Happy Friday, avid readers. Casey Daniels/Kylie Logan has visited us before, but today I asked her to return with the second book in her new mystery series, A Tale of Two Biddies. I love Kylie’s titles. Does this one sound familiar? Not surprisingly. Each title and each novel, for that matter, owes a little something to a literary classic, and this is no exception. But I’ll let Kylie introduce you to the idea behind the series herself.
Welcome to South Bass Island, the Key West of Lake Erie! Relax, enjoy the boating and the bars and the restaurants, but don’t forget, even paradise has a dark side. Just ask the League of Literary Ladies, the island’s one and only court-ordered book discussion group. These Ladies–Bea, Chandra, Kate and Luella–have a taste for classic books, and a nose for murder. As they demonstrated in their first adventure, Mayhem at the Orient Express, they also have a talent for using what they learn in their reading to investigate.
And here’s a little background for Biddies, itself.
It’s summer on South Bass Island and the chamber of commerce is hosting a week-long Bastille Day celebration. There are fireworks, parties, even a Charles Dickens look-alike and trivia contest. In honor of the event, the League of Literary Ladies is reading “A Tale of Two Cities.” Secrets lead to murder, and solving this mystery will be a far, far better thing than the Ladies have done before. They’ll just have to make sure to keep their heads while they try to stop a killer’s reign of terror!
In this scene, Bea, owner of an upscale B&B and main character in the series, is discussing the murder of island handyman Richie Monroe with hunky restaurant owner, Levi Kozlov. Both Bea and Levi are new to the island, and fitting in isn’t always easy. It’s not always easy to get a handle on Levi, either. Levi is the most interesting and intriguing man Bea’s met in as long as she can remember, but he’s also the most annoying. He doesn’t like the fact that she’s poking her nose where he says it doesn’t belong, into investigating island murders.
Bastille Day celebrations? Definitely a wild and crazy place. (And having actually been to this very real island, I will have to say it most decidedly is.) So now read on and see what’s afoot on South Bass and with the League of Literary Ladies.
“Dino says he doesn’t know who Richie is,” I told Levi. “But after that watermelon got whacked, Dino looked into the audience. Right at Richie.”
“You have to admit, it’s intriguing. If Dino thought Richie wanted to hurt him, Dino might have decided to strike back.”
I guess there’s only so long even a Norse god can play the strong, silent type. “So you’re going to . . . what? March back over to your B and B, corner Dino and beat him with a wet brioche until you get him to talk?”
Apparently I wasn’t the only one feeling just a tad sarcastic that morning.
“I had planned on talking to him. The brioche is a new thought. Thanks.”
“Always willing to help.”
“You know, I can be subtle.”
“I hadn’t noticed.”
I didn’t spare him a look. “Mike Lawrence left the bar early,” I said, changing the subject oh-so-smoothly.
“So you think he looks fishy, too. You’re wasting your time on that front.
Mike called this morning to explain. One of his kids was sick and he had to go home. No mystery there.”
“If it’s the truth.”
I heard him mumble a word I didn’t quite hear but could pretty much figure out. “You don’t trust anyone, do you?”
Rather than explain that I had my reasons, I stuck to the subject at hand.
“Mike has motive galore. He lost his business because of Richie. And his home. And his reputation. Richie gets poisoned, Mike leaves the scene of the crime. You can see where this is headed.”
“Bea, just because there’s a mystery to solve–”
“Doesn’t mean I should be the one to solve it. That’s what you’re going to say, right?”
Though it made plenty of sense when I told Chandra the same thing, it grated on my nerves now, and I knew exactly why. It was that darned photograph of Richie, the one taken when he was a kid, and try as I might, I couldn’t help but take another look at it.
Though there were plenty of people who probably didn’t believe it, I did have a heart, and I swear, just looking at the cute, goofy looking kid in the picture made it break in two. Like all kids’ lives, Richie’s contained an endless amount of possibilities. No, he may not have lived up to them.
But that didn’t mean his death didn’t send ripples through his community.
I guess that’s why I lifted my chin and defied what I knew to be Levi’s unarguable logic with a look that told him that if I wasn’t dead-set on investigating before, I sure was now. “Like I said before, nobody said anything about investigating. So who says I’m looking to solve Richie’s murder?”
One corner of Levi’s mouth twitched. “Maybe you should mind your own business.”
I turned and went to the car. I didn’t bother to add the rest of what I wanted to say to Levi, but then, the stormy look in his eyes told me he probably caught the subtext.
Maybe I would mind my own business.
Right when Hell froze over.