Author : L.C. Evans
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Format: (print, ebook, or both) Both
Links to buy: Amazon http://amzn.to/hvksEn Amazon UK http://amzn.to/e1EgoP
Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?
This book is the second in my Leigh McRae horse mystery series and I wanted to write about someone being wrongly accused of murder.
Tell us about the book cover. How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork?
I wanted something simple and my cover shows a blood bay horse, the only witness to the murder, and the gun, one of the weapons used by the killer. Paul Coleman at bookpumper.com designed the cover.
Synopsis: In Talented Horsewoman, the first book of the Leigh McRae horse mystery series, main character Leigh McRae discovers a body. She also ends up solving a murder. Along the way she helps her cousin Sammi, who is dating a burglar, and she manages to get out from under the control of her overbearing ex-husband.
Now Leigh's friend Candy, a fellow horsewoman, finds herself accused of murder. Who else would she turn to for help except Leigh? After all, everyone in small town Del Canto knows Leigh has body-discovering experience. Never mind that Leigh is busy finding out who's poisoning dogs in Sammi's neighborhood and she's trying to renovate her home without going broke. Or that her ex-husband Kenneth and former ranch hand Doug Reilly have become roommates in Leigh's guest house.
There's a murder to solve. And her friend won't take no for an answer.
Sample from Chapter 14.Leigh's cousin Sammi has come to visit Leigh. Sammi's dog, Jeeves, is staying with Leigh temporarily because Sammi thinks someone is trying to kill him:
But I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, as well as lonely. Jeeves must have been lonely, too, no doubt missing Sammi. He lay under the kitchen table with his head on his paws. A couple of times he sighed deeply. Very uncharacteristic of him to be so still. I decided to call and ask Sammi to come over. After all, I hadn’t
finished updating her on all my news and her dog needed her.
Sammi readily agreed to the visit. She said she figured she needed some Jeeves time even if she weren’t already dying to find out my news. She showed up at my door a half hour later armed with popcorn and a DVD we could pretend to watch while we chatted.
Fine with me. Now that Adam had decided to waltz off into the night, I certainly didn’t have anything else to do with my time. But if he thought he could neglect the woman in his life for long, he was headed for trouble.
“Admit it,” she said, handing me the popcorn. “You are soooo determined to find out who killed Richard Swale. My cousin the deeee-tective. And after I warned you to stay out of trouble.”
“Hey, I thought you came over to visit and see Jeeves, not to harass me about helping Candy. Besides, Sammi, I'm not the only one. Everyone in Del Canto wants to know if she really did it. As for being a detective, if I go to the police with what I know, then all I’m doing is being a good citizen. First I have to question people to make sure I actually have something important to tell them. That’s not getting into trouble and it’s not real detecting.”
“It is so. But why are you helping Candy when you told me to spy on the Barkers by myself?”
“Not fair. I did go over there and pretend to be Sarah Goddard for you, remember?”
“Under protest. Now where’s my baby? Jeevesy, say hello to Mama. What’s wrong with you, silly boy, have you forgotten me already?"
Adam and I had put the dogs out while we ate, but then he’d let them back in for me when he went out to get George. Heidi had bounded around the room, while Jeeves had first lain under the table and then, moving like he'd suddenly matured, he climbed onto the couch and settled quietly. Maybe a few days at my place had instilled some manners in him.
I brought her up to speed on the fight between Rebecca and Doug, which she said she was sorry she’d missed. Then she'd yawned politely.
“Is that all you can say? Didn’t it register when I said Rebecca is the Barker’s daughter?”
“Of course, it did and I’m sure you were dying of shame.” She shrugged, dismissing my feelings as if I were nothing more than a common garden slug.
Hah. I’d have bet she he wouldn’t have felt that way if Rebecca had made the connection between us and figured out we were cousins. But when I told her about the suspected intruder at the house while I was out riding, she was even less impressed.
“I can’t believe you let yourself get so worked up over what was probably a possum trying to get into your garbage.”
“You hush up. It was not a possum. I told you I saw lights in my driveway and possums do not have lights. Or cigarettes. I really think it was only a person looking for directions." I hoped so, anyway. After all, by now I was surely on Rebecca Young's bad people list. She could have been out here to work me over with a pot the way she'd done to Doug. "You’re one to talk anyway, Miss Afraid of the Dark.”
“Don’t make fun of my phobias or I’ll throw you to the roaches.”
"But get this. According to Brenda, the rumor about Richard having an affair with a waitress is true. And the woman is married."
"So that gives Francine a motive and it gives this woman and maybe her husband a motive." Her eyes bugged out so far, it's a wonder she didn't dislocate an eyeball. "Oh, my God, Leigh, this is huge. What if her husband had Richard murdered for messing around with his wife? Or what if she got mad at him for breaking it off and killed him?"
"I know, right?" Finally, I had a solid direction to go with my investigation.
"What are you going to do? It's not like you can ask her."
"No, but the police can. I told you, Sammi, I'm not a detective. All I want is a good solid lead to give the police. You know, something that will break the case wide open, so they'll know Candy didn't do it."
"Good for you, babe. Honestly, I don't know why Brenda didn't tell the police herself. Any dope could figure out how important this is. So when are you going to the police?"
"Soon. I'm hoping I can pick up a little more evidence first."
Sammi popped the movie into the player. Then she sat on the couch next to Jeeves and scratched him behind the ears. In my opinion Jeeves should have been lying on the rug with Heidi while Sammi and I got the furniture all to ourselves. Instead she let him take up half the couch and put his big head on her lap.
Deciding that this was one argument I wouldn’t win, I didn’t say a word about being squished uncomfortably into the couch corner. After all, Sammi missed Jeeves or she wouldn’t have come over to see him.
She fiddled with the remote until she got the movie started. It was a thriller with a little romance thrown in. Not new, but something I hadn’t seen yet. I dug in and started munching on popcorn as soon as the opening credits finished rolling. Sammi was too busy oohing and aahing at the vision in front of her to notice anything such as popcorn. The first scene featured one of her favorite actors stepping into the shower. They showed him from the back only, but it was enough to keep Sammi’s eyes glued to the set.
“Can you believe it? Isn’t that the most gorgeous rear end you ever saw in your life?” She leaned forward to get a better look, and I knew she was wishing I had a sixty-inch high def instead of my plain old nineteen inch, circa 1980, hand-me-down from Aunt Dorothy.
I snorted. “Drag your eyes back into their sockets, woman. That is soooo a stunt butt.”
“Is not.” She snatched the remote off the coffee table and hit pause. The picture froze and the well-tanned butt in question took up so much of the screen it looked like a ripe peach.
“Is. Stars past the age of forty don’t do their own stunts and they don’t show their butts on screen. His real butt probably looks and feels like a deflated marshmallow.”
“You are so mean.” She would have continued the argument. I knew she would because she was too infatuated to believe her crush could have a saggy rear. But Jeeves at that very instant lifted his head, eyed her soulfully, and opened his mouth to deposit chunky barf all over her thighs.
“Oh, no!” I shuddered and leaned away. Nasty. Dark brown and very stinky.
If it had been me with the barf lap, I would have leapt to my feet shrieking, but Sammi sat very still, staring at Jeeves as if she were afraid he’d melt before her eyes.
“My poor Jeevesy. He’s sick, Leigh.”
“You've got that right. Probably ate something that didn’t agree with him, like a lizard or a frog he found in the back yard. I’m sure he’ll be fine now that he’s gotten rid of it.”
“No, he’s really sick. Look how sad his eyes are and you saw how quiet he was when I walked in. And how he's drooling more than usual.” Tears rolled freely down her cheeks and she didn’t bother to brush them away. “My God, I was afraid of this. The Barkers must have followed me when I came over here Sunday and they saw where he was hiding out. Then they sneaked over while you were at work today and poisoned him. It was probably them you heard lurking around your house looking for their chance to murder my dog. If he dies, I’m going to see that those vicious freaks go straight to jail for the rest of their lives.”
She was so distressed I didn’t bother to point out that her story about the Barkers was absurd. They certainly had no logical motive to want to kill Jeeves so badly they’d follow Sammi to my place to commit dogicide.
I gathered an armload of old rags and sopped the worst of the mess off her clothes. Though I didn’t believe the part about the Barkers, I had to admit Jeeves definitely seemed in worse shape than he had earlier. He’d gone completely listless and his breathing was fast and shallow.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Bio: L.C. Evans' writing career began with short stories and humorous essays. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines, including Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Woman's World, and Ladies Circle among many others. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband Bob, their three or four Chihuahuas, and a grandson, the Boy. When not wrangling the Chihuahuas and the Boy, she writes novels. She is the author of the Amazon bestselling Kindle book, We Interrupt This Date, as well as several other titles. See her website: http://www.lcevans.com or her blog: http://lcevansauthor.blogspot.com/