Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on January 20, 2018

Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
HomePort Press (September 28, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages


Wedding coordinator Sydney Riley never thought she’d get caught up in a murder investigation, but she became an amateur sleuth when her boss was killed during Bear Week. Now she’s back, this time as the Race Point Inn hosts Provincetown’s venerable transgender event, Fantasia Fair… and murder is once again an uninvited guest!

It’s all hands on deck at the inn as visitors arrive for the week-long event and Sydney helps coordinator Rachel Parsons organize the occasion. Guest Elizabeth Gonzalez is attending with her spouse, Bob, who–as Angela–is taking a bold first step into a whole new existence. Angela, Elizabeth, and Sydney learn the ropes and politics from other guests, some of whom have attended annually for more than forty years.

But the next day, Sydney’s detective friend summons her to one of the town beaches where Angela’s body has been found–with a knife in her back, a knife stolen from Adrienne, the Race Point Inn’s diva chef.

Fair organizers and attendees try and carry on as Provincetown is overrun with police, press, and rampant speculation. Sydney, her boyfriend Ali, her friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, and a host of Fantasia Fair participants scramble to find out who killed Angela–and why–before the killer strikes again.

Guest Post

Today, character Sydney Riley joins us and shares some poignant thoughts with us!

They tell me I drink too much Diet Coke.

Actually, National Public Radio recently had a story on artificial sweeteners and it concluded that there’s no evidence of a link between the sweeteners and cancer. NPR notwithstanding, my boss is always getting on my case about the Diet Coke. It’s not that he has to pay for it—I don’t generally get my fix from the bar at the Race Point Inn, which is where I work as wedding coordinator—but he knows I’m one of the reasons the inn fills up in the summer, and he doesn’t want to take any chances with my health.

I was drinking Diet Coke the afternoon of the wedding I’d arranged on the Bay Lady, one of the two schooners that berth in Provincetown in the summertime. We generally do our weddings right at the inn—we have a lovely patio with a trellis and a bower and the whole wedding nine yards—but these guests wanted theirs to be “at sea,” and so I arranged for it. The captain would officiate, I got Adrienne our diva chef to do the catering, and the string quartet from the Cape Cod Symphony agreed to come along for the private sunset sail around the harbor.

In other words, everything was perfectly aligned for a hands-free, straightforward wedding, and believe me when I tell you that there aren’t enough of those!

I wasn’t planning on actually going on the schooner myself. Adrienne’s delicacies had been delivered; the string quartet was in their evening dress, looking a little lost at the end of MacMillan Pier as if they were posing for a fashion shoot with an unlikely backdrop; and now the limo carrying the bride and groom was pulling up. The bride saw me and realized that she really couldn’t handle all these people on her own and she needed somebody to orchestrate—no pun intended—the event. So it looked like I was going on a harbor cruise after all.

Like I said, it should have been a straightforward wedding. I’d forgotten that one of my talents is attracting dead bodies.

The Bay Lady typically has two crew members besides the captain. There was an additional one on for this cruise, a waitress to serve the champagne and delicacies after the ceremony itself. She’d gotten there early to take the dips and hors d’oeuvres onboard, and presumably was in the small area below-decks arranging it all.

I’d had one too many Diet Cokes, though, and so as soon as I was on board I headed down there myself to use the bathroom. And found the door blocked.

By the waitress. Who was dead.

If I ever write the definitive book for wedding planners, I’m going to specify that death and weddings absolutely do not go together. Avoid that combination at any cost. The bride promptly had hysterics. The groom looked like he was going to be sick—and, a moment later carried through with it. The guests and the string quartet stood on the pier looking dazed. And the police arrived.

What does the savvy wedding planner do when a body shows up at the ceremony? She moves the ceremony, of course! I called a friend who’s an officiant and told her to meet us at the inn. I called Adrienne and ordered new hors d’oeuvres, pronto. I called a couple of taxis and got them to whisk everyone back to the Race Point as soon as the police took names and numbers and released them (nobody had seen anything, anyway). Fair means or foul, I was going to get this wedding done.

And please understand that this body had nothing to do with me. Really. Yeah, it’s true that I’ve come across murders during several of Provincetown’s theme weeks—Bear Week and Fantasia Fair in particular—but this one wasn’t a murder, it was a suicide (she poisoned herself, as it turned out, and had planned to slip over the side once the schooner was out in the harbor, only it was faster-acting than she’d assumed), as I pointed out to my friend Julie, who’s the head of Provincetown Police’s detective unit.

Julie was unimpressed. “You still are the one who found the body,” she pointed out.

“Only because of the Diet Coke,” I protested.

Maybe I should consider giving it up, after all.

About the Author

Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she’s not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing. The author of a number of mystery and historical novels, de Beauvoir’s work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley.

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