Sand Trapped: Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series by Joanna Campbell Slan
About Sand Trapped
First they warned Jocelyn Johnson.
Then they ticketed Jocelyn Johnson.
It wasn’t a surprise. The neighbors hated JJ for the reckless way she drove her golf cart. Sure, she lived on the grounds of a swanky golf club, and yes, she had tons of money, but JJ ruined flowerbeds, terrorized grandkids, and made a nuisance of herself.
Except…except…she’s quiet now. Lying there in the dirt at Hole #6. Someone bashed in JJ’s head. (Who would risk ruining an expensive Homna golf club like that?)
Cara doesn’t want to get involved. But when GertaHunsickler is named the prime suspect, and Gerta’s husband is so angry at his wife that he’s starting divorce proceedings, Cara can’t sit on her hands. She knows what it’s like to be unfairly accused. So she promises to take a swing at it and see if she can hit a long drive down the fairway of justice!
Meanwhile, back at The Treasure Chest, Cara’s friends are busy creating fabulous and fun Mother’s Day gifts. There are two brides-to-be working for Cara, and their two mothers-in-law-to-be have decided not to play nice. Can you say, “Mama’s boy” ten times really fast? I thought you could.
If you love warm-hearted, clean books, that feature female amateur sleuths, fur babies, family, and friends, you’ll love this charming DIY/recycling/upcycling series set on the Southeast Coast of Florida.
The day was glorious. A very, very light breeze kept us from getting hot in the sunshine. If you closed your eyes and concentrated on the smell, you could almost taste saltwater. The sky was the sort of blue you only find in a box of crayons, and that swath of color was interrupted by fluffy patches of clouds that roamed the sky like sheep. A little green lizard watched Aurora hit the ball squarely when we stopped at the fifth hole. The sun felt warm on my arms and legs, and I realized I needed to reapply sunscreen. But for the moment, the gentle sensation only made me drowsy.
“Sand trap ahead,” warned Aurora, climbing behind the wheel of our cart. “That sixth hole is a real doozy.”
Her commentary was unnecessary. No one could forget what was coming next.
“Time to test our luck,” I said.
“Skill,” Aurora corrected me.
She was right and I agreed, feeling glad we’d played this course together. We could cheer each other on and we could commiserate any failures. The latter was more frequent than the former.
“Even so, I wish you good luck,” I told her.
“Same to you,” she said before she took her shot.
I took my shot from five, and we drove the golf cart up a ridge and through a clump of palm trees. A big green iguana stared down at us from a perch on the branch of a sea grape tree. His googly eyes followed our progress. A handful of Snowy Egrets did a stiff-legged march around the turf, looking for small bugs to eat. All the natural beauty around us made my heart swell.
At the foot of the trees was a thick planting of schefflera bushes. From the top of the ridge, there was a narrow lane to the left, but getting your ball to travel along that thin path was extremely challenging. The more likely scenario was that you’d hit the ball up toward the ridge, and it would fall down into a bowl, a sand trap. Once you landed there, you had your work cut out for you. Many a golfer had dug their own tunnel to China while trying to hit out of the sand trap.
There were houses on three sides. For entertainment, I bet those homeowners took drinks outside and watched people try to fight their way free of the sand trap. That hazard was so tricky that it must have provided hours of entertainment. In fact, I’d heard there were a handful of people who refused to play Sandy Ridge because of the sixth hole. One golfer said, “It’s like the most depressing hole ever. I get there and all my confidence deserts me. You can feel your game trickling through your fingers."
“Now the fun begins,” said Aurora as she climbed out of the golf cart. “Where, oh where, are our balls?”
My shot had fallen short, landing on the rise that built up like the sides of a bowl with the “soup” being the sand. But Aurora’s had gone directly toward the sand trap. “Is it possible that I shot over it?” Aurora wondered. “How good would that be?”
Since we’d located my ball, and hers obviously had gone farther, we decided to divide up the grounds. Aurora walked along the rim, searching the grass at her feet. I walked up the crest of the rise and stared directly down into the sand trap. What I saw there in the midst of the yellow granules made me gasp.
“Find it?” asked Aurora.
“Sort of. Um, I think I found an immoveable object,” I said. “You’ll definitely need a ruling from the marshal on this.”
“Really?” Aurora came back to where I was standing. She stared at me defiantly. “We should be able to play through. I’ve got the rule book in the cart.”
“Right,” I said. “But when you find a corpse do you get to take a drop?”
Aurora gasped just like I had. The two of us stared down at the body of a woman in golfing clothes.
Cara Mia Delgatto’s Broccoli and Chicken Penne Dish
Cara comes from a long line of Italian women who love to cook. This dish is an easy favorite that comes together fast!
1 pkg. (13.5 oz.) penne pasta
1 T. salt
1 lb. broccoli florets (chopped, frozen will work)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
¼ C. olive oil
5 tsp. minced garlic
½ C. freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
Crushed red paper flakes to taste
Salt to taste
1. Boil 6 quarts water in large pot. Add 1 T. salt.
2. Stir in pasta and broccoli.
3. Cook 9-11 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a medium size frying pan. Add chicken, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes—and cook until chicken is done. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Remove 2 C. of cooking water.
7. Mix in large bowl: Cooking water, broccoli and pasta, chicken, and Parmesan cheese.
8. Serve immediately.
About Joanna Campbell Slan
"Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous." That's how RT Book Review describes Joanna's protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that's a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.
Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let's not even go there.
Otherwise, Joanna's a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).
Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë's classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle's books), and the Zen Cozy Mystery Series (launch 2021).
A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.
In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at https://linktr.ee/jcslan