Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Guest Post, Giveaway


The Blurb

Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana's Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder? 

Hired to craft a veil for a socialite getting married at Morningside Plantation means Missy can bask in the height of antebellum atmosphere. But when the bride is found dead in a women's bathroom, Missy the milliner finds herself entangled in one unfashionable murder. With the list of suspects thicker than the sweltering Louisiana heat, including a gaggle of bridesmaids shedding nary a tear and a family with no shortage of enemies, it seems anyone at the mansion may have done away with the bride-to-be. While Missy has Southern charm to spare, she's going to need more than manners and a manicure to put a hat pin on this murderous affair . . .

Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting
Series: A Missy DuBois Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Print Publisher: Kensington
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1601837143
ISBN-13: 978-1601837141
e-Publisher: Lyrical Underground 
e-Book File Size: 561 KB
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The Excerpt

Before Beatrice could say more, the front door flew open and in stomped an elderly gentleman. He was on the verge of a good old-fashioned hissy fit. 

“Y’all don’t deserve a say in this wedding!” he said to a young woman who’d slunk in behind him. 

The girl looked to be the right age for his daughter. She wore flip-flops and a wrinkled peasant blouse, and she buried her head in her hands. Well, that lifted the blouse an inch or two and exposed her bare stomach.

Lorda mercy. It seemed the girl and her fianc√© must have eaten supper before they said grace, as we said here in the South, because an unmistakable bump appeared under her top. She looked to be about four months along, give or take a few weeks, and I could see why her daddy wasn’t too happy with her right about now. 

After a piece, she lifted her chin and glared at him. “I hate you!” Her voice rippled as cold as the river water that ran nearby. “I wish you were dead.” She stalked away.

I fully expected the man to cringe, or at least follow her. Instead, he merely glanced our way and shrugged. After a minute, he pivoted on the spectacle he’d caused and casually strolled away, leaving a bit of frost in the air. 

“Oh my. Why don’t we continue,” Beatrice said.

Poor Beatrice. She obviously wanted to divert our attention elsewhere. It couldn’t have been every day one of her hotel guests wished another guest was dead. She hustled us farther into the ballroom, as if nothing had happened, all the while explaining the history of Morningside Plantation.

Author Guest Post

Why Southerners Are Just Different

By Sandra Bretting

I’ll never forget the first time I visited a county fair in the South. It was hot — we’re talking melt your flip-flops on the pavement kind of hot — and my husband and I wandered through a maze of booths with our tongues hanging out. Just as we passed a group of women huddled together under an awning, one of them called out, “Hey… do y’all want a Coke? You look kinda hot.”

I spun around to see who could be behind us. When I realized she was talking to me, I shyly approached her. “How much does it cost?”

“Cost?” she laughed. “I asked if you wanna a Coke. There’s no charge.”

You could have blown me over with a stiff breeze, which we never did find on that day. Why would a stranger — someone I’d never met and would probably never see again — offer me a Coke and a shady place to sit? It didn’t make sense, and I pondered it for days afterward.

That county fair was almost twenty years ago. I still live in the South, although my Mississippi girlfriend swears Houston doesn’t qualify, and I’m still amazed at the kindness of strangers here. At the risk of alienating three other points on a compass, I’ve developed a few theories about what sets Southerners apart:

It Really is the Humidity, not the Heat 

Anyone who suffers through the summertime in Louisiana, Texas, or any Gulf state, for that matter, knows humid. The soak-your-shirt-with-sweat-before-breakfast kind of humidity that requires three showers in one day. The kind that makes you “glow” like a racehorse by noon. And the type that makes you bless Jim Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning. 

But the torrid weather also creates a certain hardiness in people, I think. Like the black-eyed Susan, it teaches them to bloom where they’re planted and make the most of any situation. As one of my neighbors says, “There’s no use getting’ yer gussie up,” especially about things that can’t be helped.

Playing “Ten Degrees of Separation” is a Regional Sport

Everyone in the South knows at least one person you know. Finding that connection draws strangers together like a magnet to steel. If your ex-brother-in-law’s cousin’s uncle taught high-school English, odds are good the person standing next to you in line knows at least one of his students. The trick is to find the connection before the conversation ends.

Manners Still Matter… A Lot

Woe to the child who doesn’t address anyone over the age of twenty as “sir” or “ma’am.” And because someone knows someone who knows her mother, she’ll hear about it by the time she gets home. 

To be honest, there’s something especially endearing about having a five-year-old address you as “ma’am,” even if she is doing it under duress. 

These are just a few of the things I’ve found that set Southerners apart. It’d probably take a lifetime to catalogue all the ways in which they’re different from their neighbors up north. Instead of doing that, I’ll think I’ll go sip on some sweet tea and wait for this dad-burned heat to break. 

The Author

About Sandra Bretting

Sandra Bretting works as a freelance feature writer under contract to the Houston Chronicle. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and wrote for other publications (including the Los Angeles Times and Orange Coast Magazine) before moving to Texas. 

Her Missy DuBois Mysteries series debuts from Kensington/Lyrical Underground in May 2016. Bretting’s previous mysteries include Unholy Lies (2012) and Bless the Dying (2014).
Find Sandra on the web at

The Giveaway

Sandra Bretting will award a $20 Amazon/B&N Gift Card 
to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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