A Composition in Murder Book Tour
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Book 6
By author Larissa Reinhart
Tour Dates: November 15th – 21st, 2016
With a new art teaching gig at Halo House—Halo, Georgia’s posh independent living home—and Halo society scrutinizing her family and her love life, Cherry Tucker needs to stay out of trouble. However, her sleuthing skills are sought by Halo House’s most famous resident: Belvia Brakeman, the ninety-year-old, blind CEO and founder of Meemaw’s Tea. Belvia confides in Cherry that the family tea empire is in jeopardy. The CEO suspects her daughter, the COO, has been murdered and she might be next. Her offer is hard to refuse, but will have Cherry treading on Forks County Sheriff toes, namely her personal Deputy Heartache, Luke Harper.
Amid her town troubles, can Cherry put her reputation, romance, and life on the line for the final request of a sweet tea tycoon? While she juggles senior citizen shenanigans, small town politics, and corporate family scandals, Cherry finds the sweet tea business cutthroat in more ways than one.
The Last Call looked like a typical hotel bar. Adjoined to Halo House’s fine dining space, the bar and restaurant were open to the public, although neither were advertised in the local phone directory under “Eating Establishments.” Halo House also had a twenty-hour deli (open three a.m. to eleven p.m.), a pool bar, and room service.
“I am telling you,” I said, hopping onto a leather barstool, “Halo House is something else. Always someone to talk to. Lots going on. Buses that take you anywhere you want to go. I just love it to death.”
“Don’t say that five-letter word too loudly around here.” The bartender, a retirement-aged woman with frosted tips in her burgundy hair, had a surprisingly edgy north-of-the-sweet-tea-line accent. She flashed a look around the walker and cane set, playing cards and chatting at the cocktail tables. “Or at least don’t shout it.” She extended her hand. “I’m Rosie. You look familiar. Whose granddaughter are you?”
“I’m Cherry.” I shook her hand. “I’m Grandma Jo’s girl, but she isn’t here. Actually, she passed ten years ago. Cancer.”
“So sorry. Had it myself and kicked its can in my fifties. I’m one of the lucky ones. What brings you to the Last Call?”
“Beer and company mostly. I teach art here.”
“Right, you’re the painting lady. Heard that’s a popular class, although some are anxious to get to the good stuff.”
“Good stuff?” I considered the fundamentals I had covered. “We’ve done linear, one-point and two-point perspective. We’re working our way to line and plane variations using still-life objects, but I thought they should master drapery to understand depth and shadow first. They’re probably anxious to get to the still lifes. Drawing cones and cubes can get tedious.”
“Sounds boring as hell, but I don’t do art.” Rosie pushed a beer toward me. “No, I’m talking about models.”
“Models? This is a fundamentals class, not a life-drawing class.”
“Sweetheart, these ain’t the kind of folks who sign up for ‘Learn to Draw Tippy the Turtle’ in the back of a magazine. They like you well enough, but you’ve got to keep them interested.”
“They’re learning more than Tippy the Turtle in my class. But I will take your advice and push us faster into two-D representation.”
“Better make it three-D if you know what’s good for you. I saw the poster you made. It’s bait and switch otherwise.”
“An Ingres-styled odalisque is a classical subject. I thought the class name, ‘Art with Miss Cherry,’ needed clarification. I painted the odalisque to show my serious intentions for teaching all the fundamentals.” Straightening my shoulders, I gave her a nod. “Miss Krenzer said Halo House never had such interest in a class before.”
“That’s because you’ve got a naked chick lying on pillows.”
“Only semi-nude. Pretty normal for an odalisque.” I forced a smile, using Grandma Jo’s advice about politeness to strangers. “I appreciate your opinion, but I have a degree in painting. If you don’t have the basics, you can’t jump into life drawing. The human figure is challenging. It’s not just rendering what you observe, it’s also capturing emotion and personality.”
“Degree-schmegee.” Rosie rolled her eyes. “There’s too much going on at Halo House. There’s a hot yoga class starting. Those art students will drop you like a bad penny. They’ve got short attention spans when it comes to activities. Time’s precious here.”
My eyes widened. “I’ll lose my job. I can’t lose my job to something called hot yoga.”
“Then you better get cracking.” Rosie leaned an arm on the bar. “You must have a mostly female class. Don’t bore them with a constant parade of boobs. They’ve seen that before. However, the ladies are taking the class because the boobs will attract the men.”
“But I was hired to teach art, not pornography.” My chin rose with my dignity. “That is a distinction this town has difficulty understanding. And I feel it’s my job to elucidate the people of Halo on the difference between fine art and tacky titillation.”
“You’re going to elucidate yourself out of a job,” said Rosie. “Don’t get all uppity with your art crap. I may be new to the area, but I’m a quick study. Just because these folks have money and a long history in the county don’t mean they don’t want tacky titillation. They’ve lived a long time and they’re tired of minding their manners. They want a good time in their final years.”
“Making quality art is a good time.”
She poured a shot of bourbon in a wineglass and filled it with Diet Coke. “Let me show you something about quality in Halo House. People ’round here act snobbish at times, but money don’t buy good taste. Nor does it buy good sense.”
I leaned forward. I may draw the line between good and bad art, but I never drew a line when it came to hot gossip.
Rosie sipped on her cocktail and nodded toward a woman sitting in a corner by herself. She smiled and waved as people walked by. “That’s Eleanor.”
“She looks lonely.” I turned on my stool. “I should sit with her a bit.”
“She’s not lonely, she’s stoned out of her mind.”
“The poor thing. Is it her medication?”
Rosie chuckled. “Eleanor calls it medication. When I was growing up, we called it reefer.”
I swiveled back and almost knocked my beer over. “She’s high?”
“Not only does she roll her own, she grows her own.”
“The community garden.”
A waiter strolled through the bar from the restaurant and deposited a basket of chips and a side of guacamole in front of Eleanor. She high-fived the waiter and dug into the chips.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” I admitted. “Grandma Jo was a strict Southern Baptist. She wouldn’t even try her sister’s homemade muscadine wine. Grandpa Ed has been known to dip from time to time and will drink a beer at a ballgame, but that’s as far as he got on the controlled substance list.”
“Poor kid.” Rosie snorted. “Do you think your generation was the first to shock their parents? Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re as straight-laced as your Granny. Hell, there’s plenty of baby boomers in Halo House. That should tell you something.”
I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to tell me, but I would give Rosie the benefit.
“What else is going on at Halo House?” I swung around on my stool to observe the crowd.
A couple had put money in a brightly lit jukebox and was dancing to Tom Jones. Next to the jukebox a line of women had formed, some pointing out songs to their friends, others tapping their toes while they waited.
“That’s Two-Dollar Frank,” said Rosie. “He’s one of our bachelors.”
“Two bucks a dance. For his mad money. And exercise to boot. He charges more for horizontal dancing, if you get my picture.”
“Good Lord. Halo House is like a college dorm. Where’s the keg hidden?”
Rosie smiled. “Now you’re getting it.”
“I get your point.” I hopped from my stool. “Excuse me a minute. I need to use the ladies’.”
I cut through the tables of card players and chatter. At Eleanor’s, I slowed to give her a hello. She peered at me through her thick glasses and offered me a chip.
“Looking for anything else?” Eleanor winked. “You cool? We could party in my room if you’re cool.”
I’d gone to art school. I was not naive. But for Halo, this was a bit disconcerting.
A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first in the series, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (2012), is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. The sixth mystery, A COMPOSITION IN MURDER, is expected to release November 15, 2016. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, now live in Nagoya, Japan, but still calls Georgia home. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, find her chatting on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads, or join her Facebook street team, The Mystery Minions.
Check out all the Tour Stops:
Jena Books – Book Review/Excerpt
Corinne’s Garden – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Live Laugh and Love Books – Book Review
Tour Arranged by: