Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sex, Lies and Snickerdoodles by Wendy Delaney

Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles
by Wendy Delaney

Cozy Mystery – 300 Pages

Everybody’s got a secret.
A secret crush. A secret liaison. A secret recipe. And for a deadly few, a secret murder.
Port Merritt’s favorite bad boy, Russell Falco, was a seasoned veteran of secret liaisons. But after his body washes up on the shore of Merritt Bay, Deputy Coroner and human lie detector, Charmaine Digby, suspects one of those liaisons got Russell killed.
Secrets. Lies. Cookie-baking rivals. And a dead guy. Char’s on the case and is determined to find the killer . . . if the killer doesn’t find her first!


“How’re you doing, Kelsey?” Steve asked in an easy manner as I scampered behind him. It was the same easy manner I’d witnessed in Detective Sixkiller countless times in the three months since I moved back to Port Merritt, Washington. Combine it with the winning smile of a charmer and there was hardly a soul in my hometown of five thousand and fifty-three residents who wouldn’t welcome the former high school football captain into their home with open arms.
Kelsey pursed her mouth. “I’d be doing better if certain men would do what they said they were going to do, when they said they were going to do it!”
Russell was in deep doo-doo.
Kelsey stabbed her sterling silver-adorned index finger in the direction of a sign on the front display window of her shop, the Feathered Nest. “Do you see where it says to come and meet local artist, Lance Greenwood, September 7th? As in tonight?”
I sure did. Nice sign. No doubt Kelsey had spent more than a few bucks to have it printed.
“Russell Falco was supposed to be here over an hour ago to install track lighting in the back room and help me set up.” She dramatically tossed her head back, her dark blue eyes blinking back tears. “How could he be a no show when he knew how important tonight was to me?”
According to Lucille, the senior gossip wrangler waitressing at Duke’s Cafe, my great-uncle’s greasy spoon, Russell Falco had no shortage of ladies vying for his attention, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if he’d received a more enticing offer.
The summer I was fifteen and filling in as a short-order cook at Duke’s, Russell came in after working on his dad’s charter boat with his brothers. He was twenty-three, a raven-haired hunk and a half, and a shameless flirt. Despite the fact that we rarely saw him sober, all the waitresses were crazy about him.
“He’s trouble with a capital T,” Uncle Duke proclaimed after Russell got his nose broken for sniffing around the wrong woman. Shortly after that, he dropped out of sight. Lucille had said that he fell in with a motorcycle gang and served some prison time in California.
For Russell and Kelsey’s sakes, I hoped that history wasn’t repeating itself.
“Do you already have the light fixtures you need installed?” Steve asked her.
Kelsey nodded, her fine honey-blonde hair spilling over her shoulders. “Everything’s inside the shop. The lights, all the hardware, Lance’s paintings. Last night, we emptied out the back room to set everything up like a real gallery. All I need now is Russell and his tools.”
Given Russell’s bad boy reputation and the tension bleeding through Kelsey’s brittle smile, I sensed that wasn’t the full extent of what Kelsey needed from him.
“Russell isn’t the only guy around here with tools.” Steve turned to me. “Looks like I’m going to owe you brunch instead of breakfast.”
Fine with me because either way some crispy bacon would be in my future. “And you just got a helper to ensure that you make good on that debt.”
Two hours later, the Feathered Nest’s new track lighting had been installed, and Steve and I were hanging the last of the garish oil paintings Kelsey kept raving about when she wasn’t tending to a customer.
I tilted my head at the landscape with red and orange streaks invading muddy violet globs of paint that looked like chocolate raspberry mousse blended with Steve’s poopy smoothie. “What do you think this is supposed to be?” I reached for the artist’s business card listing the name of the painting as Olympic Sunset and sucked in a breath when I read the fifteen-hundred dollar asking price.
Steve slid his hammer onto his tool belt. “I call it over-priced crap.”
I shushed him but couldn’t help but admire the way the tool belt hung low on his hips like a gunslinger’s holster. All he needed was the black cowboy hat to accompany the steely-eyed glare he was directing toward Lance Greenwood’s handiwork.
“Don’t you just love what he does with color?” Kelsey gushed from the doorway.
“Yeah,” Steve muttered unenthusiastically as I tacked the business card eyelevel with the artist’s Dante’s Inferno interpretation of the sun setting behind Washington’s Olympic mountain range.
She stepped between us and started folding the brown paper wrapper that had covered Olympic Sunset three minutes earlier. “Okay, so it’s not your cup of tea, but I’ll have you know that he’s an up and coming artist, known throughout North America. It’s quite an honor to host tonight’s event for him.”
If he was such a big deal in the art world, it was curious that he had agreed to show his work in the tight confines of the Feathered Nest instead of one of the galleries in Port Townsend.
My grandmother had already announced that she wanted to attend tonight’s soiree, which translated into me accompanying her as her date for the evening. Personally, I suspected she wanted to see what all the fuss surrounding Lance Greenwood was about. From the gloppy examples of the man’s talent hanging on Kelsey’s walls, I wondered the same thing.
“I’m sure it is,” I said. Clearly, with the way Kelsey was beaming, a prouder hostess couldn’t be found.
“It looks like you’re about ready for show time.” Steve unhooked his tool belt as he inched toward the door. “And I owe someone breakfast while they’re still serving, so Char and I should get going.”
Since my stomach had been growling for the last hour, he’d get no argument from me.
Steve’s cell phone rang and he stopped in his tracks when he pulled it from his pocket. “Hey, Captain.” His gaze sharpened, then he turned his back to me.
Steve had kidded me about being a human lie detector ever since I participated in a university study as a favor to my former sister-in-law, the clinical psychologist. Even before my perceptive abilities had been documented, he’d made a point of sheltering his face when he didn’t want me to read his body language. But since the Port Merritt PD captain was calling his one and only detective on his day off, anyone in the room should have been able to see that something very bad had happened.
“Tell him not to touch anything,” he said. “I’ll be there in ten.”
“What’s happened?” I asked the second Steve disconnected, my voice a squeaky blend of breath and apprehension.
He pocketed his cell phone. “Russell Falco has been found.”

Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles (Working Stiffs Mystery Series, #2)Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles by Wendy Delaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Wendy Delaney for giving me this book for an honest review. I really enjoyed reading this mystery. It is a fun read and I wish I had read Trudy Madly Deeply, but now it is on my tbr list. The characters are well written and developed. The story-line is very good. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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About This Author

Wendy Delaney writes fun-filled cozy mysteries and is the author of Sex, Lies & Snickerdoodles, the second book in her Working Stiffs Mystery series. A long-time member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America, she’s a Food Network addict and pastry chef wannabe. When she’s not killing off story people she can be found on her treadmill, working off the calories from her latest culinary adventure. Wendy makes her home in the Seattle area with her husband and has two grown sons. You can connect with Wendy on Facebook and via her website:  www.wendydelaney.com.

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