Photo Credit: Angela Brewer Armstrong at Todd Studios.
Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon
I’m always looking for the right solution to a problem, the perfect path to take on this journey we call life. When I concluded my marriage of eighteen years was not just dying, but had flat-lined, I ran away for a week. I needed to be somewhere else to get past the sadness and sense of failure I felt. I packed my SUV and headed down to California for a spring break with my sister.
Driving ten hours alone, you have a lot of time to deal with the stages of grief. After arriving on the central California coast, I visited several tourist towns. By then, the idea of a new start had not only become tolerable, but I was looking forward to a new adventure, a new chapter in my life.
When I drove into the little town that started my imaginings about South Cove, I found the perfect little house to buy. I snapped a quick picture. It was run down, needing paint, and had a yard that looked more like a horse pasture, but the house spoke to me. Luckily or unluckily, I didn’t listen to my wild dream of quitting my job, moving south, and starting over.
I went home, went back to work, divorced my husband, and posted the snapshot of the house on my bulletin board as a reminder of possibility.
The picture of the house stayed on my bulletin board for years. As I started over in a new town with a new husband, I found out I had breast cancer. All of a sudden, the list of things I’d do ‘someday’ rose to the top. The first thing I tackled was writing the stories I’d only kept in my head. While sitting at the hospital waiting for the next treatment, I sat reading cozy mysteries. When I was too tired to read, I planned out Jill’s story and Guidebook to Murder was born. My heroine was stronger than I’d been and took the plunge to start over when an opportunity called. My run-down house became a major feature in Jill’s fictional world—up to and including the fairy circle of mushrooms growing in the middle of the front yard.
South Cove has grown a lot from this one run-down house. From Jill’s Coffee, Books, and More, to South Cove’s Winery, and the quaint City Hall in the middle of the madness, South Cove is the perfect tourist trap. Jill Gardner is still learning about her role in South Cove’s business community and adjusting to small town life. Knowing who to trust in a new town is hard enough, but when she finds her friend and confidant dead, she’s determined to find the murderer, no matter what the cost. Even with all that drama, tourist towns can be a great place to call home, especially when they’re set on the scenic California coast. I hope you enjoy visiting South Cove as much as I did.
Guidebook to Murder, available April 2014, wherever ebooks are sold.