Creampuff of the County
It’s fair time for Shawano County, and that means the Fairest of the Fair, Victoria Pennington, is hitting the streets to hype up the longest-running county event. It also means the mild-mannered Fletcher Burgess is preparing the fair’s tastiest treat—creampuffs. Tensions are high at this year’s fair because Fletcher’s daughter, Janet, believes she was robbed of the Fairest honor due to the Pennington family’s enormous donation to restore aging fair buildings.
The friction hits fever pitch when the Fairest eats a creampuff for a television commercial promoting the fair dies immediately after taking a bite of the beloved confection. Fletcher, who personally served the puff, is believed to have killed Victoria to avenge the injustice his daughter suffered.
While officials are trying to quell local fears about safety at the county fair, Zachary Gagewood tries to clear Fletcher’s name and find out who really wanted to send the Fairest of the Fair to her maker. The question is whether Zachary can sort through the fluff and identify the murderer before someone else falls prey to a killer confection. BUY NOW
The village of Gresham is hosting a frybread contest where area tribes compete for bragging rights by showing who can make the tastiest piece of golden bread. The Menominee, Stockbridge-Munsee and Ho-Chunk tribes take part in the contest each year to commemorate Native American Heritage Month and honor the women in the three tribes. However, turmoil boils over when the committee organizing all the festivities opens up the contest to other tribes, non-Natives and even men.
The tenuous situation gets worse when the gentle Timothy Lockhart is found dead, leading tribal leaders to point fingers at each other and at certain residents of Gresham. To add insult to injury, most of the contestants also received threatening messages prior to the first murder, creating the fear that someone else could be next.
Is it one of the contestants? One of the protesters who believe making frybread is a tradition forced on Natives by white men? Zachary Gagewood knows he has no time to lose, especially when the killer sends him a note, vowing that Timothy is only the first to die... BUY NOW
When Beef Jerky Met Cherries Jubilee
Love endures, and when it’s the subject of an art exhibit, it can be a truly beautiful thing. When Anne Marie White Eagle achieves her dream of opening an art gallery in Gresham, she knows she needs a knockout exhibit to bring people out in droves. She crafts a show featuring Osgood and Muriel Reimer, known for their familial backgrounds in the beef jerky and cherry industries but even better known for a beautiful marriage lasting more than 56 years.
Anne Marie’s dream dissolves into a nightmare when the elderly lovebirds are found dead shortly after opening night, with indications their love might not have been so eternal.
Zachary Gagewood, eager to help his dear friend salvage what’s left of her ambitious gambit into the arts, looks into the deaths and discovers that there are others with plenty of reasons to off Shawano County’s most enduring couple—a granddaughter who feels oppressed and her nonconformist boyfriend, a store owner harboring a lifelong secret, or even jealous extended family members. Can Zachary figure out who would want to end the most beautiful love affair ever? BUY NOW
Sleigh Bells and Slain Belles
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Gresham, where the newly restored Lonesome Pine Ballroom is finally ready to host its first event, the Gingerbread Ball. The event, put on by the Gresham Ladies Society, is a chance for adults to leave the children with babysitters and spend the evening in formal wear and celebrating the reason for the season—the Christmas Campaign for Coats, which makes sure all the children in Shawano County are warm for the winter.
Things turn icy when Lena Andrews, the village’s Christmas princess, is found dead following the ball in her bed. Sleeping next to her is Joshua Callahan, a detective with the sheriff’s department and nemesis to Zachary Gagewood, the local bookstore owner and resident sleuth.
Zachary decides to put past slights aside in order to find the real killer. The prospects of Joshua’s innocence grow dim when a second woman he’d been intimate with, a former beauty queen, also turns up dead. With the help of an old friend, can Zachary be Joshua’s personal Santa Claus and give him the greatest gift of all—his freedom?BUY NOW
As American as Apple Pie
Gresham’s annual Applefest is its biggest event of the year, and it brings out the best—and worst—in the residents of this tiny Wisconsin village. This year’s festival is expected to be the biggest yet, and that means the apple pie contest will determine the reputations of numerous bakers, housewives and others. Before the contest is over, however, one of the judges will be dead and cold.
When one of Gresham’s most prominent—and reviled—citizens suddenly dies while judging the apple pies, all signs indicate someone tried to poison her. That theory is quickly thrown into doubt when the medical examiner can find no trace of poison. When it seems like the investigators have given up on finding the truth, local bookstore operator Zachary Gagewood must find out who the killer is before someone else falls prey to an apple pie! BUY NOW
Murder at the Teddy Bears Picnic
The annual Teddy Bears Picnic is the highlight of the year for the children of Shawano County, even more so than Easter egg hunts or visits from Santa Claus. Besides being a celebration for the end of summer and an opportunity to break the record of the number of teddy bears at one gathering, the children get to party with Patches Sinclair, a beloved seven-foot teddy bear.
However, bear hunting season seems to have arrived early in northeast Wisconsin as Thad Sheppard, the man inside the bear, is found dead in the woods with a knife in his back, no head on his shoulders and a note reading, “If you go into the woods today, you’re in for a nasty surprise!”
Zachary Gagewood must determine who hated Thad enough to want him dead—two vengeful ex-wives, clown and magician competitors jealous of the bear’s acclaim, loan sharks, even a young man who claims Thad is his father. However, when Zachary’s beloved, Newell Krueger, decides to play the role of Patches so the picnic can continue, he fears his boyfriend could end up being the next bear to be hunted down in the woods. BUY NOW
A Murder Shatters Peaceful Valley
The residents of Caroline, nicknamed the Peaceful Valley, has eagerly anticipated the arrival of hometown superstar Astrid Stone. She is on a national tour with fellow singer Ruth Phillips, who escaped from a fundamentalist polygamist compound and is trying to raise money to help other young women and men to escape from cults and supremacy groups. Officials hope the concert will mark the start of a new spring tradition.
Those hopes are dashed when Astrid’s broken and bloody body is found in a car trunk. Ruth is afraid for her own life when the murder looks like members of her former cult carried out the dark deed, and superstitious townsfolk fear Ruth’s former ties to fundamentalists may have sparked the resurrection of the Posse Comitatus, a dark chapter in Shawano County’s history that took root in a nearby village.
When two more people are found dead just like Astrid, it quickly becomes clear to Zachary Gagewood that someone is trying to sow seeds of fear and hatred in Peaceful Valley. To find the killer, though, Zachary will need to figure out if the deed was carried out by one person or a sinister organization.BUY NOW
Death by Order of the Queen
The Lonesome Pine Ballroom was once a grand fixture in the village of Gresham, but the jewel of the community has since decayed, prompting its resurrection and renovation. To accomplish that, more than one hundred thousand dollars needs to be raised. Although it was a controversial notion, local bookstore owner Zachary Gagewood thought of bringing into the normally strait-laced community a pack of drag queens to entertain, amuse and pick up a few coins for the renovations.
It seemed like a good idea in the beginning—until one of the most outspoken critics in the community is found dead, the heel of a stiletto embedded in his forehead.
With the future of the Lonesome Pine in jeopardy, Zachary knows he must find out who the killer is, knowing full well that anyone capable of killing once could strike again, and in the process, assassinate any hope of restoring Gresham’s pride and joy. The question is, to which dress-wearing man does the shoe fit? BUY NOW
Copyright © Lee Pulaski. All rights reserved.