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Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder is a Shake Off Winter Doldrums pick #cozymystery #giveaway

Title: Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder (A Chocolate Martini Sisters Mystery Book 1)

Author: Joyce Proell and Brenda Whiteside

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Book Blurb:

Recently widowed, Emma Banefield looks forward to a getaway birthday weekend with her free-wheeling sister, Nicole Earp, sipping chocolate martinis at the peaceful, historic Dulce Inn. When a rude stranger, a nasty food critic, and a madhouse of temperamental artists greet them, all hope for a tranquil weekend evaporates faster than dew on a hot desert morning.

Overlooking the riotous atmosphere is doubly hard after Em discovers the body of a hotel guest, and a second murder affects Nic personally. Now, entrenched in a caper that pits them against a surly detective, they cozy up to a hotel staff hiding dangerous secrets to uncover clues to the killer.

Using their smarts and love of all-things mystery, will the Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime ahead of the obstinate Chief Detective or find themselves trapped in the middle of a third murder?


“I was thinking, Em, if Shaw is a nasty food critic, and I have no doubt he is, we could do an Internet search. Check out who he’s trashed.” She plucked her phone from her bag.

Her sister frowned. “Or we could relax and enjoy what’s left of our sister holiday, at least for a few hours.” She stood. “Let’s walk across to the art fair in the park. I could use a break from murder and mayhem.”

“Great idea. Maybe I could find something for Chloe for her birthday.” The mention of her daughter brought Liam to mind. She wanted to ask Em if she’d heard from her son, but supposed that if she had, she would’ve mentioned it. Best leave it alone or her sister would start worrying again. She glanced out the window. “I need to get a hat before we go. I don’t see a cloud in the sky.” She slung her purse over her shoulder and stood. “I’ll make a quick run upstairs. You want to go, or can I get you anything?”

“No. I’ll stroll around the lobby while you run upstairs.”

“Ha. You’re still sleuthing in spite of being tired of the drama. Or is it Chief Homicide Detective Guthrie you hope to run into?” She elbowed her sister as they left the restaurant and entered the lobby.

“Get your stupid hat and meet me out front.” Em’s lighthearted gleam downplayed her feigned grousing. “And hurry or I’ll leave without you.”

She chuckled and hurried through the lobby, dodging guests ambling amongst the exhibition pieces. While waiting for the elevator, she surveyed the activity. A brittle air had settled over the stately room and charged the lobby with a tense ambiance. News of the murder must have already spread like a brush fire over the Bradshaw Mountains. Guests whispered furtively to one another, the gist of which appeared to have nothing to do with the art they perused.

Penelope was nowhere to be seen. Another employee and Stonewell, heads together, manned the front desk. An office door opened. Ramirez stuck his head out, glanced about, then ducked back inside. Who or what did he seek? Jillian’s office door was closed. Detective Guthrie could very likely have commandeered her space for interviewing guests and employees. Would he have a docket of suspects by the end of the day? The elevator dinged. Nic smiled. Would his list match the Chocolate Martini Sisters’ litany of suspects?

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?

It’s hardly activity at all, but I do get perked up with a cup of hot chocolate topped with lots of whipped cream. The secret ingredient is a dollop of honey brandy. Then I whip out the three crossword scratch tickets I bought earlier in the day. I scratch slowly, reading each word as I sip and draw nearer to winning $20,000.

Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?

Say goodbye to winter and take enjoy Spring in Wyatt, Arizona where it’s warm, but not too warm, in the high country. Jump out of winter and into the pages of a cozy mystery at an historic inn with scrumptious food and an art fair, and then have a chocolate martini in celebration of Nic’s birthday. You’ll have fun with Nic and her sister Emma as they uncover mystery and mayhem while solving the murder.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card

Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.

Runs March 1 – 31, 2023.

Drawing will be held on April 3, 2023.

Author Biography:

Joyce Proell is the award-winning author of Amaryllis, Eliza and the Cady Delafield mysteries: A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and A Wicked Truth. Along with her husband and little dog, Nellie, she lives in Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie. She loves to hear from readers.

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

Social Media Links:

Visit Joyce’s website at or

3 comentários

21 de mar. de 2023

Reading keeps the winter blues away for me!


Jan Sikes
Jan Sikes
15 de mar. de 2023

This looks like a really fun read from Joyce and Brenda! Thanks for the highlight, Mrs. N!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
15 de mar. de 2023

Thank you, Joyce and Brenda, for sharing your book in our Shake Off Winter Doldrums!

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