A Shadow On the Violets is what is considered a ‘cozy’ mystery, in that there’s no overt violence, no cursing, and no sexual situations, but there’s still a whole lot of fun to be had. The book has death, intrigue, and a mystery to solve. While it’s not similar to much anything else I have written, this book is absolutely in lock step with the wider world views you’ll find in my writing and the little bits of strangeness therein.
The book features a strong protagonist that may not like the situation she’s in but sure won’t let anyone push her around. And she’s not alone in that within these pages. While the book is set in a retirement community it’s not a book about people accepting death but who are fighting to live.
Below you’ll find the first few pages of the book and if you like it, you can order a copy today.
— A SHADOW ON THE VIOLETS – sample —
Mabel had had enough. She had heard this same story at least a dozen times and it never got any better – oh goodness, what a delightful old gal, boy, you must have some stories, eh? You know, we have a lovely, oh, gosh, nevermind, and uh, oh, there are a lot of bachelors here you know, sweetie…
She hated being called sweetie.
It was so condescending.
Acting as if she were a child and not a grown woman.
Hated it more than those awful shakes Thomas made her drink every morning.
“Gotta keep you regular, mom. You know what doc said.”
Yes, she knew what doc had said.
She knew that if she didn’t move those little doggies along her internal canal system then she was going to be in line for the old white glove treatment.
Mabel had no interest in that.
None at all.
So, she drank her chalky chocolate shakes and smiled as she did because her son meant well, even if he had become a gigantic nag over the years.
How the devil had she raised such a nag?
“How does all that sound, Mabel?
Mabel looked up at the retirement community’s director and nodded to herself. She’d seen the type before – used to be in marketing, or maybe advertising.
Charming if you liked polar ice caps.
This one was pretty enough, just on the good side of forty but showing the first cracks in her youth – wrinkles around the eyes and lines that showed she frowned too often.
Kaelyn Harris, Director of Operations for Violet Hill Retirement Community.
What a name.
It sounded like the name for a cemetery.
Then like a light being turned on in a dark room she remembered the last of the Leery books, one that introduced what some thought might have been a continuing character, a killer some called the Violet Killer.
What a thing to think about right now, of all times.
It was another retirement community like the others she’d seen. Thomas had been taking Mabel on a sort of tour of them over the last three months. Shaded Meadows. Evergreen Glories. Memory Hollows. She had lost track of how many places there were, but they all sounded like they were the settings for those mediocre romance novels that she used to read while she waited for the bus back in her days of working in the factory. Isabelle had told her a hundred times that books were like food and if you only consumed junk food then you got fat.
Mabel always gave Isabelle a sidelong look and asked with a smile – Are you saying I have a fat head?
This always made Isabelle shake her head at her and start to laugh. The laughter between them had always been easy and often and had been a refuge they had both retreated to as times got hard and harder.
Mabel looked up from her lap to Ms. Hayes and then to Thomas. She was wandering again. Wandering in the meadow, that’s what Isabelle called these spells of hers where she’d lose herself in her thoughts. It had been charming when she was younger. Now at eighty-four it was concerning and elicited sad, knowing nods from whomever she was around at the time. Oh yes, poor gal, she’s losing it. But she wasn’t. Not really. It was just that the past seemed so close, the older she got, so very close, and there were more smiles behind her than there were ahead. That was just a fact. She missed her Isabelle, and her old friends, and time didn’t make the missing any easier, just made them further away from her.
Mabel let out a long sigh.
She didn’t want to live here.
She didn’t want to abandon the home she and Isabelle had shared for forty years but Izzy was gone eight years now and Mabel was in no shape to take care of herself anymore. Tommy had been a good boy, a great son, and had taken care of her for the past year, since the last time she fell out of her wheelchair and had broken her ankle and cracked her left femur.
As much as she hated to leave her home though, she couldn’t impose any longer. Tommy, uh, Thomas, was a grown man and had started seeing a widow with a teenage son in recent months. He deserved his own life.
He deserved to find his Isabelle, his happiness.
Whatever happened with him and the woman he was seeing, he didn’t need to be babysitting his mother. She didn’t want to move into a home but she had no choice.
This wasn’t for her.
This was for him.
If she couldn’t live on her own and she wouldn’t burden him any longer it left no other options.
Which left her to enter a home.
One of these places was the last place Izzy’d have wanted her to end up, but she was gone now, and it was just Mabel.
Mabel rubbed her hands over the blanket she had crocheted to keep her lap warm and then nodded to herself.
All of these places were the same.
All of the directors were the same.
The people were all the same.
One was as good as the rest.
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