Two Many Sleuths The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries Book 12
by M K Scott Genre: Cozy Mystery
Can the Brits and Yanks team up to solve a murder?
What should have been an easy week for small town detective Mark Taber and his amateur sleuth and innkeeper wife, Donna Tolllhouse Taber goes awry when a local garden club member is shot. One of the inn guests, a Scotland Yard detective's insistence on helping could actually make things worse. Can ruffled feathers be smoothed before the killer strikes again?
Find out in Book Twelve of The Painted Lady Inn Mystery series, Two Many Sleuths.
M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries. Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands on approach. Morgan's daughter, who manages a hotel, provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple's dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna's dog.
Meet Donna Tollhouse Tabor, the opinionated, former nurse who runs and owns The Painted Lady Inn in Legacy, North Carolina. When she isn’t baking apple crumb cake for her guests, she likes to help solve murders in the charming, coastal village. Let’s drop in for a cup of her special coffee and a sweet treat.
Donna stands at the porch in a ruffled pinafore apron and waves us in. “Come in, I’d love some company. All my guests have already left and I have time for a short chat.”
Inside the inn there is a curving staircase and a long hallway with doors on both sides. Donna opens the door to the kitchen, releasing the mingled smells of fresh ground coffee, cinnamon, and chocolate. “Let’s eat in the kitchen like friends as opposed to in the dining room as my guests do. There’s warm chocolate chip macadamia cookies that just came out of the oven. Grab a seat and I’ll get you some coffee and cookies.”
After grabbing a seat, it’s time for the interview—I mean chat. “I’ve heard so much about your delicious cooking and your sleuthing skills. Isn’t running an inn enough work without solving crimes?”
Donna laughs, and then smirks. “Sure, it is—most of the time. I do have family and an assistant that help with the inn. Summer is my busiest time. All the same, I’ve lived in this town my entire life, which means when someone is murdered, it’s personal.
“I get that. How do you pick up clues the police miss?’
Her eyes roll upward and she tucks a lock of hair behind her ear. “I’m not going to say they miss the clues. The police tend to go with the traditional suspects. You know, disgruntled employee, embittered spouse, or will beneficiaries are the first go-to folks. I try to go into the situation with an open mind. A person that believes the husband is guilty will look for circumstantial evidence to confirm this and miss the tiniest clues. Any killer will try to erase clues. No matter how great the murderer thinks he or she is, there is always a mistake.”
“That’s interesting. Is that how you catch the culprit?”
“It’s usually a beginning, but not necessarily enough to pin the crime on someone.”
“Do you have any help on these cases?”
Donna presses her hand to her chest. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. Some of my help isn’t the sleuthing type. Often my mother and sister-in-law will help with inn duties so I can nose around. On other days, my mother, who is a social butterfly, gathers pertinent gossip.” She grins widely, bringing out the crow’s feet. “Gossip is a great jumping-off point. While the end gossip might not be totally true, there had to be a reason for it. Sometimes, even figuring out the motivation why someone started the gossip matters and can help.”
The innkeeper and sometime sleuth picks up her coffee and takes a sip. “Then, there’s my assistant, Thelma, who has psychic ability. She’s offered a few helpful clues.”
“Wow. A psychic. Does she just tell you the name of the killer? That would certainly make it easy.”
Donna laughs so hard, her fingers grip the island, so she doesn’t fall off her stool. Finally, she stops, gasping for air and wipes away a tear. “No, is the short answer. Thelma usually gives you a cryptic word that doesn’t mean much except in retrospect. Like eleven.”
“See—not so easy. It takes a great deal of work to unravel random words along with criminals’ motivations. Consider I’m not only hunting down would-be felons but also not looking like I’m doing so.” She glances up at her cat kitchen clock that rolled its eyes and wagged its tail in rhythm. “Hate to say I’m running out of time but I’ve got some sleuthing to do.”
“Please, don’t let me keep you. Any adventures coming up you’d like to tell us before you go?”
Donna holds up her index finger and says, “You’ll have to read about it in Two Many Sleuths.”