Lily Wright doesn’t care a thing about Ancient Egypt, but she does care about Peter Monroe. Lily thinks the trip to a scholarly conference sounds delightfully romantic – until they run into a predatory ex-girlfriend, an obnoxiously exuberant archaeologist and his mousey wife, a scholar who is convinced he is an Ancient Egyptian priest and a souvenir seller who may or may not be dealing in smuggled artifacts. When three murders are committed and Peter is arrested for them, Lily knows she must find the real killer – if she can stay alive long enough.
Available on Amazon
Excerpt of Murder and Miss Wright
“There are always bad people, Lily. It’s just hard to accept that they are someone we know.”
Shivering, Lily pulled away and stood before the dresser. She picked up her brush and began to pull it through her hair mindlessly, without even bothering to count the strokes. “At least they can’t blame Megan’s death on Gerda Bone. She’s in the hospital, and they won’t tell anyone anything about her condition,” she added with angry indignation.
“Gerda couldn’t have done it anyway. She’s too frail. She could have had an accomplice, though, and then it wouldn’t matter if she were in the hospital or not.”
Although Lily didn’t like it a bit, her mind immediately flashed to Toby Don Holder. He wasn’t particularly muscular, but he would probably more than capable of beating up a thin young woman like Megan Waterman. He would also do anything at all Gerda Bone asked of him.
“I don’t think she did. I don’t think she was involved in either case.”
“I know.” Peter smiled wryly. “You’ve spent most of the day telling anybody who’d listen.”
Lily stuck her tongue out at him. “I don’t know how Gerda felt about Megan Waterman or if she even knew her, but for someone as much in love with her husband as she is–was–is, how could she have?”
“Love can breed hate. How often does one spouse kill another?”
“Not Gerda. She just lay back and let him walk all over her!”
“Maybe she had enough of it. Even worms turn, you know.”
“I’d rather think it could have been one of his other wives…” Her hairstyle completely destroyed, Lily laid down the brush and began creaming her hands.
“Wives? What wives?” Peter asked, then said, “You know you look like Lady Macbeth when you do that.”
“I’m told she had lovely hands,” Lily replied frivolously, but quit wringing her hands with such vigor. “Tyrus Bone’s wives. Ex-wives.”
“I knew about Dr. Ramsgate. Did Tyrus have another ex?”
“Yes, I saw her today. Dr. Carolyn Griffiths.”
Peter looked startled. “Dr. Griffiths? She’s just about the foremost iconographer and art historian working today. Who told you she had been married to Tyrus?”
“Zale Redding. He had just rescued me from Arthur Stern.”
In spite of himself Peter chuckled. “Poor baby. Was he wearing his Tut mask?”
“No, his bookseller hat. He wanted to take me upstairs and sell me his two books–at ninety dollars apiece, no less.”
“If I were going to take you upstairs I wouldn’t bother about books,” Peter said and with a grin pulled Lily back against him.
“In case you hadn’t noticed, we are upstairs.” Lily slipped into his embrace.
“So what are you going to do about it?”
“What do I always do about it?” With delicate precision Peter began to nibble on Lily’s ear.
“What about dinner?” Lily’s imp of perversity asked.
“That depends on what we want to eat…” Peter’s lips slid from her ear–moving carefully around her somewhat spiky earrings–and down the column of her neck. “We can always have room service later.”
“Now I remember why I love you…” Lily started and stiffened in Peter’s arms. “What’s that?”
“I heard something… it sounded like it came from over there.” She pointed in the direction of the vandalized room.
For a moment they even stopped breathing, then Peter said with the utter reasonableness of a man who never heard unexplained noises, “From there? That’s locked up.”
“I was sure I heard something…”
“This is a hotel, honey. There are always unexplained noises. Now,” he said in a completely different tone, “you were going to tell me why you love me…”
“Because you’re so predictable,” Lily said, but with a completely different connotation from her first thought.
“Funny…” Peter’s lips resumed their nibbling down the length of her neck. “No one ever told me predictability was sexy…”
Lily drew and exhaled a deep, ecstatic breath. “There’s a lot we women don’t tell.” Using her last bit of willpower she pushed him back. “Give me a minute to freshen up, will you?”
“I’ll start timing now.”
Kissing him impudently on the nose, Lily turned toward the bathroom. She had barely closed the door and turned on the water when a blast of noise erupted. First a muffled shouting, then a crash, then a solid thunk, then an odd, heavy slither.
Surely, Lily thought as she dashed back into the bedroom, Peter had to have heard that!
Peter had heard, and more. He looked up uncomprehendingly at Lily, but Lily didn’t comprehend either. The connecting door to the other room, the door that Peter checked every night to be sure was locked, was open. There were splashes of glowing wet red on the floor, splashes that looked horribly familiar to Lily. Peter sat sprawled in the center of the room, his arms clasped around Salim Mafouz’ chest. Mafouz’ face was oddly flattened and misshapen beneath a rising spring of blood. He was also very obviously dead.
It was a killer Christmas…
By all accounts it should have been a perfect holiday. A beautiful, elegant house. Rebecca’s future relatives all together, talking happily about her upcoming Christmas afternoon wedding to Peter. A gorgeous tree surrounded by presents. A Christmas-card perfect snowfall.
But the snowfall turned into a freak blizzard, trapping Rebecca and Peter in with his family. Then, once the house was completely isolated and no one could enter or leave, the most obnoxious member of the family is found stabbed. And garroted. And perhaps poisoned. Who really killed Harvey… and how?
Can Rebecca solve this murder? More importantly, does she really want to?
Amazon – http://a.co/d/duJYjpX
Most importantly, I sent four manuscripts to my editor – OH, DEADLY NIGHT, a novella for a Christmas-themed mystery anthology; WELCOME HOME, a sort of women’s fiction/gothic/thriller; an as-yet unnamed romance set in my beloved Palo Duro canyon; and THE MASTER OF MORECOMBE HALL, a traditional gothic set in contemporary…
Notice something different? Yep – I’ve finally started a newsletter, and you can sign up just above this! It’s going to be an occasional thing, just when I have a new release or something truly newsworthy has happened. In researching doing a newsletter I subscribed to several, and a few…
How on earth did it get to be December so quickly? Of course, I’m still wondering how it got to be 2016! Time seems to be just zipping by! Anyway, I’ve got a lot of news to share.
First of all, I have finally begun a newsletter, please sign up. It’s going to be a casual thing, sent out only when I have a new release or something really exciting to announce. In the spirit of research I subscribed to a number of author newsletters and was astounded to see how often some send them out – believe it or not, some writers send mailings three and four times a week! How do they find that much to say? Or find the time to do it? Or find any time to write after doing it? No way – I’ll never do anything that over the top. If you’re interested – and I hope you are – there’s post above that will get you on the list.
Second chances are often the best. Twelve years ago, long-time sweethearts, Verity Morrison and Bradford Pemberton, were torn apart by a vengeful act of Verity’s jealous sister. Refusing any other suitors, Verity has descended into spinsterhood at the family estate, her heart broken. After being disgraced and exiled to foreign lands, a now wealthy Bradford has returned to England in order to get to know his nephew, Charlie, better. He’s quite surprised to run into Verity who is chaperoning her niece. Their feelings are as intense for each other as always, but Bradford believes Verity long married and Verity believes Bradford is under her sister’s thrall. Neither bothers to correct the other. It takes a kidnapping, an unexpected rescuer, and mistaken identities to prove that true love does indeed deserve a second chance.
THE HOUSE IN THE PINES, is a gothic novella is set in the woods of East Texas.
Hired to write the biography of elderly tycoon Henry Wolfe, Dianne Grayson happily comes to Wolfe House, a Victorian mansion set deep in the piney woods of East Texas… a house she has always wanted to see. Henry Wolfe is just as autocratic and overbearing as she expected, but no matter how he acts she is determined to stay there until she gets the answers she wants.
What she did not count on was his rugged grand-nephew and a startlingly handsome and attentive young cowboy, both of whom show great interest in her, nor how the mysteries of the past can affect and endanger the present day.
Once she discovers the truth, is it too late for her to save her own life?
Pamela Thomas says “I chose this book because I know Janis and have read several of her novels. There seems to be a little bit of Janis in her books and this one was no exception. This book is written so true to the Texas I’ve come to know and love for the last 30 years, it’s easy to slip inside of the Woods and spend a few hours with willfull women, wild weather and wicked. . . oops almost said too much. I enjoyed the read. ”
Prefer a paperback https://www.amazon.com/House-Pines-Janis-Susan-May/dp/1941520189
Hope you had a wonderful Halloween! I love Halloween – it’s really the only truly grown-up holiday in my opinion. For one night you get to be anyone or anything you want – the apogee of grown-up ‘play like’. I’m just sorry that grown-ups can’t go door to door demanding candy… my waistline, however, isn’t.
We haven’t had trick or treaters for years. One reason is that our front door is at the back of the house (yes, it’s a very unusual structure – doesn’t have any hallways, either!) and can be reached only by walking down a long and dark driveway. The fact that in the last window on the driveway I have on permanent display a 4 foot tall mummy doesn’t help. (Of course it’s a fake, darn it, but it’s a good one.) I used to put one of those battery operated tea lights in front of it because otherwise you can’t see it in the dark… it was a lovely spooky effect!