Can grief turn a good person into a cold-blooded killer?
All Deena Sharpe wants to do is learn how to write a good mystery. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in one. A famous author has agreed to teach a writing class in the small Texas town of Maycroft. But on the second day of class, his wife is killed in a car crash and the police suspect foul play. Is it some kind of hoax to teach his students about plotting a murder? Not likely. Before long, the list of suspects piles higher than Big Tex at the State Fair.
Deena is once again sucked into the investigation when her brother’s friend is accused of the crime. With Russell by her side, she must clear their friend’s name and stay out of trouble with Maycroft’s newest police detective. Not only that, but it’s Gary’s sixtieth birthday, and Deena’s mother-in-law is coming to town. What’s a Southern gal to do?
Fans of Agatha Christie and clean, cozy mysteries are sure to love the wit and twists of Sharpe Turn.
Sharpe Turn Excerpt
The next hour zoomed by as Deena filled page after page of her spiral with notes. Max Dekker seemed in his element as wise teacher to the class’s twenty-one students.
Deena even got up the nerve to ask a few questions, and she was glad when he nodded his head as though pleased with her participation.
Lydia raised her hand. “Mr. Dekker. It’s eight o’clock. Time for our break.”
“Yes. Thank you for the reminder,” he said and put the cap back on his fountain pen.
“I brought homemade cookies to go with the iced tea and coffee,” Lydia added, and a collective “yum” sounded throughout the room.
“Good,” Betty said and headed out of the reading room.
Like a herd of heifers, the would-be authors quickly stampeded toward the break room.
Deena took her place near the back of the line. So Lydia was also a baker. Maybe she was familiar with the elusive mother-in-law dessert. She picked up a plastic cup of sweet tea and took a bite of an oatmeal raisin cookie. “This is delicious,” she said to Lydia. “What’s your secret?”
“I add cinnamon and pecans for extra flavor and crunch.” Lydia beamed as everyone raved about her baking prowess. “You know, I’ve been thinking of writing a cookbook. After listening to Max Dekker these past two weeks, I think it would be a lot easier than writing a novel.”
Betty walked by holding a small stack of cookies and napkins.
She must be really hungry. Deena opened her mouth to say something when a commotion near the doorway pulled her attention.
Several people filed out of the break room as Nancy frantically waved her arms, reminding everyone that “no food or drinks are allowed in the main area of the library.”
Before Deena could get to the action, the word “police” drifted through the crowd back to where she stood craning to see what was happening.
Sure enough, two police officers were talking to Max Dekker. His face was stoic as he listened and nodded his head in response. After a few minutes, the officers walked away and waited near the library’s main door.
Max motioned for everyone to return to their seats.
Deena brushed crumbs off the front of her blouse while Betty stood next to the wall wringing her hands. The anticipation was as thick as concrete.
Max leaned one arm on the podium and cleared his throat. “I must apologize, but it seems we will have to cut class a little short tonight. There’s been an accident.”
A gasp rose from the room.
“My wife, Alexis, has been killed in a car accident. The police suspect foul play.”
Most everyone in the room put their hands to their mouths or chests and shook their heads in disbelief.
Deena’s mouth fell open as she listened. Is this real? Is it a hoax? Perhaps Max Dekker was setting them up for a lesson in mystery writing 101. If so, it was just sick.
“Now, if you all will excuse me, I must tend to business.” He pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his nose quickly before returning it to his pocket.
Everyone waited in stunned silence as he packed his briefcase. He glanced at the stack of cookies on the desk and put them inside along with his books and folders. He squinted his eye, focusing on the inside of the case before quickly shutting it closed.
As he clicked the metal clasps on his case, he straightened and revealed an eerily calm composure. “How ironic. It seems the mystery is about me this time around. I pray one of us will be able to solve it before an innocent person is blamed.”
With that, he walked quickly out of the room toward the waiting officers.
For a moment, no one seemed to know what to do. Betty spread her arms and said, “I guess we’ll see you all next week.” It sounded more like a question than a statement.
Next week? Would he actually continue teaching their class after this?
Slowly, people rose from their chairs, gathering their things and whispering to each other.
Lydia, her face streaked with mascara-filled tears, flew up beside Deena. “That poor man. That poor, poor man.” She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.
Deena stood, her legs weak. “That was weird, right? The man finds out his wife is dead, and he doesn’t miss a beat.”
“He was probably in shock, don’t you think?”
“I suppose. But what do you think he meant by that comment? ‘Protecting an innocent person’? Was he talking about himself?”
“No! Of course not. Who would think such a talented, sensitive man would be capable of killing his wife?”
Deena tilted her head. “But he writes murder mysteries for a living.”
Lydia blew her nose into her wet wad of tissues.
Trying hard not to roll her eyes, Deena picked up her satchel and led Lydia toward the exit. “Good grief. I thought the only mystery I’d have to worry about for a while would be on the pages of a book. This is one case I’m going to stay as far away from as possible.”
About Author Lisa Thomas
Born and raised in Texas, Lisa Thomas always knew she wanted to be a writer. Finally, after thirty-three years as a high school Journalism and English teacher, she released her first novel. Having grown up reading Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Agatha Christie, she was drawn to the mystery genre. With two grown children out of the nest, she lives a quiet life with her husband and Peekapoo puppy. Besides writing, she enjoys her grandchildren, photography, traveling, and antiquing (aka – buying and selling used junk).
Check out Lisa’s “Cozy Mysteries and more” board on Pinterest where she pins lots of books, gifts, quotes, and decor for book lovers like herself.
Subscribe to Lisa’s newsletter using the form on her website’s sidebar. You will receive a free copy of My Dead Relatives, a collection of non-fiction stories about her family. One of the stories, “Skeleton in the Closet,” tells the true life story behind Sharpe Shooter, Book 1 in the Maycroft Mystery Series.