Someone was asking me if I can tell in advance whether a book is going to be a success. That's an interesting question. For one thing, it depends on how you define success. All my books sell well (relatively speaking), but that's not really how I consider whether a book is successful. Well, no. I mean, that's obviously a factor! They have to sell well, definitely. But what I can't predict is how I'm going to feel about a book once I'm done with it. And even harder to predict is how readers will feel about it. Sometimes my pleasure in a book will coincide with how readers respond, but even so there will be surprises. Someone who I was confident would love a particular story ends up finding it same-old same-old. Or someone who I thought would find a story disappointing, ends up loving it. The never knowing for sure keeps it exciting, I guess.
Anyway, I'm feeling good about this one, but that could be my own crazy sense of humor. I laughed a lot writing this book. I am smiling right now thinking of certain scenes. If you like the characters, I'm quite sure you'll like this book. (And if you don't like the characters, save your pennies because this one is going to annoy you even more than the last two.)
Anyway, that's it. The work is done and now the book must stand or fall on its own merits. I reach out from the bank and shove my paper sailboat into the current, and away it goes down the river...
It’s moving day at Chez Holmes.
Somehow, against Kit’s better instincts, he and J.X. are setting up house together. But while J.X. is off at a mystery fiction convention, Kit unpacks a crate that should contain old china.
Within the mounds of Styrofoam popcorn is a dead body.
A very dead body.
There goes the neighborhood.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Could she see us? I wasn’t sure. Luckily we were under the blankets. Still.
The knocking was now coming from one of the large bay windows along the side of the house. Through the filmy window sheers, I could see the tip top of one of those broad, straw coolie hats some elderly folks—and outright eccentrics—use for gardening.
Mid-scramble for our clothes, J.X. and I exchanged horrified glances. He looked so stricken that I started to laugh, even as I dragged my jeans on.
“Who the hell is that?” J.X. protested again, which struck me as still funnier.
“No way.” He said doubtfully, “You think?”
“Well…no.” I climbed awkwardly—it’s not easy to go from pleasurable arousal to alarmed action in thirty seconds flat—over one of the many crates marked books. I half tripped over a rolled Persian carpet, clattered into a set of fireplace rack and accessories, and finally stumbled over to the window seat. I struggled with the catch on the window and managed to raise the sash a foot or so.
The spring morning scents of honeysuckle and freshly mown grass wafted in.
I saw a small person of indeterminate sex, dressed in baggy clothes. At first glance it appeared that one of the garden gnomes from next door had come to life. And had something to say about it.
“Good morning!” the gnome greeted me. She had one of those fluting, high voices that brought to mind Sunday school teachers and curators at the most macabre exhibits at the
. A voice like an ice pick
through your left eye socket. “Welcome to the neighborhood. So sorry to disturb
you on your first morning, but the movers must have broken one of the sprinkler
heads along your front walk.” Tower
As I seemed to be missing the point, she said kindly, “Water is shooting up like a geyser out there. There’s a drought going on, you know.”
She was probably in her sixties, but unlike my former mentor Anna Hitchcock, no effort here had been made to stave off the ravages of time. Not that she looked ravaged. Beneath the wide brim of her hat I could just make out twinkling blue eyes in a round and rosy face.
“Hell,” I said. “Okay. Thanks for letting us know.” Not twenty-four hours in the new place and it was already falling down around our ears. I hate to say I told you so—well, no. Actually, I kind of like to say I told you so. I couldn’t wait to tell J.X. I told you so!
She offered a small but capable hand. “Emmaline Bloodworth. I’m on your left.”
Proof of my distraction, I actually glanced to my left. “You are? Are you?”
“I live in the house to your left.” She was still offering a doll-sized hand, and I leaned down to take it. She shook hands firmly.
“Christopher Holmes.” I released her, started to retreat, but by then J.X. was behind me so I backed my ass firmly into his crotch, which pretty much illustrated the current state of affairs at
Buy it here:
(The book will also be available in audio about mid-November.)
AND do not miss the launch parties taking place on Goodreads and my Facebook fan page! There is a veritable treasure trove of goodies and gifties being given away.