Food blogger Hope Early takes on a cold case that’s heating up fast . . .
Building on her recipe for success with her food blog, Hope at Home, Hope is teaching her first blogging class at the local library in Jefferson, Connecticut. She’s also learning about podcasts, including a true-crime one called Search for the Missing, hosted by Hope’s childhood friend, Devon Markham. Twenty years ago on Valentine’s Day, right here in Jefferson, Devon’s mom disappeared and was never found. Finally Devon has returned to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother—and she asks Hope to help.
The next day Hope discovers Devon’s apartment has been ransacked. Her laptop with the research on her mother’s cold case is missing, and Devon is nowhere to be found. When her friend’s body is later discovered in a car wreck, Hope is convinced it’s no accident. Clearly, Devon was too close to the truth, and the cold-blooded killer is still at large in Jefferson. Now it’s up to Hope to find the guilty party—before the food blogger herself becomes the next subject of another true-crime podcast . . .
Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!
“Good luck with your new story.” Hope turned toward the exit.
“It’s not new. In fact, it’s twenty years old. You were born and raised here, so you must know of the Joyce Markham cold case.”
Even though she was inside the warm library, a chill wiggled through Hope at the memory. She spun back around to face Norrie.
“When I applied to the Gazette, I was concerned about writing for a small-town newspaper because, well, not much happens in small towns. I was wrong. The murders and scandals that have occurred here rival those in any big city. And who knew Jefferson had a twenty-year-old missing persons cold case?” Norrie’s grin summed up how thrilled she was to use Joyce’s unsolved disappearance as another career steppingstone.
Hope recalled the unusually warm Valentine’s Day when word spread around dinnertime that Joyce was missing.
“It shocked us all. Her husband and daughters left home in the morning, and when the girls returned home from school, the front door was open and Joyce was gone. Felice and Devon called their father, and when Joyce wasn’t home by dinnertime, they called the police. Why are you interested in her case? As you said, it’s been twenty years.”
Norrie arched a brow. “You don’t know?”
Norrie had a smug look on her face, as if knowing something Hope didn’t was some sort of lifetime achievement. The last thing Hope wanted to do was play twenty questions with the reporter.
“What are you talking about?” Hope asked.
“Joyce’s daughter Devon has a podcast about unsolved cases of missing women. It’s called Search for the Missing. The case she’s doing now is her mother’s,” Norrie said.
Hope’s mouth fell open. That was the podcast Oliver had been listening to and the one Gilbert mentioned. Why hadn’t either one mentioned the host was Devon? Or that the case she was talking about was her mother’s? They’d both lived through the months of searching for Joyce and all the false sightings of her, raising hopes only to be disappointed yet again.
“I had no idea.”
“You should listen to it. Devon’s quite a good storyteller. Captivating. Anyway, with Valentine’s Day coming up marking the twentieth anniversary of Joyce’s disappearance and now the podcast, I’m going to write a story. I’ll look at the case with a fresh set of eyes. I want to get a telephone interview with Devon. I was thinking, you know her sister, Felice, right?”
Hope’s surprise at finding out Devon had a podcast vanished while her guard, like a force field, shot up. Norrie was asking for a favor.
Her reluctance to answer must have been written all over her face because Norrie
propped a hand on her hip, and she looked displeased.
“Come on, I helped you out last summer. Don’t you remember, I gave you a lead when you were sticking your nose into that whole mess with Lionel?”
Hope recalled the unsolicited information Norrie provided under the guise of wanting to be helpful. Here was proof Norrie did nothing without some expectation of reciprocation.
“So, I owe you one?”
Norrie shrugged. “Well, if you want to put it that way.” Her cell phone buzzed, and she lifted a finger to indicate she needed a moment. After pulling her phone out of her purse, she frowned as she read the text message. “I have to go. We’ll pick this up later.” She sprang forward, and in an instant, she was gone. Which was just the way Hope liked her.
The author will be raffling off a $20 Gift Card during the book tour!
About the Author
Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.
Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companion is her slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Connie.
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