It’s late March in Fairhope, Alabama, and artists from around the country are flocking to the bayside town’s Arts & Crafts Festival. The annual tradition has something for everyone, only this year, the main attraction is murder . . .
Cleo Mack’s life has been a whirlwind since she inadvertently became the executive director of Harbor Village, a retirement community bustling with energetic seniors. Juggling apartment sales, quirky residents, and a fast-moving romance is tricky business. But on-the-job stress develops a new meaning when Twinkle Thaw, a portrait artist known to ruffle a few feathers, arrives unannounced for the weekend’s festival and drops dead hours later—mysteriously poisoned . . .
Twinkle’s bizarre death doesn’t seem like an accident. Not with a sketchy newcomer slinking around town and a gallery of suspects who may have wanted her out of the picture for good. As Cleo brushes with the truth, she soon finds that solving the crime could mean connecting the dots between a decades-old art heist and an unpredictable killer who refuses to color inside the lines . . .
I woke up and looked at the clock when Tinkerbelle began her five-alarm
calling. It was a few minutes before two. I muttered out loud when
I realized I’d forgotten to fill her food dish, but I rolled out of the warm
bed and padded barefoot to the kitchen. There were a few bits of food in
the dish, but only around the perimeter. As I picked up the dish from its
pad under the window, something in the courtyard caught my attention.
Someone was moving around in the far corner. I looked long enough to
decide it was Georgina, then flipped the kitchen light on and measured
out a quarter cup of cat food.
Tinkerbelle rubbed around my legs and made her little chirping noise,
but she was quick to push my hand aside when I put the dish down, and
right away she was crunching away like she was starved. Between crunches,
I heard another sound. A tiny tap, tap, tap, almost like water dripping,
but the sound didn’t come from the kitchen. I went to the living room and
stood, listening. It came again and this time I pegged it to the door that
opened to the courtyard.
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Cleo Mack Mystery
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