Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Gettysburg Connection in MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS

by Karen Rose Smith

When I write a cozy mystery, I try to make each book special with an element that will give the novel an extra sparkle.  In MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS, which will be released on November 26, I wanted to give the book a Pennsylvania local connection.  I chose historic Gettysburg.

My favorite and most meaningful landmark has always been THE ETERNAL LIGHT PEACE MEMORIAL, also known as THE PEACE LIGHT.

If you have ever visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and felt the church-like atmosphere of standing there before the monument, you can begin to understand the hushed atmosphere at The Peace Light.  There are no picnic tables or interactive stations.  There is simply the monument and what it stands for...the words engraved in granite.  The monument symbolizes the blue and grey uniting under one flag.  The gas-lit flame was the inspiration for the eternal flame on President John F. Kennedy's grave at Arlington.

So rich in history, Gettysburg is only an hour and a half drive away from my fictional town of Willow Creek that is situated in Lancaster County.  It was easy for me to tap into its history to play an important role in MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS.  Specifics about Gettysburg memorabilia were essential to the intrigue in this cozy.    

During a Willow Creek town council meeting, the idea of prettying up the town to draw in more tourists is raised.  My sleuth, Daisy Swanson, suggests decorating in a similar way as does that Gettysburg with pots waterfall begonias hanging from the street lamps.  She and her beau Jonas Groft have more than one reason to visit the historic town.  Yes, to see how the townspeople make the town a tourist draw but also to follow the breadcrumb clues of the murder mystery they are trying to solve.

Daisy and Jonas know that besides catering to tourists, Gettysburg is, in fact, a college town.  Galleries and theaters dot the area and cafes invite everyone into their eateries.  Nevertheless, because history is a mainstay, visitors also find antique shops on the main streets.  In MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS, memorabilia and shops that sell it are a focal point.  The fictional shop of Cannonball provides an important clue for Daisy when she and Jonas stop in to ask a few questions.  An antique shop in Willow Creek, Pirated Treasures, has a connection to the Cannonball that Daisy and Jonas are
pursuing.  Daisy and Jonas also drive to The Peace Light to have an important personal discussion.  The atmosphere there lends to the quiet and serenity that is necessary for sharing.

The plot in MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS revolves around history mixed with modern day concerns...but, most of all, around family connections.  As the Gettysburg connection winds around the mystery, I hope you find Daisy's Tea Garden a cozy place with warmth, soup and baked goods you'll want to visit often.  Be sure to check out the scrumptious cherry tart recipe in the back of the book!  



 In Pennsylvania's Amish country, Daisy Swanson has a tea shop to run, a daughter to marry off...and a murder to solve!

Daisy's worried one of her employees at Daisy's Tea Garden may be in a spot of trouble.  Lately Karina has been loading up on soup and second-day baked goods at the end of her shift--and while the shop's scrumptious treats may be hard to resist, Daisy suspects there's more going on, especially since Karina has been seen hanging out in a rundown part of Willow Creek.

Planning her own daughter's wedding is enough to keep her busy, but Daisy can't help feeling a protective maternal instinct--and an instinct to investigate.  It turns out Karina has been helping a down-on-his-luck single dad who's been making ends meet--barely--by selling antiques at a place called Pirated Treasures.

But when an employee at the antiques store is bludgeoned to death with a marble rolling pin, Karina's new friend is suspect number one.  Though the motives are muddy and steeped in intrigue, Daisy is more than determined to flush the real killer out. 

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