Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Peach Clobbered" by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered
(Georgia B&B Mystery Book 1)
by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered (Georgia B&B Mystery Book 1) by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume.
Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tidy sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, GA. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit.
Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an alley with a kitchen knife in his chest.
A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit mean to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings in Peach Clobbered, Anna Gerard’s charming first Georgia B&B Mystery.

If the incidents of the past few weeks are ever turned into one of those Hallmark Channel murder mysteries, I’ll suggest the producers call it Summer of the Penguins. Which would be all the more ironic because I live in the small Georgia town of Cymbeline. Here, June temperatures climb well into the nineties, with the humidity equally off the scale. Not exactly a place conducive to our little friends from Antarctica.
And yet, when I answered the door of my three-story Queen Anne home that Saturday morning following Memorial Day, one of those black-and-white flightless birds was camped out on my doorstep. Unfortunately, the penguin in question proved to be but the first of several that I’d be encountering in the space of a few days.
At half past ten in the AM, the temperature was already hot enough to drop you if you didn’t stay properly hydrated. And that didn’t count the humidity, which was thick enough to swim in. That was why I was dressed in ragged cutoff blue jeans and a faded I AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERDS T-shirt, with my brown hair rubber-banded into a messy ponytail and bangs held back with a sweaty red bandana.
After an hour spent prying errant crabgrass, chickweed, and the occasional nettle from the jade-colored St. Augustine grass that neatly blanketed my quarter-acre front lawn, I was dangerously close to “drop me” territory. I’d just gone inside to grab a tall, restorative glass of homemade lemonade when, from my kitchen, I heard a muffled pounding on my front door.
Matilda, my Australian shepherd and the reason for my doggy T-shirt, immediately scrambled to her fuzzy feet and let out a warning woof.
“It’s okay, Mattie,” I told her as, glass in hand, I headed to the front of the house again. “Probably more tourists. Don’t worry, I’ll run them off.”
I wasn’t kidding about the tourists. I had discovered within the first week of moving from my old condo in Atlanta to my new digs in Cymbeline that owning a historic home in a touristy town came with certain drawbacks. Not the least of which was random strangers knocking on one’s door demanding a peek inside. It was probably time to get those rusty front gate hinges oiled so I could actually close said gate and keep out the riffraff. Because sometimes riffraff was code for really bad people coming to rob you and murder you in your sleep. Which was why, following my divorce a year earlier, I’d taken up my mother’s habit of keeping a weapon by my bedside.
Hers was a Louisville Slugger, the hefty wooden kind that could send a kneecap flying over the left-field fence. Since my ex was a pro golfer, I’d opted for the more appropriate steel-shafted putter … lighter, and not quite so in-your-face until it actually was.
Not that I thought I was going to need my dark-alley equalizer on a bright weekend morning. Instead, I readied my rehearsed “Sorry, go away” speech, opened my paneled front door, and peered through the screen to the wraparound porch beyond. Uh-huh, definitely a penguin, though it stood close to six feet tall, a good six inches taller than me, and was big even for an emperor penguin. He would have been taller except that his head was missing. I located it a moment later tucked beneath one large flipper.
No, he had not been decapitated.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
Peach Clobbered is a quirky, interesting and enjoyable read.” ~ The Book Decoder
“The story is superbly written, and the characters are perfect. I love all the differences, and the setting with the Shakespearean references is fabulous.” ~ Baroness’ Book Trove
“The pacing was perfect and each chapter drew me right into the next. I was engaged by the characters completely and was anxious to see how everything in this novel panned out.” ~ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
“... a great mystery that is full of charm, personality, an adorable dog, and a surprising ending. Overall a fantastic start to a new series that is perfect for cozy fans. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.” ~ Books a Plenty Book Reviews
“You will giggle, gasp and then giggle some more with this peach of a cozy!” ~ A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

About the Author
Diane A. S. Stuckart
Diane A. S. Stuckart is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series (writing as Ali Brandon). She’s also the author of the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries, as well as several historical romances and numerous mystery, fantasy, and romance short stories. The first book in her Tarot Cats Mystery series is Fool’s Moon. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series from Crooked Lane Books launched July 2019 with Peach Clobbered, written as Anna Gerard.
Diane is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served as the 2018 and 2019 Chapter President of the MWA Florida chapter. In addition to her mystery writing affiliations, she’s a member of the Cat Writers’ Association and belongs to the Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association. She’s a native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma but has been living in the West Palm Beach, Florida, area since 2006. She shares her “almost in the Everglades” home with her husband, dogs, cats, and a few beehives.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed print copy of Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard (US only).


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