Category Archives for Crime Fiction

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

Free Book Friday – Licensed to Thrill

A great mystery series written by a good writer friend of mine, Diane Capri.

Pick up these 3 books FREE for a strictly limited time.

FREE TODAY on AMAZON

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Don't Know Jack – It's been a while since we first met Lee Child's Jack Reacher in Killing Floor. Fifteen years later, Reacher still lives off the grid, until trouble finds him, and then he does whatever it takes, much to the delight of readers and the dismay of villains. Now someone big is looking for him. Who? And why? Hunting Jack Reacher is a dangerous business, as FBI Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar are about to find out. By-the-book hunters who know when it's necessary to break the rules, but they Don't Know Jack. Is he friend or enemy? Only the secrets hidden in Margrave, Georgia will tell them.

Jack in a Box – After Margrave, Otto and Gaspar tried to take a weekend break, but Jack Reacher had out of the box plans. Where do Otto and Gaspar turn next?

Jack and Kill – FBI Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar get a lead on Jack Reacher. New Hope, Virginia, welcomed him yesterday. What trouble finds him there and who will end up dead?

FREE TODAY on AMAZON

Murder at Bray Manor is launched! Get Murder on the SS Rosa free – today only!

The Ginger Gold mysteries are starting to feel like a real series! Book 3 MURDER AT BRAY MANOR is out today!

What early Goodreads reviewers have to say:

“Lee Strauss has done it again……..a really good book!

“A very well constructed whodunit set in 1920's London that keeps you guessing until the end! A very enjoyable page turner!

I truly cannot get enough of this series.

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Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Google Play | Kobo

Murder at Bray Manor will go into Kindle Unlimited soon, so if you read on something other than a kindle, now's the time to buy!

A poltergeist guilty of murder?

Ginger Gold receives a letter from her sister-in-law, Felicia, requesting Ginger come straightaway to her late husband’s family home, Bray Manor. Dowager Lady Gold, Ginger’s nervous grandmother through marriage, believes the old manor is haunted.

Ginger doesn’t believe in ghosts, but is haunted nevertheless by memories of her husband and the lure of his gravesite she just can’t bring herself to visit.

In order to keep Bray Manor afloat financially, Felicia and Ambrosia have opened the estate to the public for club meetings and special events. Knitters, stamp collectors and gardeners converge weekly—targets for the poltergeist that seems to find amusement in hiding small things from their owners.

Bray Manor hosts a dance to raise money for maimed soldiers who struggle with peacetime after the Great War. Felicia invites her flapper friends and her new beau, Captain Smithwick, a man Ginger has met before and definitely doesn’t like.

When the dance ends with the discovery of a body, Ambrosia is certain the poltergeist is to blame, but Ginger is quite sure the murderer is made of flesh and blood.

MURDER ON THE SS ROSA, prequel novella, FREE today only!

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AMAZON

You can get MURDER ON HARTIGAN HOUSE for just .99 – today only!

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AMAZON

 

Free Book Friday – The Scarlet Pimpernel

I hate to admit that I've never read The Scarlet Pimpernel, but I'm a huge fan of the movie! Anthony Andrews does a spectacular job in his portrayal of Sir Percy Blakeney. Sink meh!

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My assistant has read the book multiple times, and it's now on my TBR pile. I hope you love this timeless classic as much we do.

FREE TODAY on AMAZON

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The breathtaking debut of the one man brave enough to stand up to the Reign of Terror

The Revolution has begun, and the streets of Paris run red with blood. Every aristocrat has been declared a traitor; the guillotine awaits them all. At the city’s West Gate, the tyrannical Sergeant Bibot toys with desperate families, allowing them to think for a moment that escape is a possibility. It is not. Every last member of the nobility—man, woman, and child—will pay the ultimate price.

Only one man stands in the way of the ruthless mobs. The Scarlet Pimpernel, his name taken from the flower he leaves as a calling card, has infiltrated Paris to bring as many innocent nobles to safety across the English Channel as he can. Savior of the aristocracy, scourge of the executioner, the Pimpernel is a hero like no other. But who is he? Marguerite Blakeney, whose dandy of a British husband has been nothing but a disappointment, would love to find out.

FREE TODAY on AMAZON

Murder at Hartigan House – Chapter 1 excerpt

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I'm so pleased at how readers are responding to the Ginger Gold Mystery series so far. I wish I could launch the second book today!

Good thing June 6 isn't that far away. Here's the first chapter to whet your appetite.

If you haven't picked up your copy yet, the preorder price is only .99. Price goes up to 3.99 after launch.

Nook: http://smarturl.it/Nook-Rosa

iBooks: http://smarturl.it/iBooks-Rosa

Kobo: http://smarturl.it/Kobo-Rosa

Google Play: http://smarturl.it/Rosa-gp

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/Amazon-Rosa

Murder at Hartigan House will be in Kindle Unlimited after launch, so if you like to read there, you might want to hold off.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Ginger Gold hesitated at the front door of Hartigan House. She hadn’t expected to feel anything, but instead she shouldered a heavy shawl of melancholy. This grand, three-storey structure built of limestone, situated in the picturesque Kensington neighbourhood of Mallowan Court, had grown tired over the war years. The stones greyer, the garden wilder. The house had been her home for the first eight years of her life. The last time she’d visited had been a decade earlier on her honeymoon.

Her mostly happy childhood was long gone as was her lovely husband.

Haley Higgins, Ginger’s good friend and travelling companion, noticed her disquietude. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes, everything is fine. Hartigan House holds a lot of memories.” Ginger was torn in her allegiances: London the place of her birth or Boston the place where she came of age. She’d lived in the brownstone on Beacon Hill for over twenty-two years, yet England was etched deeply in her soul.

And now, to finally return—it was with this disconcerting welcome. A telegram received while on board the SS Rosa: GHASTLY DISCOVERY IN ATTIC OF HARTIGAN HOUSE.

Ginger, rousing her inner strength, stepped to the front door and engaged the wrought iron knocker.

“This is your house, isn’t it?” Haley said. A lock of long, curly brown hair escaped its faux bob, and she pushed it behind her ear. “Surely you don’t have to knock?”

“I’m not in possession of a key and I’m quite certain the door is locked.”

Haley tested the knob and found Ginger’s prediction to be true.

Ginger adjusted her yellow cloche hat, trimmed with blue ribbon to match her fine linen suit purchased on 5th Avenue in New York and patted her red bob with gloved hands. Her Boston terrier, Boss, waited obediently by her feet.

Their arrival was expected. Ginger had telegrammed the details of her journey before leaving Boston, and the door soon opened. Standing before them was Mr. Pippins, the butler. The years seemed to have caught up with him. His shoulders slumped slightly, and his hair had all but disappeared. But his eyes remained their bright cornflower blue, and they twinkled as he stared back at her.

“My dear Lady Gold.” He spoke her name with a slight quiver, giving away the emotion he experienced at seeing her. A dramatic image flashed through Ginger’s mind: a scrawny redheaded girl held firmly by her father’s strong hands as she wept, her eyes locking with her beloved butler as her father took her away.

A tear escaped from the corner of her eye, and she threw herself into his arms. “Oh, Pips.”

Clive Pippins, stiffening at first to this unorthodox greeting, returned the embrace. Ginger released her hold, stepped back, and clasped her hands in front of her. She sensed Pippins’ embarrassment and shared in it. There were proper ways to do things, especially in England, and showing overt affection to a member of one’s staff was not proper. She cleared her throat and smiled. “It’s so good to see you again, Pips.”

Pippins stood tall, hands relaxed behind his back. “My sympathies, once again, on the passing of your father. Mr. Hartigan was a good man.”

“Thank you.” Ginger desperately missed her father, but seeing Pips and knowing his devotion to her helped to ease some of the pain.

Ginger glanced at Haley who stood expectantly in her brown tweed suit and sturdy oxford heels. “Oh, my manners. Pippins, this is my good friend Miss Higgins.”

Pippins bowed. “Madam.”

“How do you do, Mr. Pippins,” Haley said with her noticeable Boston accent. She reached out her hand, her eyes crinkling at the corners as she smiled. “I’m a commoner.”

Pippins’ lips twitched in amusement. He accepted her hand with a sturdy shake.

“Miss Higgins was Father’s nurse for the last three years,” Ginger said. “She’s come to London to study at the London School of Medicine for Women.” Ginger linked her arm to Haley’s. “She’s going to be a doctor!”

Pippins nodded agreeably. “How wonderful.”

Ginger swooped up her Boston terrier and patted his black head affectionately. “And this is Boss. Short for Boston.”

“A fine-looking specimen, madam. How was your journey?”

“Quite lovely,” Ginger said. “Apart from a short but fierce storm, the weather was pleasant.” She omitted the news about the murder onboard the SS Rosa and the part she and Haley played in solving it.

Ginger finally had a chance to take in the foyer. Black and white tiled floor, a large chandelier that hung from the height of the second level, windows on either side of the double-panelled front doors that added natural light. The formidable areca palm plants in large ceramic pots hailing from India, once lined up along the base of the stairwell were missing—much to be expected when a house has been shut up for so many years.

“We don’t have a footman, madam,” Pippins said, “but I’d be happy to bring your things in.”

Pippins, a confirmed bachelor, had to be in his seventies now, and Ginger didn’t intend to burden him with such a laborious task. “That’s quite all right, Pips. I’ve arranged for our things to be transported here by motor-van. The driver will be able to manage.”

“Yes, madam.”

Ginger eyed him wistfully. “I don’t suppose you could call me ‘Little Miss’?” Little Miss had been Pippins’ pet name for her when she was a child. He was the only staff member to take time to entertain her. Subtle games like I spy and noughts and crosses (what Haley would call X’s and O’s)—never when her father was around, or in the presence of other staff as that would be unseemly for a member of staff. Her heart squeezed with the nostalgia.

“Little Miss, madam?” His eyes flickered with the memory, and he smiled. “I think not, madam.”

Ginger let out a playful sigh. The pet name didn’t suit a thirty-year-old woman anyway.

“Can I bring you some tea, madam?” Pippins asked. “After the train ride from Liverpool, you must be worn out.”

“That sounds marvellous, Pips, but first we must know what your urgent, mysterious message is all about,” she said referring to the telegram. Her curiosity was greater than her desire to put her feet up. “I take it you’ve found something distasteful?”

“I believe he used the word, ghastly,” Haley said. “Such a strong word. I’m dying to know what it is.”

Pippins’ expression turned grave. “It is rather ghastly, so do prepare yourself. Please follow me.”

A wide staircase circled up to the second floor, which horseshoed around the foyer giving the entrance its grand high ceiling. The stairs narrowed as it wound up to the attic on the third floor. The attic housed the sleeping quarters for the staff—there was a back-stairwell access from the kitchen—rooms for women were in the west wing and the men’s rooms to the east.

Ginger’s hope was that it was something trivial like dry rot or black mould. She wondered why Pippins hadn’t taken it upon himself to ring for repairs. Perhaps, since he was newly back to Hartigan House and answered now to her instead of her father, he no longer felt he had the authority to make such calls on his own.

“I’m filled with curiosity, Pippins,” Ginger said. “Do give us a clue.”

Pippins hesitated then said. “I’m really at a loss how to describe it.”

“Can we pause for a breather,” Haley said, stopping midway up the stairs. “I am out of shape.”

“I’m no better,” Ginger said. “Pippins is bringing us to shame.”

Pippins puffed out his chest with pride. “Years of going up and down daily, madam.”

Ginger laughed. “Perhaps we should take rooms up here, Haley.”

Pippins instantly turned serious. “Absolutely not, madam.”

Before Ginger could explain that she wasn’t serious, Pippins marched down the passage in the men’s quarters and opened the door to the very last room at the end. “It’s in here, madam.”

As Ginger reached the threshold, she couldn’t keep a gasp of horror from escaping her lips.

Oh mercy!

In the middle of the room, lying on the floor, was a decomposed body.

END CHAPTER ONE

I hoped you enjoyed reading this excerpt. I planted an Easter Egg. Can you find it?

Murder on the SS Rosa on Kindle Unlimited!

It's always a little nerve-wracking when you send off a new book into the wild, especially when it's the first book in a  new series. What if people don't like it? What if I wasted all that time writing and chatting about the book just to have it flop and I look foolish and have to cancel a series before it even gets off the ground?

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<deep breath>

So far the reviews have been very encouraging – thank you!

“It’s always important for a cozy mystery to have a sleuth (and sidekick) that readers warm to, and Mrs. Strauss has certainly hit on a winner with Ginger and her friend Haley.” ~ Heather, Goodreads  reviewer

“The vivid detail of the clothes worn, the music and the party atmosphere allowed me to picture all of the amazing outfits and fun of that time in history.” ~ Christine, Goodreads reviewer

“This title found me totally engrossed in my reading to the point of skipping bedtime ’til the tale was complete. The mystery of who was the murderer was done well – I did not guess until the end.” ~ Andra, Amazon reviewer

 

If you've been waiting for Kindle Unlimited, your wait is OVER! Get it here: http://smarturl.it/Amazon-Rosa

There are also two paperback copy giveaways going on that are ending TODAY. Don't miss your chance to enter!

AMAZON: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/ca5f0c17d87eaadb

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/231603-murder-on-the-ss-rosa

 

 

Happy Reading!

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