Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Death at the Day Lily Café"

Degrees in criminology and social work, followed by years of clinical practice, helped Wendy Sand Eckel explore her fascination with how relationships impact motivation, desire, and inhibition. Combined with her passion for words and meaning, writing mystery is a dream realized. She lives in Maryland where she enjoys family and friends, pets, and living near the Chesapeake Bay.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Death at the Day Lily Café, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I watched as Lori and Doris sat down in the first row. A young man in the dress blues of a police officer was seated next to her. “That must be her son, Jamie,” I whispered to Glenn. “I want to meet him before he goes back to Dover.”

Glenn narrowed his eyes and nodded.

The casket was closed with a modest bouquet of flowers fastened on top. The preacher cleared his throat. He was an older gentleman who had already begun to perspire. He patted his forehead with a folded handkerchief as he began his eulogy. CJ must not have been a regular church goer because this man didn’t seem to know him. There were no personal stories or mention of his character. Instead he relied on the funeral boilerplate, stating that CJ was in a better place, that Jesus had already welcomed him to heaven, and his family would join him when their time came. Jamie shifted in his seat at that last remark.

Lori listened intently. Maybe hearing that CJ was already in heaven and no longer haunting her house was a welcomed relief. I scanned the crowd, wondering if the murderer was among the congregation. Pale light filtered through the stained glass windows, but it was still dark inside the small church. The pew was hard and creaked every time Glenn or I adjusted our position. I was relieved no one volunteered to speak when the minister offered the invitation. The service was over in exactly eleven minutes.

As we waited for Doris outside, Glenn said, “Well that was shorter than a Las Vegas wedding.”

“And about as sentimental,” I said.

“Look,” he said. “Here comes Doris.”

The air was thick with humidity as we watched her approach. She dabbed at her face with a handkerchief embroidered with pale blue initials. “Did you find a seat in that crowd?”

“It was certainly sparsely attended,” Glenn said. “How is Lori?”

“Haven’t you heard?”

“Heard what?” I said.

“They found the murder weapon.”

“And?” Glenn said.

“It’s the shotgun from Lori’s cabinet. It was in a dumpster on the college campus.”

“Any prints?” Glenn said.

“Yup. Somebody tried to wipe it clean but whoever it was did a lousy job. Sheriff said the perp was in a hurry.”

I noticed tears welling in her eyes. “Doris, are you all right?”

“No, I’m not.” She held the handkerchief to her nose. “I’m scared, Miss Rosalie.” A tear spilled down her cheek. She looked from me to Glenn and back to me. “I’m worried she might have done it.”

After further discussion with Doris, Rosalie and Glenn learn that CJ frequented the Cardigan Tavern and was known to have a temper.

“We’ll figure this out, Doris,” Glenn said. “The sooner the better.”

“That’s right.” I gave Doris a quick hug and she started back to the church. Once she was a out of earshot, I fanned myself with my program and faced Glenn. “Do you have plans this evening?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Want to get a cold one at the Cardigan Tavern?”
In Death at the Day Lily Café, the second in the Rosalie Hart mystery series, Rosalie has opened a café in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is her dream realized. On the day of the grand opening, just as the first few customers are streaming in the sunny room with ochre-tinted walls and tables topped with bursting ivory hydrangeas, Doris Bird rushes in the room. She needs Rosalie’s help. It seems her younger sister, Lori, has been accused of shooting her husband, CJ Fiddler, and the local sheriff is hell bent on proving her guilt.

On page 69, Rosalie and her best friend, seventy-two-year-old Glenn Breckinridge, are attending CJ’s funeral in their search for clues. This is a terrific representation of the book as it contains the lively dialog found throughout the novel and moves the mystery forward.
Visit Wendy Sand Eckel's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at Barclay Meadow.

--Marshal Zeringue