The Case of the Meddling Mama
In the 1990s, Hubs and I spent weekends with our daughter visiting colleges. Anyone who has done that knows the drill. We were lucky in that she knew she didn’t want to go to a large state school. I say lucky because she knew where she would thrive. (We wondered how to pay for a private school.) The first school, she knew immediately she didn’t like it. We bailed after lunch. But when we visited Hope College in Holland, Michigan, she made her decision. Getting an academic scholarship made it financially easier on her and us. For four years, we visited Holland and loved the resort town on Lake Michigan.
If you’ve read any of my Alex O’Hara PI mysteries, something should sound familiar. The series is set in a small, fictitious Lake Michigan resort town. At the time I wrote the first book, The Case of the Bygone Brother, we lived in the middle of Michigan—not too far for road trips to get a feel for the area. Then our daughter and her family moved from Indianapolis to Holland. More road trips. With both Hubs and I retired and no reason to stay where we were, we decided to move close to our two grandchildren.
What better way to research the area?
Did you know Michigan has more miles of coastline than any other of the lower 48 states? It’s a hardy soul who swims in Lake Superior—ever, except for crazy college kids (my son for one). Rarely does anyone swim in Lake Michigan before August. Cold, cold, cold. Fishing, boating (esp. sailing), and kitesurfing (in wet suits) are more popular.
Although we see them at a distance, freighters ply the Great Lakes carrying coal, iron ore, grain, and other products. Because of the St. Lawrence Seaway, ships are able to go from Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean. Having lived in Michigan most of my life, I take these things for granted. On Sunday afternoons, Dad would pack all of us in the car and we’d go to Belle Isle, a Detroit city park in the Detroit River, and we’d watch the freighters go by.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Along the Lake Michigan coast, you can find many state, county, and city parks. The beaches are filled with clean sand. Many have playground equipment. Sunbathers come in abundance. But my favorite aspect of the Lake Michigan beach is it’s a great place for a wedding—my son’s.
I’ve thought about culminating the ongoing romance between Alex (short for Alexandra) and Nick on the beach. But what would his mother say?
Once again, Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex puts a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.
“Alexandra, is that you?” Maria Palzetti, Nick’s mom and self-appointed office manager, called out as I came in through the back door of the agency.
“Yes, it’s me.”
“It is I,” Maria corrected as she bustled down the hall. Short and a little on the plump side, she always looked stylish. Today, she wore a floral infinity scarf over a soft lavender short-sleeve sweater and a gray skirt. Her salt-and-pepper hair framed her face on which she wore light make-up. “Always remember to use proper English.”
“Yes, Mother,” I said, hoping my grin would take the sting out of my smart-aleck response. After Mom died, Maria had become the closest thing to a mother, even though she never tried to take Mom’s place. Actually, she was my mother-in-law—she just didn’t know it.
And I wasn’t saying.
A delightful cozy mystery in which the PI is a young woman, named Alex, with so many strange issues, such as she’s married to a hottie (Nick), but she doesn’t want anyone to know, including her parents and parents-in-law since her husband keeps disappearing. There’s a reason why, but you’ll have to read the book to discover it. Alex lives in a small town. She likes knowing everyone. But does she truly know all the people of her town? I don’t think so!
Alex, at one point, says she falls into criminal activities by accident, and her friends (and secret husband) agree with that conclusion. Still, I was a bit horrified to discover how much trouble she can fall into.
If you like amusing entries into the heroine’s life, ending with a puzzle that merges two different unsolved crimes into one life and death disaster, you will love this book, for there is nothing not to love. Highly recommend for both cozy mystery readers and hard core mystery readers with a sense of humor.
The Case of the Meddling Mama: An Alex O’Hara Novel is available at:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/1OsUkhv
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-case-of-the-meddling-mama-diane-burton/1126242293?ean=2940157423414
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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