Friday, March 25, 2022


 I love a mystery. I first learned how much I enjoyed them as a child. My dad was a mystery and western fan, and we listened to probably every mystery and western program on radio. (Yes, I’m that old.) When I was a child and Dad listened to mysteries, I usually sat with my legs curled up under me so none of the boogey men could reach out from under the couch and grab my legs. As frightened as I was, I couldn’t resist listening. My parents were very frugal (of necessity) and we didn’t have a television until I was about ten. At that time in Lubbock, Texas, television reception was not the greatest. My dad watched a few of the shows available, but mostly he read mystery magazines and paperbacks. My mom wouldn’t let me read those because they contained (gasp) curse words. I was thrilled when I discovered Nancy Drew.

I’ve written western romances for many years, mostly historical romances. Those usually had a mystery in them, but the romance was most prominent. In a cozy mystery, there is usually a romance, but it’s secondary to the mystery. I’ll still write western romances as well cozy mysteries. In fact, I have a western historical romance due to release on June 1st, SAMANTHA, in the Love Train Series. The first book of that series will be CHRISTIANA, by Pam Crooks, will release on April 1st.

I hope you’ll try the first of my Zoe Wilder Cozy Mystery series, DEATH IN THE PERFECT HOUSE, available at Amazon. It’s in Kindle and paperback, and is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. The url is

The second in the series, DEATH IN THE GRAVEYARD, will be released April 25. It’s  available for preorder .


Here’s a description of DEATH IN THE PERFECT HOUSE:

Zoe Wilder is a reporter for the local newspaper, The Spencer’s Ridge Gazette, in Winston County, Texas. She also writes cozy mysteries. Perhaps that’s why she sees a crime where there may not be one. Members of the local Winston County Sheriff’s Department view her as a pretty kook and don’t take her seriously. When she finds her wealthy friend, Margo Kingsley, dead, Zoe is certain Margo was murdered and Margo’s housekeeper agrees. The investigating officer doesn’t believe her, and the death is ruled an accident due to a fall while inebriated.

Zoe is determined to find the killer. A new Chief Deputy, Caleb McBride, arrives a few days later, hired from Fort Worth PD’s homicide division under unusual circumstances. Deputy McBride is determined Zoe will leave detecting to him and his officers. He warns her she is sticking her pretty nose in where it’s neither needed nor wanted. He also warns her he’ll arrest her if she interferes again. Undeterred, Zoe fears he is only going through the motions to appease the late woman’s daughter. Surprisingly, the new Deputy is the nephew of the dead woman’s housekeeper, a woman of fragile nervous disposition of whom Zoe is very protective.

Just as Zoe decides Deputy McBride is good at his job, the killer targets her home. Zoe is forced to cooperate with Deputy McBride. Will the killer be stopped before Zoe is the next victim?

DEATH IN THE PERFECT HOUSE is a light-hearted cozy mystery which contains humor, but no graphic sex and no cliffhangers.

Here’s an excerpt while Zoe is doing some investigating on her own by talking to the dead woman’s neighbors:

I turned at the sound of a vehicle. A sheriff’s office patrol car pulled into the drive at Margo’s, but I didn’t recognize the driver behind the wheel. Waiting on the Hamptons’ front porch, I watched the deputy climb out of his car and walk toward Margo’s, but then he stopped, changed direction, and veered toward the Hampton’s.

Pretending to look at my notepad, I observed him from beneath my lashes. I thought I’d met all the Winston County deputies. Nope. I’d have remembered if I’d ever talked to this guy.

Wow, would I ever.

He sauntered up the walk with a long-legged gait just short of a swagger. The man filled out his uniform as if he were the poster model for a recruiting campaign. He stepped onto the porch and I looked up. And up. My four-inch heels raised me to six one, but he was two or three inches taller.

His lips twitched in a smile that displayed a dimple in each cheek. “Get an eyeful?”

I ignored his remark. “Who the heck are you?”

Mirrored sunglasses hid his eyes. “Ma’am, you must be confused. I wear the uniform, and it’s my job to ask questions.”

“I thought I knew all the deputies, but we’ve never met, um . . .” I peered at his name badge, “Deputy McBride .”

“That’s right, we haven’t. You are . . .?”

“Zoe Wilder. I work for the newspaper.”

He lowered his sunglasses to peer at me, displaying deep blue eyes. “I guessed that’s who you were.” He looked me up and down, which wouldn’t have been bad if he’d displayed at least a little lustful appreciation. But no, it was as if he were inspecting a possible drug dealer in a line-up.

I ignored his rude perusal. “You’re wasting your time here. The Hamptons are on a cruise for another week with City Councilman Kirk Stevens and his wife.”

“You don’t mind if I find out for myself, do you?”

I stepped aside and gestured toward the door. “Be my guest.” But I was thinking, what did he mean, he’d guessed that’s who I was?

He rang the bell and the same maid answered. This time she appeared a little tense, no doubt when she saw his uniform. She repeated her story then shut the door again.

I smirked at him. “Satisfied?” 

“I’ve heard about you.”

What kind of answer was that? “Heard what? That I’m an excellent feature writer? Or that I write mystery novels?”

I tapped my notebook against my leg then stopped when I realized it made me appear nervous. “Perhaps you’ve read my latest release, Sentimental Journey To Death? You see, I always use old standard songs for my titles, like that one and the previous, I’m In The Mood For Murder. Or, have you read my newspaper articles?” It was as if this handsome man—this very, very handsome man—had unleashed my tongue and I was powerless to stop babbling.

Inside, I was thinking, God, why don’t you just strike me dead now and shut me up? But The Almighty didn’t do either, because He was too busy working toward world peace and eliminating hunger—or perhaps He was flat out laughing at me.

I took a deep breath and finished, “Is that what you heard?”

“Not exactly.” Sarcasm tinged Deputy McBride ’s voice. “It was something about a pretty, red-haired kook who works for The Spencer’s Ridge Gazette and thinks every event is a major crime in masquerade.”

“Kook? I am not a kook.” I comforted myself that at least he’d said I was pretty.


I hope you’ll try DEATH IN THE PERFECT HOUSE. If you enjoy it, I’d appreciate a review on Amazon. If you don’t like it, please let me know why. 

Stay safe and keep reading!

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