From the time I was a little girl, I’ve loved books. More than just the content—the stories, the language, the knowledge—I loved the book itself as an object. I always volunteered to hang Dad’s dry cleaning so I could lay claim to the thin, white cardboard sheets tucked inside his dress shirts. I used them to make my own little books, beautifully decorated but blank inside.
I moved on to take book arts classes at the local library and then at book arts centers. Writing the Bibliophile Mysteries with bookbinder protagonist Brooklyn Wainwright was a natural extension of a hobby I’ve enjoyed all my life.
The Fixer-Upper Mysteries? Not so much.
Shannon Hammer, heroine of A High-End Finish (November 4) and This Old Homicide (January 27), lovingly restores Victorian homes in the quaint town of Lighthouse Cove, California. While my father was a contractor and my brother painted Victorian buildings in San Francisco, I personally have no hands-on experience in that field. No, I have never restored a Victorian home. Or any home, for that matter. I had my kitchen remodeled a couple years ago, but I didn’t do the work; I just complained about how long it took.
With the Fixer-Upper Mysteries, I’m writing about something I don’t know—for the sheer pleasure of doing the research. And I’m having so much fun, I almost feel guilty!
Through Shannon, we get to explore every nook and cranny of the fascinating Victorian homes of Lighthouse Cove, from the grande dames to the crackerboxes. When most people think Victorian, they think of Queen Anne style, but there are many styles of Victorian architecture. In the books, readers will have the pleasure of traipsing through strangers’ homes and through the history in each, all wrapped up in a quirky whodunit.
It’s unfortunate for Shannon that in A High-End Finish, she literally stumbles upon a dead body in the basement of one of her projects. And even more unfortunate that the victim turns out to be a creep she went on a blind date with the night before, a date that ended badly… and publicly.
I grabbed my purse and jacket and started to dash off—until I felt cold air hit my skin. I looked down to see my teal blouse rippling in the breeze. Jerry had torn it off my shoulder.
I turned back and yelled, “You big jerk!” I was so angry. He’d ripped my clothing! What a Neanderthal! I knew it was wrong, knew I had to shake off this negative energy, but I wanted to give him a swift smack across his big stupid head. Just walk away, I thought.
I started to move, but stopped when I heard another sound.
Looking up at the pier, I saw two men rushing down the stairs toward me. The rest of the people standing at the railing were clapping and laughing and whistling. I even recognized a few of them when they waved at me. What did they think was going on here?
Jerry raised his head and glared at me. “You’ll be sorry for that.”
“Oh yeah?” I felt safer now that we were about to have company, so instead of slapping at him like I wanted to, I reached inside my purse and pulled out the only weapon I had on me. My pink needle-nose pliers. I leaned over and snipped them in front of his face a few times.
He recoiled. “Get that thing away from me!”
“Just a warning,” I said with deadly calm, furious with myself for ever believing that he might’ve been a nice guy.
So who do you think is the prime suspect when Jerry is found murdered the very next day? Especially when he’s murdered on one of Shannon’s job sites… and the likely
murder weapon is one of the pink tools for which she’s known.
A High-End Finish is available now, so you have the chance to get in on the Fixer-Upper Mystery series right from the very beginning. I hope you’ll enjoy the stories and that you’ll love learning fascinating little tidbits about restoring beautiful Victorian homes.
Read more about the Fixer-Upper Mysteries at www.KateCarlisle.com!
The publisher has generously offered a copy of A High-End Finish to one of my readers. Please comment below, WITH A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS, before midnight on November 26, 2014. Entries from the US only, please.