Monday, April 14, 2008

A Letter From Winter Break

Dear Son,

Things sure are strange in Winter Break right now. Bitty Flanagan – do you remember her? She owned Miss Bitty’s Bygone Bookstore? Well, she fell off her old library ladder and died. Now her niece, Ivy Towers, is in town. Looks like Bitty left all her earthly possessions to Ivy, including her bookstore. What was she thinking? I mean, why in the world would a pretty little gal like that want to live in this one horse town? Goodness gracious, we don’t even have a gas station. Just my restaurant, one little grocery store, two churches, a funeral home, and Bitty's bookstore. Not much else to speak of. When Ivy first got here, she said she was planning to bury Bitty, close the store, and leave town. But the funny thing is; she’s still here. And she hasn’t even tried to get rid of that old bookstore. Oh, and Amos Parker sure is hanging around a lot. Him and Ivy used to be close when they were kids. Wonder if Amos wants to rekindle that old flame? You never knew him, Bert. He’s younger than you. He was a rambunctious little kid. He’s a deputy sheriff now. Funny, huh? You know I hear lots of talk at the café…

I sure will be glad when you finally get to see Ruby’s Redbird Café, Bert. You’d love it. Course, it was your idea and all. “Mama,” you used to say, “you’re the best cook in the whole world. You should open your own restaurant.” I make lots of your favorite foods, but people sure seem to like my Redbird Burgers the best. In fact, they keep trying to get my recipe, but I ain’t going to give it to them. No way. I tell folks I may go to my grave clutching the very last Redbird Burger in my cold, dead hand. I don’t really mean it, but it sure gets these people riled up.

Well, guess I wandered away from my main point - what was it? Oh, yeah. What I heard around the café. I guess some folks got it in their heads that Bitty was murdered! Can you believe that? Things like that shouldn’t happen in a town this small. We barely have over six-hundred folks, Bert. Not much more than when you left. Anyway, as I said, things here are strange but a sight more interesting than they’ve been in a long time. I think Amos and Ivy are trying to find out just what happened to Bitty. I hope they get to the truth of the matter. Bitty was a wonderful lady and a good friend. Besides, wondering if there’s a killer running around Winter Break makes me nervous.

Guess that’s about it for now. Not much else to share today, Bert. Lots of snow this year, just like every year. Sure wish someone would figure out why it snows more in this town than any other place in Kansas. Seems odd, but we’re used to it. Remember how much you used to love the snow? Kids still skate on Lake Winter Break. I know you ain’t no kid anymore, Bert. Been over thirty years now since you disappeared. But I keep writing these letters to you. Got hundreds of them, I guess. I hope someday you’ll come home and read them.

That’s all for now. Love you, Son.

Your mother, Ruby Bird.

Nancy Mehl is a long time mystery buff who loves to set her novels in her home state of Kansas. “Some people think of Kansas as rolling plains, wheat fields, and cattle,” she says. “But we’re really much more interesting than that!”

Her new “Ivy Towers Mystery Series” for Barbour includes four novels: “In the Dead of Winter,” “Bye, Bye Bertie,” “For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls,” and “There Goes Santa Claus.” In December, an omnibus book, “Cozy in Kansas,” will be released to the public. It will include the first three Ivy Towers mysteries.

In 2009, her new series, the “Curl Up and Dye Mysteries” will make their appearance. “This promises to be a rather unusual series,” Nancy says. “My protagonist is a hairdresser – to the dearly departed. I’m excited about the stories but a little concerned about the research!”

Besides the Ivy Towers series, Nancy has another novel in print. “Sinner’s Song” is about a serial killer who is stalking homeless people in the heart of Wichita, Kansas. It is a little darker than her cozy books but will be enjoyed by readers who like suspense with a little romance thrown in.

Nancy loves to hear from readers. You can visit her Web site at:, or leave her a message on her blog at


CHickey said...

Great Post, Nancy. And I loved the first Winter Break book.

NancyMehl said...

Thanks, Cynthia. I can hardly wait to get my hands on your book, Fudge-Laced Felonies.

But I'm not sure whether to read it or eat it! LOL!

Linda Kozar said...

Dear Nancy,

You and Cynthia are making me hungry with all this talk about burgers and fudge!

Thanks for a wonderful post. I can't wait to read the Curl Up And Dye series too!

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Hey Nancy,

I read your first book and loved it, but now you have me wondering what happened to poor old Bert! Hope he makes an appearance in one of the other mysteries. :-)

NancyMehl said...


The title of the next book is "Bye, Bye Bertie." Perhaps a hint of things to come? LOL!

The mystery of the missing Bert Bird will finally be solved!


NancyMehl said...


Thanks for the comment. I'm also looking forward to "Curl Up and Dye." Like I said on the blog - I'm starting to wonder about the research. I'm looking around now for a local funeral director who can share a few things...but not too much! LOL!


Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Oh, good! Poor Bert. I hope nothing bad happened to him...

Laurel Johnson said...

I've been a die hard fan since reading your first book several years ago. In the Dead of Winter is the first cozy mystery I've read and I'm hooked. Can't wait to read the rest of this series, and those yet to be written.

Keep that fine, creative mind of yours well-nourished and cooking on all burners!!

AstonWest said...

Sounds like a winner!

Coming up with series named "Curl Up and Dye" is going to make me start worrying about you, though...


NancyMehl said...


Thanks for the comments. Glad I've pulled you into the world of cozies! LOL!


NancyMehl said...


Be afraid... Be very afraid...



Anonymous said...

Nancy....enjoyed In the Dead of Winter book immensely, certainly kept me guessing. You touched on a number of emotions; tears, fears, love ~ what a wonderful array to elicit from a story. Looking forward to your next book, I'm definitely hooked now.

Ausjenny said...

I have the first book. i joined up and have read the first in the mystery books just have a couple on my tbr list first then will read a couple more. Hope fully early May.

NancyMehl said...


Thanks for being a Heartsong Mysteries reader! We appreciate you!

I'm reading through the books, too. Right now I'm on "Recipe for Murder." I'm absolutely loving it. Can't wait to get my hands on the other books.

Thanks for your comment.


Ausjenny said...

Oh I loved this book Read it this week. and my second shipments on the way. im am reading them between books i have to read.
cant wait for Bye Bye Bertie, (oh its interesting the other book of this name was about a detective too)

susansbooks said...


Is there any new information available on your Curl Up and Dye Mystery series? I love the sound of that, and I'm looking forward to it! I haven't read any of my mysteries yet, because I read and sell all my books in series (my specialty), but I can hardly wait. I have all the other books you have written so far, too.