Sunday, May 2, 2021

Peaches and Schemes by Anna Gerard


Character Guest Post 

 Mason Denman, owner of Weary Bones Antiques

            I must say, it’s about time someone brought me into the conversation. Everyone in the South Georgia town of Cymbeline knows that if you want the latest gossip, I am the man. Even if you don’t know me personally, perhaps you’ve seen me there on the main square. I’m a firm believer in owning a trademark look. Mine is my distinctive black pompadour hairstyle. (Yes, every strand of that glorious ‘do is mine; as for the color, you know what the old advertisement says about one’s hairdresser...)

Full disclosure. I also have a weakness for vintage pocket squares and wear one every day. My partner, Lowell, claims that I have forty-seven hankies. I suspect he missed a few when he made that count.

At any rate, as the divine Mr. Jagger says, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mason Denman, and I am the owner of Weary Bones Antiques here in Cymbeline’s historical district. Mine is not the only antique shop in our fair burg, but I humbly declare mine to be the best. Until recently, I was a sole proprietor. A few months ago, however, I convinced Lowell to join me in the business. He has his MBA, which means I let him handle the pesky financial side of owning a shop. He’s learning about antiques in between keeping the books, though it will take him a while to catch up to my forty years in the field.

But enough about me. I’m pretty certain you’re here for the scoop on my friend, Nina Fleet. She’s new in town, though she has fit in with us natives quite well despite the fact she lived in Atlanta for far too many years. She bought the Lathrop house, located a few blocks off the square, after dear old Daisy Lathrop passed on. In a manner of months, Nina has turned the place into a credible bed and breakfast inn while keeping the spirit of the old place intact.

Frankly, I don’t have a bad word to say about Nina, which Lowell will tell you is a first for me. All right, I do have one criticism. It pains me to say this, but her knowledge of fine art is, well, non-existent. Bless her heart, a few months back she brought in an oil painting she wanted me to appraise. She didn’t say it out loud, but I know she thought she’d found a long-lost Picasso in her closet. It was not, of course, which was why Daisy had stashed away that particular horror on an out-of-the-way shelf. More recently, Nina brought in a landscape that had been hanging in the inn’s parlor. While it had a primitive charm to it, again, the painting’s greatest worth lay in its frame. And bless his heart, Lowell felt compelled to buy it from her, and it now hangs in his bedroom.

Artwork aside, I will praise Nina about something else. Like any sizeable town, ours sees its share of unpleasantness, particularly with the constant influx of visitors typical of a tourist destination like ours. Recently, we’ve seen the most brutal of crimes—murder—happen right on our streets! While most people would leave the hunt for the perpetrator to our fine law enforcement officers, Nina does not hesitate to investigate, herself. And, surprisingly, she has proved quite the detective, uncovering evidence that even the sheriff misses. If she ever tires of the B&B business, I’d say Nina has a career ahead of her as a private detective.

Oops, that sound of ringing bells you hear means a customer has stepped into the shop. I must attend to business but do come visit me again next time you are in Cymbeline. I’ll be happy to spill the tea with you about anyone in to

About the book 

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…


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.

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Diane A.S. Stuckart/Anna Gerard said...

Thank you for hosting the Georgia B&B Mystery gang today! :)

diannekc said...

Looks like an book I would enjoy reading. Adding to my TBR list.