Silver Hills Cozy Mysteries Book 10
Come to Silver Hills for a street fair with rides, gastronomic treats, and the requisite dead body.
Flo loves street fairs. When the opportunity comes up for Silver Hills to sponsor one, she jumps at the chance to serve as committee chair. After all, she can’t let the spooky duo of Vlad and Morticia do it. Or Agnes, who isn’t known for her grace under pressure. Or even Celia, whose thuggish husband may or may not have had something to do with the corpse riding in the rented car with him.
In the end, nothing goes as planned. But Flo once taught math and science to thirty middle schoolers. Certainly, she can deal with a few setbacks and crises in a street fair. Or…maybe not.
"...an exciting, fast-paced, and humorous mystery... The storyline was entertaining and kept the reader busy trying to figure it all out as we followed the clues with Flo. The characters are likable and the main character is good at what she does. You won’t want to miss this one!"
Booksprout Reviewer Emily Pennington
More from this series
Praise for Street Fare
Margery - Booksprout Reader Review
"Action packed and full of mystery, murder and mayham. Poor Flo is just trying to get a town carnival going when some poisoned cannoli steps in the way. Who did this? why? and how are attempts at murder and murder all tied in? Even Flos' friend Agnes suffers broken hot dogs. Wanna find out what that is? well, read this wonderful book by Ms. Cheever!"
D. Carlson - Amazon Reviewer
This is an entertaining read! The storyline is engaging, there’s a bit of humor and the characters are fun and quirky! This is a well written book that can easily be read in an hour or two when you’re looking for a purely escapist story.
Read an Excerpt
“Gioppinos will not be selling the blueberry cheesecakes in our booth as promised,” Celia Angonetti told the room. She glared at Agnes Willard, who was trying to look anywhere except where Celia perched lightly on her uncomfortable chair.
“Oh no,” Florence Bee said. “What happened? I was really looking forward to those.”
Celia narrowed her blue eyes on Agnes. “Somebody got into them before we even managed to package them for the booth.”
All eyes turned to Agnes. She winced, trying to shrink into her chair. Since Flo’s friend was six feet tall and weighed over two hundred pounds, there was no way she was making herself less visible. “Sorry. I’m a nervous wreck about the wedding. With Hertz out of town, I’ve been handling all the details on my own, which is really stressing me out. I haven’t been able to stop eating.”
At the ripe old age of fifty-eight, Agnes was marrying the love of her life, Hertz Thomson, in the spring. She’d lived alone for most of her adult life and Flo had some sympathy for what an adjustment it was going to be for her friend to share space with another person. Despite that, Agnes couldn’t keep eating the goodies they were going to sell at the upcoming street fair. “Agnes, stay away from all food vendors until after the fair,” Flo said firmly.
Her friend sighed, nodding.
Not for the first time, Flo wondered what she’d been thinking taking on the head of the planning committee job for the fair. Silver Hills, the residence where they all lived, was sponsoring the fair for the first time, and everybody had begged Flo to take charge. If she was being honest with herself, Flo would admit her love of street fairs had made the decision an easy one for her.
Celia shook her head, her sleek blonde bob dancing around her face. “We’re going to plan B,” she said. “Assorted cannoli.”
Agnes groaned, burying her face in her hands.
“Are we going to have a problem?” Flo asked Agnes with an arch of her brow.
“No,” came the muffled reply.
“Good.” With that problem identified and hopefully solved, Flo moved on to the next item on the agenda. “Richard, how is booth construction for the haunted hotel coming along?”
Richard Attles was the day manager at Silver Hills, as well as the son of fellow resident and Flo’s septuagenarian hottie honey, Roger. Poor Richard had gotten stuck working with the other two managers of the residence, Vlad and Morticia Newsome, a.k.a. the resident vampires. Of course the twosome weren’t really vampires, but they certainly looked the part and they were as repugnant as a couple of blood-sucking monsters would be.
“There will be some final painting to do, but the structure is framed and they’re laying on the decorative outer skin now,” Richard said, frowning. “Unfortunately, we’re having electrical issues.”
“What type of electrical issues?” Flo asked. Though she already knew what he was going to say.
“The lights keep flickering and the scary music is skipping all over the place.”
“Let me guess,” Agnes said, “Those things only happen when Vlad and Morty are around?”
Richard’s frown deepened. “Now you know I don’t believe in all that hooey. Vlad and Morty are not vampires.”
“They’re not,” Flo agreed pleasantly. “But we haven’t ruled out demons yet.”
Richard sighed. “I have an electrician coming in about an hour. The haunted hotel will be ready by the time the fair starts tomorrow if I have to rub two wires together myself.”
Flo wrote his promise in her notepad. “Excellent. Thanks, Richard.” She thought about it for a moment and then asked him, “Are the Newsome’s ready?” The two vampire lookalikes had signed up to work the hotel, jumping out at unsuspecting visitors with a flash of their fangs. The gig was right up their alley.
He sighed. “They tell me they are. But I’m going to pick up some costumes just in case.”
“You don’t need to get them fangs,” Agnes said. “They come standard with the Newsome model.”
Everyone at the table except for Richard chuckled.
He shook his head, glancing toward the man sitting next to Flo. “Can I count on you to be a monster, Dad?”
Roger’s laugh was deep and rumbly. “Of course, son. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to break out my monster chops.”
Flo grinned at her favorite ex-lawyer. “I’m having trouble seeing you as a bad guy,” she said.
“That’s because you’ve never skipped out on last period to go swimming with your friends,” Richard grumbled.
“Dependability makes a man,” Richard told his son. “If you commit to being somewhere, you should be there.”
Flo checked the next item on her list. “TC?”
Trisha Columbo was the activities director at Silver Hills. The thirty-something brunette was also an author who wrote cozy mysteries. A fact that had inspired Flo and Agnes to become crime sleuths themselves. TC was going to sell books in her booth, and was also offering face-painting for the kids.
“Everything’s on schedule. I’ll have my booth ready to go at ten am tomorrow.” She grinned down the table. “Agnes has offered to let me paint her face and be my walking billboard.”
Flo winced. What could possibly go wrong there? “Agnes will make a great billboard,” Flo said. And she would. Her friend wore her iron gray hair in flat curls around her face, like a movie star from the twenties and had been the first female body builder in the late seventies. She was bulky, but a lot of it was muscle, and she had swimmer’s shoulders. Between her unique style and her size, Agnes was much better at standing out than hiding.
“No billboarding near Gioppinos’ booth,” Celia warned. She tucked a strand of silky blonde hair behind one delicate ear and gave Agnes a warning look.
Agnes threw up her hands. “Got it. I’m turning over a new leaf as of right now. No more sweets.”
The committee members just stared at her. They’d all seen Agnes on a diet. It wasn’t a good look. She didn’t just love sweets…she lived for them. Desserts were a hobby for Agnes. A passion. Agnes without sweets was an unmoored Agnes. An Agnes adrift. An Agnes who couldn’t concentrate on anything. Flo was pretty sure sugar was a large part of the makeup of Agnes’s brain.
“Maybe just limit your sweet eating to non-Gioppinos sweets,” Flo offered.
Flo turned to Roger again for the last item on the list. “How are things going with the checkers tournament?”
Roger opened a leather-bound notebook and scanned a tidy list. “A dozen boards are due to arrive today. If they don’t come in time, I’ll personally drive to Indy and scrounge up the ones we need.”
She nodded. “And the grill?” The checkers tournament was going to be held under a big tent that would also sell freshly grilled meats and corn on the cob, along with other food items. Starting at five pm, the tent would also offer live music by a popular local band.
“They’re setting it up right now. It’ll be open for business at noon tomorrow.” He held up a hand. “And, before you ask about the band, Tommy and the Teetotalers are going to meet me out there at two today. We need to discuss where they should set up. Tommy doesn’t want to be close to the grill because of the heat and smell. But if we set him up on the opposite end, he’ll be in the way of foot traffic in and out.”
Flo frowned. “Can we change the traffic pattern?”
“It’s possible. But we’ll need to talk to Silver City tents,” Roger said.
“I’ll get hold of them and ask them to join us out there around two.”
“Great. Thanks, Flo.”
She smiled, feeling a sense of accomplishment. Flo had always loved street fairs. She’d gone to them as a little girl. As an adult, she’d taken her kids and grandkids as often as possible. It was a labor of love organizing one for Silver City.
The door banged open and a large woman with glistening brown skin and wild hair that was barely contained by a bandana stood there. The woman’s eyes were slightly bulgy, the brown orbs swinging from one end of the conference room to the other.
Flo stood up. “Cook? What’s wrong?”
The big woman swayed on her feet, one flour-dusted hand grabbing for the door frame. “I…” she wavered, her face turning slightly green. “I don’t feel so good, cher.”
And with that, she crumpled downward, barely missing the frame of the door as she fell.