Welcome! We have a new title to explore! A Corpse in the Copse
A Corpse in the Copse Fictional quiet lakeside burg Edenville, Michigan, once again becomes the unexpected setting for murder in A Corpse in the Copse. Our heroines, the self-named investigatory team The Shamus Three, set out to decipher the clues and make connections to solve another crime in their town in the second in our cozy mystery series. In the first book in the “Tamara Thistle Master Gardener” series, Thistle Teach You to Die, the trio found themselves drawing closer as friends, despite their disparate backgrounds, united by the challenge of uncovering the culprit in the bizarre death of a nosy journalist found on Tammy’s garden shop property. Corpse begins eighteen months later. In this story, Mavis Stone, local art gallery owner; Babs DuPuis, small town diner waitress; and Tammy Thistle, the town’s garden shop owner, are drawn into solving the murder of Fred Manford, a transient worker who appears to have no known connection to anyone in Edenville. Disturbed by the prospect that several people they know may have the motive and the means to have caused the latest death--only the second one in the last one hundred years--they turn again to the tactics used by their investigatory group once before to solve a death. There is one major obstacle to their investigation: too many close friends and romantic interests appear to share a possible connection to the crime. Throughout Corpse, Babs humorously recounts several disaster dates, resulting in a long losing streak in search for a romantic partner. Ironically, she fears Don Campbell, the only man who has truly interested her and a recent new face in town, could be involved in the death. After all, the dead body is found in a copse on his newly purchased tree farm. Mavis is caught up in a serious relationship with the local diner owner Adam, who employs and seems unusually protective of one of the suspects. His diner is also the place where the deceased newcomer Fred Manford was last seen alive. Tammy’s involvement with Sheriff Clay Des Jardins allows her access to otherwise unknown details of the crime. She too is disturbed that Angus, a young Garden of Eden employee she has taken under her wing, has both the means and a possible motive to cause the death. Unconvinced of his involvement, however, she wants to clear his name. Others on the list of suspects include a recently graduated college student and drone expert, a local conspiracy theorist and the town mayor, who appears too often in their investigation. In A Corpse in the Copse, the ladies methodically analyze the crime and discover significant clues during a town scavenger hunt and fundraiser. As a result of their amateur investigation, however, they find themselves in grave danger as they ignore warnings from the sheriff to leave the police work to the professionals. They stubbornly persist in their investigations and re-visit the crime scene, only to be chased by a drone expertly and threateningly operated by an unknown person. Despite their fear, the Shamus Three manage to dodge the flying machine. They return to town safely, share their knowledge with the sheriff and his deputy and believe an arrest will be made, giving them public credit for their work. To their dismay, the sheriff and local law officials take full credit in revealing the true culprit, the mayor, in a televised news conference. The mayor turns out to be part of a land grab conspiracy stretching across Michigan. Ultimately, the three friends, undeterred by danger and warnings to back off their detective work, pledge to continue their amateur investigations of potential future threats to the safety of residents of Edenville. They vow to do so without involving the police.
Thistle Teach You to Die Summary
Approaching thirty, scientist Tamara Thistle yearns to find a better work/life balance. Lonely and uninspired by her important yet stagnant position at NASA, Tamara’s world changes when she receives a letter mailed from her family’s home state of Michigan. In it, she learns she has inherited a garden shop owned by her recently deceased and beloved great aunt. The thought of re-awakening her love of nature and passion for flora and fauna in particular intrigues yet also frightens her. On an impulse she decides to dismantle her life in Florida and move north. Once in her new home of Edenville, Michigan, a place with many Scottish immigrants, she works diligently to resurrect the garden center and rebuild her life. However, shortly after her arrival to her new hometown, Tammy’s life is once more disrupted, this time even more dramatically, by the discovery of a dead body on her property. It is unearthed when she hires a company to install a waterfall her aunt had wished for. Under suspicion of murder from the local law enforcement personnel as well as select townspeople, Tammy must use her quick wit and scientific powers of observation as well as the skills of her new friends to uncover the motive and identity of the real killer. Along the way, she faces danger and roadblocks to solving the case while uncovering a mystery involving Scottish jewels. Throughout the early part of her residency in Edenville, she meets a number of townspeople who make her feel welcome and offer her the friendship she had difficulty finding in Florida. Babs, a waitress at the local diner, takes on the role of older and wise-cracking advice giver. Mavis, a local artist and gallery owner, challenges Tammy to stop acting as a bystander to life and encourages her to participate in the annual Scottish festival that draws large crowds each year in this lakeside burg. The women form a bond that takes on an investigative role after the death of nosy newshound Heather Douglas. Attorney Bart Scott and his wife Alma provide legal advice, a welcome to town but guard their own mysterious past. Others in Edenville complicate her life, however. Security guard Clay des Jardins hovers yet harbors secrets of his own and stirs emotions Tammy hasn’t felt in years. Heather Douglas, an overly ambitious local reporter, hounds Tammy from the outset of her move to Edenville and demonstrates she will do anything to get a story. Even the small police force led by Sheriff Lambright add complications to her ability to start over in this Midwestern town. Angus, a young man with an unexplained connection to her aunt Melissa, hides his sketchy background and becomes her assistant. Fortunately, his flat-coated retriever Jake offers Tammy canine companionship as they all take part in preparing the shop for a grand re-opening. The Scottish family heirlooms provide the means to solve the crime after Tammy and friends visit area antique experts and investigate suspicious acting locals. Information discovered allows Tammy and her budding romantic interest Clay to unravel the plot that led to the killing of the reporter who was about to publish a series of articles exposing Sheriff Lambright’s involvement in a gambling ring. Heather Douglas’ uncovering of his financial difficulties and indebtedness to gamblers causes a once honest man to take desperate measures against her and safeguard his freedom. Dramatic and life threatening events at the festival and the heroic actions of Tammy’s canine friend Jake lead to the arrest of the sheriff. He is the killer of Heather Douglas and is arrested by the state police. The epilogue outlines the fate of the sheriff, the new jobs of the Scotts, an announcement of an ongoing but hidden romance between Adam and Mavis, the appointment of Clay--now revealed to be a former State Police investigator--to be acting sheriff, the building relationship between him and Tammy, and the determination of Babs to start looking for love herself. We end the book, as is traditional in cozy mysteries, with an “article” written by Tamara Thistle, this one, a discussion of spring plantings.
Write off the Bookshelf background:
In the fall of 2011 we launched our new website "Write off the Bookshelf." We formed our writing partnership several years ago and have penned a number of novels, essays, and film scripts. Now, with the increasing access to and convenience of reading e-books, we decided to join the technology revolution and publish online.
We have several people to thank for helping us get this project off the ground.We want to thank our friend and colleague, Kitty Mitchell, for supplying expert information on teen alcohol use and drunk driving from her years of study, teaching and research. Thanks also to master gardener and scientist Tammy Voss for reviewing the scientific/environmental information details for accuracy. Our typist and webmaster Bonnie McGraw deserves most of the credit for helping us meander our way through the technology of designing and creating a website and for saving us time by typing our documents into the proper format. Amanda Davis, one of our most talented student artists, created the graphics for both the books covers and the website itself. Most importantly, we thank our families for tolerating the numerous meetings, late night hours and general hoarding of computers. They also provided honest advice and feedback, sometimes painful, but always constructive. We appreciate all of you and hope you know we will continue to rely on your support!