This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jo will be awarding a handmade lapis lazuli necklace on a bamboo cord to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour – International giveaway. The cord is adjustable and the necklace is comprised of three stones ranging in length from 1 5/8″ to 2 1/8″. (It’s like the one Brenna Taylor in the book wears). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Bonfire Night! The four hundred-year-old tradition of burning the straw effigy is beginning in Upper Kingsleigh, England. The torch extends… But it’s no mock figure at the end of the rope; it’s the body of a man, an American tourist. Brenna Taylor, Derbyshire C.I.D., is assigned to the case on a team of detectives under Detective-Chief Inspector Geoffrey Graham. It is the chance Brenna has been waiting for, and she is anxious to impress him.
Most villagers suspect an outsider as the killer. But when the frost-covered body of a resident is discovered, apprehension shifts and suspects multiply. Among them are the American’s brother-in-law, still angry over his sister’s death; the husband, who fears his wife will desert him for the American; the inebriated, penniless uncle, who clings to his nephew’s fortune tighter than a cork in a wine bottle. Then Brenna becomes the target of a series of frightening pranks–the work of a harassing male colleague, or a deadly warning to leave the case? Her hunt is personal now.
Enjoy an Excerpt
Talbot’s cottage lay in a thick pocket of the woods, at the end of an earthen track driven clean of grass through hundreds of trips. Tree branches and leaves littered the edges of the lane, barely allowing room for my passage. Once I had to stop mid-point, the engine of my Mini idling in the quiet as I got out to drag a large tree limb from the road.
There was a rustling in the undergrowth to my left, as though I had disturbed some animal’s evening foraging. But no eyes glared at me, no angry retort came. I heaved the limb into the woods, the leaves—crisp from frost—crunching under my feet. I wiped my hands on my trousers and glanced at the sky. Stars seemed to balance high overhead on bare branches, as tips of fairy wands. I got back into the car and turned up the heat, the scene seeming suddenly desolate. Minutes later, Talbot’s house emerged from the gloom.
It was of gray stone, half submerged in Virginia creeper, and half hidden by elderly oaks. A kind of witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel, with a large wood pile leaning against the southern side to protect it from winter’s blast. A curl of smoke seeped from the stone chimney that sat in the middle of the slate roof. Two windows, like giant eyes, stared into the woods from either side of the front door. Below the windows was the remnant of a small flower garden, its wizened stalks and leaves barely visible above the forest’s castoffs. The door glistened bright yellow in the glare from the car’s headlights.
About the Author: A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British. Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folksinging stint. This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of the Peak District mystery series.
Jo’s insistence for accuracy–from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area–has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.
In 1999 she returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.
Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president. Besides her love of mysteries and early music, she also enjoys photography, reading, creating recipes, and her backyard wildlife. Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.
Buy the book at Amazon.