Title: MYSTERY NIGHT MURDER
Author: Leslie Langtry
Genre: Cozy Comedy
Mrs. Gable in the Conservatory with a noose? It was supposed to be a fun weekend of pretend murder. Girl Scout Troop leader Merry Wrath and four of her scouts play an important role at the Murder Mystery Night Fundraiser on a secluded island in the middle of Dead Otter Lake. The guests, major donors, have all arrived in period costume, are eager to play, and can’t wait for the "killer" to strike! Mr. Blunt in the Ballroom with a lead pipe? Unbeknownst to them, a very real murderer roams the mansion’s halls, and the first victim falls with the first round of cocktails. A violent storm leaves the guests stranded and cut off from the outside world, as our cast of characters, one by one, are dying off in a very real mystery in a very unusual house. Of course, people aren’t who they seem and red herrings abound, throwing a wrench into the investigation. Did the Butler do it? With a nod to a mystery classic, can Merry solve this case and catch a killer before there’s no one else left to play the game?
"Murder me!" the girl cried out with large, pleading eyes. "Please?"
"No!" begged another. "I want to be murdered!"
I was holding a large carving knife in my hands as I looked these two over. "I'm not going to kill either one of you."
Betty pouted, folding her arms over her chest. "But Mrs. Wrath! You need victims!"
Mrs. Wrath. Sigh. For the past few years, I'd been begging my girls to call me Ms., since I wasn't married. But technically speaking, they were right this time. Sort of. Newly married, my name was actually Mrs. Ferguson. Or at least, it would be if I'd taken Rex's last name.
Lauren objected. "I'm the tallest. I should be the one killed. It only makes sense."
Mrs. Linda Willard, my fourth-grade teacher who had started helping out with my troop here and there, arched an eyebrow in my direction but said nothing. She was learning that my Girl Scouts were, well, a bit quirky.
The girls, who were fourth graders themselves, saw my fourth-grade teacher as a sort of mythical creature from the olden days, and they viewed her with an awe they'd have for the arrival of Abraham Lincoln dressed in full samurai armor astride a pterodactyl.
Kelly, my best friend and co-leader, gently took the knife from my hands and set it up on a high shelf so the girls couldn't reach it. She should know better. I'd seen these kids form a human pyramid just to get the cookies off the top of my fridge.
"We talked about this," she said sternly (she always said things sternly). "This is a fundraiser for the Girl Scout Council, and we are here to help run it. The adults who paid for tickets get to be the characters and they get to be the victims."
Betty and Lauren simultaneously threw their arms up in the air and stomped away in disgust. I wondered if they'd been practicing that move and finally found a reason to deploy it. Kind of like an angsty, synchronized fury swim.
"We could kill one of them," I mused. "No point in having the whole troop against us."
Kelly rolled her eyes.
Linda Willard stepped in. "I came up with the mystery for an adult victim. I don't think it's a good idea to kill off one of the girls."
Kelly pointed to her and nodded. Mrs. Willard had been her teacher too.
Our former educator was a puzzle master who actually had a New York publishing contract to create crossword books. And when the Council asked me to come up with a murder mystery–night fundraiser, I'd turned to her. She'd helped me solve a mystery recently and was rewarded by the local police with a Medal for Murder. Okay, they didn't call it that. They called it a Citizen's Award for Service. But Medal for Murder would've been way better.
My name is Merry Wrath, and I used to be a spy with the CIA, until I was "accidentally" outed by the vice president of the United States. As Fionnaghuala Merrygold Wrath Czrygy, I had to flee my field assignment to get home in one piece when the news came out. That wasn't easy since I was in a dive bar in Chechnya with a group of paramilitary terrorists who had a thing for CNN (which didn't mean much since that was the only channel they could get besides the current strongman's cable access show on house cats). I barely made it out intact.
Because I was forced into early retirement, the government awarded me a huge settlement before sending me packing. I changed my name to Merry Wrath and came back to my hometown of Who's There, Iowa, to figure out what to do next. Kelly talked me into helping her with a troop, and that was how I ended up in this particular predicament.
Due to a number of unusual events, word leaked out about who I really was, and the Girl Scout Council asked me to create a fun mystery fundraiser for their biggest donors. Linda came up with the mystery, clues, and whodunnit stuff. Kelly and I filled in the blanks.
We were going for a sort of twist on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. One of the board members owned a private island in the middle of a huge lake with a mansion there that we could use. There was no Wi-Fi—ergo, no cheating by looking stuff up on the internet. The players would arrive by boat, and we'd be stranded for forty-eight hours. It was the perfect setup.
Amazon – https://amzn.to/2Scxq1y
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/918159
Why is your featured book a must-read?
Written as a nod to Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, and the board game CLUE, MYSTERY NIGHT MURDER features a creepy large house, isolated on an island, where the guests are taken out one by one!
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 42 books featured in the Cozy Mystery Bookish Event:
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Winner will be drawn on October 23, 2020.
Leslie Langtry is the USA Today Bestselling author of The Greatest Hits series (with ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY as the first book), the Merry Wrath Mysteries (with MERIT BADGE MURDER as the first book) and the Ukulele Mysteries of the Aloha Lagoon Mystery series. Leslie lives in Illinois with her family and assorted pets, including a mini lop bunny who is basically in charge of everything. You can find out more at LeslieLangtry.com.
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