Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Short Story Mystery

Ride Into The Fog
By Linda P. Kozar


“Don’t go!” Breathless, I grabbed at her sleeve and begged her again.
She stared straight ahead, oblivious to my touch. “I have to.”
“But it’s getting dark and there’s fog. You shouldn’t cross that bridge when it’s foggy. The road gets slick and you won’t be able to see two feet in front of you.”
She shook her head. “We’ll be fine. Besides, I want to drive at night when the kids are sleeping. It’s easier that way.”

Her shoulder-length red hair, matted in a rat’s nest of neglect, matched the baggy dress, twisted out of shape, like she’d slept in it. Skin freckled and rough, without makeup, my cousin Kelsey was a mess. Six kids and six years had taken a toll.
Surely this woman wasn’t the “Kels” I knew growing up. Back then, she was slender with cascading curls of long vibrant red hair and blue eyes, the kind you could almost see right through.

Voice low as a purr, she was determined. “I need to leave.”

“You think he’s with her,” I asked, “with that woman?”

She hesitated. Pulled a thread from her sleeve. “Yes.”

“Look, Kels—why don’t you just stay here with me for awhile? Leave him, move here and start your life over. He’s no good.”

She needed to hear it. What a loser--I never understood why she married him. Kelsey could have had her pick, but she chose a man who never worked, who abused her and treated her. . .

“Marcy, I know what I look like. I’m frumpy and out of style.” Her eyes fixed forward as if focusing on something. “My skin’s dull and I’m tired all the time. “ She rubbed her eye and I noticed her wrist looked crooked.

“What’s wrong with your wrist?” I asked. “It doesn’t look right.”

She drew her arm down and tucked it under her sleeve. “Guess I broke it lifting furniture or something. It healed though. I’m okay.”

Angry, I stomped. “Why? Why do you stay with him?”

She smiled from the corner of her lip. “I loved—love him. He was different then, romantic He bought me flowers, even when we couldn’t afford them. . .told me I was beautiful.” Her voice trailed off. “But now I’ve lost him.”

A silent pause followed. I grabbed at straws, “Good riddance. You may have lost him, but you have the kids. Even if he doesn’t love you anymore, he cares about his kids. He does care about his kids, doesn’t he?”

She leaned back against the car and looked up at me. What did I see in those eyes? Something.

Uneasy, she must have sensed my thoughts somehow and turned her face away to focus on the kids playing on the merry-go-round at my apartment complex.
Nodding her head in agreement, she answered, “Oh, he likes ‘em, I guess. He just doesn’t want to be bothered with raising them.” She slapped a mosquito off her arm. “It’s getting dark. We’d better go. Kids! Get in the car, we’re leaving.”

Tune in next week for Part 2 of Ride Into the Fog.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Mystery Theater

The Case:

Bonnie is found dead on a beach. Upon investigating a nearby motel room, police arrest Clyde, its occupant, for her murder. Among the incriminating evidence are a partially-used bottle of sleeping pills, white paint and a brush.

The Mystery:

How was Bonnie murdered?

The Clues:

1. Clyde took liberties with a label.
2. Clyde was burned up at Bonnie; his revenge burned Bonnie up, too.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free Heartsong Presents Mystery!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Popping Into Baker Street, Part 3

Special Features, Popping Into Baker Street, Part Three
Let’s keep it short and sweet today. Can you answer these questions about Sherlock Holmes? (Answers below.)

1. What is the name of Holmes’ nemesis?
2. Where does Holmes live?
3. What is the name of Sherlock’s brother?
4. Sherlock Holmes became a smash after the stories appeared in The Strand. Name another author that debuted in the same magazine.

1. Professor James Moriarty
2. 221B. Baker Street, London
3. Mycroft Holmes
4. Charles Dickens and Mark Twain

Last week's question:
Trivia Question #2: Who was the hero of The Lost World?
Professor Challenger

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Congratulations to Brenda for correctly guessing last week’s mystery authors as S. Dionne Moore! That’s two wins in a row for Brenda. (You’re on a roll, Brenda!) You win a copy of “Murder On the Ol’ Bunions.” We’ll get that in the mail to you as soon as possible.

Now for today’s Mystery Author:

Welcome Mystery Author!

What part of the country do you hail from?

I live in Kansas. And yes, there is hail. Lots of it.

No, I didn’t mean… Oh, never mind. Is your Heartsong mystery set in Kansas?
Yes. It takes place in a very small town. In fact, they don’t even have their own gas station.

What’s the name of your main character?
I can’t tell you that. It would give it away. I will say that she starts out with one name but changes it partway through the first book.

Okay. Well, is there anything unique about the town?
Only that it snows more than any place in Kansas.

Anything else?
It’s the only place in the world where you can get a Redbird Burger.

Do you have any favorite authors?
Yes, Agatha Christie, G.K. Chesterton, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

What is your favorite literary genre?
I would say it was Mainly Mystery.

Thanks Mystery Author.

Put your guessing hats on. This author told me that she (or he) plans to give away all three of the first books in this series to this week’s winner! I hope we get more entries this week. I would hate to feel like I’m talking to myself…

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Short Story Mystery

Water Under the Bridge by Susan Page Davis

Part Three
Officer Johnson was late for lunch. “So, Billy, what have you been up to?” he asked his son.

“Me? Nothing.” Billy was playing a video game.

“I thought you boys went swimming this morning.”

“Uh, we did.”

“Really? See anything down at the lake?”

Billy swallowed hard. “Couple of ducks.”

His father eyed him narrowly. “We got an anonymous tip at the police station about nine o’clock.”

“Oh?” Billy tried his best to keep his voice level.

“Yeah, somebody called in and said he saw two guys dump some guns and stuff in the water under the bridge. He gave us the number off their boat.”

“Did you catch ’em?” Billy asked.

“Yes, we did. We figure they’ve been responsible for all the break-ins this summer. I was surprised you boys didn’t show up when we were down there recovering the loot.”
“No, we got tired of swimming and went over to Larry’s house,” Billy said. “Did they confess?”

His father nodded. “Too bad you missed it. They said they dumped the loot and scooted because someone yelled that they were under arrest. We had two divers in the water for an hour. Guess what else they found?”

Billy couldn’t say anything.

“There’s a hole in the bridge support,” Mr. Johnson said. “We called the Department of Transportation. They may have to do some repair on the bridge.”

“Really?” Billy’s voice cracked a little.

“Uh-huh. You know what was really funny?”

Billy shook his head.

“The guy who called in the tip sounded just like John Wayne.”
The End
Tune in next week for a brand new Short Story Mystery.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Mystery Theater

The Case:

Aging millionaire Elmore Channing III hobbles out to the front lawn of his elegant mansion. Dolly, his beautiful young mistress, is walking toward her car. “Please come back, Dolly,” the sick old man pleads, “I’ll do anything. I’ll even marry you!”

Dolly stops and turns toward Elmore. “Well, it’s about time!” she says as she follows him back to the mansion. “I want to get married soon!”

That night the millionaire dies in his library. Days later, Dolly is found in a distant motel with $50,000 hidden in a sack. She is arrested for murder.

The Mystery:

How and why did Dolly kill the rich old codger?

The Clues:

1. The millionaire’s library was a “safe” place.
2. Dolly wanted to give back a little to gain a lot.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free Heartsong Presents Mystery!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Popping Injto Baker Street, part 2

Special Features, Popping Into Baker Street, Part Two

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote plenty, and not all of his work featured the indomitable Sherlock. He wrote the mysterious work called The Mystery of the Cloomber and even a treasure called The Lost World about an expedition to South America to discover a world where dinosaurs still lived. Sound like the basis of a few movies to you? But no character received the adoration of Sherlock Holmes who debuted in A Study In Scarlet.

The stories were published in The Strand magazine. They certainly made money for Doyle, but he considered them ‘commercial.’ He went so far as to publish ‘The Final Problem’ in 1893 where Holmes and Moriarty plunged to their deaths. Sherlock Holmes dead?Readers were so incensed that 20,000 cancelled their subscription to the Stand.

Doyle wrote a play about Sherlock. William Gillette, the actor commissioned to play him asked for permission to revise it. Doyle said, “You may marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him.” Poor Doyle, chained to the character he created so brilliantly!

Trivia Question #2: Who was the hero of The Lost World?

Answer to Trivia question #1: William Gillette instituted the drop stem pipe for Sherlock because it made it easier for the actor to speak his lines clearly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Congratulations to Brenda who guessed last week's Mystery Author. It was Lynette Sowell! Brenda's won one of Lynette's Heartsong Mystery novels: A SUSPICION OF STRAWBERRIES or THE WILES OF WATERMELON. Good job, Brenda!

Now for today's Mystery Author:

Welcome, Mystery Author!

What are the names of the two main characters in your current Heartsong mystery series?

LaTisha and Hardy Barnhart.

They are based on two real people. Tell us about that.
LaTisha's and Hardy's physical characteristics are based on my best friend and her husband. Just as LaTisha is taller than Hardy, my friend is taller than her husband. I just love having two characters with such out-of-the-norm characteristics. It's refreshing.

For the third book in your series, you plan to tour a business in your hometown. What is it? Are you a little nervous?
For book three, I'll have to tour our local funeral home to get a feel for the atmosphere. I'm just dying to take that tour. . .BWA-HA-HA! I'm not a bit nervous about it at present, maybe because I have so many other things going on.

What is the name of this book?
EAT, DRINK AND BE BURIED, though my editor has indicated the title might have to be changed.

We know you love to write. But there is a part of the process you hate. What is it? Explain.
OH! Who told you? I hate, hate, HATE the editing process. Funny thing is most writers love the editing process and hate the writing part, but I'm opposite of that. For me the writing part is way easy. . .not to mention FUN! But as soon as edits land on my virtual desk. . .just bury me.

One last clue, Mystery Author. Your main character suffers from an annoying condition. What is it?
Ah, you must wait to see what develops. LaTisha will struggle with symptoms of the condition in book 2, and be officially diagnosed and taking the bull by the horns in book 3.

Thanks, Mystery Author!

Can you guess who our mystery author is? Leave your guess, along with your e-mail address, and you could win a new Heartsong novel like Brenda just did!

Good sleuthing!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Short Story Mystery

Water Under the Bridge by Susan Page Davis

Part Two

A week later, Billy gulped his cereal while Larry waited for him.

“What’s your hurry?” Billy’s father asked.

“We’re going swimming with Mike.”

“Well, be careful.” His father frowned. “I know you boys can swim like fish, but. . .”

“We’ll be fine,” Billy assured him, dropping his cereal bowl into the sink.

“Stay away from the bridge,” his father called, as Larry opened the back door. “Something funny is going on down there.”

“Really?” Billy asked, eyes wide.

“Yes, a fellow swore he heard Gomer Pyle yesterday, yelling at him to go away.”

“That is weird, Mr. Johnson,” Larry said. He and Billy raced outside.


A small boat was nosing toward the channel below the bridge.

“What’ll I say?” Larry asked.

“Clint Eastwood,” Michael suggested. “Make my day.”

“No, do the Dragnet thing,” Billy said.

The boat came closer, and Michael gasped. “They’ve got rifles in the boat.”

“So?” asked Larry.

Billy peeked through the crack. “They’ve got other stuff, too. I see a TV.”

He pulled back suddenly and stared at his friends. “Those are the guys who’ve been breaking into people’s camps!”

The boat was nearly even with them.

Tune in next week for Part Three of Water Under the Bridge

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Mystery Theater

Time for another round...

The Case:

A man wakes up in a private clinic. The doctors inform him that he has been in a coma for three years. As he rehabilitates, the man is amazed by what he's missed: new music, new styles, and political changes like the collapse of Communism.

On the fourth day of his recovery, he is found dead on the garden path below his window.

The Mystery:

How did he die? And what is the story behind his coma?

The Clues:

1. The man in the clinic was a C.I.A. spy in East Germany.
2. The year was 1980.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free HPM book!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Special Feature- Popping into Baker Street

Special Features
Popping into Baker Street

So, you think you’re a true mystery fan, do you? Well put on your deerstalker cap and let’s wander on down to 221A Baker Street for a little peek into Arthur Conan Doyle’s life to see if we can separate the man from his iconic mystery solver.

How much of Arthur Conan Doyle can be found in Sherlock Holmes? Well Doyle was a doctor for one, and he was mentored by Dr. Joseph Bell, a man brilliant in observation and logic. No doubt Dr. Watson sprung from here. But where did Sherlock come from? Doyle lived with an alcoholic father and was shipped off to boarding school for seven years. His mother was a brilliant storyteller. He served on a whaling ship and was often short of funds. By all accounts, he had high moral standards and a keen imagination. Sound like Sherlock? Yes, and no.

Sherlock is certainly the intellectual giant, but troubled by drug addiction and a penchant for the melancholy. He excelled at boxing, was a master of disguise and a very poor hand at the violin.
Doyle, on the other hand, was an even tempered man, and by many accounts, admired for his sense of humor. It is reputed that when he obtained his medical degree he drew a funny sketch of himself receiving his diploma and captioned it ‘Licensed to Kill.’

So can we find Sherlock in these bits of his life? I think the answer is yes. And no. Sherlock, like any good character, is cobbled together from experiences and observations. He is a crucible where things come together that the author both loves and despises. Sherlock Holmes was not the sum of what Doyle knew, but what he no doubt wanted to know, a world where order could be restored by intellect, where eccentricities proved to be strengths and justice was restored.
Next week, we’ll take a look at Doyle’s love hate relationship with Sherlock, a character whom he both birthed and tried desperately to kill. Below is a trivia question to sharpen up your detective skills. Send in your answer and we’ll see if you’ve earned that deerstalker cap!

Trivia Question: In all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sherlock Holmes never smokes the famous drop step pipe that has become the characters hallmark. Where did the idea for the drop-step pipe come from?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Do you have what it takes to be an amatuer detective? Every Wednesday, we will give you a chance to figure out the identity of our Heartsong Mystery Author. All correct guesses will be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of their latest Heartsong Presents: Mysteries! novel. To enter, leave a comment with your e-mail address.

Are you ready? Here is our very first Mystery Author!

Welcome, Mystery Author.

Mystery Author, what city do you call home?
Wow, that’s really hard to choose. I was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, but moved to Fajardo, Puerto Rico when I was six months old. We lived there until I was almost 3, when we moved to Pocomoke City, Maryland. Then when I was 15, we transplanted to Westfield, Mass. And now for almost 17 years I’ve lived in Copperas Cove, Texas, about an hour from Austin.

Tell us how you met your husband.
We met at church, but the first time I ever saw him was my first day here in town and I was driving around looking for an apartment to rent. I saw him sitting out front of his apartment with his neighbors. They were talking and laughing, and the place looked clean and nice. I remember thinking, “If I ever have to rent an apartment, I wouldn’t mind a place like that and neighbors like that.” (I’m a natural hermit and don’t like the idea of people living so close.) Ironic that just over three years later, I’d be walking down the aisle to become his wife and I’d move all my stuff into that same apartment and become “mom” to his two young children.

When you were 11 years old, you read some books that made an impact on your life. What were they? Why were they so special to you?
The Chronicles of Narnia. I still have the first set that my parents bought me for Christmas almost 30 years ago, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve read them. C.S. Lewis brought such a sense of wonder to his stories. I found myself looking for flickers of wonder hidden in the corners of ordinary. His series is simple, yet has deeply spiritual themes.

What were your first stories about?
Horses, horses, horses. And in fourth grade I copied the Nancy Drew style and wrote a short film called “The Mystery of the Uranium Cave.” Two girls explored and found uranium…in a cave. Of course there were secret passages and I have no idea why uranium sounded so mysteries to me, but it did. I was fourteen when I read Janette Oke and copied her too, by writing a Christian love story, set during the Great Depression.

The first Christian love story you ever wrote wasn’t typed on a computer. What instrument did you use?
I typed on my mother’s aqua blue Smith Corona manual typewriter. The thing wasn’t even electric. I used a lot of white out back then, before we had the all-powerful delete button.

What was the name of that first story?
Home For Christmas.

What is the name of the main character in your Heartsong mystery series? Tell us a little about her.
Andromeda “Andi” Clark Hartley is the oldest of two daughters, and she’s over thirty and perpetually dating her long-haul trucker boyfriend. She has a hard time sticking to a career plan and likes home-based businesses. Finally when she discovers soapmaking, she opens a shop and success is in her reach. But a prominent Greenburg citizen, bride-to-be Charla Rae Thacker, keels over and dies of anaphylactic shock from Andi’s cherries jubilee facial scrub. Turns out, Charla’s deathly allergy to strawberries was no secret in Greenburg, Tennessee. Andi has to find out who put strawberries in her scrub before her business goes down the drain.
Now, tell us something about yourself that no one would suspect.
I won a beauty pageant when I was four years old, a blonde-haired, brown-eyed microphone hog.

Thanks, Mystery Author! Let’s see if readers can figure out who you are!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Short Story Mystery

Welcome to our Shorty Story Mysteries! Every Tuesday, the authors of Heartsong Presents Mysteries will post another installment of Short Story Mystery. Enjoy!

Water Under the Bridge by Susan Page Davis

Part One

*Note: This story was first published in the August, 2001 issue of GRIT.

“Let’s go to the bridge,” Michael said.

“My dad would kill me,” Billy replied. He floated lazily in an inner tube on the glassy surface of Pleasant Pond. The three boys had been swimming for an hour, and Michael was bored.

Larry flicked a few drops of water at Michael and said in his Donald Duck voice, “What parents don’t know won’t hurt them.”
“Your parents aren’t cops,” Billy said glumly. “Dad’s afraid we’ll get hurt.”

Michael laughed. “It’s not like we’re jumping off the bridge. Let’s go.”

He and Larry splashed toward shore, and Billy reluctantly followed. They ran barefoot to the bridge, where the road crossed a neck of the pond.

“Come on!” Larry plunged into the water.

Billy waded in cautiously. Larry surface dove in the narrow channel, and Michael was treading water beneath the bridge.

Larry surfaced and shoved his dripping hair from his eyes. “There’s a lot of junk on the bottom.”

“Old cans and what else?” Billy asked.

Larry sucked in a deep breath and dove again. He came up sputtering, “Hey, there’s a cave or something down there.”

“Yeah, right,” Michael said scornfully.

“No, it’s for real. Did you see the pile of gravel on the bottom next to the concrete? There’s a hole there that it came out of. I can look up into it.”

“Cool!” Michael cried. “Show me.”

“Guys,” Billy said nervously. His friends disappeared beneath the surface. He saw them glide toward the abutment. Suddenly they were gone, and it was very still beneath the bridge.

“Mike? Larry?” Billy called. Michael could hold his breath a long time, but this was way too long.

“Howdy, pardner,” said a loud John Wayne voice.

Billy knew it was Larry. He could imitate anyone.

“Where are you?”

There was a laugh. A few seconds later Larry popped up beside him.

“Come on, I’ll show you.”

Billy paddled along behind him toward the piling.

“Take a big breath,” said Larry, and ducked beneath the surface.

Billy gulped and followed. He saw Larry’s legs disappearing into a hole under the concrete. He followed and bobbed almost immediately to the surface.

“Where are we?”

Michael was sitting on a concrete shelf at the bottom of the pier wall. “Inside the bridge support. Cool, huh?” Their voices had a weird, hollow echo.

“We shouldn’t be in here,” Billy insisted. “Dad will freak!”

“Only if you tell him,” Michael said.

“No, really,” Billy insisted. “Some cottages have been broken into around here, and Dad’s upset because they can’t solve the case. I don’t want to do anything to make him mad right now.”

“Shh,” Larry hissed. “There’s a boat coming.”

Michael peered through a slit between two concrete slabs.

“Let me see!” Billy took his place and saw a small motor boat putt-putting toward the bridge. A man and woman in the boat rested their fishing rods on the seats. The boys were just above water level, five yards from where the boat would pass.

“Watch this,” Larry whispered. He called through the crack, in a high whine, “Go ba-a-a-ack!”

“What was that?” the woman cried, looking around.

“Beats me,” said the man.

“Stay away from the bridge,” Larry wailed, louder. “Go ba-a-a-ack!”

“Let’s get out of here,” said the woman.

The man hesitated, then turned the boat and headed toward the main part of the lake.
The boys smothered uncontrollable laughter.

“That was so cool!” Michael chortled. “Did you see her face?”

“We’d better scram,” Billy warned. “If they tell someone, my dad will be down here looking for an explanation.”

Tune in next week for Part Two of Water Under the Bridge...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Mystery Theater

Time for another round...

The Case:

Near an out-of-service country road, at the bottom of a riverbed, a successful business executive is found dead. At first, Edsel DaRode's death is thought to be accidental. But later the police suspect foul play. Found near the body are a map and a card with strange symbols on it.

The Mystery:

Who killed Edsel DaRode, and how was it done?

The Clues:

1. Edsel was inside his Edsel.
2. The card was a fortune-teller's tarot card.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free HPM book!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday Mystery Theater

Happy Labor Day, everyone! As a special treat, I'm posting another Monday Mystery Theater. Have fun!

The Case:

The suspect has an ironclad alibi. Over a dozen witnesses swear that he was nowhere near the murder scene. The police are finally able to crack the case when they find a small, high quality intercom system stashed in a closet.

The Mystery:

Who was the suspect, who was the victim, and what was the alibi?

The Clues:

1. The killer was a father.
2. The killer's alibi was a "confession."

The Answer:

Think you know an answer? Fill the comment box to submit your guess. Winner will receive a free Heartsong Presents Mystery!