Hi there, guys and dolls! Andrea and Heather here and don’t we feel blessed. Lately, we have made so many new friends and curious visitors to the wonderful world of Barbara Jean Coast, and the Santa Lucia she inhabits. It keeps us walking happy and finger snappy (currently listening to Radio Deluxe playing Peggy Lee as we write this, thank you so much for the inspiration, John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey :-)). Anyhoo, for our new travelers interested in a trip to our fair town and to meet Poppy Cove’s fair Daphne and Margot, here is the scoop on the first three books and links to the Kindle copies. And for those of you who have been with us all along and are all caught up, we are happy to report that personal situations have become more manageable and health is improving, and on course for a full recovery by mid to the end of July, allowing us to finally be able to devote more time, love and energy in Barbara Jean’s glamorous gals and the world they live in. We’ll deliver book four to you as soon as we can. What we are able to say now is that there are some new faces, old dears, blossoming ladies ready to make your acquaintance in their very fashionable way. And as it turns out, not all homemakers are happy, and being a domestic goddess may not be natural to all our delightful ladies. So there!
STRANGLED BY SILK – Darlings! Here’s the scoop on my first mystery. It’s all about Daphne and Margot — two independent young California women in 1957 -– own their own dress shop called Poppy Cove.
When one of their top clients –– Constance Stearns-Montgomery –– is strangled to death with her own silk scarf at the opening ceremonies for her new girls’ academy, Daphne and Margot are shocked. They can’t believe that such a horrid crime could take place in their sleepy little oceanside village of Santa Lucia. Worse, they’ve lost one of their best clients. The two women quickly become embroiled in solving the crime. After all, if anyone can track down the killer, it should be them. Margot’s long-time beau is the town’s top cop, and Daphne is a master at using her flirtatious wiles to extract information from unsuspecting men.
Of course, neither girl will let their snooping get in the way of more urgent tasks such as choosing new textiles and accessories for Poppy Cove or planning their fall fashion show or –– most important –– selecting the appropriate ensemble to wear for each and every occasion. But these two fashion detectives are on the case, and the murderer –– and the poorly attired –– had better watch out!
DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN – It’s the 1950’s in Santa Lucia, California, and the height of the social season. Time for the new Miss Santa Lucia, Nora Burbank, to display her loveliness at a high society fashion show produced by the city’s own fashionistas — Margot and Daphne, owners of Poppy Cove, the most elegant and “in” little dress shop in the county.
Nora steals the show in her designer gown and custom-made necklace created by local jeweler Isaac Mendelson, and used on the sly by his apprentice son-in-law, Efrem Goldberg. At the conclusion of the show, the young queen is allowed to keep her dress and a replica of the necklace for her own. But Monday morning, Efrem arrives in a panic at Poppy Cove to beg Margot and Daphne’s assistance in tracking down the real necklace, which he believes was inadvertently switched for the replica backstage. The girls get involved in Efrem’s dilemma and try to help him before Isaac’s any the wiser. But before that can happen, Miss Santa Lucia is found dead in her bed and the necklace is missing.
Who killed Nora Burbank? Is it someone jealous of her new royal position and all of its perks? Or did she just happen to be in the way when a thief attempted to steal her diamond-studded necklace? Did Nora have the real or the fake necklace, and how much did the thief and murderer know about it? But, of course, before the girls can find the killer, they’ll have to create several beautiful ensembles, calm numerous irate clients, and flirt with their ever-so-attentive boyfriends, before solving this mystery.
A NATE TO REMEMBER – It’s springtime in Santa Lucia and everything is blooming, including the Poppy Cove dress shop. 1958 is proving to be a banner year for its young owners Margot Williams and Daphne Huntington-Smythe –– with Hollywood starlets becoming customers and attracting national attention to their business. Even the girls’ love lives are blossoming. But a casual walk with their boyfriends along the beachfront after an art show suddenly turns shocking, when an unidentified man’s body is found washed up on the shore, with a gunshot wound clean through his heart.
The startling discovery becomes personal when the police arrive at the dress shop the next day and confirm that the dead man is none other than Nate––Nathan––Reed, Margot’s ex-husband! Everyone is astounded; Margot has always been secretive about her background, but no one thought it included a spouse. The news becomes even worse when it’s discovered that Margot had a hidden handgun which has now gone missing, and is the same caliber as the one that killed her ex. The young designer finds herself the prime suspect in the murder. She feels even more alone when her police detective boyfriend Tom is forbidden to associate with her while the crime is investigated.
As Margot’s past comes to light, Daphne must come to terms with the news about her friend and business partner, which causes her to wonder if maybe she’s lived too sheltered a life. Determined to have her own secret adventure, Daphne gets herself involved in a predicament more daring than she bargained for.
With Margot working hard to prove her innocence and Daphne trying to lose hers, Nathan’s killer is still on the loose and creating more havoc. That dead man on the beach is truly A NATE TO REMEMBER.
Andrea & Heather
aka that Barbara Jean