by Sara Rosett
Published: October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback (320 pages)
Series: Ellie Avery’s Mystery
***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***
Organizer extraordinaire, Ellie Avery, is trying to keep this holiday season festive despite her husband’s impending deployment in January, not getting the North Dawkins school district organizing job, having a client poacher move into town, and those persistent break-ins happening on base whenever someone leaves a home unattended.
However, maybe Ellie’s just trying too hard? She’d sworn off hosting parties but did agree to host the squadron spouse club party—only because the original host had a family emergency.
With poinsettia plants, a tree, cookies, treats, and gifts, the first party of the holiday season was soon underway. Everything was going as planned until Jean Williams brings her sister, Gabrielle Matheson (a.k.a. client poacher). Gabrielle and Ellie met first at a Chamber of Commerce meeting and Ellie actually thought having another organizer contact was good for her, at least while she didn’t live in the same area as Ellie. Now that Gabrielle was here in her hometown and actively contacting her leads and clientele, Ellie knew this wouldn’t have a good outcome. Gabrielle calls it a “friendly competition” but Ellie has a much different view, especially once she overhears Gabrielle persuading Ellie’s newest client into switching organizers.
Unfortunately, all the good cheer of the season and the wonderful decorations couldn’t stop Ellie’s reaction. She had overlooked the insults directed at her home, overlooked this woman being at Ellie’s house uninvited, and overlooked Gabrielle’s Matheson’s sense of competition long enough.
Thumping her plate against the counter, Ellie’s voice climbed in decibel as the words came streaming out. Gabrielle, with an air of one-upmanship, looked from her to the living room, and Ellie knew her mistake. Her house lacked interior walls and everyone at the gathering heard them. By the time Ellie could switch gears, Gabrielle addressed the crowd, leaving Ellie in the kitchen with Marie whom Ellie thought would much rather be her competitor’s newest client, after the way this host just reacted.
The next day, needing to get past this, Ellie tried to make arrangements to meet. Gabrielle played Ellie’s offer off quickly and Ellie knew if she let this woman hang up, Gabrielle would be sure to tell whatever clients she hadn’t spoken to yet what had transpired between them. Finally, Gabrielle acquiesced and agreed to meet. However, the offer wasn’t over coffee the way Ellie suggested.
She made it clear she was fitting Ellie into her busy schedule and would meet with her over her sister’s Jean’s house, as she had to make a quick supply stop there.
With the garage door open and a black SUV in the bay, Ellie stepped inside calling out Gabrielle’s name, expecting her to be near her vehicle. When no response came, Ellie took a minute to admire the clean and organized garage that Jean had obviously used as home base for her mail order business. That admiration led to a discovery that started this season off to an even worse start.
Gabrielle, dressed in the same clothes from the party, lay on the floor with blood on the back of her head.
Frozen in fear, it took Ellie a minute to feel for a pulse, and as expected, she didn’t feel one. Still reeling, Ellie wasn’t quite ready for company, when someone called out her name.
Now, the scene was set for murder!
Ellie Avery isn’t just an organizer of things; she’s an organizer of murder!
Sara Rosett’s sleuth disassembles the clutter to form the bigger picture only to find the killer and leave her in a whole heap of trouble. Meanwhile, this author keeps with the most contemporary issues that any military family would know, but she includes the nonmilitary issues of everyday living for all of us to relate. Sara Rosett crafts a cunning mystery infused with characters that could be like the reader’s friends, neighbors, or family.
Though this book stands alone, you’ll want to read the other titles in the series including MIMOSAS, MISCHIEF, AND MURDER (Kensington April 2011), MINT JULEPS, MAYHEM AND MURDER (Kensington March 2010), MAGNOLIAS, MOONLIGHT, AND MURDER (Kensington March 2009), and her MOM ZONE MYSTERIES titles too.