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The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower by @msspencerauthor is a Celebrate Mothers pick #books
Title: The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower
Author: M. S. Spencer
Genre: Romantic suspense/Cozy Mystery
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.”
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.”
“Andy?” “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.”
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
Complicating the affairs of both hero and heroine of The Mason’s Mark, but also of the villains, are two unlikely characters. Letitia Canfield, Claire’s mother, meets Andromeda Miller Bliss, Gideon’s mother, in Paris and they immediately hit it off. Being naturally inquisitive and terrible snobs, they take charge of both their victims’ love lives and the mystery. In the excerpt, Letitia amazes her daughter with her power of observation. Claire calls the two ladies the Marples after Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. For Mother’s Day, I thought it would be nice to show mothers as more than nurturing, hug-giving people, but as fascinating, active, intriguing individuals.
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Librarian, anthropologist, research assistant, Congressional aide, speechwriter, nonprofit director—M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.
Ms. Spencer has published fourteen romantic suspense and mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an exuberant granddaughter and currently divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
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