Death on Paradise Creek is a murder mystery seasoned with heartbreak, adventure, a little romance, and a touch of humor. It is the first in a planned three book series.
The Paradise Creek Inn is open for business in rural Wilbarger County Texas. Business is slow except for the occasional parties for family or friends, until a prestigious actor becomes stranded on the property. Suddenly Lizzie Fletcher and her family are booking parties and events left and right – a dream come true.
Things quickly change when the hired hand makes a gruesome discovery. Sheriff Wade Adams and his team are called to investigate. While evidence is being analyzed, another body is discovered. Long kept secrets revolving around these discoveries begin to unravel.
Death on Paradise Creek is a 60,929 word, 205 page murder mystery set in Wilbarger County Texas.
Paperbacks are $15.95 and ebooks are $6.99
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Lizzie woke Saturday morning to the smell of coffee brewing. She hadn’t realized how much she missed waking up to that smell. She always had coffee after she got to work. She went downstairs to find Ellen and Lois sitting at the kitchen table.
“Good morning, Mama. Good morning, Granny,” she said as she planted a kiss on each woman’s cheek. “Where’s Daddy?”
“He had to get started moving the cattle to the east pasture. He said he’d be missing a lot of work since we’ll be in town for Jan’s festivities later this week,” Ellen explained.
“Lizzie, sit down; I want to talk to you about something,” Lois said.
“Okay. It sounds like something serious Granny.”
“Well, it is in a way. Is your job in Chicago the kind of job you always dreamed about?”
“No, it isn’t. It’s a work my way up the ladder and pay my dues kind of job.”
“Would you still like to run your own inn?”
“That has always been my dream, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”
“Alright then. I have a proposition for you. I’m getting too old to live in that great big house all alone. You’re parents and I have been talking about this, and we want to see what you think. We’ll turn the house over to you. You can renovate it and make it into the inn you’ve always dreamed of owning.”
“Now, let me finish,” Granny interrupted.” I’ll move in here with James and Ellen. You’ll manage the inn. I’ll fund the renovations, within reason mind you. Your parents and I will help when you need it. The old place needs fixing up anyway, and I see no reason to fix it up only for one old lady. It will become a family business.” Granny paused for a moment, and then said, “Well what do you think?”
Lizzie didn’t know what to say. She wanted to jump at the chance to design and run her own inn.
Outside of a Southwestern Literature class that I took in college, I haven’t read too many Texas authors who base their novels on our great state. Smithwick-Braden does a fine job of portraying her characters as Texans without going hillbilly. While I initially found it hard to immerse myself in the first few chapters (they’re a flashback to the time of saloons and posses), I felt comfortable as the author hit her stride during the present day story. She has an ear for dialogue, which helps flesh out the characters and make them believable. While I thought that the story may have had too many fantastical things happening at once (I don’t read many mysteries, so maybe this is normal), I was eager to read on to see what happened next. Honestly, I think 3 separate (and interesting!) mystery novels could have come out of this single story, but I could see why so many different plot lines and twists were employed to keep the reader from guessing the truth. Or in my case, guessing the truth but doubting my gut feeling every few chapters. If you read this one, feel free to drop me a comment so we can discuss. I look forward to reading the sequel!
Dianne Smithwick-Braden is a native Texan raised in rural Wilbarger County on the family farm. She is a graduate of Vernon High School and West Texas A & M University. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband, Richard. She has been a high school science teacher in Amarillo since August of 1990.
Dianne is an avid reader of fiction but murder mysteries are by far her favorite genre. Death on Paradise Creek is her first novel. She has already begun work on a sequel.
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