“The author blends theater lore with a deeper psychological layer, and always on stage is her delightful sense of humor. The concept of a mash-up of The Sound of Music and Cabaret is as brilliant as it is ripe for absurdity, and readers will thoroughly enjoy this extremely fun mystery that entertains until the final curtain call.” – Kings River Life Magazine
“The mystery kept me glued to the pages… a fun read that had me roaring with laughter… I can’t wait to see what happens next in this amusingly entertaining series.” Dru’s Book Musings
“The setting is irresistible, the mystery is twisty, and Ivy is as beguiling as ever, but what I really loved was the death and complexity of painful human relationships right there in the middle of a sparkly caper. Roll on Ivy #3 !” Catriona McPherson, Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author of The Day She Died
I should never do anything pre-coffee.
“It was only a teeny fire,” I told my uncle over the phone. I sat outside on the steps of my apartment complex, watching the Phoenix Fire Department carry equipment out of my second-floor apartment. Black smoke trailed behind them. The air smelled awful, like the time I’d fallen asleep in front of a campfire and melted the bottom of my sneakers. Except this smelled like an entire Nike factory.
“Teeny fire?” Uncle Bob said over the phone. “Isn’t that an oxymoron or something?”
“Nah,” I said. “That’s firefighter language for no one got hurt. Right?” I asked an especially cute guy carrying a heavy-looking hose.
“Yep,” he said over his shoulder as he passed me. “Teeny. No one hurt.”
I smiled at him again and watched him descend the stairs. On the back of his firefighter’s helmet was a sticker that said, “Be Nice.”
“Olive,” said my uncle with a sigh. “Stop flirting with firemen and tell me what happened.”
“I’m not entirely sure.” I was not a morning person. “I got up early to go to that meeting you put on my calendar.”
Since acting didn’t always pay the bills (okay, rarely paid the bills), I worked part-time at my uncle’s private investigation business. Right now I was mostly filing and writing reports, but Uncle Bob promised he was going to give me some real detective work soon.
“You got up early?” I could hear the skepticism in my uncle’s voice. “What time?”
“Eight.” There was a pause on the other end. “Ish,” I finished.
“To go to this meeting that starts in…” I could almost see him squint at the old clock on the office wall. “Twenty minutes?”
“Right. Go on.”
“I put the kettle on the stove.” When my old coffeemaker bit the dust, I had replaced it with a French press, a much better fit for my minuscule galley kitchen. “Then I got in the shower.”
Another pause. Then, “You usually do that? Turn on the stove and get in the shower?”
“Sometimes. Then when I get out, the kettle’s boiling and I make coffee. No waiting.” Not only was I not a morning person, I was not a patient person. Especially in the morning. “Since the water was running, I didn’t hear the smoke alarm.”
“That’s why you didn’t hear the alarm? You were in the shower?” said the cute fireman, who was going back up the stairs. I nodded, though it did seem sort of obvious. I was wearing only a towel.