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The Penhallow Train Incident by M.S. Spencer is a Cozy Mystery Event pick #cozymystery #giveaway


The Penhallow Train Incident


M. S. Spencer


Cozy Mystery

Book Blurb:

In the sleepy coastal Maine town of Penhallow, a stranger dies on a train, setting off a chain of events that draws Rachel Tinker, director of the historical society, and Griffin Tate, curmudgeonly retired professor, into a spider’s web of archaeological obsession and greed. Before Rachel can unlock the soft heart that beats under Griffin’s hard crust, they must find the map to the Queen of Sheba’s tomb, and solve not one, but three murders.

Excerpt: George and the Queen of Sheba

Griffin opened his mouth to argue the point when Rachel pinched him. “Will someone please tell me what’s going on?”

He sighed. “Yes, well, when I got home this morning George was waiting on the porch.”

“You two know each other?”

“Only by reputation. And”—Griffin flashed a happy smile—“he read my treatise on recipe migration!”

George said, “Yes, it was quite interesting. Completely, utterly wrong, however.”

“Oh, yeah? My thesis is backed up by thousands of documents and it makes perfect—”

One, two, three. “Griffin?”

He heaved another sigh. “Okay. George is an expert on ancient South Arabian culture, as well as a noted authority on early written languages of the Middle East. Omar Masri—the dead guy—focused on archaeology of the civilizations along the upper Nile.”

“And those are?”

“Nubia, down through Sudan to Ethiopia—the Red Sea region.” Hamdani finished off his beer with a satisfied burp.

Frowning at him, Griffin resumed. “George and Masri had collaborated on a couple of papers linking early Nubian culture—in Upper Egypt—to the cities of South Arabia. Something about architectural similarities—”

George leaned forward and interjected helpfully, “To be precise, we studied similarities in their methods of calculating the calendar. Certain architectural features were used by both to determine solstices, et cetera. Features found nowhere else in the Middle East.”

Griffin nodded. “Anyhoo, George had been working on a book about the identity of the queen of Sheba for five years. You know, the queen who came bearing gifts to King Solomon? The location of her kingdom has never been definitively established, although if the Biblical account is correct, it must have flourished in the tenth century BC.”

Rachel interrupted. “I just read an article that said they haven’t yet found conclusive evidence of Solomon’s existence, let alone the queen of Sheba.”

The Lebanese professor made a sound better suited to an aroused field mouse. “Ah, but I—George Hamdani—found proof…potential proof…” His eyes grew shifty. “Er…proof that there is evidence…quite good evidence…that she did exist.”…

Rachel eyed him. “Do you perhaps have something else to share, George?”

“No! Well, nothing of importance to the police. I…uh.” He stopped, both chins quivering.

“We can’t help you if you don’t come clean.”

He looked from one to the other and heaved a deep sigh. “All right, but you must promise to breathe not a single word to anyone about this. Swear you won’t reveal my secret or go chasing after it?”

“We swear.”

Rachel wondered if Griffin were maybe a little too quick to give his word, but said nothing.

“All right.” After a hopeful flick at his empty plate was met with a blank stare, he went into the living room. Draping his gargantuan body across the couch, he left Rachel the massage chair and Griffin to stand. When they were settled, he began. “I told you Masri was searching for the queen of Sheba’s tomb. Well, he didn’t actually glean a clue from my research about the queen’s gravesite. It was the central thesis of my paper. In the course of my research at the Egyptian Museum I came across a…a reference.”

“A reference? To what?”

George’s eyelids lowered, obscuring the sudden furtive look in his black eyes. “That’s not important. At any rate, it mentioned the existence of a map that would lead to her burial site.”

“A map! What kind of map?”

“I don’t know. That’s all I could discover.” He closed his lips tightly. Rachel had the impression he was choosing his words very carefully.

What is he hiding?

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What makes your featured book a must-read?

How do two people—Rachel, a historian and Griffin, a professor—in a small town in Maine deal with the murder of a stranger—one with an unusual connection to the Middle East and the Queen of Sheba? Answer: they plunge right into the mystery. From a 5-star review: “It’s a wonderful romantic suspense with some great humor thrown in. It has a little bit of everything, with a good pace, great details, awesome characters, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I absolutely love Griffin, he has the best personality ever!”

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $10 Amazon US or Amazon Canada gift card

Open Internationally. You must have an active Amazon US or CA account to win.

Runs February 20 – February 28, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on March 1, 2023.

Author Biography:

Social Media Links:


M. S. Spencer
Feb 24, 2023

Thanks for having me, Rachel and Griffin! I hope all your readers enjoy the excerpt and want more!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Feb 24, 2023

Thank you, M.S., for sharing your book in our Cozy Mystery Bookish Event!


Rita Wray
Rita Wray
Feb 24, 2023

I enjoyed the excerpt.

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