After a long winter in their small town of Jackpine, best friends Margaret and Louise are looking forward to enjoying some R&R in Thunder Bay. Louise has insisted that their stay include taking part in a women retreat. Margaret plans to track down a reclusive wildlife artist to persuade him to do a workshop for her art club in Jackpine.
Things get off to a rocky start when their hotel refuses to accommodate Louise’s canine companion Vince, and they are forced to stay at a dodgy establishment over a strip bar. Then Margaret clashes with the retreat leader. To complicate matters further, a dead body turns up next door to their retreat.
The deceased turns out to be a local casino manager with a lot of enemies. When Margaret spots the dead man’s widow being squired around town by a male companion, her curiosity is piqued. The ever-intrepid friends, against all advice and their better judgment, become embroiled in looking for clues to the murder. It’s a search that takes them all over the city and surrounding countryside, where they encounter a whole cast of possible suspects, including a dangerously lovelorn church organist, a stripper-turned barmaid, a fiery septuagenarian, and a widow with very expensive tastes. But are they getting too close to the truth for their own good?
Targeted Age Group:: women 40+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have been writing and publishing since childhood. When my sister challenged me to write a murder mystery set in our home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario, I took up the challenge, based on some suggestions from her. There really is a historic church with a garden in town next door to a casino. "Bubbles" is based on "Bunny's Place," a former strip club in town. When my sister described a goofy retreat a friend had dragged her to, it all began to come together!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
As my sister was describing the retreat experience, the characters of Louise and Margaret came clearly into focus for me. I could identify with Margaret, as someone who can grumble and be sarcastic occasionally, but is loyal to her friends despite her muttering! Louise's dog Vince is based on my mother's lhasa apso Charlie, who lived with us for a season. Everyone has a friend like Louise, who, despite her sweet nature, manages to get everybody to do things her way. All of the characters were real to me, and fun to write about.
Vince breathed heavily in Margaret's ear. She tried to shift away, but the car was too small. He moved closer, eager and hungry. The hair on the back of her neck rose. When he licked her ear, she couldn't restrain herself any longer.
"Vincent, would you stop panting in my ear? Your breath is terrible!" she barked.
"I think he's hungry," Louise said. "Reach into my bag. There's a box of Cracker Jacks in there somewhere."
Margaret stared at her friend, who was concentrating on the road, preparing to pass the transport ahead.
"You're joking, right? Cracker Jacks?"
"He doesn't like dog biscuits. I can't say I blame him. Have you ever tasted one?"
"I'm happy to say I haven't."
"They're completely tasteless. No wonder he won't touch them."
Margaret opened the box of Cracker Jacks and began feeding them to the small blond lhasa apso, who snorted them up greedily. She thought of several comments she might make, but limited herself to saying, "I still don't know why we're taking a dog along on a women's retreat. He's not even the right gender."
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