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Authors: Amy Phipps

Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - Church Bazaar - Ohio

Amy Phipps - Amanda Blakemore 01 - A Bazaar Murder

BOOK: Amy Phipps - Amanda Blakemore 01 - A Bazaar Murder
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Amy Phipps - Amanda Blakemore 01 - A Bazaar Murder
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Amanda Blakemore
Amy Phipps
Amy Phipps (2015)
Tags:
Mystery: Cozy - Church Bazaar - Ohio
Mystery: Cozy - Church Bazaar - Ohiottt
Amanda Blakemore returns to Juniper Falls, Ohio, after finding her husband in bed with another woman. Heartbroken and wounded by his betrayal, she agrees to move in with her grandmother, Margaret. After being volunteered to help with the church bazaar, Amanda and Margaret stumble over the body of Florence Hardy—Juniper Falls' wealthiest woman, not to mention rudest.
As the list of suspects keeps growing by the minute, the girls recruit neighbor and ex-sheriff Henry and eccentric gossip-loving Olive to help investigate. Along with a little help from a St. Bernard named Twinkie, they may just catch a killer.

 

 

 

 

A Bazaar Murder

Amanda Blakemore Mystery Book 1

 

Amy Phipps

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. All names, places, and events are products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, places or events are purely coincidental.

 

A Bazaar Murder: Copyright © 2015  by Amy Phipps.

All Rights Reserved.

No part of this work may be used or reproduced without permission of the author.

 

Cover Art by:
http://www.coverkicks.com

             

DEDICATION

 

First and foremost, I want to thank God without him none of this would be possible.

 

              And to all the men in my life, Matthew my loving husband, and sons Gage, Jareth, and Thomas.

 

Chapter 1

 

Juniper Falls, Ohio

 

Sitting on the front porch of her grandmother's Victorian home, Amanda Blakemore's mascara was running down her face making her look like a raccoon. Her eyes bloodshot from incessant sobbing. Feeling helpless and alone, her life was falling apart around her. The cold February breeze sliced right through her clothing, freezing her to the bone. Leaving in a hurry she didn't give much thought about her clothing. She could see her breath as a long sigh escaped her lips. Amanda sniffed and swiped at her nose with her cold fingers. Tissues....tissues would  be nice she thought, but she had used them all on the plane ride from Chicago.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw the same old man glance out the window from the house next door. He had been watching her since she arrived two hours ago. Doesn’t he have anything better to do with his time she thought. Her head was pounding. She rubbed her temple in a vain attempt to relieve the pain.

It felt like she had been waiting forever. Maybe she should have called first. Perhaps she should go to a hotel. The only problem with that is she had spent most of her money on the flight and cab fair to get here, since Juniper Falls was located in the middle of nowhere.  And of course, her ATM card wasn't working. Daniel must have frozen their accounts. A true lawyer thru and thru she thought distastefully. Another long sigh exploded from her lips and she sniffed and swiped her nose again. Bringing her hands to her lips she blew warm air onto them in hopes that they would thaw her icy fingertips. She had no success.

 

Margaret Blakemore walked up the sidewalk from her weekly knitting group enjoying the winter weather. This was her favorite time of year, she thought. Turning up the sidewalk her blue eyes focused on a trembling figure of a blonde girl huddled on the front step. Drawing her eyebrows together with concern she called, “Amanda?” When Amanda looked up Margaret could see that she had been crying. “What's the matter?” She questioned hurrying to her granddaughter's side.

“Daniel” Amanda hiccuped and started to cry again.

“Did something happen to Daniel?” Margaret asked with a concerned expression on her face as she put her arm around Amanda.

“He cheated on me and I left.” Amanda whined tossing her hands in the air.  “And I have nowhere else to go.”

“Oh honey.” Margaret hugged Amanda tightly and continued. “Let's get you inside and get you warmed up.” Unlocking the door she ushered Amanda inside.

“Thanks, Nana” She sniffed and swiped her nose again.             

As she walked through the door the scents of home cooking, her Nana's perfume, and the warmth of love came crashing into Amanda. She spent a lot of time here when she was growing up until her father's death when she was thirteen. After the car crash her mother left Juniper Falls and never came back. Amanda never realized until this moment how much she missed this place.

In moments she found herself sitting at the kitchen table with a knitted blanket around her shoulders and a cup of hot tea in her hands. Margaret was standing at the stove cutting a piece of banana bread and then placing the plate in front of Amanda. She seated herself across from Amanda then gently prodded. “Explain to me exactly what happened.”

“I came home early from work because, I had a headache and found Daniel with my boss.” She swiped at a tear on her cheek. “No wonder she kept piling work on me. Having me work late so she and Daniel could spend more time together.”

Margaret got up and walked to the pantry and came out with a fresh box of tissues and set them down in front of her and said.“Maybe you misunderstood.”

“No” Shaking her head as she blew her nose.  “I found them in bed.... Naked.”

“Oh dear!” Margaret leaned back in her chair. “That would be hard to misunderstand.”

“I should have never introduced them at my birthday party last summer.” She complained swiping at her cheek again. “What am I going to do... I have no job, very little money and nowhere to stay. Mom is in the Bahama's with her new boyfriend. Not that I would stay with her anyway.” Amanda sniffed and rolled her eyes at the mention of her mother.

“Don't worry you can stay with me and the Lord will take care of the rest.” Margaret reassured patting her granddaughter's hand.

“I hope your right.” She didn't sound convinced.

“Look on the bright side” Margaret smiled. “At least you don't have to change your name.”

Amanda let out a tiny half laugh, half sigh. “ I guess not changing my last name from Blakemore to Potts turned out to be a good idea after all.” She sniffed and gave a weak smile. “I can thank Mom for that one. I guess after being married so many times you learn a thing or two.”

“Why don't you take a hot shower and get some rest. You'll feel better in the morning.”Margaret suggested ushering her out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

After taking a shower Amanda walked around the bedroom. It still had the same white wallpaper with tiny blue and yellow flowers that she remembered from her childhood. The bed was a full size bed made out of cherry wood and tall posts with birds craved on them. She spent a lot of nights in this bed when she was little. She remembered all the bed time stories Nana would read to her. Running her hand over the homemade  quilt neatly spread across the bed, a weak smile touched her lips. The sights and smells of her childhood gave her comfort when she needed it most.

Plopping down on the edge of the bed she let out a long sigh. Dropping her head in her hands as her mind raced with thoughts. It was amazing to her how fast life could change. Her first realization of this fact was when her father died. Now again with Daniel her life will be forever altered.

She was exhausted, and her head was pounding. Flopping back on the bed she grabbed the edge of the covers and curled up into a ball trying to sleep. But her mind kept replaying the events of the day over and over in her head. They had been happy or at least she thought they were.

Tossing the covers aside she walked over to the bookshelf and grabbed the first book her hand fell upon. Then walking to the chair beside the window she fell into it and read. “How to Improve Your Observational Skills.” She sniffed and told herself. “Maybe I should have read this the day I married Daniel and things would have turned out differently.” Skimming the first page she yawned. “If this don't put me to sleep nothing will.”

Hours later Amanda awoke to a barking dog. Leaning forward in the chair she rubbed her eyes and neck.  She pressed closer to the window looking into the backyard of the house next door. The noise was coming from the biggest dog she had ever seen. A huge beast with brown and white markings and he was making long strides along the fence pacing and barking at what appeared to be nothing. It must be a St Bernard she thought and shrugged while placing the book on the table. She crawled into the bed and  pulled the pillow over the head to drown out the noise and quickly returned to sleep. The following two weeks were much of the same; she attempted to read; had difficulty sleeping and that blasted dog continued to bark every night.

 

                                                                     

Margaret was worried about Amanda, but she was extremely excited to see her again after so many years. She just wished it had been under better circumstances. Her granddaughter had spent the last two weeks locked in that room barely eating or sleeping. Margaret could hear her pacing at all hours of the night. Amanda's eyes had dark circles under them and she looked like she had lost weight. She wasn't a large girl to begin with. This was getting serious. Every night, Margaret would pray for Amanda to return to the happy, good-natured girl that she was before all this happened. That morning she decided to put an end to this. She wasn't about to let her granddaughter spend the rest of her life pining for someone that wasn't worthy of her, even if it killed her.

Marching up the stairs she stopped at the bedroom door. Straightening her shoulders she prepared for battle as she opened the door, and marched in. “It's time to get up!” Margaret announced tossing back the curtains and flooding the room with daylight. Amanda groaned and covered her head up. “In this house you only get two weeks to wallow in self-pity and your time is up!”

“But my life is falling apart.” Came a muffled whine from under the blankets.

“You maybe right, but now it's time to pick yourself up and start all over.” Margaret announced standing at the foot of the bed with her hands on her hips.

“I can't!” Came the muffled answer from under the blankets again.

“YOU CAN AND YOU WILL!” Margaret jerked the covers off Amanda and tossed them to the floor.

“HOW?” She whined trying to grab the covers with little success.

“You start by getting out of this bed.” Margaret pointed at the full sized bed.

“I don't want to!” She answered rolling onto her side and covering her head with the pillow.

“Fine!” Margaret scolded tossing her hands in the air. “Be a quitter. Let that man have the satisfaction of knowing that he beat you. Be weak. Let him wipe his feet on you.” There was a long silence and Margaret worried that she had gone to far. 

Then Amanda sat straight up in the bed with such force that the pillow knocked a pile of books off the night stand. “I am not weak!” She announced.

“Then prove it.” Margaret knew her granddaughter had a prideful streak and decided to use it to her advantage, it was a bit manipulative, but at this point she was willing to do about anything.

“I plan to.” Nodding her head to emphasize her words. 

“That's my girl! I was beginning to think that I lost you.” She hugged Amanda, “I'm going to make you breakfast.” Smiling she continued, “And you need to take a shower and get ready.”

“Ready....ready for what?” Her voiced squeaked from shock as she scrambled to get out of bed.

“It's Sunday. We are going to church.”

“What” Amanda blinked  and scratched her hand. “But I have nothing nice to wear.”

Margaret answered over her shoulder as she closed the door. “Wear whatever you have God really doesn't care about fashion.” She stood outside the door and smiled to herself.  That was easier than she thought it would be.

After showering Amanda dressed into a pair of jeans and a large blue hooded sweat shirt, simply because it was the best she had right now.  Making her way downstairs she could hear voices and smell bacon and eggs coming from the kitchen. “I'm ready to eat.” She announced upon entering the room.

“Good because the food is ready.” Margaret said setting a plate of bacon and eggs on the table, in front of a tiny elderly woman with white curly hair. The lady had large purple plastic rimmed glasses that made her eyes look overly large and owl like. She wore a purple button up sweater over a black dress trimmed in white lace. “Amanda this is my good friend, Olive Simon.”

“Hello, Mrs. Simon.” Amanda nodded her head as she took her seat.

“You must be little Mandy.” Placing her hand over her heart. “My... how you have grown.”Not stopping for a comment she continued. “Call me Olive.” Lowering her voice to a whisper as she shook her head to say. “I'm sorry about your husband and all.”

“OLIVE!” Margaret scolded banging the tea pot onto the stove.

“What?” Olive said innocently. “I am sorry.... Trust me you're better off if you ask me.” She reached across the table and patted Amanda's hand. “Once a cheater, always a cheater, if you ask me.” Wagging an arthritic finger in the air.

“Olive Simon, that may be so..... but you shouldn't comment about it.” Margaret scolded taking a seat at the table.

“Fine then,” Olive shrugged. “But when you feel up to it you can give me all the details.” She wagged her eyebrows for effect.

“Olive.... Stop..... It's not a soap opera.” Margaret looked at Amanda and said. “Olive is going to drive us to church.”

Amanda look from her grandmother to her friend in amazement.  “Drive?” Alarm bells went off in her mind, poor Olive didn't look as if she could see over the steering wheel. Not to mention her glasses were so thick Amanda doubted she could even see the road. “Nana... I can drive if you want me to.”

“I don't think Edward's car will start. Nobody's drove it in years.” Margaret said.  Amanda knew that her grandmother never learned to drive. 

“I've been driving Margaret around ever since your granddad passed. I don't mind.” Olive chimed in. “I like to drive. I could have been a race car driver if I had been born when you were Missy.” She wagged her finger at Amanda again. That comment didn't help ease the nervousness that she felt building in the pit of her stomach.

“You will need a car.” Margaret mused, “We could have a mechanic look at Edward's car.”

“No, that's alright.... Don't go to all that trouble.” Amanda said while eating her eggs. She appreciated the gesture bu didn't want to put her grandmother out.

“If we're going to make it in time for church we better get going.” Olive interrupted hopping up from her chair with amazing agility. 

 

             

Amanda felt like a bobble head, she thought rubbing her neck as she climbed out of the back seat of Olive's car. Race car driver my foot she thought, someone needed to take the woman's license.  She is a danger to herself and others the way she drives. Between driving so slow that it took forever to get anywhere to nearly hitting a couple of parked cars due to weaving. She couldn't let Nana continue to put herself in danger by riding in a car with that woman. The cold air hitting her face helped calm her nauseated stomach. Amanda whispered to Margaret. “I've reconsidered having that car looked at.” Margaret chuckled giving her an all knowing smile. “I thought you would reconsider.”

BOOK: Amy Phipps - Amanda Blakemore 01 - A Bazaar Murder
4.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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