I’m happy to welcome mystery author Maggie King. Today, Maggie shares ten interesting characteristics of Hazel Rose, the protagonist of her novel, Murder at the Moonshine Inn.
1. Hazel Rose lived in Los Angeles for many years, working as a software developer.
2. Hazel has been married five times:
Hubby #1 She married him while they were still in college. When he embraced the “open marriage” movement of the seventies, Hazel didn’t. After two years of grappling with the open marriage issue, in addition to others, she called a divorce lawyer.
Hubby #2 Hazel lived with him for three years until she got fed up with his philandering and moved out. Neither were in a rush to remarry so didn’t bother divorcing for twelve years. At age thirty-eight, Hazel decided to get her life in order, which meant that hubby number two had to go—legally, that is.
Hubby #3 and Hazel went to Yosemite and stayed in a cabin. Apparently things were too close for comfort. To his credit, the man was faithful for the duration of their marriage, one year and twelve days.
Hubby #4 Hazel is never clear about why they decided to divorce, but hints that they had political differences. She does reveal that he died during a skiing weekend at California’s Mammoth Lakes when he wrapped himself around a tree, leaving Hazel a widow. He and some sweet young thing had been celebrating his impending divorce.
Hubby #5 Hazel’s last and best husband, Vince Castelli. He’s here to stay!
3. After Hubby #4 died and left Hazel a surprise fortune (they weren’t married long enough to file a joint tax return, so Hazel was never sure of his net worth) she and her calico, Shammy, relocated to Richmond, Virginia. Hazel’s hope of reuniting with Hubby #1 prompted the move. That hope didn’t bear fruit.
4. Hazel’s cousin Lucy offered her and Shammy temporary living quarters in Richmond. Temporary turned into five years, with Shammy and Lucy’s cat, Daisy, bonding. After four failed marriages, Hazel declared herself commitment-phobic and decided to write a romance.
5. Hazel started the Murder on Tour book group in 2003 with Carlene Arness, the current wife of Hazel’s first husband and the reason that Hazel’s hopes of remarrying her ex were dashed (see #3).
6. In 2005, Carlene Arness was killed at a meeting of the book group. Hazel had a driving need to see justice served, plus she was stuck in a life rut—and so we see the birth of an amateur sleuth in Murder at the Book Group.
7. It’s unfortunate that it took solving Carlene’s murder for Hazel to get her groove back, but she overcame her commitment phobia, married, and became a successful author of sexy baby boomer romances.
8. Hazel managed to go eight years without finding another mystery to solve. Not that she wanted one. But her nasty cousin Brad was the chief suspect in his wife’s murder and Hazel felt obligated to clear his name—because he was family.
9. Much as she loves her book group and loves reading mysteries, Hazel doesn’t feel confident that she could write one. But she toys with the idea of writing a sexy and romantic mystery. “All I have to do is add a dead body or two,” she quips.
10. Hazel is proficient with a computer, but has a devil of a time with her mischievous smartphone. Is the phone smart enough to get her out of trouble? Or does it land her in trouble? Read Murder at the Moonshine Inn and find out.
WHEN HIGH-POWERED EXECUTIVE Roxanne Howard dies in a pool of blood outside the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s premiere redneck bar, the victim’s sister enlists Hazel Rose to ferret out the killer. At first Hazel balks—she’s a romance writer, not a detective. But Brad Jones, Rox’s husband, is the prime suspect. He’s also Hazel’s cousin, and Hazel believes in doing anything to help family. Never mind that Brad won’t give her the time of day—he’s still family.
Hazel recruits her book group members to help with the investigation. It’s not long before they discover any number of people who feel that a world without Rox Howard is just fine with them: Brad’s son believes that Rox and Brad were behind his mother’s death; Rox’s former young lover holds Rox responsible for a tragedy in his family; and one of Rox’s employees filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her. The killer could be an angry regular from the Moonshine Inn—or just about anyone who ever crossed paths with the willful and manipulative Rox.
When a second murder ups the ante Hazel must find out who is behind the killings. And fast. Or she may be victim #3.
Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including the recently-released Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She contributed the stories “A Not So Genteel Murder” and “Reunion at Shockoe Slip” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies.
Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.
Where to find Maggie…