Working on a television taping to promote the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, the ladies decide to use their access to the Roseville Bridge to cross #39 off Charlotte’s bucket list: Be a Sexy Calendar Girl. But the photo shoot is interrupted by gunshots and Francine’s cousin William stumbling down the riverbank followed by a man with a gun. William sustains life-threatening injuries, but is it attempted homicide? Francine and Charlotte go into detective mode to uncover the secret William knew about the shooter. Their success, however, depends on surviving two arson events, a séance, a shortage of Mary Ruth’s wildly popular corn fritter donuts, memory-challenged nursing home residents, and a killer who refuses to go up in flames.
Bubby: These women, known collectively as the “Skinny Dipping Grandmas” are humorous, slightly naughty, and the most energetic bunch of seventy year olds I’ve ever heard of in my life. They made me tired just reading about them. I had reservations initially about a cozy murder mystery series set around “women of a certain age” but I was pleasantly surprised.
Sissy: If you recall how our Grandma Juchau was in her seventies, these ladies’ behavior is not so surprising. I’m talking strictly energy and accomplishment here, not skinny dipping and pin-up calendars. Granny J didn’t slow down til she was in her nineties, and you would find her socializing, baking, working hard outside, sewing, quilting, etc., but never could I imagine her taking a nekkid dip in the irrigation ditch, if you know what I mean. Some of her sisters, maybe…there were a few wild ones, as I recall. I too found Murder under the Covered Bridge slow going at first. I had a hard time keeping up with their varied personalities and agendas, and I never could figure out why they had to go en masse so often rather than divide and conquer. But about 45% into the book I began to really get involved in the plot/story/character development.
Bubby: Yes, that’s about when the reader realizes that there is a whole heck of a lot more going on than previously suspected. It’s hard to say much without giving things away, but I can tell you this much: The murderer is not who I thought it was, and there is a very well done, very large and shocking plot twist. Sissy and I were reading the last of the book at the same time together in Sissy’s living room, and we should have recorded the conversation. “Oh my gosh–did you just read about the…” “Yes and can you believe that…” and so on and so forth.
Sissy: Aaaaand, the plot twist is a paranormal one! You know how I like that! Murder under the Covered Bridge is number two in the series (Murder on the Bucket List is the first) and Francine seems to be our main character. She and Charlotte are the ones who do most of the detecting whilst busying themselves in their friends various activities. As Bubby mentioned at the beginning, these ladies keep a frenetic pace with their professional baking, reporting, volunteering, and whatever else. I love reading about them but I think being with them would make me feel like a crazy cat herder.
Bubby: Oh, oh the many comments that I could make about Sissy the crazy cat herder…
Sissy: That’s what I feel like when I’m blogging with you.
Bubby: Now I’m offended. I was going to take you to the movies and Indian food and now I’m not.
Sissy: Complete lie. She already told me she was busy tonight.
Bubby: Who said it was going to be tonight? Anyway, I completely enjoyed Murder under the Covered Bridge. I am excited to read more of these ladies’ shenanigans!
Sissy: Me too. The twist at the end has long-term ramifications for Francine especially, and I want to see how she deals with them. No news on when the next book in the series is coming out, but there are short stories about Bucket List main characters Francine and Charlotte in the anthologies RACING CAN BE MURDER (“The Land Grab”) and HOOSIER HOOPS & HIJINKS (“Snowplowed”). We’d better read those! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below for a copy of Murder under the Covered Bridge!
Click HERE to buy Murder under the Covered Bridge