Last chance to preorder & enter contest!

I'm counting down the days until the release of Murder at Feathers & Flair. I'm always amazed at how quickly time passes leading up to each new release.

Take a listen to the music chart-topper of 1924 – Yes, we have no bananasClick on the image to hear it.

If you prefer to read on iBooks, Kobo or Nook now is your chance to get your copy of Murder at Feathers & Flair as it will be available exclusively on Amazon shortly after it is released. If you are a Kindle Unlimited member you may want to hold off until after launch.

Preorder now before Murder at Feathers & Flair goes into Kindle Unlimited!

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 The Ginger Gold Shopping Spree giveaway closes in three days – so make sure to get your last few entries in now!

Enter herehttps://gleam.io/fb/vIGn5


And now onto Friends of Lee Friday! I hope you enjoy these great mysteries.

Murky Passions and Scandals

After private investigator in training, Raina Sun witnesses a kidnapping, the victim shows up unharmed and claims nothing happened. The case grows even murkier when Raina's client, the husband of the supposed victim, is found dead at the old pumpkin patch, the site for a contentious new mall development. Can Raina see her way clear to the end, or will a storm come crashing down when the murderer realizes she's hot on the trail?

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Take advantage of this great new release sale! Regularly priced at 4.99.

A Raina Sun Mystery Book

Grab it now for 2.99!

 

Murder in the Art Gallery

Georgie Kaye lives every day as if it were a gift, because to her it is. She beat cancer, against all predictions, and is following her life’s dream to draw portraits of the fur babies of the world.

When Georgie and her twin sister Aleta arrive at an art gallery that wants to show Georgie’s work, they schmooze with donors, charm the artists, and overindulge at the sweets table.

Everything is working perfectly in their favor, until an owner of the gallery is killed..

***
Book 1 in a brand new cozy series – includes recipes!

Pet Portraits Cozy Mysteries – NEW RELEASE

Get it now for 2.99!

 

Speak of the Wicked

Now a chief agent for USCAB’s paranormal division, newlywed Mandy Rowling has arrived. Unfortunately, Manhattan’s social elite have little regard for her, except for the very wealthy Mrs. Karen Rosenberg who, it turns out, is in need of someone with paranormal skills.

 ***
A fast-paced mystery full of quirky characters and unexpected twists.

Paranormal in Manhattan Mystery Series – NEW RELEASE

Grab it now for 2.99!

Are you ready for more adventures with Ginger Gold?!

I've finished writing Murder at Feathers & Flair and started the editorial process. Yay! I can't believe I'm already four books into the Ginger Gold series. What an adventure it's been.

I hope you will join Ginger Gold on another daring escape where fashion is murder – or is it? Preorder now to find out!

iBOOKS l KOBO l NOOK l AMAZON

Murder at Feathers & Flair will be available exclusively on Amazon shortly after it is released.


 Chapter #1 of Murder at Feathers & Flair. 

 

“You’re a thief!”

The thief stepped forwards and replied, “Exactly. And you, madam? The mistress of the house, I presume. Or are you a thief as well?”

With a white-gloved hand Ginger Gold held the programme up in the dim light of Abbott Theatre, an older establishment on Shaftesbury Ave.

The thief was played by Angus Green, a handsome man, tall with a confidence that radiated from the stage. Ginger doubted his aplomb was only attributed to acting. He was young and had a determination about him. Probably new to theatre, Ginger thought—she hadn’t heard his name before.

The one-act play written by a Mr. Stuart Walker was called Sham, and Ginger’s sister-in-law, Felicia, had landed the lead female role of Clara.

“What have you taken?” Felicia’s enunciation was loud and with proper indignation. “Give it to me instantly! How dare you?” She gestured to the actor standing next to her. “Charles, take it away from him.”

Haley Higgins, Ginger’s American friend and housemate, leaned in and whispered in her Bostonian accent, “Felicia has pluck.”

Ginger agreed. On the stage and in real life, if truth be told.

Charles, according to the programme, was played by a blond man named Geordie Atkins. He was shorter and stouter than the attractive thief and a good deal older if you could go by his receding hairline.

“I dare say, old man,” Geordie Atkins said, looking uncertain yet a little amused. “You’d better clear out.”

Ambrosia, the Dowager Lady Gold and Ginger’s grandmother through marriage, had not been a great supporter of her granddaughter’s interest in theatre. “A lot of simpletons looking to escape their responsibilities,” she’d stated. Yet, in the light filtering off the stage to their seats on the balcony, Ginger saw a smile and a glint in the older lady’s eye she’d almost say was pride.

There were only four characters in the play—the fourth was a reporter who appeared near the end. A man in his early thirties donning a moustache and spectacles had won the part. He wore a trilby hat and an overcoat that hung sloppily over drooped shoulders. Ginger examined her programme: Matthew Haines. Felicia had talked about her fellow actors often since joining the company, and Ginger was glad to put names to faces.

In the end, Felicia’s character conned the confidence man. When the curtain dropped, Ginger sprung to her feet in applause.

“Bravo! Bravo!”

The actors waited in the lobby to greet the members of the audience, who Ginger thought solemnly, were far too few. A jolly good number of seats had been unoccupied. Quite the shame since the performance was so charming.

“Felicia, darling!” Ginger said as she embraced her sister-in-law. “You were absolutely magnificent!”

Felicia had changed into a Jean Patou chiffon evening gown from Feather’s & Flair. It had three layers of fabric each a different shade of pink, a dropped waist cummerbund-like sash. Felicia’s dark hair was perfectly coiffed with finger waves and decorated with a jewelled headpiece. The pink on her Clara Bow lips matched her dress. Ginger thought she rivalled any film star she’d ever seen.

Felicia held Ginger’s green-eyed gaze. “Thank you, Ginger! I’m so glad you came.”

A wayward strand of red hair escaped from Ginger’s bob. When she pushed it behind her ear, her dangling Cartier Paris emerald and diamond earrings swayed. She gushed, “Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

Ambrosia allowed a quick hug from Felicia and begrudgingly admitted, “It was better than I expected, child. I do hope you have this folly out of your system now.”

Felicia’s smile lit up the lobby. “Oh, Grandmama! I’m so happy, even you cannot steal my joy tonight.”

Haley shook Felicia’s hand with a firm grip and said, “Good job, Felicia. Well done.”

Felicia introduced her fellow actors, Mr. Geordie Atkins and Mr. Matthew Haines, but her gaze and smile stayed on the man who played the thief. “And this is Mr. Angus Green.”

Angus shook each lady’s hand as he charmed Ambrosia and showered Ginger with accolades.

“It’s such an honour to meet you, Lady Gold. Felicia has told me so many great things.”

Ginger arched a brow. “Is that so, Mr. Green?”

“Indeed. I hear you’ve started your own business! Very commendable. And that a rather prestigious gala is coming up.”

Ginger laughed. “The rumours are true. Shall you be attending?”

Angus Green’s dark eyes gazed down at Felicia. “If I’m invited.”

Felicia beamed and threaded her fingers through his. “You know I’ve already invited you, silly.” They laughed, and Ginger and Haley shared a look. Felicia was clearly smitten by her colleague.

Tapping her walking stick on the burgundy theatre carpet, Ambrosia’s frown deepened, and her eyes narrowed at the public display of affection. Felicia had the sense to remove her hand from Mr. Green’s.

“Let’s move along, Grandmother,” Ginger said before a displeasing scene could erupt. “We are holding up the queue.”

 

The next day, Ginger’s chauffeur Clement, a quiet, easy-going, middle-aged man from Yorkshire, drove Ginger to her Regent Street shop. The old 1913 Daimler TE 30 Cranmore Landaulet was in great shape, not having been driven much during the previous decade.

Though Ginger preferred to drive the motorcar herself, the bright side was she didn’t have to worry about parking or having to dodge puddles in the street. This was especially good news for Boss, Ginger’s black and white Boston Terrier, who sat eagerly on Ginger’s lap. Instead, she could hop directly onto the pavement by the front entrance of Feathers & Flair.

“Thank you, Clement,” Ginger said as she opened the kerbside door.

“You’re welcome, madam. When should I collect you?”

“I’m not sure. I’ll ring the house when I’m ready.”

“Very well.”

The Daimler puttered away, and Ginger strutted to the shop, one arm holding Boss and the other on her hat as she bore down against the wind.

A short line clogged up the entrance.

“I’m so sorry,” Ginger said. “Please excuse me. I’m the proprietress here.”

“Oh, Lady Gold!” a lady gushed. “I’m so excited to visit your shop. It’s the talk of the fashion district!”

“Thank you. You’re so kind.”

Ginger manoeuvred past the small crowd and made way for a few shoppers to exit. She was happy to see smiles on the women’s faces and large shopping bags in their hands. The patient customers who’d been waiting outside scurried in from the cold.

On seeing Ginger, Madame Roux hurried to her side. The manager wore a sensible but fashionable suit of lavender rayon. Her dark eyes, crinkling with deep crow’s feet at the corners, flashed with excitement. “Incroyable! Word of the gala has spread like feathers from a torn pillow!”

“This is a good problem to have, Madame Roux,” Ginger said.

Feathers & Flair had recently expanded to the second level of the stone building when the previous owner, a shoemaker, retired and closed shop. Both floors had ten-foot high creamy white ceilings and trim mouldings painted gold. The floors consisted of polished white marble tiles which glistened under the bright electric crystal lamps. A rich burgundy velvet curtain hung over the archway that divided the front room from the back area.

Before setting Boss on the floor, Ginger wiped his paws with the cotton cloth she carried for this purpose. “To your bed, Bossy,” she instructed. Boss immediately headed to the velvet curtain, pushed his nose through the seam in the middle, and disappeared.

Ginger handed Madame Roux her coat and handbag and headed up the wooden stairwell. The factory-made dresses, located on the upper floor, were always inspected—especially this latest shipment that had arrived for the gala. Several younger patrons clucked over the choices and tried on dresses for size.

“I love not having to wait for something to be made,” one of them said.

Her companion added, “And these prices won’t break the bank.”

Dorothy West, the young floor clerk, moved about with quick strides, her mouth pinched in a tight line. “Dorothy,” Ginger whispered lightly, “do remember to smile.”

The girl’s head snapped towards Ginger’s voice, staring like a nervous bird. The muscles around her small mouth twitched before straining upward. “Yes, Lady Gold. I’m just a tad nervous. Most of the high society ladies I know aren’t as nice as you, madam.”

Ginger herself had trouble with the entitlement of the elite. She smiled her encouragement. “You’ll be fine. Everyone will mellow after drinking his or her first glass of champagne. At least that’s what I’m counting on.”

The muscles in Dorothy’s face relaxed. “Thank you, madam.”

The main floor, where the haute couture designs were displayed, showed the latest samples from all the prestigious fashion houses, both in Europe and America. Ginger admired a new frock—golden sheer over a solid gold chemise. The sheer was stitched with glittery sequins and shiny thread work in Egyptian inspired designs and hung four inches lower than the chemise underneath to mid-calf. Egyptian themes had become popular in fashion and design since Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in ’22, and Ginger was jolly keen about them all.

Ginger’s young designer, Emma Miller, brought more dresses out from the back room to refit the mannequins. She had a ready smile and seemed to sincerely enjoy her job.

“I’ve worked on some new designs,” she said when she saw Ginger. “I’ve sketched them on the easel.”

“I’ll have a look.” Ginger admired the young girl’s eagerness to please and saw real potential in her ideas. Emma Miller could be a big name one day, and Ginger loved that she could be a part of the designer’s success.

A sophisticated lady in a lamb’s wool cape admired the latest frocks in from New York.

“Lady Whitmore,” Ginger said, recognizing her. “Welcome to Feathers & Flair.”

“Thank you, Lady Gold. It’s not my first time in, you know.” The lady patted Ginger’s arm and leaned in conspiratorially. “Is it true Mr. Edward Molyneux is to be your guest at the opening gala?”

Ginger smiled widely. When she’d invited the famous London-born designer, she could only dream that he’d agree to leave his shop in Paris to be her guest. Not only that, he promised to reveal one of his most recent designs at the gala.

“Yes, it is. I’m very excited to have him here.”

“It’s all the talk in the society pages, even though one wouldn’t imagine such an event to be held in a dressmaker’s shop.”

“We’re not a dressmaker’s shop, Lady Whitmore,” Ginger defended. “We’re a dress shop where the finest fashions of the world can be found. It makes sense that a gala to promote them would happen here.”

“Yes, of course. I completely agree. I’m just repeating what I’ve heard.”

Ginger smiled stiffly. She had little patience for gossipers.

Lady Whitmore patted Ginger on the arm. “Word is that royals from all over Europe are coming to London to shop for their spring wardrobe, and especially to see your shop, so don’t you spend one minute worrying about those naysayers’ rumours. Your supply is magnificent, by the way. You know the other shops are up in arms, don’t you? You’ve become major competition and in such a short time. Don’t be surprised if they send spies in as pretend shoppers. After all, the owners wouldn’t dare to enter. Imagine what people would say?”

Ginger left Lady Whitmore to browse, and soon the loquacious lady found another willing to listen to her tittle-tattle. Madame Roux approached Ginger with a customer at her side. The client wore a tan-coloured wool coat that Ginger recognized as one of Parisian designer Jean Lanvin’s collection. Tall for a lady, the customer stood straight with the best posture finishing school could produce, despite her bountiful bosom which was bound to weight the lady forward. Her ample bottom accounted for a slight waddle when she walked. She wasn’t what one would call handsome, yet the lady had a familiar look about her. A straight nose, small chin, and grey eyes, heavily made up with blue shadow and thick mascara. Her lips were a glossy red.

“This is Countess Andreea Balcescu from Romania,” Madame Roux said. “This is Lady Gold, the owner of Feathers & Flair.”

Ginger held out a gloved hand. “How do you do, Countess Balcescu. And welcome!”

The countess did not have an easy smile. Most of the aristocracy from the East were suffering from the war’s aftermath. Many were refugees of revolutions, and sometimes, their family lineage had legally and abruptly ended.

“I have heard grand things about your shop,” the countess said, her husky voice hinted at a slight accent. “I have had to leave many of my possessions behind and have great hope to replenish my spring wardrobe in London.”

“I’d most certainly be happy to help you with that. We have the latest fashions shipped in from Paris and New York and have our own fabulous designer in-house. We can produce a unique gown to your liking.”

“That is impressive.”

Ginger presented a turquoise and silver evening gown with fascinating silver embellishments draped over the bodice and light chiffon cap-sleeves. She watched as Countess Balcescu ran her fingers across the dress. Her gloved hands were large but handled the fabric delicately.

Behind them, a display of accessories crashed to the floor making everyone jump.

Mon Dieu,” Madame Roux exclaimed. Dorothy and Emma hurried to set the display upright and replaced the handbags and scarves.

“How did that happen?” Ginger asked.

“I have no idea,” Madame Roux said. “It’s so crowded, anyone could have bumped it over.”

Or pushed it over. Ginger was reminded of Lady Whitmore’s warning of the other shops sending over spies. Would someone deliberately try to sabotage her event?

That was nonsense talking. The falling display was a mere accident.

The countess wasn’t impressed. “Perhaps I’ll return another time when things are less . . . hectic.”

Ginger sighed. There went a potential customer, most likely to one of her competitors. Oh well. Couldn’t be helped. These things happened.

The telephone bell rang intermittently with Madame Roux managing the calls, but this time, her manager caught her attention and waved her over.

“The telephone is for you, Lady Gold. It’s Miss Gold.”

Ginger took the receiver. Unlike the older candlestick version installed at Hartigan House, this one was a modern machine with the earpiece and receiver in one which, when not in use, rested horizontally over a boxy unit with a circular dial.

“Felicia?”

“Oh, Ginger. I think something horrible has happened.”

Ginger’s heart skipped a beat. Had something happened at home? Was Ambrosia all right? The matronly lady had a lot of tenacity, but she wasn’t getting any younger. “What is it?”

“Angus Green has gone missing!”

Ginger blinked at the news. Not at all what she was expecting. Angus Green—the handsome young actor Felicia was soft on? “What do you mean he’s missing?”

“He didn’t show up for rehearsal this afternoon and Geordie Atkins says he didn’t come home at all last night. They share a flat, you see.”

“Perhaps he tired of the theatre and left to do something new?”

“I don’t think he would do that. There are still two nights of the show remaining. He wouldn’t leave us high and dry, would he? Besides, he promised me we’d celebrate together when it ended.”

Felicia’s voice caught, and Ginger felt a wave of sympathy. “Are there any indications of foul play?”

“Geordie said his room had been roughed up. Apparently, Angus is a tidy type of fellow. And now that I think of it, he did seem rather tense these last few days, like he had something on his mind.”

“Have you called the police?”

“Yes, but they’re not taking us seriously. They think Mr. Green is just a wild sort, doing his own thing. Ginger, you have to find him.”

“Me?”

“Mr. Haines is moneyed. He says he’ll pay you.”

Ginger sputtered, “I’m not a private investigator, Felicia.”

“But you are! You’ve solved so many mysteries since coming to England. Please Ginger, take the case.”

Ginger gaped at her sister-in-law’s plea.

Oh, mercy.

 

***

Ps. Don't get forget to enter the $100 Ginger Gold Shopping Spree Giveaway!

Fashions of Murder at Feathers & Flair and Friends of Lee Friday!

Murder at Feathers & Flair opens during a theatre production Ginger's sister-in-law, Felicia, is performing in. After the show Felicia greets her fans wearing this Jean Patou chiffon evening gown.

Felicia's grandmother and Ginger Gold's grandmother-in-law, Ambrosia, almost enters the 20th-century fashion scene with this silk tangerine gown with long bell sleeves and a hemline that actually shows a bit of ankle.

Egyptian themes had become popular in fashion and design since Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in ’22, and Ginger has many of them available in her dress shop, Feathers & Flair.

Of course there is a murder victim! To Ginger's Feathers & Flair New Year's gala, she wore a stunning creamy chiffon with three layers flowing to below the knee and a back panel dragging along the floor.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into Ginger's world of fashion. Now onto Friends of Lee!

 

Sigils and Spells

SIGILS & SPELLS includes more than twenty exclusive novels that roam the sands of Egypt, slip into the shadows of 1940s Los Angeles, voyage to the mystical land of Mabi, and dare to traverse the stars. From the deserts of Africa to the streets of San Antonio, mythological adventurers strike out to discover brand new worlds and unravel the mysteries of Earth in a limited edition boxed set offering the diversity and originality you haven’t been able to find before now.

A dangerously beautiful vision of unique worlds that’s sure to leave its mark. 

A Limited Edition Urban Fantasy Collection

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Delayed Death by Beate Boeker

Have you met the Mantonis? This eccentric Italian family has a fatal tendency to fall over dead bodies, and their unique reactions to murder will keep you giggling all through the night. Delayed Death is the first in the cozy mystery series Temptation in Florence that combines romance with humor in one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

“…a wonderfully witty novel” “Beate Boeker is a wonderful storyteller.”

Temptation in Florence Series Book 1

Month in Review + Friends of Lee Friday

September month in review.

Sept-2017

September 2017 in point form.

-Finished Murder at Feathers & Flair and started the editorial process. Yay!

-Booked photographer for son's wedding next summer – exciting 🙂

-Booked tickets to Mexico for the new year – we're snowbirds now!

-Packed and prepared for flight to Dresden, Germany – my alternated reality.

-Arrived in Germany and suffering through jet lag, but happy to see my friends! I'm here until the end of October.

-My parents are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary today – Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

 

On to Friends of Lee Friday! I hope you enjoy these well-written mysteries.

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Murder in the South of France

When her long missing sister ends up dead, Maggie Newberry flies to the south of France to find the little niece that no one in the family even knew existed. Along the way, she finds a sexy Frenchman to help search for her sister's child while her sister's murderer sets his sights on the little girl–and Maggie.

The Maggie Newberry Mystery Series Book 1

Get it on AMAZON

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Murder in the Village

One Small Village. Two Connected Murders. Diane must use all her cunning in her attempt to stop a third… Diane is attending the local village Fête. All is well until a murder during the festivities plunges her into yet another mystery.

A Diane Dimbleby Cozy Mystery

Sign up now and get it for FREE!

Some Friday FUN — Prizes, books and more!

Are you a fan of fashion, shopping, and books?

On October 23rd I will be giving away a $100 Shopping Spree at Ginger Gold's dress shop ‘Feathers & Flair' OR a $100 PayPal cash prize.

Click on the images to view more prizes!

Pinterest, 1920s fashion

Already have a closet full of fashion? You could spend the $100 filling up your bookshelf! Perfect timing for the release of the Ginger Gold boxed set, and the fourth Ginger Gold Mystery, Murder at Feathers & Flair.

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Murder at Feathers & Flair

 

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Ginger Gold Boxed Set

 

Combine your artistic flair with your love of fashion in this roaring 20's adult coloring book!

“These are the styles that made the Twenties roar! Thirty-one gracefully rendered and historically accurate images recapture the era's fashions, depicting flappers ― and the occasional sheik ― in all their beaded, sequined, and glittering glory. Pages are perforated and printed on one side only for easy removal and display.”

1920s Jazz Age Fashion

 

You could win all this and more if you enter Ginger Gold's Shopping Spree!

Already entered? Enter again to gain more points and increase your chance of winning! There are new ways to enter and the Pinterest and Facebook posts have also been updated so you won't be sharing the same pins or posts twice.

Click on the image below to enter!

Contest, $100 giveaway,

 

You can also enter this Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of

Murder at Feathers & Flair!

http://www.laplumepress.com/goodreads

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Ps. Have you read the first three chapters of Murder on the SS Rosa?

http://www.leestraussbooks.com/murder-on-the-ss-rosa-chapters/

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Do you love Miss Fisher? I almost cried when the series ended.

Are you a fan of the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries TV series? I am. Miss Phryne Fisher brings the perfect combination of wit, family secrets, and of course fashion! I don't know about you, but I almost cried when the series ended. Essie Davis captured the essence of the character from Kerry Greenwood's popular series expertly.

No more 1920s fashion, flair and bright young things? I couldn't accept that that was the end, so I did what I knew I had to do — wrote my own 1920s cozy mystery series!

The Ginger Gold Mystery series is the result of that decision. Ginger shares many of Phyrne's attributes. She's clever, compassionate, and a seeker of justice. And like Miss Fisher, Lady Gold fearlessly embraces modern times and insists on being a modern, independent woman.

There's also a handsome inspector who's just out of reach.

But there are differences too. Ginger Gold has been married. Her personal loss and lingering grief is her widowhood. She's more conservative than Phryne and doesn't share in Miss Fisher's hedonistic adventures. Ginger is British but was raised in America. She has a title through marriage and is a Lady in both senses of the word. Ginger Gold has many unusual skills attributed to working for the secret service during the Great War, a period of time she tries desperately to put behind her, but circumstances always seem to dredge it up.

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If you are missing out on Miss Fishers' spunky attitude and fabulous 1920's attire, then the Ginger Gold Mysteries may be the perfect cure for you! Check out what readers are saying.

“This is just what I needed after watching the final episode of Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries TV series. This book series has me tingling all over again wondering if the heroine and the hero will ever confess to themselves or to each other that they have a shared attraction to each other.”

“This series is going to be one of my favorites. Couldn't put it down until I finished it. It ranks right up there with Agatha Christie and Nigio Marsh.”

I highly recommend this book especially if you are a fan of the Sherlock Holmes type murder mysteries!”

“A fascinating introduction to a character that will rival Miss Fisher in the cozy genre set in the period between world wars.”

“For fans of Murder She Wrote, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and just general cozy mysteries. Definitely give this a read. You won't be disappointed.”

Ginger Gold has also been compared to Dorothy Sayers and Miss Marple! Does Ginger Gold remind you of another series or book you've read?

Read the first three chapters of the first book in the series – Murder on the SS Rosa – FREE!

http://www.leestraussbooks.com/murder-on-the-ss-rosa-chapters/

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