Posted in Cozy, excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on May 19, 2016

Murder By George Cover


Retired soap actress Veronica Walsh leads a fulfilling second act in her Adirondack hometown of Barton. With a new business and thriving romance, she has no time for amateur sleuthing. Then architect Scott Culverson buys a vintage box at a flea market and discovers a valuable painting inside a locked drawer. An argument over the painting’s ownership ensues, with Scott battling both the artist’s family and Ella and Madeline Griffin, whose mother received the painting as a wedding gift. When Scott is stabbed to death and the painting stolen, the Griffins ask Veronica to help clear suspicion from their hot-tempered great-niece.

Veronica’s sleuthing introduces her to a colorful cast of characters. Whom can Veronica trust, and who will lead her to the brink of death?


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We stared at each other for an awkward moment of silence before Madeline spoke. “We have a request, Veronica.”


“Officer Brody was just here,” Ella said.

“She was?”

“Yes. She had a few questions for Regina.”

“She did?”

Ella gave me an exasperated frown. “Must you parrot our every statement?”

I shrank back against the couch. “No, ma’am.”

“Officer Brody inquired as to Regina’s whereabouts yesterday evening,” Madeline said.

I kept my mouth shut.

“Regina told her she was out of town on business during the day,” Ella said. “She paid a visit to a food supplier in Saratoga Springs. After she left Saratoga, Regina said she stopped at the Lake George outlet stores.”

“She arrived home around five thirty and drove us to Dotsie’s for dinner and a movie,” Madeline said. “We watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Judi Dench is marvelous.”

“I suppose Regina didn’t join you?”

Madeline shook her head as Ella said, “No. Regina said she took a short nap when she got home, had dinner, and then went to The Hearth around eight thirty. She picked us up at Dotsie’s at ten o’clock.”

“We are concerned about those three hours when no one saw her,” Madeline said. Her fingers played at a button on her pink cardigan.

Thinking Regina might be right outside the room, listening to our conversation, I said in a hushed voice, “You certainly don’t think she killed Scott?”

“We certainly do not,” Madeline said with a proud rise of her chin. “But her behavior, we fear, will raise others’ suspicions.”

“And we understand you witnessed her argument with Mr. Culverson at The Hearth,” Ella said.

“It was more of an argument with Scott’s girlfriend. Leona Kendall and her children argued with Isabel, too. Is Regina here now?” I whispered.

“No, she’s at The Hearth,” said Madeline.

We sat in silence for a few moments.

“And why did you ask me here?” I finally asked.

Both Ella and Madeline shifted in their places before Madeline answered. “We need you to find out who murdered Mr. Culverson.”

“The police will do that. Soon, I’m sure.”

“We are concerned the investigation won’t be thorough,” Ella said.

“Why wouldn’t it be? The Barton police are top-notch professionals.”

“Yes, but the Kendall family has a great deal of influence in this county. And money to pay people to overlook evidence, if necessary. Or create evidence, as the case may be.”

“So you think one of the Kendalls murdered Scott?”

Ella shrugged. “I wouldn’t be surprised. Leona’s children have been spoiled rotten. They think they can get away with anything. But I think it more likely they hired someone to handle the matter.”

“And you think they may try to frame Regina?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Regina is new in town,” Madeline said. “People don’t know how sweet and kind she is. After Saturday’s display, she has the reputation of being a hothead. She’ll be railroaded!”

“And you want me to find the murderer?”

“Yes. You can do it!” Madeline declared, as if solving a murder case was as easy as snapping a finger.

“You really think so?”

“You solved Anna Langdon’s murder.”

“By accident.”

“In the end, yes,” Ella said. “But you did snoop around and no one knew you were doing so. You did learn a good deal of information.”

“Remember, you told us everything at canasta,” Madeline said. She smiled; she sounded like a mother boasting about her genius child.

“Just to make conversation. Not for future reference. Why don’t you hire a private investigator?” I asked.

Ella made a face as if she were simultaneously sucking a lemon, stepping in dog poop, and smelling said poop.

“Sleazy,” she pronounced.

“And expensive,” said Madeline.

“We think you can do this quietly. Or at least Madeline does.”

“People like to get close to you, because of your fame.”

“And we hear you are having lunch at Leona’s home tomorrow,” Ella said.

The two alternated like tag-team wrestlers. “How do you know that?”


As in Sandy Jenkins, my canasta partner and the Griffins’ housekeeper. The woman knew everything that happened between the forty-second and forty-fourth parallels. Madeline and Ella should be asking her to find the murderer, I griped to myself.

“Oh. Do you expect me to do a search of her home while I’m there?”

Ella groaned at my flippant inquiry. “Of course not. Get creative. Keep your eyes and ears open. You seem to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Or the wrong place at the right time.”

“You can give us an update at the canasta game,” Madeline said.

I looked from Madeline to Ella and sighed.

I had promised my mother, Mark, a police officer, my employees, and my best friend that I would not involve myself in the murder investigation.

“All right. I’ll see what I can find out.”

About the Author

Jeanne Quigley grew up reading mysteries, watching soap operas, and vacationing in the Adirondacks, never imagining these pleasures would inspire the Veronica Walsh cozy mystery series. Jeanne’s love of characters—real and fictional—led her to study Sociology and English at the University of Notre Dame. Jeanne has never been a soap star, but she has worked in the music industry and for an education publisher. She resides in Rockland County, New York and is a member of the Sisters in Crime.

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