Friday, March 31, 2017

Excerpt Tour + #Giveaway: A Staged Murder by Jo. A. Hiestand @GoddessFish

A Staged Murder
by Jo A. Hiestand
GENRE:  Mystery


Bonfire Night! The four hundred-year-old tradition of burning the straw effigy is beginning in Upper Kingsleigh, England. The torch extends… But it’s no mock figure at the end of the rope; it’s the body of a man, an American tourist. Brenna Taylor, Derbyshire C.I.D., is assigned to the case on a team of detectives under Detective-Chief Inspector Geoffrey Graham. It is the chance Brenna has been waiting for, and she is anxious to impress him.

Most villagers suspect an outsider as the killer. But when the frost-covered body of a resident is discovered, apprehension shifts and suspects multiply. Among them are the American's brother-in-law, still angry over his sister's death; the husband, who fears his wife will desert him for the American; the inebriated, penniless uncle, who clings to his nephew's fortune tighter than a cork in a wine bottle. Then Brenna becomes the target of a series of frightening pranks--the work of a harassing male colleague, or a deadly warning to leave the case? Her hunt is personal now.


“Is that how you made sergeant grade?”

The question, though a joke, came from the sober lips of my friend, Margo Lynch. She was a constable, ten years my junior, and was learning from me as I was from Graham, though I was certain Margo was getting shortchanged.

We sat on a bench outside the pub, half-filled glasses in our hands, expounding on the world in general and the murder case in particular. I shivered as I took a swallow.

“Never mind the smart remarks,” I said. “What happened to your rose-colored glasses? You’re supposed to wear them when you look at me.”

“I take them off at sunset.”

“Great. I thought you wanted the benefit of my experience.”

“I do, Bren! I marvel at you.”

“You’ll make sergeant quicker than I did, Margo, if you avoid my bruises and mimic my laurels.”

“Will I know which is which?”

I glared at her, in no mood for humor. The hours were slipping away and I still had to talk with Graham before I got to bed. I finished my shandy. “Why am I laying my theories before you, then?”

“So you’ll hear them, find holes in them, and fix them before you recite them to Graham, who will, we both know, fillet you like a piece of cod and roast you for good measure if they aren’t reasonable.”

She stared at me, her dark eyes serious in the light from the pub’s windows. She had a good figure and a good mind, and really had no need of my tutelage, but it was great to have a friend. Confiding in Margo was like writing in my diary.

“He unnerves me at times,” I confessed, keeping my voice low.

“I think he unnerves all of us, Bren.”


A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British.  Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folksinging stint.  This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of the Peak District mystery series.

Jo’s insistence for accuracy--from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area--has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research.  These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.

In 1999 she returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president.  Besides her love of mysteries and early music, she also enjoys photography, reading, creating recipes, and her backyard wildlife.  Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.


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A handmade lapis lazuli necklace on a bamboo cord (International). The cord is adjustable and the necklace is comprised of three stones ranging in length from 1 5/8" to 2 1/8". (It's like the one Brenna Taylor in the book wears)

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Jo said...

Thank you for hosting my book -- I appreciate it!