Thursday, January 27, 2022

Easter Bonnet Murder by Leslie Meier

Easter Bonnet Murder

Book Summary

Part-time reporter Lucy Stone isn’t about to put all her eggs in one basket during a frantic Easter in Tinker’s Cove—especially when it comes to cracking a deadly mystery . . .
Known for its cheerful staff and elaborate annual Easter Bonnet Contest, the Heritage House senior center regularly attracts new residents and positive press. But once the town’s retired librarian, Miss Julia Tilley, checks in to recover from an illness, Lucy sees a side of the facility that isn’t quite so perfect and pristine. And the place may soon be making headlines for different reasons following an unexplained disappearance . . .
Lucy can’t fathom how Agnes Neal could go missing from assisted living over a silly Easter bonnet contest, or why few seem concerned as signs point to foul play. A retired journalist with an independent mind, Agnes had an eye for details and little interest in conforming to catty cliques or rules set by her caretakers—traits that threatened some and angered others . . . 
While police stall the investigation without answers, Lucy realizes backstabbing has no age limit when alarming parallels bloom between her daughter’s college frenemies and social circles at Heritage House. Gathering clues as flimsy as a half-eaten milk chocolate bunny, Lucy must discover what happened to Agnes—before her own story becomes another springtime tragedy left unsolved.
About the Author

I started writing in the late '80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine's Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story, and I've been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn't work out.

My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape Cod. My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker's Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age -- my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever -- though I have to admit I am dying to write "Menopause is Murder"!

I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can see, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course, Christmas is one of my favorite times of year and my newest mystery {released September 2013} is called "Christmas Carol Murder.". I have always loved the Alistair Sims movie version of Charles Dicken's, "The Christmas Carol", so I was excited to be able to have Lucy encounter some modern-day versions of Dicken's classic characters.

In addition to the recent holiday mysteries, I have written such as "Chocolate Covered Murder"{Valentine's Day}and "Easter Bunny Murder", I have written one travel mystery in which Lucy and her friends, travel to London, "English Tea Murder". Since I love to travel, I can only hope that Lucy will be able to solve some mysteries in some other cities and countries also. My husband and I did stay in an apartment in Paris this past year {big hint!}

My books are classified as cozies but a good friend insists, they are really "comedies of manners" and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.

Now that the kids are grown -- I now have four grandchildren -- my husband and I are enjoying our empty nest on Cape Cod which we share with our new very frisky kitty, Sylvester.  I am busy writing the next Lucy Stone Mystery which is due out this Spring. I do hope you will enjoy it!

My Thoughts

Lucy hurries to the hospital when she hears that Miss Tilley is gravely ill.  Lucy and Rachel, Miss Tilley’s caretaker, enter Miss Tilley’s room to find that her fever has broken and she is back to her normal cantankerous self.  After the hospital, Miss Tilley is sent to Heritage House, an assisted living facility for seniors, to recover.  When a resident of Heritage House goes missing, the patient’s daughter asks Lucy to help locate her mother.  She says that there are rumors that something is amiss at Heritage House.  Can Lucy find the missing senior and uncover what is happening at Heritage House?  

Easter Bonnet Murder by Leslie Meier is the 28th A Lucy Stone Mystery.  I believe Easter Bonnet Murder can be read as a standalone.  I do, though, recommend reading A Lucy Stone Mysteries from the beginning.  It will allow you to get to know Lucy and the rest of the gang (their personalities and backgrounds plus you get to know the town).  It is amazing the changes that have taken place since Mistletoe Murder.  The story is well-written with developed characters who live in a charming Maine town.  It is always a joy to visit Tinker’s Cove, Maine.  The mystery was different.  A woman is missing from Heritage House, but she is a senior who likes to be active.  You do not know if there is a crime for a long time (is the woman just missing or has she been murdered).  There are plenty of suspects with various motives.  There is little evidence or clues to help Lucy.  There is so much going on at Heritage House (the cliques, the intense Easter bonnet competition, all the activities, and potential crimes) that it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff.  As we near the end, it soon becomes clear who is responsible for the terrible deed.  This is the type of story where you need to suspend your disbelief and just go with the flow (leave reality behind).  Lucy’s youngest daughter, Zoe will be graduating from college soon and is looking for a job.  Zoe comes across more as an immature teenager than someone who is twenty-one.  Zoe is focused on herself and there is some drama.  I think it will be a good thing for Lucy and Bill to have an empty nest.  A romantic getaway is what this couple needs (hint to author).  Miss Tilley is such a vibrant character.  If she were a little younger (she is around 100), I would love to see her have her own series.   She provides humor that lightens up the story.  We get to see what life is like inside an assisted living facility.  The façade and décor may be lovely, but there is more than meets the eye at this facility.  I do not want to spoil Easter Bonnet Murder for you.  Let me just say that this is one busy book.  I enjoyed reading Easter Bonnet Murder and I look forward to Lucy’s next adventure.  Easter Bonnet Murder is an eventful cozy mystery with an Easter bonnet battle, a stubborn and rebellious senior, a missing mother, an independent daughter, a colorful receptionist, and a prying reporter.  

Easter Bonnet Murder is available from Amazon*.  Fans of A Lucy Stone Mystery series will enjoy this spring story. You can find the other twenty-seven A Lucy Stone Mysteries here.  Thank you for joining me today.  Amy Clipston has Foundation of Love publishing February 1.  It is the first An Amish Legacy Novel.  I am eager to read it.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin Harper.  I hope that you have a jolly day.  We need laughter in our lives.  It is good for the soul.  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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