Jodie and Laureline are best friends and accidental detectives who solve a two-for-one mystery in my short story, Coffee, Tea and Larceny. The two women kick off the twisted tale at an annual Lady's Christmas tea at their church, an event lorded over by Claudia Hofstadter, a manipulative, viper-tongued control freak.
Laureline decides to accent her vintage outfit with a vintage fur muff, an uber-cool find at an antique store. According to Astor Place Vintage.com, "Muffs were mentioned in text from the 1400s, and one of the earliest images of one is in an engraving from 1588. In the 1600s both men and women used muffs."
This cumbersome fashion accessory was typically sewn together from sable, ermine or grey squirrel (for women) but some were constructed of silk or satin and adorned with lace and ribbons. The practical use and application, aside from a fashion statement, was to keep the wearer's hands warm. Women used them to hide small items in the interior (a perfect scenario for any mystery writer). Some even used them as pet carriers for small lapdogs!
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Here's an excerpt from Coffee, Tea and Larceny:
Winnie’s eyes widened. “Now you’ve done it.” Her voice rose to a higher pitch. “You ladies have to move your car immediately. This is spot is reserved.”
“Since when? We’ve never had reserved spots at the church.” But sure enough, I looked up. A new sign on the fence proclaimed the news. This spot was indeed reserved for one--Claudia Hofstadter. Imagine that.
Claudia’s voice roared over the engine. “What’s taking you so long? I’ve got things to do. Move it!” She backed up, her left hand beating an angry Morse code against the driver’s side door.
Jodie gulped, threw the car in reverse and backed out. Without so much as a thank you, the woman roared into the spot and was out the car faster than you can slap a tick.
Face flushed, my friend lowered the window the rest of the way and stuck her head out. “Winnie, where can we park?”
The woman pointed to the farthest reaches of the lot. “There are a few places out that way, to the left of the main lot. You’d better grab one quick though or you’ll have to park next to the cow pasture. Sorry about having to kick you gals out.”
Sure enough we soon found a spot in the area Winnie recommended, but someone else got to it before we did. So Jodie cuddled her Buick Riviera up next to the cow pasture. And winter cut us a break and the smell wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been if the temperature were different. Yay, winter!
Before I stepped out the car, I glanced in the rearview mirror to make sure my hat was straight.
Jodie glanced over. “I love that outfit. And that muff is a crazy nice touch. Where did you find it?”
I pulled my hands from either side and held it up. “Don’t you remember? I bought it last year at that antique shop in Round Top.” I lifted it to my nose, silk tassels swinging. “It kind of smells though.”
“Who cares?” Jodie laughed. “It’s the look that counts.” As we walked, she smoothed her vintage green wool suit and slipped on her gloves. “Ready for our grand entrance?”
A Cup of Cozy 2 offers six cozy mysteries by a variety of super duper cozy authors, my peers and friends! And there's a bonus. This book is a wealth of yummy Christmas event recipes! After you read it, keep this one in the kitchen, girls!
Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/eBook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009), Misfortune Cookies and Just Desserts (“When The Fat Ladies Sing” cozy mystery series, Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), and Strands of Fate (Hardcover/eBook, Creative Woman Mysteries 2012). Her cozy mystery series again published and expanded as ebooks at Spyglass Lane Mysteries, MacGregor Literary from 2012-2014, and in September of 2014 Linda indie-published and the continues the series: Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, Dead As A Doornail, That Wasn't Chicken, and Felony Fruitcake. Her latest foray into indie publishing, produced Alligator Pear, (a gothic historical romance, 2013), Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation, (a nonfiction anthology 2013), and Doomsday Devotions (an end times devotional 2014). Linda is an active member of Cozy Mystery Magazine, which publishes an annual Christmas anthology of its contributing authors, A Cup of Cozy (Short Mysteries and Holiday Recipes, 2013) and A Cup of Cozy 2 (Short Mysteries and Holiday Recipes 2014). Her speculative fiction story, Aperture, will release in an anthology book titled Out of the Storm (HopeSprings Books 2015), the proceeds of which will be donated to the ACFW Scholarship Fund. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed, and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years and continues on the board. In addition to writing, Linda has served as Lead Host of the Gate Beautiful Radio Show, on the Red River Radio Network/BlogTalk Radio since 2010. She and her husband Michael, married for over 25 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.
CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), NHRWA (North Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.
Represented by Amanda Luedeke, MacGregor Literary.