Liz Stauffer’s debut mystery novel Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club, published by Sartoris Literary Group, was released on June 28, 2013.
Things are not always what they seem in Liz Stauffer’s fast paced book of murder, mystery, and intrigue. When the “breakfast club” ladies of idyllic Mount Penn see bruises on Clare Ballard’s pretty face, they suspect her hot-headed husband of abusing her, but the truth is much more complicated. When violence disrupts this Appalachian village’s lazy routine, the ladies, led by the irascible Lillie Mae Harris, jump feet first into danger as bodies appear, neighbors disappear, and Clare is arrested for murder. Follow Lillie Mae and the other “breakfast club” ladies, who, armed with casseroles and pastries, help the police uncover the deep secrets this town hides beneath its perfect facade.
- Website: www.lizstauffer.com
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- Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/lizstauffer
- The book can be purchased as an ebook and as a paperback on Amazon
Typing up a storm on her on her new Apple laptop, lost in the world of her own tale, Lillie Mae was jarred back to reality by the chime of her doorbell. Peeking out the window by her desk, she saw Clare at the front door, fidgeting like a two-year-old boy who needs to pee.
“Coming,” Lillie Mae called.
“Is it Roger?” Clare spurted when Lillie Mae opened the door.
“I don’t know, Clare,” Lillie Mae said, knowing exactly what Clare was asking. “I was never close enough to the body to see who it was, and when I asked Charlie, he wouldn’t say. Come in and sit down.”
Lillie Mae reached her hand out to Clare and guided her into the room. “Sit, dear,” Lillie Mae said. “Let me get you some coffee.”
“Don’t leave me, please,” Clare said, taking hold of Lillie Mae’s arm and pulling her down beside her on the sofa. “I’m crazy with worry. Too much has happened the last couple of days, and now this.”
Clare’s eyes filled with tears. “Roger hasn’t been home since yesterday, Lillie Mae. He hasn’t talked to Billy at all. Not even a phone call. There is something terribly wrong.”
“That doesn’t mean that Roger’s dead,” Lillie Mae said. “Don’t jump to conclusions.”
“But it’s the other things, too. The phone calls. Billy. Just everything.”
Lillie Mae suspected by everything she was referring to Dale Beavers.
“What’s going on Clare? Tell me.”
“You were there when Mabel Goody stopped by the house yesterday looking for Roger.”
Lillie Mae nodded. “I went home shortly after she left.”
“Then Billy went out,” Clare said. “He thought he knew where Patrick might have gone, so he went up the mountain to check.”
“Did he find Patrick?”
“He said he didn’t, and he had no reason to lie.”
“Where did you go, Clare?”
“How do you know I went somewhere?”
“I saw you. I remembered I was wearing your apron and was bringing it back.”
Clare stared at Lillie Mae as if deciding how much to tell her. “Where I went is incidental,” she finally said. “It’s what happened after I got back home that’s more important.”
“What was that?” Lillie Mae asked, her curiosity piqued.
“Billy was in the kitchen finishing up dinner. Believe it or not,” Clare said a half smile on her lips, “the boy likes to cook. Anyway, he was stirring the gravy and asked me to mash the potatoes.”
“You said he had gone looking for Patrick Goody but didn’t find him.”
“That’s right,” Clare said. “He went up to the old hangout close to High Mount, but nobody was there. It’s an old shack half falling down. You’ve seen it.”
Lillie Mae nodded.
“Billy was sure somebody had been there recently, though. Said there been a scuffle. Blood was everywhere.”
“Roger?” Lillie Mae asked.
“I don’t know, but I thought the same thing,” Clare said. “Billy wanted to call Charlie Warren, but I told him no, saying it might look bad for Patrick.”
“Makes sense,” Lillie Mae said.
“Billy agreed. Said he guess he watched too much TV. He’s such a good boy, Lillie Mae.”
“Billy’s a wonderful boy, Clare. You should be proud.”
“We had a nice supper. Billy talked about school and then reminisced about his high school years. I guess his father not being at dinner brought up special memories from the past.”
A frown furrowed Clare’s forehead. “It was at the end of supper that the phone rang. I thought it might be Roger, so I rushed to answer it. But it wasn’t.”
“Who was it?” Lillie Mae asked.
“I don’t know,” Clare said. “But it wasn’t Roger. The voice was weird, muffled. I’m not sure if it was a man or woman.” Clare paled as if reliving the experience. “I saw you, the voice murmured. You’re going to be sorry.”
After some thirty years writing everything from political encyclopedias to software manuals, I retired from corporate life to write fiction, travel, and play on the beach. Since that time, I’ve traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world. I live most of the year in Hollywood, Florida, with my two doggie best friends, Mattie and Jakey, where I own and manage a vacation rental business.