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The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower is a Celebrate Mothers Event pick #mothersday #mystery


The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower


M. S. Spencer


Mystery/Romantic Suspense

Book Blurb:

In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial collapses when she discovers a body and is drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons, of secret cabals and hidden treasure. Also cloaked in mystery is handsome Gideon Bliss, a George Washington expert who haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she'll fall in love with him only to learn he's a thief or even a murderer. Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten detective, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including who to trust and who to love.

Excerpt (G): The Marples

Letitia Canfield carefully laid her lavender and petal pink fascinator down on the kitchen counter and patted her hair. “I can’t believe you’d let that…that hussy hold sway over your love life.”

Claire poured her mother a glass of iced tea from a crystal pitcher. “Let’s go out to the patio.” She unfolded two plastic chairs and a plastic table and set the pitcher on it. In the tiny open space their knees almost touched, but the profusion of roses, purple ageratum, and coreopsis the color of lemon sherbet surrounding them made up for the cramped quarters. She clinked her mother’s glass. “Hussy or not, she’s also Gideon’s wife. Until that’s resolved I do not want to see him. I will not see him.”

“He’s beside himself.”

Claire couldn’t imagine the tall, broad-shouldered man she might possibly love “beside himself.” “I doubt that.”

“Well, his mother is, anyway. She’s fit to be tied. Dorcas hasn’t answered any of her calls. They sent her the papers, but there’s been no response from either Dorcas or her lawyers.”

“Has Gideon tried to get in touch with his…his wife since our luncheon?”

“I don’t know. The Senate went back into session this week, and I’m sure he has his hands full. He’s left it to us to get this thing resolved.”

“Mother!” Claire spilled her tea. “Say it ain’t so.”

Her mother’s indignation was genuine. “Don’t give me that look, child. Someone’s got to take action. You young people always think you have plenty of time, that nature will take its natural course and lead you to the Promised Land without your lifting a finger to help it along. Well, Andromeda and I both know sometimes destiny needs a little goose. And don’t use ‘ain’t,’ even in a quote.”

“Yes, Mother.”

Her mother acknowledged the apology with a benevolent nod and sipped her tea. “You don’t have any of those scrumptious deviled eggs you make so well, do you?” She looked around vaguely.

“Sorry. I have some raspberries.”

“That would be nice.” The small box of scarlet berries took up most of one shelf in the mini refrigerator.

When Claire returned with a bowl and napkins, Letitia took up arms again. “Andy believes—and I agree—that if we keep up the pressure on Dorcas she’ll have to cave. What woman wants a mother-in-law who hounds her constantly?”

Claire took a raspberry and nibbled on it. The tart sweetness burst on her tongue. “What do you think she wants anyway?”

“Dorcas? I’m not sure. After all, her lover has apparently been in touch with her.”

Claire stared open-mouthed at her mother. “How did you know?”

Letitia’s half-smile would have put Mona Lisa out of sorts. “You are always staggered by my powers of observation, aren’t you, my dear? I know because I saw him.”

“That day we were in Vermilion?”

“Of course.” The old lady ate another berry. “Andy says he’s the man she left Gideon for.”


“Andromeda. We’ve been indulging in a little sleuthing since our luncheon.”

Nuts. Just what we need—two Miss Marples on the case. “They met in Argentina.”


“Dorcas comes from a distinguished and well-to-do Spanish family. They own a large ranch in the pampas a few hundred miles from Buenos Aires and breed racehorses. Andy says she spends several months a year there.”

The words of Lieutenant Angle came back to Claire. “Everyone assumed that the lodge dissolved after Perón fell, but it didn’t. Scordato kept it going with help from a mysterious reserve of funds.” They’d theorized that Scordato had used the money from the sale of Perón’s hands, but could those funds have come from Dorcas instead? Could she be mixed up with P2? Could her lover have drawn her into the gang? Or the other way around? White said the BSO had lost touch with their man Peel. She conjured up the exquisite, shatterproof face of Gideon’s wife. The face that launched a thousand ships. Yes, she could see Dorcas as the ring leader. Claire decided to pump her mother for as much information as possible.

“How did Mrs. Bliss know what Dorcas’ lover looked like?”

Letitia stopped with the raspberry halfway to her lips. “What? Oh, you seemed lost in reverie for a minute there—I do hope you weren’t daydreaming about Gideon.”

“No, Mother. You were saying?”

She popped the raspberry in her mouth and, with a reproving look, went on. “When Andromeda first arrived in Paris, she went to the embassy for help in locating her daughter-in-law. She says the ambassador was most kind and offered the services of his first secretary.”

Claire kept the facetious remark to herself. Her mother’s obvious gratification at the deferential treatment of her friend couldn’t have been more endearing.

Letitia continued, “As she was leaving the secretary’s office, she saw Dorcas in the hall. He was with her.”

Let’s just see how much our lady sleuths know. “Did she learn his name? His profession?”

“He goes by Simon Peel, but we think that’s an alias. He’s definitely too bland to be anything other than a spy. And anyway, Dorcas wouldn’t find him attractive otherwise.”

“He couldn’t be a reclusive billionaire?” Or a P2 confederate?

“Dorcas wouldn’t care about money. She’s extremely wealthy in her own right. No, according to Andy, she craves danger and sex, preferably in combination.”

“Er…are you talking about dominance? Sado-masochism?”

Letitia’s faded blue eyes opened wide, feigning shock. “My heavens, Claire. You certainly didn’t learn about such things from your parents!” She plucked the last raspberry from the bowl and swallowed it. “However, Andromeda confided to me that she suspected Dorcas’s…inclinations…lay along those lines. If our current theory is correct, a spy with latent violent tendencies would be just her cup of tea.” As if to underscore her point Letitia held out her glass. “Speaking of…”

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What makes your featured book a must-read?

Anyone fascinated by Freemasonry, or George Washington, or Old Town Alexandria, will love The Mason’s Mark. Anyone who loves a humorous cozy mystery with unforgettable characters will too. The Marples (Letitia and Andromeda)—mothers to the hero & heroine, are probably my favorite mothers in any of my books. Clever, eccentric, old-fashioned, refreshing, snobs, they easily solve any mystery presented to them with aplomb and panache.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs May 9 – May 16, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on May 17, 2023.

Author Biography:

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She has published sixteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with one more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

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