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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly. Blog Tour + Giveaway


Death at the Midnight Dragonfly by Susan Boles

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly Argent Ocean Publishing (November 10, 2017) Paperback: 216 pages ISBN-13: 978-0997909357 E-Book ASIN: B0771PXNYD
On the fourth day of Christmas, In Mercy, Mississippi....
Four suspects lying, Three sleuths a sleuthing Two clues a hiding And a very, very dead body.
It's the Christmas season in Mercy, Mississippi. But things are far from jolly.
For Vlad Templeton the sleepy little town where he spent his childhood provides the perfect place to conduct his state funded sleep study. But when the local bank manager, who was participating in the study, is found dead on his doorstep, is it a set up...or is Vlad somehow involved?
But, when someone makes an attempt on Lily Gayle's and Dixie's life, the two realize they better move fast....or they might end up sleeping forever.

Excerpt:
I opened the door to the Grits and Gravy Café to meet the girls for our regular Thursday morning breakfast get-together hoping that at least one of them had something interesting going on. It'd been a long, boring several days and I could use some excitement.
Miss Edna, Harley Ann, Missy and Dixie were all seated already. I walked over to them while nodding to Helen in answer to her silent question about did I want chocolate gravy for breakfast. Being as how I always ordered it, Helen was just going through the motions with the questioning look at me.
As breakfast wound down with empty plates in front of all of us, Miss Edna said. "When I get home I'm gonna mix up my special recipe punch for the Christmas party tonight. I want to make sure there's a gracious plenty for everybody." She shook her head sadly. "Last year we ran out before the party was half over."
Dixie and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Using the mental telepathy that belongs to lifelong friends, I knew we were both wondering where Miss Edna got her supply of her secret ingredient. In all these years we'd never figured that one out. And we'd actually staked out her house a few times over the years trying to catch the delivery.
Heck, maybe she brewed it up in her shed out back. Nothing would surprise me about Miss Edna. She was a product of the generation that made do, made it themselves or did without. Maybe it was also the secret ingredient to her prizing winning dahlias. Wouldn't that be a hoot.
Every man, woman and child in town knew the secret ingredient was moonshine, but kept quiet about it cause Miss Edna was so darn proud of her special punch. Right about then I noticed that the folks at the next table over had gone quiet. Listening to our discussion no doubt. Hmph. Nosy bodies.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of Patsy Hammond. The wife of the local bank manager and as stuck up and pretentious a hussy as you'd meet in a month of Sundays. And quick to stick her nose in where it didn't belong so she could spread everything she heard.
"That's so sweet, Aunt Edna." Said Harley Ann, snapping me out of my dark thoughts. "How neat that you have a special punch that you bring to the Christmas party. And that everybody likes it so much."
Everybody at our table pressed their lips together tight trying to hide smiles at her sweet naivety. This would be her first Christmas in Mercy and she came across as being pretty giddy about the whole thing. I was right on the edge of a mental eye roll when I remembered she'd spent a lot of the past Christmas's in a prison cell.
I gave myself a mental kick in the ass for being such a snobby bitch. Lord help. If I didn’t watch out I'd end up just like Patsy Hammond. And speaking of the Devil, I cut my eyes over and noticed her ears still all but flapping at the next table in her effort to hear what we were talking about. She reminded me of some of the mean sorority girls from my days at Ole Miss. Not my sorority, of course.
Dixie kicked me under the table and I gave her a mean look. What the heck? "So, Missy." She said. "Tell us all about the latest happenings from the real estate world."
Missy beamed at all of us, pleased as punch. She loved dishing with us over the news she gathered from being the only real estate agent in the whole county. Of course, there wasn't a lot of real estate activity in Mercy, but Missy could usually entertain us with stories she heard from all over the county and sometimes the surrounding ones. Leaving out the names of the parties involved, if it was a delicate subject. It didn't take a genius to figure out who she was talking about most of the time. But it kept her in the clear as far as telling people's personal business.
"Well." Missy paused, then went on. "Did y'all know the new boxing gym up in Olive Branch opened up? I heard people from all over are heading over there to join."
All of us exchanged looks and Miss Edna pushed her chair out from the table in preparation for leaving.
"Wait." Missy motioned Miss Edna to pull back up to the table. "I was saving the best one for last."
"Well, get on with it, girl." Huffed Miss Edna. "I'm not getting any younger sittin' here and I need to get my punch mixed up so it can get good and blended before the party."
Missy blushed to the tips of her ears, but the rest of us just ignored the remark. Classic Miss Edna and we let it roll on off. Avoiding looking at Miss Edna, Missy pulled herself back together.
"There's a sleep study going on up at the Midnight Dragonfly." She paused for effect.
A cone of silence descended over the table. I wasn't sure if we were all on the same wave length, but my first thought was that the Midnight Dragonfly, formerly known as Mitchell Manor, was the last place anyone should be opening some kind of medical study. The place had a bad record for murders happening. I know I'd have a hard time falling asleep in that place.
But how the heck had I missed this nugget of information?
"Yes!" Missy continued. "It's the most excitin' thing to happen around here in a long time. I was sure that dang old big mansion was going to sit there empty. Especially after that whole business with Luxen getting killed up there."
Missy took a sip of her coffee and went on. "The doctor who's running the study got funding for it from the state. Can you imagine? And he put an ad in the paper a couple of weeks ago looking for local people to sign up to be part of the study. He said he especially wanted more than one generation of a family to participate if they would."
"Why in tarnation would he want that?" Miss Edna asked irritably.
Missy pouted. Obviously disappointed that she didn't get a big reaction from us.
"I don't take the newspaper, so I guess that's how come I didn't know about the sleep study going on." I grinned at them all. "But don't tell Marlene and Alvin that I don't subscribe."
Miss Edna snorted. "Likely they already know that as small at that paper is."
Just as I was getting my dander up, Dixie interrupted.
"Simmer down, y'all. I want to hear more about this sleep study even if y'all don’t care." She patted Missy's arm. "You go right on with what you were saying, Missy."
"So, the biggest part of the story is that the doctor conducting the study said he lived up at the Mitchell place when he was a kid." She buttered a biscuit with deft strokes. "But I don't remember him living here at all." She bit into the biscuit, chewed and swallowed. "I don't know why he'd make up something like that though. Besides. His name is Vlad Templeton and it's not like that's a name anyone would forget hearing."
I caught Dixie looking at me with raised eyebrows.
"I can't imagine more than one person being named Vlad Templeton," I said. "So it's probably him."
"Him, who?" Harley Ann asked.
"When we were all kids, there was a boy our age who lived up at the Mitchell place." I patted Harley Ann on the hand and added as an aside to her since she was pretty new in town herself. "It's the Midnight Dragonfly now, hon." And continued. "His parents worked there. Seems like his mama was the cook and I'm not sure what his daddy did. Vlad was sick with something. Maybe diabetic. I remember he had to take shots regularly and always had sugar cubes in his pockets. You wouldn't remember him, Missy because he was home schooled."



About the Author Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety. She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even. Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her 'baby books' and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upsidedown and 'reading' by repeating the story verbatim from memory. Susan writes mysteries set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.

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