Murder Served Neat by Michelle Hillen Klump

Take the final chill off winter with this fun, delightful cozy: Murder Served Neat by Michelle Hillen Klump. It’s the second entry in her Cocktails and Catering Mystery series.

Samantha Warren gave up journalism to start her own business. She’s become a top-notch mixologist and is busily building up her new cocktails and catering venture. It’s a hot 4th of July and somehow her mom roped her in to manning a booth at the local German Texas Lodge’s traditional Independence Day Festival.

The food and drinks are flowing and Samantha has to admit, she’s going to turn a tidy profit from the event. But not everyone at the festival is feeling “festive.” Samantha can’t help but witness a boiling altercation (just short of a knock down drag out cat fight) between her mom’s friend, Patty Davis, and Angela Clawson, the haughty local society matron.

She’s also learning (after the fact), that the town’s residents are heavily divided about their German lodge, a club dedicated to preserving the region’s German Texas heritage. The lodge has plenty of land but is in deep financial trouble. The building has been going downhill for years, and expensive repairs and heavy maintenance have taken its toll on the structure, as well as the members.

Angela Clawson has been pushing for a merger of their town’s swanky country club with the German Texas Lodge. And when Angela pushes – it gets done. The construction site is already in place for the new tennis stadium to be built on the lodge grounds. The new country club will provide the lodge with rental income, helping the lodge make needed repairs and put money back into its coffers.

But when a “red alert” is triggered during the festival at the construction site, festival goers are horrified that a dead body, bludgeoned to death, has been discovered.

As the days roll by, everyone in town is wondering who the killer is and what was their motive. With the lodge merging with the country club, there’s no shortage of suspects. Did someone want to stop the merger via a brutal homicide? Was it personal – maybe the victim simply rubbed someone the wrong way? Could it have something to do with a tangled web of drainage problems and permits? Hmmm – how about the heirs of the victim — maybe you should “follow the money.” Or is there a hidden agenda – a land conspiracy?

But when Samantha’s mom finds out her BFF is on the verge of being arrested for the murder, she begs Samantha to (once again) enlist her snooping investigative skills. Samantha soon finds herself on an invisible murky trail with far too many suspects — all with ample reasons for killing. It’s the old “1 step forward, 2 steps back.” But in this case, a step back can knock Samantha off a murky trail and sink her faster than a pool of quicksand.

Check out Murder Served Neat, a new release from Crooked Lane Books. The author, Michelle Hillen Klump, gives us a cozy ride smoother than a shot of Grey Goose in your happy hour cocktail. Her intricate characters and solid plot garnished with the 4th of July festivities are guaranteed to get you in the summer spirit!

A copy of this book & photo were provided by Crooked Lane Books.

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