Friday, March 29, 2019

"Designs On Murder" by Gayle Leeson

Designs On Murder
(Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Book 1)
by Gayle Leeson

Designs On Murder (Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Book 1) by Gayle Leeson

Designs On Murder by Gayle Leeson is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Calamity Café.

What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn’t really … alive?
Amanda Tucker is excited about opening her fashion design studio in Shops On Main, a charming old building in historic Abingdon, Virginia. She didn’t realize a ghost came with the property! But soon Maxine “Max” Englebright, a young woman who died in 1930, isn’t the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark Tinsley, a web designer with a know-it-all attitude who also rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office.
Amanda is afraid that one of her new “friends” and fellow small business owners is his killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark’s murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate – the ghostly fashionista can’t end up the killer’s next victim!

We took Grandpa Dave’s blue pickup truck back to Shops on Main. When we walked inside, Connie’s door was ajar. She was with a customer, but she waved to us. We waved back before unlocking the door and stepping into my shop.
Max was sitting on the windowsill where I’d left her.  “Good to see you’re back. I was afraid I might’ve scared you off.”
I glanced over at Grandpa because I was about to tell him that Max was here and that she’d just spoken to me, but I could tell by his wide eyes and slack jaw that he could see and hear her too.
Max winked at him. “Who’s the silver fox? Got that expression from the old jewelry gal upstairs. It suits, though. You’re a looker, mister.”
Grandpa blinked a few times and extended his hand. “I’m Dave Tucker. You must be Max.”
Max gave a tinkling laugh. “Darling, I wish I could shake your hand. I wanted to hug Amanda earlier, but I couldn’t do that either.”
“Grandpa, how can you see her?” I asked.
“The same way you can, I suppose.”
“But you said you’d never seen a—” I glanced at the door to make sure we weren’t being overheard. “—a ghost in your life.”
“Max is my first.”
Max placed a hand over her heart. “You make me blush, Dave. I haven’t been anyone’s first in ages.” She laughed again, and he laughed with her.
I merely looked back and forth between them bewildered.
“Why are you surprised that I can see and talk with her?” Grandpa asked me. “You can.”
“But no one else here can.”
“That’s true,” Max said. “Maybe I’m special to the Tuckers. We’ll have to look into it.” She tilted her chin. “The love of my life was a Channing. Are there any Channings in your family?”
“My grandfather on my mother’s side,” said Grandpa Dave.
“Wasn’t George, was it?”
“Yes.” Grandpa’s normally robust voice sounded very small and quiet.
Max got tears in her eyes. “I was running late to meet him the night I fell down the stairs...and died.”
“I’m so sorry,” Grandpa whispered.
Okay, this whole ghost thing was getting weirder by the second. Was it actually possible that Max had dated my great-great-grandfather?
I hated to ruin a strange but sappy moment. All right, no, I didn’t hate to ruin this uncomfortable moment at all.
“So, hey, what do you think about having a small table in front of this window with chairs on either side?” I asked.
They both took the hint, and we started talking about decorating.
Grandpa and I had gone all over Abingdon, Bristol, and even Lebanon, but we’d managed to find some beautiful furniture and accessories for Designs on You. We had also talked on and off all afternoon about how strange it was that both he and I could see Max.
I hurried to the shop the next morning to await the delivery of the round table and upholstered chairs we’d bought to go in the sitting and fitting room.
I noticed there was some commotion on the street. There were police cars in front of Shops on Main, and one officer was directing traffic around an ambulance. I thought there must’ve been a car accident. I took the road leading to the back of the shop, so I couldn’t see exactly what had happened. I parked in the lot and went inside through the back door.
An officer was there, and Frank and Ella were too.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“It’s Mark,” said Ella. “He’s dead.”
“Mark…” I echoed.
“He’s the web designer,” Frank supplied.
“Of course. I met him yesterday. What happened to him? Was it a car accident?”
“Someone shot him,” said Ella, “right in his office.”
“It was actually right in his chest,” said Max.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Wow, just WOW! Gayle Leeson has written a book that is the total Cat’s Pyjamas! Murder, Ghosts, and Fashion … oh MY!” ~ A Wytch’s Book Review Blog
“Fashion, a saucy ghost, and a bit of romance provide a rich backdrop to an intriguing mystery.” ~ Cozy Up With Kathy
“When you read this book (notice I didn’t say ‘if’!) you will want to read the author’s notes because she provides detail for Max’s actions and reactions based on when she lived in the 20s. I appreciated the research she did for this book and I am sure you will too.” ~ Storeybook Reviews
Designs on Murder is an entertaining cozy mystery. Amanda Tucker and Max Englebright are delightful characters.” ~ The Avid Reader
“As a sucker for a fun ghost story, I can say Gayle Leeson’s Designs on Murder scores on many levels including a spunky entrepreneur and a charming setting. Now that I’ve read the first one, I’ll be counting the days until the next in the series arrives.” ~ Lorna Barrett, author of the New York Times Bestselling Booktown Mysteries
“In Designs on Murder, Gayle Leeson sketches a stylish plot accessorized with a spectral fashionista sidekick. This series debut is a delight!” ~ Diane Vallere, national bestselling author

Guest Post by the Author
Fashion Upheaval In the 1920s
F. Scott Fitzgerald referred to the 1920s as an age of miracles in his essay, Echoes of the Jazz Age. The times were defined as prosperous, spontaneous, and euphoric following WW1 (then known as the Great War). The youth no longer wanted to dress or act like the older generation. They wanted to embrace a new culture.
Corsets and bustles were out. Shorter hemlines and body-skimming styles were in. Egyptian motifs on clothing and jewelry became popular after the King Tut tomb exhibition of 1922. And Coco Chanel ushered in women’s trousers.
Chanel opened her couture house in 1919 and quickly became one of the foremost designers of the Jazz Age. Other designers included Jeanne Lanvin, Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, and Jean Patou. Elsa Schiaparelli came onto the scene in 1927.
Since Amanda Tucker has a love of vintage fashion in Designs On Murder, I thought Max was the perfect ghostly companion for her. They both love fashion, jewelry, books, and movies. Max even provides design suggestions from time to time. I hope you’ll read the book and let me know what you think of Amanda, Max, and their fashion sense!

About the Author
Gayle Leeson
Gayle Leeson has also written as Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent. As Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series, and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing under the Gayle Leeson name. She has a series of women’s fiction novellas set in a shopping mall that has been converted to include micro-apartments (the Kinsey Falls series) and has just begun this new cozy series, the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series. Another Down South Café Mystery novel is slated for release in August with book two in the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series scheduled for October.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Designs on Murder by Gayle Lesson (US only).


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