top of page
  • N. N. Light

Murder in the Master - A Chesapeake Bay Mystery is a Mystery Event pick #cozymystery #giveaway



Title: Murder in the Master - A Chesapeake Bay Mystery


Author: Judy L Murray


Genre: Cozy/Traditional Detective/Amateur Sleuth


Book Blurb:


A Chesapeake village rocked by murder


A family empire resented


A friend accused


Real estate rule #1: A dead body creates buzz. A dead body in a house for sale is never the buzz you want.


It isn’t the first-time real estate agent Helen Morrisey has found someone naked in bed while showing a house. But this one is different. One glance at the bluish cast around his lips and the vacant, staring eyes, and Helen knows developer Al Capelli is never going to sign another sales agreement.


His death is big news for a small Chesapeake water town where a family empire is built around secrets and their brash money style is resented by locals. Within days, his lover, her old friend, begs Helen to find the killer before she’s arrested for murder. Helen quickly realizes that solving a murder mystery in real life is a lot more dangerous than reading one. She decides to create her own Detection Club of expert sleuths—Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, Nora Charles, Agatha Raisin, and, yes, Nancy Drew to help unearth the truth.


Detective Joe McAlister recognizes Helen’s insight into back-office real estate deals and local players. And for the first time since her husband’s death, Helen meets a man who might return zingers as quickly as she tosses them out. Mystery lovers hungry for a smart gutsy woman, a fast-moving plot, and an insider’s look into a business everyone talks about, but few understand, will devour this first in a series.


Excerpt:


Chapter One


Real Estate Rule #1: A dead body creates buzz. A dead body in

a house that’s for sale is never the buzz you want.


It wasn’t the first time Helen Morrisey found someone in bed while showing a house to a potential buyer. But after selling real estate for twenty-three years, this was the first time she found someone naked in bed during a public open house. Even worse, one glance at the bluish cast around his lips and the vacant, staring eyes, and Helen knew he was never going to sign a sales agreement.


She struggled to choke back the lump in her throat and did a quick about-face to block the two clueless buyers that followed her into the middle of the bedroom. “I’m awfully sorry. It looks like the owner didn’t expect us.”


The couple behind her peered over her shoulder. Mouths dropped open, eyes wide, they took in the man sprawled across the king-sized bed.


Helen grabbed their elbows and pulled them out of the room, back down the grand staircase, and across the marble foyer to dump them on the front step. “I-I’ll call you.” She slammed the heavy mahogany door.


Helen dug her cell phone out of her jacket pocket to dial 911. She fumbled a couple times and hit the wrong buttons. The third time was the charm.


“Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Is this an emergency?”


“Yes! This is Helen Morrisey with Safe Harbor Realtors. I’m at the model house for Heron Cove on River Road in Port Anne. I need help right away. I found the owner, Al Capelli. He’s dead.” Her voice quivered.


“Are you sure? Can you repeat your location?”


Helen could hear the clicking of computer keys.


“Yes, yes. I just found him. Come quick. Heron Cove model house off River Road.”


“Emergency Services are on their way. Please hold on until they arrive.”


Knees weak, Helen sank down onto the top step of the sweeping oak staircase. Should she do something? What if Al’s still alive? Hugging herself, she listened. This big house, the showcase house, was quiet. Too quiet.


‘Helen,’ she chided herself. ‘Where’s your Nancy Drew courage? Where’s your be prepared mantra?’ She brushed her short dark hair out of her eyes and inhaled. Nobody could be prepared for this. Jumping to her feet, she raced up to the master bedroom door then hesitated and pushed it open. She took a deep breath and walked across the huge room to Al. Her cell in her left hand, she reached out with her right and placed two shaky fingers onto his already gray neck. She searched for a pulse. Nothing. Her pounding heart echoed in her ears. She pulled back her hand and glanced around. A T-shirt was tossed on the floor.


She reached for the shirt. She may not have liked him, but he deserved to be covered. Sirens pierced through the quiet. Fingers inches away from the stray shirt, she froze, turned, and retraced her steps imprinted into the plush carpet and stood at the doorway. This was horrible on so many levels. Susan, for a start. She was not just any agent in her office. She was her lifelong friend. She was in love with him even though he was married. Even bigger, Al was a top dog with influence up and down Maryland’s eastern shore. Friend or enemy, this was big news for so many.


The front door banged open.


“Detective McAlister, Sheriff’s Department!”


“Thank God.” She clicked off her cell and leaned over the stairs. “I’m up here!”


McAlister leaped up the staircase, grabbed her elbow, then stopped in the doorway and surveyed the room. He pulled on blue paper shoe covers and latex gloves, signaling to the EMT behind him.


Helen stood just inside the doorway, not wanting to get in their way. She studied the room. Nothing seemed out of place aside from a bottle of wine and two empty glasses on a nightstand.


McAlister pulled out his cell phone and dialed. “I need a coroner and a crime tech team here now.” Tall and built like an ex-Marine, McAlister moved like he was used to giving orders.


McAlister motioned her to the side, his eyes accusing. “Did you touch anything? Anything at all?”


Helen swallowed, grateful she hadn’t touched Al’s shirt. “No. No, I didn’t. Except his neck. I didn’t want to assume he was dead and find out I could have tried to save him.”


McAlister’s face was grim and focused. “Let’s go over what happened. First, I need to see some kind of ID.”


Helen’s hands trembled.


McAlister slowed his words. His tone softened. “I realize this is upsetting.”


“Upsetting? I’m still in the category of hysterical disbelief!” She snatched a business card out of her jacket pocket. “I’m Helen Morrisey. A real estate agent. I was running an open house today. I was showing a couple around. We walked in to see this.” Helen pointed across the room. “This is way beyond dealing with panicky buyers. I’ve known Al Capelli for years. His name’s on dozens of big housing projects in three counties.” She stared again at the dead man, then turned big green eyes toward McAlister. Helen hated this cop seeing her out of control. She liked to be the calm one. She took a breath and let it go. It didn’t help much.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):









What makes your featured book a must-read?


Praise for Murder in the Master:


“…plenty of romance, surprises, and a climax that’s quite the cliffhanger.”—Kirkus Reviews


“Engaging & Entertaining!”—Kings River Life Magazine “A masterful job.”—Writers Who Kill Review


“A well-layered mystery…a little romance along with suspenseful storytelling.”—Books To The Ceiling Review


“A ‘couldn’t put it down’ mystery with an entertaining writing style, diverse characters, and a complex investigation to challenge my own inner Miss Marple.”—Kings River Life Magazine


“…if you are an avid reader of mysteries…you’ll want to get your hands on a copy of her first novel, Murder in the Master.”—APG Chesapeake Newspapers


The Helen Morrisey Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series introduces recent widow Helen Morrisey, a woman in her fifties readers can both root for and relate to. She’s quick-witted and determined, and like many women, she’s trying hard to figure out what she needs in friends, family, men, and life in general. Helen can be stubborn and hates taking orders. She loves food, especially Twizzlers, doesn’t cook and is afraid of heights. She also has the very inconvenient, longstanding habit of defending those who need help, although she tells herself she’d much prefer life neat, under control, with a full night’s sleep.


Thrown into the midst of a murder investigation with two friends desperate to find the culprit, Helen decides to create her own private Detection Club. Much like the Detection Club created by Agatha Christie in the 1930s, Helen pulls in her favorite sleuths – Jane Marple, Agatha Raisin, Nora Charles, Nancy Drew, and Jessica Fletcher as her private consultants. Helen’s friends and the detective running this investigation may find her methods unusual but admit they are effective. Helen is a fresh, gutsy face for followers of Lucy Burdette's Advice Column Mysteries and Donald Bain’s Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote.


Giveaway –

Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally.

Runs August 8 – August 21, 2023. Winner will be drawn on August 22, 2023.



Author Biography:


Judy L Murray is the 2022 First Place Winner of the PenCraft Award for Sleuth Fiction. The debut novel in her Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series, Murder in the Master, is an IPPY Silver Medalist, a Silver Falchion Award Winner, and an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Second in the series, Killer in the Kitchen, released in September 2023, won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery e-fiction, the First Place winner of the PenCraft Summer Award for Sleuth Fiction, and is nominated for the Silver Falchion Award. Third in the series, Peril in the Pool House, will be released in September 2023 through her print and e-format publisher Level Best Books. Audio versions are produced by Blackstone Publishing in audible and CD formats.


Her series introduces Helen Morrisey, a quick-tongued, gutsy, and mature woman long on loyalty and short on romance. A mystery story addict, Helen’s approach to solving problems is to call on the talents of her favorite, strong-minded female detectives within her own mental Detection Club, much like Agatha Christie formed in the 1930s.


A former vice president and real estate broker for Berkshire Hathaway in the Philadelphia region, Judy worked with enough delusional sellers, jittery buyers, testy contractors, and diva agents to fill her head with back-office insight and truth versus gossip. She and her husband live atop a cliff on the Chesapeake Bay where they are buffeted by winds in winter and invaded by family and dogs in summer. Combined with her obsession for mysteries with smart, gutsy women, from young Nancy Drew to the wise Miss Marple, and her Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series was launched.


Judy holds a newspaper journalism degree from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University and an MBA concentrating in marketing from Penn State University. She began her writing career as a newspaper reporter and magazine columnist. She is a member of Sisters in Crime as their Guppy Board Liaison and Mystery Writers of America. Sign up for her newsletter and find links to purchase her books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Independent Bookstores at www.judylmurraymysteries.com. Follow her at https://www.facebook.com/judymurray4 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. She is represented by Blue Ridge Literary Agency and Birch Literary Agency. Judy enjoys hearing from both readers and authors.

Social Media Links:



3 Comments


Unknown member
Aug 16, 2023

My favorite mystery author is James Patterson.

Like

andreadrake1
andreadrake1
Aug 13, 2023

I really like Angel Lawson new mystery romance!

Like

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Aug 08, 2023

Thank you, Judy, for sharing your book in our Mystery and Suspense Bookish Event!

Like
bottom of page