Welcome to my stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery by Anna Gerard. Stop by each blog on the tour for interviews, guest posts, spotlights, reviews and more!
In Anna Gerard’s third delightful Georgia B&B mystery, Nina Fleet learns that despite the satin, lace, and buttercream trappings, weddings often prove to be anything but sweet…
Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive compensation at no cost to you.
Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (May 11, 2021)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Nina Fleet might be new to the innkeeping business, but she’s savvy enough to know that Cymbeline’s tourists aren’t enough to keep her fledgling bed and breakfast going. And so, Nina decides to tap into the destination wedding market by taking a booth at the Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo. The twice-yearly event is sponsored by the town’s two wedding pros: Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie’s Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner and Nina’s new friend. But everything goes wrong during the expo’s fashion show, when Roxanna comes tumbling out of an oversized prop wedding cake, strangled to death by her own scarf.
Virgie is arrested for the crime, thanks to Nina’s statement to the police about having overheard the woman accusing her partner of embezzlement. Meanwhile, the situation grows tense with her sometimes nemesis and current tenant, the dashing out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is concentrating on plugging his most recent side hustle …but he’s not too busy to break the news to Nina that her ex-husband is engaged to be married again.
Certain that Virgie’s only offense is a bad temper, Nina decides to do her own investigating. First, however, she and Harry retrieve Roxanna’s now ownerless dog, planning to foster him until a new home can be found. But local gossip soon convinces Nina that others beside Virgie might have had reason to murder Roxanna. As Nina gets close to the truth, she’s putting her own life at danger. And when Virgie vanishes after being bailed out of jail by an unknown benefactor, Nina fears that if she can’t find the dress shop owner in time, tying the knot will take on a whole new meaning for them both.
Author Guest Post: It’s no mystery why I write mysteries
I didn’t begin my career as a mystery writer. Rather, I got my start in the publishing business in the 1990s writing historical romances. Over a few years, I penned five books with settings ranging from the English Regency to the Old West for one of the smaller romance publishers. But trends changed, as they are wont to do. Historical romances suddenly were out of fashion, while steamy contemporary romance was what readers clamored for. Not being much of a romantic in real life, I wasn’t interested in making the transition, and so I put my writing career on pause for a while.
I always claimed that the reason I moved into the mystery genre when I started writing again was because I’d been a mystery writer all along. Why else were my romances heavy on the action and adventure? And why else did they feature hidden treasure and secret identities and kidnap victims—and at least one dead body per book—all mixed in with the requisite love scenes? Thus, when the opportunity came from an editor to write a historical mystery series, I jumped on it.
And making that change was the right choice for me. Because it had also occurred to me that most of the books I read during grade school and junior high were mystery novels of some sort. (Though, full confession here, I’m probably the only mystery writer you know who has never read Nancy Drew. Nope, not a single book.) I cut my reading teeth on Encyclopedia Brown’s practically unsolvable puzzles, along with the Bobbsey Twins books, the modern editions of which usually featured a mystery of sorts along with the adventure. Once I hit fifth grade or so, I graduated to the Trixie Belden stories, followed by Phyllis A. Whitney’s young adult mysteries.
Most avid readers from my era will recall all these series. But one vintage title made me an avid mystery fan and, in a way, set me on the path to writing cozy mysteries. Show of hands — how many of you remember The Timber Trail Riders series and, specifically, the book entitled, The Mystery of the Hollywood Horse?
Not too many of you, I see. I’m not surprised, since I can’t even recall how I came to own that book. I think it was a birthday present from a 6th grade classmate, likely regifted. There were no dead bodies in this tale, of course, but the storyline included the puzzling disappearance of a valuable equine along with a fun look at the movie-making biz. Here’s the plot rundown:
Our teenaged protagonist, Peggy—a proficient young horsewoman who belongs to the Timber Trail Riders Club—is staying for the summer in California with her aunt and uncle. She helps coach a teenaged actress who is playing a young Alexander the Great in a film about that famous conqueror, and who needs help with the dangerous riding sequences. Not only does Peggy end up riding stunt double (guess back in the 60s, they didn’t worry much about child labor laws and insurance risk), she finds the missing horse, Cinder, who is one of the movie’s major stars. On top of that, she even manages a summertime romance. Sound like any cozy mysteries you’ve recently picked up?
I don’t recall if I ever read a second book in the Timber Trail Riders series, but that book stayed on my personal library shelf until I went off to college, at which point it probably ended up in my mom’s yearly donation pile. The children’s classics are all well and good, but sometimes it’s the off-the-beaten-path books that have the greatest influence on we readers and writers. And that’s why, decades later, I finally broke down and searched out a copy of that book online. Now, The Mystery of the Hollywood Horse sits proudly on my bedside table, ready whenever I need a quick dose of literary nostalgia.
About Anna Gerard
DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON.
Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES—her 17th published novel—will be on the shelves May 2021.
Enter the giveaway
Peaches and Schemes TOUR PARTICIPANTS
I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
Reading Reality – REVIEW
My Journey Back the Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
Novels Alive – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
The Avid Reader – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?