Joshua’s eldest son, Joshua “J.J.” Thornton Jr., has graduated at the top of his class from law school and returns home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to Joshua’s and Cameron’s shock and dismay, J.J. moves into the main house at Russell Ridge Farm, the largest dairy farm in the Ohio Valley, to rekindle a romance with Suellen Russell, a onetime leader of a rock group who’s twice his age. Quickly, they learn that she has been keeping a deep dark secret.
The move brings long-buried tensions between the father and son to the surface. But when a brutal killer strikes, the Lovers in Crime must set all differences aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the cross hairs of a murderer.
Vacations Can Be Murder
By Lauren Carr
I was recently asked which was my favorite book that I wish I had written. As a writer and a lover of books, I found it impossible to come up with any one book. I love murder mysteries and every time I read a great thrilling murder mystery I so wish I had written it—especially when it involves travel to a great far away land.
To me, there is nothing like a thrilling murder mystery in an exotic location. And there is no better travel agent when it comes to a murder mystery vacation than Agatha Christie.
One of the best was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This mystery revolved around a tour group that Agatha had sent up to a mountain top retreat. We had more than one dead body on that trip with a mysterious killer plucking off the vacationers one by one. That travel brochure wasn’t lying when it said “exciting” and “one to remember” … if you live through it.
I was barely a teenager when I read that book. I believe it was the first Agatha Christie I had read, but I could be wrong. With the death and elimination of each suspect, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how this writer was going to supply a killer with a reasonable explanation of not only who done it, but how.
The twist left me breathless and in awe of the Grand Dame of Mystery. It also left me striving to be even half as clever as she so that my readers could enjoy such a ride in my books.
Over the course of her writing career, Agatha Christie had sent all of her detectives on vacations and not one of them got away without a dead body turning up in their suitcase. In Murder on theOrient Express, Hercule Poirot took a trip on a train and ended up stranded in a snowstorm with a dead body and a car full of murder suspects.
In Death on the Nile, Agatha sent Poirot on a cruise on the Nile. Maybe she was trying to make up for fiasco on the train trip, and it happened again. Someone ended up dead and Poirot had to go to work. (I hate it when I go on vacation and end up having to work, don’t you?)
You would think after what her friend Hercule Poirot went through that Jane Marple would have told Agatha Christie, “Thanks, but no thanks” when she offered to send her on A Caribbean Mystery. Next thing you know, people are getting hit on the head and being shot.
I don’t think it is so much Agatha Christie as it is mystery writers in general. Our detectives need vacations and nothing is more fun than having a dead body wash ashore at the beach. Our protagonists are not the type to quietly drink margaritas on the beach. If they were, would you want to read about them?
The fact of the matter is that mystery writers are incapable of planning vacations without someone, somewhere, somehow, getting shot, stabbed, poisoned, hit over the head, or thrown off a cliff or tall building or bridge. That’s why my husband insists on planning our vacations. The worst thing that can happen on his vacations is that we can die from boredom that comes from knowing that everyone is going to get home alive. What fun is there in that?