Murder in the Aisle

The series starter - always free to read with your KU subscription. 

Who killed the church flower arranger? 

Hi – I’m freelance editor Merry Summerfield, and it’s another fantastic day in drowsy Drizzle Bay. That’s until Vicar Paul and I find Isobel Crombie lying dead in a sea of flowers in the aisle of Saint Agatha’s church. Who’d kill a harmless old girl like her?

In no time flat I’ve scored a house-and-pet sitting gig – Isobel’s remote seaside cottage and her two darling dogs. It comes complete with hollyhocks and seagulls and a SEAL from California who looks a lot like a younger Jon Bon Jovi. He's certainly cute, but aren’t his questions about Isobel's house a bit – well, suspicious?

Then I find a secret office stuffed with alarming files about car thefts and Black Ops assassins. Maybe Isobel wasn't as harmless as we all thought?

Sleuthing’s more fun than I’ve had in ages, but how safe am I on my own now things are unraveling? Little white Bichons are hopeless attack dogs.


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Reviews from Goodreads readers -

‘Merry is AWESOME! I loved it! A little bit funny and a lot crazy. If you have an evening where you just want to get lost in something lighthearted and fun or you need your mood lifting this is the book for you. It is also available in Kindle Unlimited - so there is little risk, try it I am confident Merry will win you over!’  Book Devil Reviews

‘told from the first person POV and had me cracking up in getting to know about the quirkiness that is Merry. I found myself drawn in to the vast array of characters making up the small town of Drizzle Bay wondering how they potentially fit in to the murder and Merry's efforts to solve it. Murder in the Aisle is such a delightful read and had me guessing throughout! I can't wait for the next one in the series.’ TiffyHoo



Excerpt - from chapter 1

Nice legs!

I tilted my head to one side, and my curtain of hair flipped over my eyes in the salty spring breeze.

Nice male legs, I’d better add. In fact they were nice enough to admire for a few minutes longer while I considered if there was anything else I should add to the little card I’d written up for the community noticeboard.

I tucked my hair back under the brim of my sunhat and gazed across the main street that runs through Drizzle Bay on the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The southern part of the North Island, to be precise, although that might sound confusing if you’re not from here.

A big waft of Iona Coppington’s scrumptious baking drifted across from the café. That woman can really cook, as my hips all too cleverly demonstrate. Lemon and…coconut? Maybe. My nose was probably whiffling like a rabbit’s.

I suppose I should tell you I’m Merry Summerfield – 44, freelance editor, divorced, no children – and I need more excitement in my life.

The cake aroma drifted away and the salt of the sea took over again so I crossed the first half of the street to the central barrier and got back to those legs. Yes, now I was closer they were very nice legs indeed. They started with big feet in brown sports sandals, and above them narrow ankles led up to long, strong, curving calves and the start of thighs that looked capable of supporting quite a lot of weight. Unfortunately the flexing tanned thighs were mostly concealed by a pair of khaki shorts, but that didn’t stop me imagining the muscles that undoubtedly existed higher up. I mentally turned the man around and pictured a woman’s arms clasped over the broad shoulders that stretched his black T-shirt to the max.

A woman who looked a lot like me. Blonde, blue-eyed, and a bit too curvy.

It’s far too long since I’ve wrapped my arms around any man’s neck.

I did say divorced, didn’t I? From serial philandering, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth Duncan Skeene. Geez, the lies that man told me! How was I so easily taken in? It knocks your confidence, something like that.

At least I’ve got rid of the nasty name of Skeene which I hated, and reverted to Summerfield which I always thought sounded pleasantly optimistic.

I clenched my teeth and I possibly scowled. I’m doing fine without a man. If I tell myself that often enough it might even start to feel true.

So I continued to stare, being somewhat starved of male company, compliments, candle-lit dinners and enthusiastic rolls in the hay.

Or rolls anywhere, really. How long had it been? At least four months since that all-too-brief encounter with Jerry Palmer that I hadn’t been keen to repeat.

But the man over the road? Great legs, nice bod, and strong arms shining in the late spring sun as he did something to the top of the wrought-iron fence bordering St Agatha’s Church. Probably slightly sweaty. Yum.  Dark hair just visible below the back of a wide-brimmed straw hat trimmed with a rosette of red feathers.

I drew a very deep breath and tried to divert my concentration back to the ad I’d been planning. Iona’s baking smelled so good I might have to buy something on my way back. Maybe a chocolate caramel square?

Digging into my bag, I pulled out the card. So far it read: ‘Responsible person will mind your home and pets while you’re away. Impeccable references. Extremely reasonable rates.’

Would I need to say any more? Well, a phone number of course. I wouldn’t add my name in case it led to all sorts of queries and conversations with my nosy friends. Maybe just my first name, although here in Drizzle Bay I’m the only Merry I know of so even that would be a giveaway. Sinking my teeth into my bottom lip and resting the card beside me on the railing, I added ‘Mary’ and the phone number onto the end. Close enough, and might assure me of anonymity – for a while, anyway.

I found my eyes had gone back to watching the man attending to the top of the fence. Right at that moment he turned to one side, set down a small can of paint and a brush, pulled off his hat, and ran his fingers to and fro through his hair as though the hat was too hot.

That drew a long, low, frustrated groan from deep in my throat. It was the vicar – totally unrecognizable in his casual clothes. I was lusting after the vicar? Things were worse than I’d thought. Vicars are not the first men to spring to my mind when considering a good bit of naughtiness.

I clutched the card. I really did need to shake life up a bit. The sooner I found a house and some pets to look after, the sooner I could have a few days of freedom and privacy away from the watchful eyes and quelling company of my much older brother, Graham.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s wonderful sharing the big old family home with him rent-free after the untimely death of our parents, but Graham’s life is mostly focused on his work as a lawyer. Outside that, his idea of a good time is to check over his stamp collection, and he doesn’t seem willing to invite friends – male or female – home. I want some music and laughter and some distractions from my currently very staid life. It’s not happening with Graham always present and I can see it’s not going to.

Honestly, you should hear the long-suffering sighs if I suggest something like inviting a few people to dinner.

So I came up with this cunning plan to live on my own for a while. Days or weeks, I’m not fussy how long people need me for, but it’ll give me privacy for a little misbehavior if I’m so lucky and enough money for petrol and the occasional bar of chocolate, or macadamia square, or slice of pecan pie – always supposing they’re looking even more tempting than the fig and fudge cupcakes in Iona’s shining glass display case.

I tore my gaze away from the vicar’s legs as he picked up the paint again and resumed tickling along the top of the fence. After running over the wording on my card one final time I crossed the road to the noticeboard next to the church.

“Morning, Vicar!” I chirped as I passed close by.

I wasn’t perving at your legs in the least.


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