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Death by Cutting Table by Susie Black is a Stress Busting Festival pick #cozymystery #humorousmystery #hilarious #giveaway

Title: Death by Cutting Table


Author: Susie Black


Genre: Cozy Mystery


Book Blurb:


There wasn’t an honest bone in Mermaid Swimwear CEO Butch Oldham’s body. He was an equal-opportunity scoundrel who screwed anyone and everyone in his wake. So, the question wasn’t who wanted the bastard dead. The question was, who didn’t? After Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik finds colleague Queenie Levine standing over Oldham’s bloody corpse nailed to a fabric cutting table with a big honkin’ pair of cutting shears plunged deep into his chest, the cops soon find Queenie’s hidden blood-soaked sweater, discover her stormy relationship with the victim, and her public threats to make Butch pay for destroying Mermaid by stealing it blind. When Queenie is arrested for Butch’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth jumps into action to flesh out the real killer. But the trail has more twists and turns than a slinky, and nothing turns out the way Holly thinks it will as she tangles with a clever killer hellbent on revenge.




Maybe those big honkin’ cutting shears plunged deep into his chest were the first clue. It was pretty obvious there was no big rush to check his pulse. You wouldn’t need an MD written after your name to see that Mermaid Swimwear CEO Butch Oldham was as dead as it gets. With a head too big for his short, squatty body, bearded Butch Oldham was, pardon the pun, a dead ringer for a hairier Humpty Dumpty gone to seed. 


Naturally, I burst out laughing.


In my defense, let me just say that genetics aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Lucky me. I inherited my nana’s fear of death we overcompensated for it with the nervous habit of laughing.


Butch’s bluish lips formed an O, as though he was caught by surprise at his situation. With his level of arrogance, no doubt Butch Oldham was quite stunned that someone mustered the nerve to kill him. The rest of us were only stunned it had taken so long.


 No one said to reach for the sky, but a uniformed version of Starsky and Hutch demanded to know who we were. As I identified myself, my eyes had a mind of their own. One glance at Butch and off I went to the races. The cops must have wondered whether I was just guilty as sin or just plain crazy. Thank goodness the Assistant Medical Examiner accompanying a gigantic black plainclothes detective happened to be my lifelong friend, Sophie Cutler, MD. I crossed my arms and waved as though guiding an airplane in for a landing and called out, “Hiya Snip.”


Tall and powerfully built like a freight train disguised as a linebacker, Detective Josiah Jones allowed the hint of a smile to quirk the corners of his lips as Sophie returned my greeting. He turned to my favorite doctor and jerked his chin my way. “Snip? Sophie, you know her?”


Sophie rolled her eyes. “Do I ever? We met as lab partners in Mr. Hepburn’s eighth-grade biology class. The thought of cutting up a frog made her squeamish and I couldn’t write a proper essay to save my life. We made quite a scholastic tag team. She wrote my essays and I dissected her frog.” Sophie shrugged. “That’s why I got tagged with the nickname snip.”


Detective Jones pinned me with a look saying, “Don’t move.” As if. Then he and Sophie walked over to Butch. Jones leaned over the spread-eagled corpse speared to the table and whistled through a wide space between his front teeth. The detective shook his bald, bowling ball-sized head and muttered. “Only in LA.” Jones cocked a brow and smirked. “Guess a cause of death is no mystery. What about a time of death?”


Sophie bent over Butch. “This one’s pretty fresh. Two hours, maybe less.”


Graceful for a big man, Jones swiveled his massive body in my direction and pierced me with an incredulous stare. My dear pal no doubt explained my laughing affliction. Good grief. The cop was grinning from ear to ear. Must she tell the way I laughed myself silly at her Grandma Esther’s funeral? Crap, now the cop became flat-out hysterical. Fanfreakingfabulous. She got, no doubt, to the part when her uncle almost threw me out of the chapel. Friends. Go figure.


Once she’d completed my humiliation Sophie, focused her attention back on the corpse and Jones headed my way. Jones angled his big head over at Sophie and smiled a toothy smile. “Really? Snip?”


I grinned and lifted a shoulder. “If the scalpel fits…”


Jones took a small notebook out of his jacket and uncapped a pen with his teeth. “Who’s in charge?” The detective rolled his eyes as I pointed to Butch. “Funny. Not. Let me clarify the question. Is anyone who’s vertical in charge and around?”


Jones pinched his forehead into a frown when I shook my head no. He dipped his head to Butch. “Who is he?”


 “Butch Oldham. He is our CEO.”


Jones asked. “So, who’s in charge now?”


 “Mr. Smythe actually runs the company.”


Jones blinked his confusion.


I explained the company’s situation. “The company is in bankruptcy. Mr. Smythe is the court-appointed administrator.” I checked my watch. It was way past office hours. “I’ve no idea how to reach Mr. Smythe, but I can get my boss David Workman on the phone.”




Queenie and I finally sat across from one another around nine at Pasta at the Pier, a local Marina Del Rey trattoria on Washington Street two blocks east of the beach. Queenie took a big gulp of her second scotch on the rocks and shook her head. “I don’t think I’ll ever sleep again. I’d be afraid to close my eyes.” She shuddered. “I will never forget the image of Butch’s corpse.”


I wiggled my eyebrows. “Which image bothered you more? Him wearing those ladies' panties or splayed out like one of his butterflies?”


Queenie pinned me with a look capable of melting a steel beam. “The one with the shears planted in his chest, you dolt.”


I asked, “So, who do you think killed him?”


Butch and his hand-picked partner in crime, Dick Green, our Chief Financial Officer, destroyed the company by draining it financially. The authorities caught Dick red-handed with two suitcases stuffed with company cash as he attempted to leave the country. Dick is currently sitting in jail awaiting an indictment sure to come down any day now. By the time the FBI gathered enough evidence against our CEO to put him in the cell next to Dick, Butch was dead. The two executives became the newest poster boys for those TV ads with the deputy dog who warns crime doesn’t pay.


Queenie said, “Dunno. With Butch’s legion of fans, the line of suspects is gonna be mighty long. The only one not in the running is Dick Green, the current guest of the Fed's finest hospitality at the Graybar Hotel.”


Nothing gets past you, Queenster.


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What’s your favorite way to combat stress?


My favorite way to combat stress is to get lost in a book and let the story take me away from whatever is stressing me out.


Why is your featured book a stress-busting read?


Laughter is the best medicine and my hilarious whodunit has a litany of zany characters and zingy one-liners that are sure to tickle a reader’s funny bone and melt all their stress away.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $20 Amazon gift card.



Open internationally.


Runs May 1 – 31, 2024


Drawing will be held on June 3, 2024. 


Author Biography:


Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.


She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.


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I read and do some yoga.



I combat stress through meditation and exercise. Commenting under Michael Law.


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Thank you, Susie, for sharing your hilarious cozy in our Stress Busting Book Festival!



A great read!! Left me in stitches! (Susie is such a cut-up.)

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You're so right.

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