Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Helen Fanick Moon Mystery Series Takes Cozy Lovers to West Virginia!

English: View of Canaan Valley, West Virginia,...
We went to the lobby, where Ivy was talking on the phone. On the east side of the lobby, a brick fireplace stands against the wall. Facing the front of the hotel, two newly-upholstered chairs flank the fireplace. Opposite them, a couch covered in the same dark green fabric stands. A round coffee table sits between. A tall man who was dressed in jeans and a tweed jacket was seated on one of the chairs, and he looked up as we came in. It was impossible not to notice that, even though he looked to be in his sixties, he was incredibly attractive. He had green eyes like Stefan’s and dark hair with just enough unruly curl to give him a roguish appearance. We approached the couch to wait for Ivy to finish on the phone, and he gave us a smile that indicated he was delighted to meet not just one, but two women. “Ladies,” he said, as he got up with a little nod and shook hands with both of us. “We’re Maggie’s aunts,” Andrea said. “I’m Andrea Flynn, and this is my sister, Kathleen Williamson.” “I’m Laszlo Novacek, Stefan’s uncle.”

“Certainly. You can ride with me. I have a rental car. Stefan and Maggie can go with Franz and Erika.” I wasn’t so sure I wanted to ride with the suave Laszlo Novacek. In spite of his good looks, or maybe because of them, he was a mite too suave for me. I didn’t want to rock the boat, however, so I didn’t say anything."
"Leaders Den in WV Filling in for Fictional Alpenhof Hotel

"Grandma Flynn believed in living life according to the signs of the moon, and she taught my sister Andrea and me everything she knew. Andrea, being a natural skeptic, never believed a word of Grandma Flynn’s wisdom, but I’ve always been sure she was right. The dark of the moon is a time of trouble. The waning half moon means turmoil and disaster, and the waxing half moon means change, but sometimes a positive change can occur in that phase. The twenty-four hours surrounding the full moon are when good luck flourishes; we experience harmony, peace, and good fortune. That’s why it’s so hard to understand what happened on the night of the full moon, that last Saturday in June, the night of the wedding. 
"Ivy McGee and I talked my niece Maggie into getting married that particular Saturday evening rather than some other date in June. Ivy works at the Alpenhof Hotel in West Virginia’s Canaan Valley, and Maggie works there, too. In addition to that, Maggie’s engaged to the owner of the hotel, Stefan Novacek. Ivy believes in living by the signs of the moon, just as I do, so when Maggie told us in January that she and Stefan were getting married the following June, we immediately checked the calendar and found there was a full moon on the last Saturday of that month. It seemed like the perfect time for a wedding. 

Moonlight Mayhem:
A Moon Mystery Novel
By Helen Haught Fanick

Living in or near neighboring state West Virginia for all my life, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting some of the attractions via Moonlight Mayhem, the second book in this cozy mystery series. Although the main site necessarily had to be fictional, many of the vacation spots in the southern part of the state were visited by the characters during their stay!

For the wedding! 

The book's narrator is Kathleen, an aunt of the bride. She and her sister Andrea are the last two relatives of Maggie so they are close. Stefan's family, though, all come from Europe but his parents, his uncle Lazlo and another uncle and his family all have come! Other guests are mostly friends of the couple, but Uncle Lazlo had a friend join him there and neighbors and employees of the Hotel, including an old admirer of Stefan's resulted in the wedding group taking over the entire Hotel! Some even slept on cots in an unfinished attic, but everybody was happy, excited for the two in love, plus planning to have a short vacation.

The wedding went beautifully and the happy couple soon left for their honeymoon...

Soon after, the first murder occurred...

Andrea is the super sleuth, while Kathleen follows behind and adds ideas once something is planned. Of course, the local police are involved, but a gabby young officer who has known the two sisters enjoys sharing...seems he has grown to trust them...

Besides being onsite plus having the keys allows the sisters to start searching for clues...

Especially since Uncle Lazlo had been murdered in his bed and there had been evidence a companion was with him. Immediately, all the females were suspect!

But as is always the case, family secrets and disagreements come out at a time like this, so the sisters considered everybody, except the three staff members, as suspects! And then Lazlo's partner came when he'd heard about his death...only to be shot soon thereafter! Wow!

 Of course, readers will know that when you attend a wedding set in wooded areas, you are going to be doing a lot of eating, hiking, touring and that's exactly why you'll be visiting, for instance, Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley Resort and more...

If you haven't visited West Virginia, my second home when I worked for the University, and traveled much across the State, let me assure you that it is a beautiful state where you can go, relax, and enjoy being out where the trees grow...Can't beat it, except maybe for my cabin hiding in 13 acres of forest! Why not plan to visit there sometime...If you want something a little ritzy try the Greenbrier! Myself, I enjoy going out where the scenes include natural water displays like the Falls. I've also enjoyed visiting at the Canaan Valley Resort and can recommend it as well...

Plan on taking Moonlight Mayhem with you! BTW, I don't know anything about this moon "stuff" that Kathleen and Ivy goes by...I'll just point out that the wedding did go well, even though there was murder that brought the newly wedded back home after only a week...but they seemed happy and went right back to being hospitable like the other people you'll find at WV attractions.

This novel was light on character development of suspects, especially,  with too many eating breaks, little challenge for mystery buffs. On the other hand, I did enjoy the two sisters--they reminded me of my sister, Dee, and me... except that the characteristics included were all jumbled up! I'll let you figure out which of Andrea and of Kathleen I would claim...you can choose at least one of them...and probably two! LOL

Cozy readers--check this one out and visit WV through this book, or better yet, in Wild Wonderful West Virginia!


About this author

Helen Fanick’s short stories have appeared in Women’s Household, Midnight Zoo, Vermont Ink, and in various anthologies. Ten of her short stories are available in Spring Decision. Her articles and photos have been published in Texas Observer, Stepping Stones, and other periodicals. Her poem, Leaf Fall, was published in Nature’s Gifts, an anthology to benefit The Nature Conservancy. She has won several local and state awards, and two national awards in the Writer’s Digest Competition. Helen is a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in English and lives in San Antonio with her husband. 

Her traditional mysteries in the Moon Mystery Series, Moon Signs and Moonlight Mayhem, are available on Amazon. Three short stories featuring the characters in the Moon Mystery Series are available as Bad Moon Rising. Her suspense novels, Saving Susie and City Life, were published earlier this year. 

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