Finding Fall in Florida… by Kathleen Bridge

It’s mid-September and I can’t wait to make my favorite acorn squash soup. My secret tip after filling each individual bowl: drizzle maple syrup on top in the design of a pumpkin. My phone rings, I pick it up.

“Kathy, glad I caught you,” my friend from Long Island says.

“Just walked in. I was at the farm stand.”

“Farm stand! You have farm stands in Florida?”

“Yes. We have farm stands, we even have farmer’s markets. Let me call you right back. I have to unpack my bags.”

I put the bags on the counter and pull out orange beets, acorn squash, Seminole pumpkins, organic apples with a scent so intoxicating, my mind goes back to the autumns of my childhood in Michigan, which included trips to the cider-mill, hayrides, corn mazes, and pumpkin picking.

Granted, moving to the central east coast of Florida after living most of my life in the Midwest and Northeast was a shock to my system. My first fall in Florida, I spent time pining away for autumns-past at Barnes and Noble, sipping pumpkin-spice lattes, reading fall vintage-décor and culinary magazines, and purchasing cozy mysteries with bright autumn-themed covers that featured dancing skeletons, black cats, hayrides, and harvest festivals.

This fall in Florida is different. Now fall means open windows, maple-scented candles, trips to the local nursery to see fall colors in tropical plants, wearing jeans, turtles hatching, migrating birds, bonfires on the beach toasting marshmallows, and yes, hayrides, corn mazes, festivals, pumpkin picking, and giving out candy to trick-or-treaters who don’t have to wear heavy coats that hide their adorable costumes.

Fall in Florida also means a new tradition of trips to the bookstore for my fall fix of cozies, magazines, and iced pumpkin-spice lattes. Memories of past and present autumns merge.

I think I’ve finally found fall in Florida…

The breathtaking barrier island of Melbourne Beach, Florida, is every tourist’s fantasy—until murder washes ashore . . .

Trading the urban sprawl of Manhattan for the tranquility and exotic beauty of a Florida barrier island was the best decision author Liz Holt ever made. What could be more ideal for relaxing, regrouping, and getting a writer’s creative juices flowing than observing life at the unconventional hotel that has been in Liz’s family for generations? But it’s death that grips the island when a body sweeps in on the tide . . .

The victim was a member of a fishing crew lost at sea who may or may not have drowned. Despite the corpse in their crosshairs, the staff of the Indialantic by the Sea Hotel and Emporium continues its plans for its first annual Pirates’ Weekend. But things go further awry when both a hurricane and a killer leave a trail of destruction. Liz and her new boyfriend must figure out who’s behind the carnage before they also end up in Davy Jones’ locker . . .

Recipes included!

Praise for Kathleen Bridge

“A delightful sneak peek into life in the Hamptons, with intricate plotting and a likeable, down-to-earth protagonist. A promising start to a promising series.” —Suspense Magazine on Better Homes and Corpses

“The descriptions of furniture and other antiques, as well as juicy tidbits on the Hamptons, make for entertaining reading for those who enjoy both antiques and lifestyles of the rich and famous.” —Booklist on Better Homes and Corpses

“An excellent read.” —RT Book Reviews on Hearse and Gardens

“Ghostal Living is a marvelously entertaining tale of revenge, murder, quirky characters—and disappearing books! With a clever protagonist, wonderful details of life in the Hamptons, and plot twists on top of plot twists, Kathleen Bridge will have mystery readers clamoring for more.” —Kate Carlisle, New York Times bestselling author