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Book Genre-Cozy Mystery
Publisher - Tightwad Tess Press
Release Date-September 2011
A Mystery for Ghost Hunters!
When Betsy's Aunt Maggie wants to drag her along on a ghost hunting excursion at the local abandoned tuberculosis hospital she isn't sure if she quite believes in ghosts. When she comes upon a fresh spirit in the form of a body, she starts to rethink about what really is haunting the hospital.
Betsy must solve the murder in spite of her father, who is a lieutenant on the Pecan Bayou Police Force, town citizens worried about the effect of the occult on their children, and handsome stranger from Dallas. How do you get blood out of a silk blouse? Betsy Livingston can tell you in her newspaper column, "The Happy Hinter". When she's not writing, or taking care of her young son, she's busy solving mysteries in the tiny Texas town of Pecan Bayou.
About the Author:
Teresa Trent wasn't born in Texas but after a few glasses of sweet tea and some exceptional barbecue she decided to stay. With a father in the Army, she found herself moved all over the world, settling down for a while in her teens in the state of Colorado. Her writing was influenced by all of the interesting people she found in small towns and the sense of family that seemed to be woven through them all. Teresa is a former high school teacher and received her degree from The University of Northern Colorado. Teresa is presently working on the third book in her Pecan Bayou Series. Her second book, Overdue For Murder, came out in June of 2012.
“Watch out, Betsy, some of these old floorboards may be treacherous.” I followed Aunt Maggie through the rooms full of cracked plaster, floor debris and the ever-present graffiti sprayed on the walls of the former tuberculosis hospital.
Aunt Maggie was a tiny woman at four-foot-eight, and the world often towered above her. Her height was the only part of her that was small. She had the strongest will and the biggest heart in Texas.
“This is going to be great when we film here on Halloween, the scariest night of the year. I’m so glad you decided to help us out and took a few hours away from your tip-writin’ column. The Pecan Bayou Texas Paranormal Society thanks you, and if we find a ghost – boy howdy – I thank you.”
“Well, I can spare a few hours here and there.”
“So, what are you writin’ about now? “
“Um, I’m working on my pre-Thanksgiving columns. Hey, I have a question for you. What would you say is the best way to get red wine out of a tablecloth?”
“You know, Aunt Ida had an unusual way of doing that.”
“You mean the one that used to bring the chocolate pecan pie when she came to Thanksgiving?” I had not seen Great Aunt Ida much since she moved to the retirement center near Austin.
“That’s the one. She used to put her tablecloth over a bowl with the wine stain in the middle of it. Then she would pour salt on the stain, and then pour boiling water over into the bowl. Darnedest thing. Took it right out.” Maggie said.
For our other-worldly walk-through today, Aunt Maggie dressed for the occasion with a black cap on her head adorned with glow-in-the-dark letters that read “Paranormal Investigator.”
“You like it?” she asked, noticing my gaze. “I ordered one for everyone on the crew and a few extras. I thought we ought to look official, bein’ on TV and all.” My aunt’s honey-colored bouffant hairdo was all crammed up in the cap with sprayed curls poking out in places.
“Can’t wait to wear mine.” I was not someone who looked terrific in a ball cap. At least that was what Barry had said. Funny how after all these years I still felt rejected by him.
Maggie crunched around on the fallen trash in the main hallway. As we came to the end of the hallway, her voice lowered slightly. “This up here was what they called the ‘dead tunnel.’ I saw it in the blueprints Howard had.” Howard was the head of Aunt Maggie’s paranormal group. Even though sometimes he looked like a person mental health officials might be interested in observing, he was extremely intelligent and had a doctorate in paranormal psychology. I didn’t even know a person could get a degree in ghost hunting, but Howard had achieved this greatness.
Maggie continued her story. “It was the tunnel they used to wheel the bodies to the morgue. That way the patients wouldn’t see someone had died.” I never was one to get too frightened by horror movies, but coming into this part of the hospital certainly had me qualifying for an official case of the heebie-jeebies. The dead tunnel was windowless and grimy, and I felt as if we were walking into a mineshaft, not a morgue.
“So here we are.” Aunt Maggie’s voice took on a softer tone as if we had just entered a funeral home. “Looks a little longer than it did in the blueprints.”
We stepped gingerly through the open door with a sign hanging askew that read, “Hospital Personnel Only: No One Beyond This Point.”
Unless you’re dead, I thought. Then you are welcome to come on in and sit a spell.
“Aunt Maggie, we can still go get Howard. He’s roaming around somewhere here.”
“What are we? Chickens? We can do this, Betsy.” With that, she shined her red plastic heavy-duty flashlight down the tunnel. The tunnel seemed to go on and on, leading into absolute darkness. A million things could be down that hall. They could have stuffed it all with furniture or antiquated medical equipment that we would banging into at any moment, and that was my rational expectation. I wasn’t even acknowledging my irrational side. My aunt’s calling me a chicken did not quite raise my confidence and charge me up about getting down the dead tunnel.
I nodded my head dully in agreement as my eyes tried to lock onto anything solid in the dark.
“You’re making fun of me, I know, but it is true, Betsy. I sense something here. I just hope we can get this on tape when we have a thermal energy camera pointed at it.” According to Howard, a thermal energy camera would capture cold and hot spots that the human eye couldn’t see. We stepped forward, our footfalls now echoing against the chilled stone.
As Maggie spoke, I felt a cold breeze hit me. I clenched my bare arms as I felt goose bumps raise up on my skin. It seemed as if we had phantom air conditioning in this part of the hospital. Down at the end of the blackness I could hear a faint, high, chirping, clicking sound. Somehow I hadn’t imagined a ghost clicking at me. Maybe there were some tap-dancing spirits floating around.
“It has arrived,” Maggie whispered.
“No,” I said trying to squelch the shake that had come into my voice. “A … draft has arrived, that’s all.”
“Think what you want, my dear.”
She angled the wavering beam of light into the black recesses of the tunnel. From the other end of the tunnel, I could hear a distinct rustling sound as something headed our way.
“The apparition is coming near us,” Maggie sounded delighted.
“What should we do, Aunt Maggie?” I asked, the volume of my voice rising as the rustling became an increasing cacophony of noise.
Maggie looked down the passage and then yelled, “HOLD YOUR GROUND!” She stood with her hands placed firmly on her rounded hips as the wind started blowing her hat off, releasing the many stuffed strands of hair that had been under it. She looked like Medusa as the glow of her flashlight highlighted the snakes of hair surrounding her face.
The rustling sound increased. A thousand little clicking noises came at us as a cloud of pulsating blackness came out of the pitch black.
“This is dangerous, Aunt Maggie!” I shouted. “I’m not standing here, and neither are you!” I grabbed Maggie by the shoulders, preparing to lift her off the ground and carry her out if that was necessary.
“It might be a spirit of the dead!” she warbled above the din.
“Or it might be the spirit of something alive.” I turned her around, and we ran as the flashlight beam bobbed against the walls. I could feel something pulling at my hair and reached up to grab it. When I did, I could see the wingspan of a Mexican bat as it flapped out of my grasp. We careened out the door and slammed it behind us. We could hear the thud of a few bats hitting the door and then what sounded like the wings of hundreds of bats flapping as they turned back down the tunnel.
I turned around to see Maggie, leaning against the wall, holding her hat, trying to push the hair out of her face as her breath came out unevenly. “Are you all right?” I asked as we both panted at each other.
“Yes, a little jittery, but I’ll be fine.”
Writing Can Be Murder!
When local writers present their books on romance, vampires, chick lit and alien abductions at the Pecan Bayou Library, one author gets a killer review. Betsy Livingston, there to talk about her book on helpful hints, finds herself point at for the murder. Join Betsy in her second mystery as she tries to clear her own name in this hilarious tale of small town Texas life and murder.
In ebook Form
September 30 - Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog
October 2 - Review, Book Feature & Ebook Giveaway at Books, Books, and More Books
October 4 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews (Lisa Haselton)
October 9 - Review, Guest Blog & Ebook Giveaway at The Bunny's Review
October 11 - Guest Blogging at Cindy Vine's Blog
October 15 - Guest Blogging at Book Reviews by Dee
October 17 - Interviewed at MK McClintock's Blog
October 18 - Review & Interview at Kaisy Daisy Corner
October 19 - Reviewed at Self Taught Cook
October 23 - Book Feature & Ebook Giveaway at Blogzine
October 25 - Interviewed at Turning The Pages
I love a good murder mystery. I love that this book has a hint of romance at the fringe but never goes into full blown romance. That hint just adds to the mystery and tension. And the story keeps you pulled in until the end. And when you find out that the murder is … You didn’t think I would really tell you, now did you? Let’s just say I wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years.
I give this story 4.5 out of 5 clouds.
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