t allow him to follow me outside. He jumped up so he could peep out and bark at all the excitement.
“Isn’t that the man from the picture you showed me last night?” I asked Ted. “The art thief?”
“The alleged art thief,” Manu said.
“But I thought he confessed,” I said.
Ted took me gently by the shoulders. “You’re right about the identity of the victim, but I still don’t think you should be out here.”
“Right,” said Manu. “You could accidentally contaminate the crime scene.”
“Crime scene?” I slumped against Ted. “This doesn’t mean you have to close down my shop, does it?”
“No, sweetheart. We’ll just cordon off this part of the alley. The inside of your shop will be business as usual.”
“Thank goodness,” I said. “I suppose I should go back in. My being out here is driving Angus crazy.”
A black SUV rolled right up to the yellow crime scene tape, and a short man wearing a dark suit stepped out of the vehicle. He had a “standard-issue” buzz cut and sunglasses. I think all of us—me, Ted, Manu, and the crime scene technicians, heck, maybe even Angus—knew before he’d introduced himself that he was FBI.
He flashed a badge. “Special Agent Floyd Brown of the Portland office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Art Theft Division. What have we got here, and why did I have to hear about it over the police scanner rather than through a personal phone call from the chief of police?”
Manu drew himself up to his full five feet seven inches. He was taller than Agent Brown by at least two inches—maybe three. “Agent Brown—”
Special Agent Brown,” the man interrupted.
“You weren’t notified because we haven’t made a positive ID of the victim yet,” Manu continued. “Therefore, we don’t know that an investigation of this death falls within your jurisdiction.”
“It looks like Vandehey to me,” Special Agent Brown said.
“Well, just because it looks like him doesn’t mean it is,” Manu said. “Now I respectfully request that you step back and allow our crime scene techs to do their jobs.”
Since Angus was still barking and scratching at the door, I excused myself to go back inside.
“Wait,” said Special Agent Brown. “Who are you?”
“I’m Marcy Singer. This is my shop.”
“Are you the one who found the body?”
“I am.”
“Then I’ll come inside and take your statement,” he said.
Manu started to protest, but I shook my head slightly. If Brown was in the shop taking my statement, he’d be out of Manu’s and Ted’s hair.
“Right this way,” I said.
I opened the door and took Angus’s collar, gently moving the dog back so Special Agent Brown and I could get inside.
“Come on, Angus,” I said. “Special Agent Brown, would you like some coffee? It won’t take but a minute to put on a pot.”
“No, thank you,” he said, ignoring Angus, who was snuffling his pant leg.
I led the agent to the sit-and-stitch square, and he sat down on the sofa facing the window. I took the red club chair.
“Is there something you can do with him?” He jerked his head toward Angus, who was now checking out the man’s jacket pocket.
“I can put him in the bathroom, but he’ll bark so much we won’t be able to hear each other over the racket,” I said. “If you’ll pet him, he’ll probably go on and leave you alone.”
Special Agent Brown sighed, patted Angus’s head, and said, “Nice dog. Now go away.”
I picked up Angus’s yellow tennis ball and gave it a toss. The dog loped after it and brought it back for me to throw again. As I played fetch with Angus, I relayed my statement to Special Agent Brown.
“So you recognized the rug and the professor,” said Special Agent Brown.
“I thought I recognized the rug,” I said. “And it only dawned on me a few minutes ago that the victim looked like a man in a photo I’d seen last night. As Chief Singh pointed out, we can’t be sure of anything until the crime scene technicians and the medical examiner have gone over all the evidence.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t set much store in coincidences, Ms. Singer. I tend to take things at face value.”
“Have you spoken with the museum curator and confirmed that one of the rugs from last night’s exhibit is missing?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “I came right here.” He narrowed his eyes. “Why hasn’t your esteemed police chief taken care of that?”
“I’m sure he has someone looking into it,” I said. I wasn’t really sure of anything except that Manu was thorough. I knew that as soon as he arrived, he’d put his team into motion. I figured that included sending a deputy over to the museum.
“Well, that’s not good enough for me. I’ll go over there myself. But first I want to know why this man was dumped behind your store, Ms. Singer.”
“Beats me. I imagine it’s because the museum is one street over and that if the rug is indeed the one from the exhibit, then the victim was dumped here because it was convenient.”
“We’ll see about that,” he said. He got up, plucked a dog hair from his jacket, and left.

Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer is about to have the rug pulled out from under her….

Marcy can’t wait to see the new exhibit at the Tallulah Falls museum on antique tapestries and textiles, including beautiful kilim rugs. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when, the day after the exhibition opens, she discovers a dead body behind her store, the Seven-Year Stitch, wrapped up in a most unusual fashion.

The victim appears to be a visiting art professor in town for the exhibit. Did someone decide to teach the professor a lesson, then attempt to sweep the evidence under the rug? Along with her boyfriend, Detective Ted Nash, Marcy must unravel an intricate tapestry of deception to find a desperate killer.
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Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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