Published: November 22, 2016
Number of pages: 216
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Home Sweet Home Mystery #2
Synopsis:As this captivating cozy mystery series featuring real estate agent Sam Turner continues, a dream home turns into a crime scene when murder intrudes on an open house.
Thanks to a few sales and a self-help book on becoming a super-agent, Sam Turner is well on her way to becoming real estate royalty in Arlinda, her eccentric hometown on the Northern California coast. And after settling into her new house with her teenage son, she’s finally a homeowner, too. Sure, things aren’t perfect—for example, her sister still doesn’t know that Sam is dating her ex, police chief Bernie Aguilar—but perfect is boring. And Sam’s life is never boring.
When Sam’s boss, Everett Sweet, assigns her an open house in Arlinda’s most exclusive neighborhood, she brushes up on her super-agent tips, hoping to wow potential buyers. But there’s nothing in the manual about stumbling upon the owner’s dead body halfway through the tour. When suspicion falls on her boss, Sam and her co-workers are suddenly out of work, their real estate licenses suspended. Now, with her job on the line and a mortgage to pay, Sam will need every trick in the book to clear Everett’s name.
About The Author:
Sarah Hobart is a real estate agent and former newspaper reporter in Northern California, where she lives with her husband and two children in a majestic fixer-upper overlooking State Highway 101.
The Tao of the Refrigerator
It seems that just when I find the time to settle in and do some serious writing, life intervenes.
First was the prolonged political sideshow that seemed to drag on and on. The phone rang constantly, and a few stalwart canvassers even came to the door, despite eighty pounds of grumpy old retriever behind the gate.
Then someone in the family – possibly me, it’s all a blur – decided a puppy should join our menage. Haven’t slept in three weeks, and one of my Birkenstocks is inexplicably missing.
But Fate delivered a crushing blow when we recently lost an old and treasured family member: our 1978 Maytag refrigerator. Appliances built during that glorious era were made to last, and ol’ May was no exception. Through marriage and childbirth and over six presidencies, she’d soldiered on, sporting her avocado-green exterior with timeless elegance.
But time, alas, caught up with her. First came the ice that built up in the freezer compartment, drifting down like snow flurries every time we opened the door; then the drips that turned into rivulets, forming vast lakes on the kitchen floor each morning. We vacuumed out the coils and defrosted religiously, but we knew in our hearts our longtime companion was telling us loud and clear: “This is the end, mate.” She was thirty-eight, after all, which is 186 in appliance years.
Fortunately our sorrow was tempered by the excitement of picking out a new fridge. My sweetheart turned the whole purchase over to me, speaking those tender words so dear to every woman’s heart: “Don’t worry about the price, just get something.”
In my mind’s eye, I could already see our new refrigerator: a major brand name, 22-cubic foot side-by-side in glossy black with an ice and water dispenser in the door. It was beautiful.
I roped my sons into accompanying me on a trip to the big-box store, where there was a huge appliance sale taking place. The first blow came when the salesclerk told me all the side-by-sides were backordered until approximately the end of time, and I was forced to settle for a freezer-on-the-bottom model in glossy black. “Kids, here it is,” I called out.
Both boys examined the refrigerator top to bottom. “Does it come in stainless?” my teenager said.
“What’s wrong with black?”
“Mom, black is so five years ago,” he said. “And look how it shows fingerprints.” His younger brother demonstrated by planting a grubby thumb on the finish. Yikes.
“And it’ll show dog drool too,” my eldest said.
That was it. “Fine. We’ll get stainless.” We placed the order and I reflected that at least I had gotten my name brand, though no one outside the Honduras would recognize it. Delivery was scheduled for the following day.
Back home, our old fridge was already starting to reek of decomposition. We unloaded the foodstuffs that had not yet started down the slippery slope to salmonella and packed them into picnic coolers.
The exterior was harder. A refrigerator is much more than a place to store food: it’s the social and emotional hub of the home. Over the years, our fridge had become the family historian and message board. Into a box went the following pieces of our lives:
– our son’s 2nd grade school day schedule, starting with “Opening Circle” and continuing through “snack time” and “Closing Circle” (he’s now a sophomore in college).
– a pair of gift certificates for a romantic hot tub weekend, given to Mr. H and me before we had kids, in a city we moved away from sixteen years ago.
– a 4th grade Spelling Bee achievement award our youngest earned (he went down on the word “achievement”). Also, a certificate honoring his perfect attendance (he was absent the day of the ceremony).
– a family reunion photo featuring my relatives from a past Christmas. Mr. H’s hair is all brown and he’s wearing it in a ponytail. My niece (married) and my nephew (married, with a baby) are there as cute little kids, as is my other nephew (driving under a learner’s permit). My other niece, just six months old at the time of the reunion, has boobs now (disconcerting).
– a business card from a “holistic chiropractor” in Portland, who helped us cure our youngest of a debilitating condition before we realized she was actually a veterinarian (true story).
– a rabies certificate showing our big brown retriever is current on her vaccination through 2007.
– a gift certificate from a local tattoo parlor Mr. H gave me for my birthday fourteen years ago, when I declared I wanted to get my nipple pierced (all the nursing mothers were doing it).
– an application for an AARP credit card offering a terrific initial interest rate, because they know you’re not going to live all that long anyway.
– a clipping of a Tom and Ray (“Click and Clack”) column: “Who’s hardest on cars anyway?” (men or women – do you even need to ask?)
– plus every award and accolade ever received by our children and every piece of artwork they’d ever created, even if the macaroni had long since been nibbled off by dogs.
Once the exterior was sadly bare, Mr. H and our eldest pushed ol’ May out onto the porch for disposal. Sounds harsh, I know.
I suppose the glossy modern look of our new fridge, with its automatic icemaker and freezer compartment illumination, will provide a modicum of comfort in times like this. But change can be hard to take.
Especially if you’re a Democrat.
November 21 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
November 22 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
November 22 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
November 23 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
November 23 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – THANKSGIVING U.S.
November 25 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
November 25 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
November 26 – Booklady’s Booknotes – REVIEW
November 26 – LibriAmoriMiei
November 27 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
November 28 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW
November 28 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
November 29 – Readeropolis – INTERVIEW
November 30 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
December 1 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – REVIEW
December 1 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
December 2 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT