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  • N. N. Light

Room for Suspicion by Carol Light is a Mystery and Suspense Event pick #mystery #giveaway

Title: Room for Suspicion

Author: Carol Light

Genre: Mystery

Book Blurb:

It’s going to take more than carefully labeled boxes to sort through the clues of this homicide…

Professional organizer Crystal Ward knows she can make a success of her new business, Organizing Chicago. The extra income would allow her to renovate her own home, full of more cluttered spaces than she’d ever admit to her clients. But her life wasn’t always this disorganized. Five years ago her husband, Rick, a Chicago police detective, was shot while chasing a suspect. Now a paraplegic, he’s wary of her going into strangers’ homes…and for good reason.

When Crys discovers a dead man in a client’s living room, she refuses to accept that the murder is an open-and-shut case of domestic violence. If she can untangle this mess, she can prove her client’s innocence and ease Rick’s fears.

But the only witness to the murder is hospitalized in a catatonic state. And the lead detective is Rick’s former partner, the man Crys blames for his paralysis. Crys is on her own to save her client from jail and stop a murderer intent on tidying up loose ends.


By some miracle, Crystal Ward had arrived a few minutes early for her ten o’clock appointment with Farrah Compton. Traffic in Chicago, even in the northern suburbs, was as unpredictable as the autumn weather. Today the road gods had smiled and the weather had cooperated, although a cold front was expected to blow through around midday. That was why at the last minute before leaving the house, she had decided to add a linen blazer to her outfit. Locating and pressing it to look more professional for this meeting had cost her an extra fifteen minutes, but she was willing to take the risk to make a good impression. Farrah, a stylish professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, favored suits, silk blouses, and scarves tied in an endless variety of styles. Crys glanced down, hoping the blazer hadn’t wrinkled too badly during the drive.

She shouldn’t have looked. In the sunlight, the black fabric appeared faded to a dark gray. The wrinkles, like the sign thief, had returned. It’s my linen look, she decided. She would wear the wrinkles and crinkles, natural to this fabric, with dignity and hold her head high. She could remove the jacket as soon as she was inside.

She grabbed her handbag and binder and stepped out. As she locked her van, a travel-worn black Jeep Cherokee pulled up next to her and shuddered to a stop.

The man in the black leather jacket who emerged gave her a wide smile and a “hiya.”

“Are you one of my sister’s students?” he asked, his focus shifting to the notebook she carried. “I’m Randy, Farrah’s brother.” His friendly smile broadened, and he stuck out a hand.

She took it and gave him a firm squeeze. Other than his coloring and the shape of his eyes, he didn’t resemble his sister. Instead, he looked like a hipster slipping into middle age, with a double chin under his unshaven jaw and a slight paunch lounging on top of his jeans. A scar by his left eye made his lid droop into a skeptical slant, but his smile challenged that impression.

“Crystal Ward. I’m helping Farrah organize her office.”

“Geez, really? She’s the neatest person I know. No offense. You wouldn’t want to see my place.”

He was trying hard to be charming, so Crys smiled. “I’m helping her to improve it.” She glanced at her watch and saw it was ten. “As a matter of fact, she’s expecting me now.”

He walked a step behind her toward the front door. “I just have to ask her something quick. She’s a busy lady these days. Guess that’s why she wants to clean things up.”

“Organize. It’s not the same as cleaning.”

“Got it. Straighten things up. Does that work?”

“Close enough.” She often had to educate people about her profession. Ten years ago, she’d had no clue that people actually earned money helping others arrange their spaces, using techniques she had learned by necessity as a wife and mother. Not that Rick appreciated that she had marketable skills.

She stepped onto the small concrete porch. Black electrician’s tape covered half of the doorbell, a model with a video camera above the ring button.

“Huh.” Randy stopped behind her, close enough to be breathing down her neck. He smelled like the inside of a fast-food hamburger joint, a mixture of grease and ground beef. “Look at that—someone’s taped over the camera. I hope she hasn’t been burgled.”

He knocked on the teal front door, a rare concession to color for Farrah, who preferred whites and shades of cream and beige. They glanced at each other and then away as they listened for footsteps. Randy tried the doorknob, but it was locked. Crys pulled out her phone and scrolled to Farrah’s number.

“You calling her?”


“She’s gotta be here. Maybe she’s in the john.”

The phone began to ring in Crys’s ear. From inside, she heard the faint musical notes of a common ringtone. It sounded about five times and then switched to voicemail.

Crys hung up without leaving a message. Odd—Farrah hadn’t seemed like someone who would forget an appointment. Maybe Randy’s guess was correct: she was in another part of the house, away from her cell.

“I know the code,” Randy said, reaching around her to punch in four digits: 9-8-2-1. With a beep, the door unlocked. Crys stepped back as he pushed it open.

“Hey, Farrah,” he called as he led the way in. “You here, sis? It’s me.”

His announcement was greeted with a deep silence.

“Maybe she’s out back,” Randy suggested. “I’ll check.”

That worked for her. She would wait while he had his chat with Farrah, which he’d promised would be quick.

The wide entry faced the staircase to the second floor. Her client’s office was to her left, and Crys couldn’t resist the invitation of the open door to see what had changed since her last visit. The room was vacant—no Farrah and not much of anything else. They had cleared the built-in cabinets and bookcases on her last visit. The middle of the room held half a dozen boxes containing the items from the shelves. There was a vacant space where Farrah’s desk had been. She must have found a charity to take it. Soon the new one would arrive, and then—

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!”

She found Randy in the living room. The shock on his pale face alarmed her even more than his exclamation. She followed his gaze to the fireplace. A man lay on the floor in front of the white marble hearth. The blood coating the side of his face had formed a red pool on the white carpet.

Crys’s hand flew to her mouth. Another splash of color on the carpet caught her eye—a teal-and-navy geometric pattern on a silky scarf. She stepped closer, her heart rate accelerating.

Farrah lay sprawled on her side in front of the white sofa.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What makes your featured book a must-read?

When Crystal Ward, a wife and mother trying to build a business in Chicago encounters murder, her life is set on a course that will challenge her marriage, test her courage, and force her to come to terms with five years of anger at her husband’s former partner, the homicide detective assigned to the case.

Described by one reviewer as “an intricately woven mystery novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats,” Room for Suspicion will keep you guessing whodunit and why from beginning to end.

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:

Carol Light is an avid reader and writer of mysteries. She loves creating amateur sleuths and complicating their normal lives with a crime that they must use their talents and wits to solve. She’s traveled worldwide and lived in Australia for eight years, teaching high school English and learning to speak “Strine.” Florida is now her home. If she’s not at the beach or writing, you can find her tackling quilting in much the same way that she figures out her mysteries—piece by piece, clue by clue.

Social Media Links:

Or visit my webpage at


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Aug 16, 2023

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


Liz Flaherty
Liz Flaherty
Aug 16, 2023

This book is such a fun read! I can't wait for the next one.

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