Love is in the air – especially if you’re a lovebug in May and September. During those months, these pesky little black-and-orange bugs lock together in an amorous embrace and become airborne missiles that splatter cars along the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.
Originally from Central America, lovebugs arrived in America’s southern region around 1940. Their scientific name is “Plecia nearctica.” Though they don’t bite or sting, they’re a nuisance to cars, pedestrians wearing light-colored clothes…and the hero in our soon-to-be-released cozy mystery, A Cause for Murder.
A Cause for Murder is set in the month of May and features septuagenarian sleuth Emma Twiggs, along with plenty of lovebugs, both insect and human.
Septuagenarian sleuth Emma Twiggs thinks her neighbor’s death was an accident—until her friend Arnie says he suspects murder.
Arnie is convinced he knows the killer’s identity. He wants Emma to prove it.
Is Arnie right? And is he right in his belief that Emma’s best friend is the killer’s next target?
As Emma navigates madcap mayhem, multiple mysteries, and murderous motives, she discovers more than one person is hiding deadly secrets.
The question is, who has a cause for murder?
A Cause for Murder is on track for publication within the next month. In the meantime, here’s a cover reveal and an excerpt.
It wasn’t the food. Happy Haven Retirement Community’s chef prepared delicious, artistically plated roast beef and mashed potatoes every Sunday evening.
Emma Twiggs set down her fork. No, the food wasn’t the problem.
It wasn’t the chatter or the whispers in the dining room, nor the sidelong glances of other Happy Haven residents. Happy Haven was a hotbed of gossip and rumors. Being the topic du jour was familiar territory.
It certainly wasn’t her dinner companion. Arnie Bracken was always charming, kind, and intelligent, no matter what her best friend Olli thought.
No, food, chatter, and Arnie, combined or singular, were not the cause of her uneasiness.
The problem –
“I know what you’re thinking, Em,” Arnie said.
“Do you?” She picked up a glass of lemon-spritzed water and tried to swallow past the tightness in her throat. She could only hope he had no idea of what she was thinking.
“Sure.” He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “You’re wondering how someone as fit as Jo accidentally drowned in the swimming pool.”
Emma froze. Her fingers tightened on the glass. The chatter in the room faded into muted background noise. She had deliberately not been thinking about Jo. She would not think about Jo. How did Arnie know she’d been thinking about Jo?
“I’ll tell you how,” he said. “Jo was murdered, and Cahan murdered her.”
“I am not thinking about – Murdered?” The lump in her throat expanded to the size of the Brussels sprouts on her plate. “By Todd?”
“Murdered. By Cahan. And we need to prove he did the deed.”
“Arnie.” Emma set the glass on the table and uncurled her fingers from it. She coughed to clear the non-existent Brussels sprout from her throat. “The paramedics told us Jo’s death was accidental. An accidental drowning.”
“Yeah, I know all the euphemisms they used.”
Emma did too. The headline in Harmony Notes, the local daily, had read TRAGIC ACCIDENT AT HAPPY HAVEN. Unfortunate was the word murmured most frequently at the funeral service, followed closely by regrettable.
She said, “Harmony’s police department and the district medical examiner agreed with the paramedics, Arnie.”
A trickle of condensation wept down the side of the glass and puddled into a teardrop on the table. All the words used to describe Jo’s death were wrong. Wrong and inadequate. Words were inadequate now too.
Because this was the problem she had been avoiding.
Her role in Jo’s death.