A special treat for readers on Mother’s Day, described by author Vinnie Hansen, who shares her story of her own mother. The happiest day to all mothers out there ~
Since it’s Mother’s Day, you’ve probably already taken care of any necessary shopping. But how about a gift for yourself? Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries for only $2.99.
My mother would love this boxed set, but sadly this is my first Mother’s Day without her. Back in 1954, I was her Mother’s Day gift, the ninth of ten children, after a string of four boys. The brother before me weighed over nine pounds and my mom resolved to keep my birth weight down by snacking on ice. Vinnie on the rocks. It worked. I popped out, “an easy birth” at seven pounds, six ounces.
The two of us bonded over a love of words. When I was a child, Mama started attending college during the summers to earn a teaching credential. She did her homework on the edge of our battered round oak table, the unfolded laundry shoved into a heap in the center. A fat Funk & Wagnell’s dictionary lived on a nearby shelf. She was fond of thumping that baby onto the table and saying, “Look it up.” My problem was, and remains, if I look up “mediant,” here’s “mediastinum” and whoa, a “mediatrix.”
Crosswords, she taught me, should be done in ink. “Otherwise they’re too hard to read.” However, we never agreed on approach. I progress systematically top to bottom. My mom skimmed all the clues for anything, anywhere, she felt sure of, sticking in scattershot s’s for plurals.
Mama played Scrabble right up to the day of her death, one day shy of her 96th birthday. She liked a cooperative game where we could look at each other’s letters and help each other to think of delightful words. To her a good game covered the board, reaching the red triple word scores in the corners. To me a great game was slipping in a word like mediant.
In my grandpa’s journal, he wrote, “Gave my last dollar to Vi (my mom) for books.” When Mama passed, I was honored with her library card. This little piece of my mom rides on my bag. I transport her as books once did. In June she’ll go to Alaska. In August she’ll attend the Writers’ Police Academy with me, and in March, we’ll be off “on a lark” to Left Coast Crime in Honolulu. I also put dibs on her magnificent red hat, the crowning jewel of her collection.
My mom penned the “Hit & Miss” column for our local paper, the Pioneer Review. I received press on all of my mysteries. The day she died, she had the start of an article tucked into her bag. A bit of a hoarder, my mom saved letters, returned to the senders. On one of my letters she’s corrected my “gave Danny and I” to “Danny and me,” guiding me even from the other side.
She would have been very proud of my inclusion in the Sleuthing Women boxed set, perfect for her reading taste. On this first Mother’s Day without her, I understand that I wasn’t a gift to my mom on Mother’s Day; she was a gift to me, one that keeps giving.
Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:
Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…
Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.
Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.
In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.
The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends’ funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn’t realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.
Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.
Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME’s On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.
A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.
Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.
Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.
Vinnie Hansen fled the South Dakota prairie for the California coast the day after high school graduation.
A reading addict since childhood, Vinnie is now the author of the Carol Sabala mysteries. The seventh installment in the series, Black Beans & Venom, was a finalist for the Claymore Award. She’s also written many published short stories including “Novel Solution” in the anthology, Fish or Cut Bait, and Bad Connection, the 2015 winner of the Golden Donut Award.
Still sane after 27 years of teaching high school English, Vinnie has retired and lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and the requisite cat.