Peaches and Schemes by Anna Gerard
About Peaches and Schemes
In Anna Gerard's third delightful Georgia B&B mystery, Nina Fleet learns that despite the satin, lace, and buttercream trappings, weddings often prove to be anything but sweet...
Nina Fleet might be new to the innkeeping business, but she's savvy enough to know that Cymbeline's tourists aren't enough to keep her fledgling bed and breakfast going. And so, Nina decides to tap into the destination wedding market by taking a booth at the Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo. The twice-yearly event is sponsored by the town's two wedding pros: Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie's Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner and Nina's new friend. But everything goes wrong during the expo's fashion show, when Roxanna comes tumbling out of an oversized prop wedding cake, strangled to death by her own scarf.
Virgie is arrested for the crime, thanks to Nina's statement to the police about having overheard the woman accusing her partner of embezzlement. Meanwhile, the situation grows tense with her sometimes nemesis and current tenant, the dashing out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is concentrating on plugging his most recent side hustle ...but he's not too busy to break the news to Nina that her ex-husband is engaged to be married again.
Certain that Virgie's only offense is a bad temper, Nina decides to do her own investigating. First, however, she and Harry retrieve Roxanna's now ownerless dog, planning to foster him until a new home can be found. But local gossip soon convinces Nina that others beside Virgie might have had reason to murder Roxanna. As Nina gets close to the truth, she's putting her own life at danger. And when Virgie vanishes after being bailed out of jail by an unknown benefactor, Nina fears that if she can't find the dress shop owner in time, tying the knot will take on a whole new meaning for them both.
About Anna Gerard
DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.”
Peaches and Schemes by Anna Gerard takes us back to Cymbeline, Georgia where Nina Fleet owns Fleet House which she operates as a bed and breakfast. She is taking part in Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo run by Roxanna Quarry, Nina’s new friend, and Virgie Hamilton. Nina happens to overhear Virgie get into heated discussions with two people before lunch and one of them is Roxanna. Nina is watching the expo’s fashion show finale while reeling from some unexpected news. The large prop wedding cake is opened, and Roxanna comes toppling out. It is soon apparent that Roxanna will not be hosting another expo. Nina wants to know what happened to her new friend, so she begins snooping around. It is soon apparent that the guilty party does not appreciate Nina’s nosy nature. Peaches and Schemes is the 3rd A Georgia B&B Mystery. It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series. I must admit that this series has grown on me (I was not sure after reading Peach Clobbered). Nina Fleet is a strong female protagonist who runs a charming bed and breakfast in a gorgeous Queen Anne. Harry Wescott is a charmer who adds humor to the story. Harry surprised me in this tale (in a good way). Harry and Nina make a great duo. I thought Peaches and Schemes was well-written with fast pacing. I enjoyed the whodunit. While I solved it early in the book, I wanted to find out why this particular person committed the crime. There are several people with motive to kill Roxanna along with a red herring. It is the details that help solve the case. Harry and Nina make a great sleuthing team. I loved the two dogs in this story. Mattie and Gus were adorable. Peaches and Schemes is a fun story to read. I like cozy mysteries that make me laugh. Peaches and Schemes is a lighthearted, humorous cozy mystery with an eventful expo, a maimed mate, Gus the Goldendoodle, a tryophobia terror, a suspicious silver sedan, and a helpful Harry.
My name is Nina Fleet and, unlike most women I know, I’ve never much cared for weddings. Heck, I barely managed to get through my own nuptials almost twenty years ago. It’s not that I wasn’t excited about marrying my husband-to-be, a good-looking golf pro working at a small country club in Atlanta. At the time, I was in love and thought it would last forever. You know, the whole better or worse, richer or poorer, ‘til death do us part thing. (We actually made it to “richer,” which eventually led to the “parting” part of our union.)
Nope, marriage wasn’t the problem…at least, not at the beginning. What was too much for me was all the wedding planning. Pre–internet and social media, I didn’t have wed-ding blogs and websites and Facebook pages for guidance. I was more than a little overwhelmed deciding on venues and menus and showers and cakes and a proper dress. It didn’t help that my mother was consumed with the impending birth of my sister’s first child. My niece ended up arriving a week before my wedding, and so both Sis and Mom were mostly absent from their respective matron-of-honor and mother-of-the-bride roles. As for my groom, he shrugged and said he was good with whatever I chose.
In the end, however, the license was signed, birdseed in lieu of rice was thrown, and a honeymoon commenced. And I vowed that it would be my last wedding, except as a guest. I even turned down a couple of bridesmaid stints, just because the entire prospect gave me the willies, as my grandmother used to say.
But weddings and their related festivities can be lucrative business if you happen to own a bed-and-breakfast, which I do. Which is why I agreed to take part in the third annual fall Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo here at Cymbeline High School.
And which is also how I came to be hiding in the down-stairs girls’ restroom of CHS overhearing a heated argument that I later would realize was a motive for murder.
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