Thursday, May 11, 2023




A Clean, Cozy Mystery




Blooming with Murder (A Sierra Pines B&B Mystery)  
by Kathryn Long


About 'Blooming With Murder'



Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series 
Setting - California Camel Press (March 14, 2023) 
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 220 pages ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1684920671  
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1684920679 Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B6YB1ZL9


Spring is blooming in Sierra Pines, and everyone’s busy preparing for the annual Spring Fling Festival. Ali Winston takes her B&B guests for a tour, and their first stop is the face painting booth. Local school board president, Melvin Renville, is there to honor a bet he lost to the student body by having his face painted. However, things turn tragic when he has an allergic reaction and ends up dead. No one is more surprised than Ali’s best friend and art teacher, Lyla Lane, when it’s discovered her face paint contains peanut oil, an ingredient Renville was highly allergic to. Lyla insists she’d never use store bought paint, only homemade, because in teaching elementary school, she’s aware many kids have food allergies.

Ali suspects someone wanted Renville dead and cleverly framed Lyla for the crime. The question is who had motive and the opportunity to pull off such a daring deed? Of course, rumors spread and fingers point at Lyla when word gets out that Renville had notified her, merely hours before his death, that the art program and her job would be cut next year. Talk about a motive to kill. With Sheriff Sterling painting Lyla as his prime suspect, Ali is determined to help her friend by discovering the true killer and to keep spring blooming in Sierra Pines.



"Renville hopped off the podium stand and sat down in the chair next to the paint booth while everyone clapped and cheered him on.
How he managed to express such a pleasant disposition in public yet
act so vindictive disturbed me. He had most people fooled. Too bad the
nice guy had a dark side.
Lyla placed pads on Renville’s eyes then applied a base with a damp
sponge. Once done, she dipped a thin brush into a can of purple paint,
which was actually lavender. She was the artist and thrived on accuracy.
Carefully she outlined the face then switched to a broader brush and
began covering his entire face.
“Ursula! Ursula!” Students, mostly from the high school, clapped and
chanted as Renville was transformed.
Lyla stood back and smiled. She reached behind her and pulled out a
white wig, then handed it to the school board president.
Renville’s smiled quivered as if he struggled to keep his pleasant
expression in place. Hesitating only a few seconds, he removed his ball
cap and tugged the wig over his head.

Laughter broke out, along with whistles and cheers, followed by
someone shouting words that were difficult to comprehend. Soon, others
joined in the chant.

I chuckled as I figured out what they were saying. “Poor Unfortunate
Souls. Sing it. Sing it.”

“Do you think he will?” Gladys stepped alongside me.

“Well, he’s gone this far. What’s a line or two of a song going to hurt?”
I grinned. “All in the name of school spirit. Isn’t that what he said?”

Renville held up both arms to quiet the crowd. “I’m afraid I don’t
know the lyrics. How about our school victory song instead? We can
sing it together.” Without waiting for a response, he belted out the first
line of the spirit song but almost immediately stopped to clear his throat.
“Could someone please get me a cup of water?” By now, he was coughing uncontrollably and his face turned bright red. He stumbled several yards away from the booth before stopping to bend over and clutch his throat.

Lyla quickly pulled a water bottle out of her cooler and popped the
lid. She hurried to Renville and handed him the bottle.

I raced to where they stood with Gladys right behind me. “Please
stand back, everyone,” I said. “Give the man room to breathe.”

“I’m calling for the EMTs.” Lyla’s hand trembled as she pressed the
button on her phone.

“Maybe he’ll be okay. The water seems to help.” I tried to calm her but
kept a wary eye on Renville. The coughing had stopped but his breathing became labored as his mouth gaped open to gulp air.

“Yes. Please come to the Sierra Pines festival grounds. A man seems
to be in distress. I’m not sure what’s wrong, but please hurry.” She covered the phone and stared at me unblinking. “I don’t understand. He was fine. Laughing, joking. I don’t get it.” She pressed the back of her hand to her lips. “Oh, my gosh.” Her eyes widened as she pointed.

I turned to follow her gaze. Renville lay on the ground, eyes closed.
His chest moved up and down in a rapid pace.

“Is he dead?” A young woman cried out.

“No, look. Isn’t he breathing? I mean, sort of.” Someone else said.

A siren screamed in the distance and grew louder. I hugged Lyla. “It’s
going to be okay. You’ll see.” I whispered without an ounce of confidence.
By now, Renville’s face looked distorted. Tiny blisters covered his cheeks and his eyes looked puffy. Whatever happened came on fast and with no explanation.

Just then, the EMT van steered onto the lot and came within a few
yards of us before stopping. Two men jumped out of the vehicle and carried a gurney across the field until they reached us. One of them knelt down to check Renville’s pulse then signaled to the other. He jabbed a needle into Renville’s thigh and placed an oxygen mask on his face.

“Is he . . . will he be okay? I mean, he was fine a few minutes ago.”
Lyla’s voice hitched, and she clutched my arm. “Ali, I have a really bad
feeling about this.”

I motioned for Gladys to help me guide Lyla to a chair. I couldn’t find
any words to comfort my friend. Instead, I focused my gaze on the EMTs who knelt down next to Renville. The scene played in slow motion, as if each detail divided into tinier details, each step they took lasted infinite seconds long.

Yeah, I had a really bad feeling too and the worry lay heavy on my
chest as I struggled to take a deep breath.

“Ali?” Lyla rasped and squeezed my hand.

The EMT who spoke to his partner finally glanced our way. He didn’t
need to say anything. I could tell by his grim expression. Without waiting any longer, he turned to help carry the gurney to the van. I heaved my chest and a quivering breath eased out of me. I knew in my gut. Melvin Renville was dead."



About Kathryn Long

Kathryn Long is a native Ohioan who spends her days plotting murder and writing mysteries. She's a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. She’s actively involved in the writing and publishing worlds and stays up to date on her social media platforms. Kathryn lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio. The B&B series also includes Boarding with Murder and Snowed Under Murder. Inspiration for the storyline comes from her classic movie obsession, particularly Arsenic and Old Lace, and her love for Cary Grant. Kathryn also writes the PAINT BY MURDER mystery series under the name Bailee Abbott.


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May 1 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT  
May 1 – Maureen's Musing – SPOTLIGHT  
May 2 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  
May 2 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT  
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May 5 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
May 6 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW  
May 7 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT 
May 8 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT  
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May 10 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT 
May 11 – Novels Alive – REVIEW  
May 11 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT  
May 12 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT & EXCERPT



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