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The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Amy Metz's Book:
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Author: Amy Metz
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Barnes and Noble
When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.
A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.
Exhaust billowed into the air as the black 1934 Ford Tudor idled by the side of the road on a bitterly cold December evening. Snow- flakes danced in the car’s headlights as it sat just past Goose Creek Bridge, four miles south of Goose Pimple Junction, Tennessee.
Preoccupied with the cold night air, passersby were intent on getting to their destinations. While everyone who passed the Ford that night would later remember seeing it sitting on the side of the road with its headlights burning aimlessly into the cold night, none noticed the three bullet holes in the windows or the dead man slumped over the steering wheel, a bullet through his head, and a pistol in his hand.
We've Howdied But We Ain't Shook Yet
swan: verb \swon\ to swear, deritive of swannee
I swan--raisin’ kids is like bein' pecked to death by a chicken.
“You are dumber ‘n a soup sandwich, Earl.”?
“Oh yeah? Well, you’re a hole in search of a doughnut, Clive.”
Tess Tremaine walked into Slick & Junebug’s Diner, past the two gentlemen arguing at the counter, and slid into one of the red vinyl booths. The old men were arguing good-naturedly, and she imagined they were probably lifelong friends, passing the time of day.
Tess smiled as she looked around the diner. She was happy with her decision to move to this friendly town. Everyone greeted her cheerfully and went out of their way to be nice. It was a pretty place to live, too. Every street in the small town was lined with decades-old trees in front of old, well kept homes full of character, just like the citizens. She was confident she’d made the right choice. This was a good place to heal from her divorce and start a new life.
A raised voice at the counter brought Tess out of her thoughts. One of the old men spoke loud enough for the whole diner to hear.
“If I had a dog as ugly as you, I’d shave his butt and make him walk backwards,” he said, jabbing his index finger at the other man.
A waitress appeared at the table. Tess hadn’t seen a beehive hairdo in person until she saw this waitress. With her pink uniform dress and white apron, she looked like she jumped out of a page from the sixties. Her name tag said, “Willa Jean.”
“Don’t mind those two old coots.” Willa Jean hitched her head in their direction. “They’re about as dumb as a box a hair, but they’re gentle souls underneath. Their problem is one of ‘em’s always tryin’ to one-up the other.”
She got her pad and pencil out of her front apron pocket, ready to take Tess's order, but she stopped and cocked her head, staring hard at Tess, and smacking her gum.
"Anybody ever tell you, you look like Princess Di? I just loved her, didn’t you?” She bent her head slightly to the side to look at Tess’s legs under the table. "'Cept you look a might shorter 'n Di was. How tall are you?"
"Five-five." Tess couldn’t help smiling at the compliment.
"Yep. What we have here is a mini Diana. And your hair color is a reddish-blond instead of a blonde-blonde like my girl Di. Other 'n that, honey, you could be her clone."
"Thank you. You just earned a big tip." Tess’s smile lit up her face.
The waitress winked at Tess. “What can I gitcha?”?
“I think I’ll just have a Coke and a ham sandwich, please.”
“Anything on that? Wanna run it through the garden?”?
“Run it through the…” Tess’s brow furrowed.?
“Yeah, you know…lettuce, tomato, and onion. The works.”?
“Oh! Just mustard, please.”?
Willa Jean nodded and hollered the order to the cook as she went?towards the kitchen. “Walkin’ in! A Co’Cola and Noah’s boy on bread with Mississippi mud.”
Tess smiled and looked around the diner. The front counter was lined with cake plates full of pies covered in meringue piled six inches high, cakes three and four layers tall, and two-inch thick brownies. Six chrome stools with red leather seats sat under the counter. The walls were packed with framed snapshots from as far back as the fifties. From the looks of it, they started taking pictures when poodle skirts were popular and never stopped. They were running out of wall space. The top half of the big picture window was covered with a “Henry Clay Price For Governor” banner. Tess spotted similar signs throughout the restaurant, and she’d noticed the waitress was wearing a campaign button.
The diner was only half full with about twenty people at various tables and booths. A few tables away, a mother was having trouble with her child. Tess heard the mother say, “I’m fixin’ to show you what a whoopin’ is all about!” When the little boy whined some more the mother added, “I mean it son, right now, I’d just as soon whoop ya as hug ya.” She looked up to see Tess watching them and said, “I’ll swan—raisin’ kids is like bein' pecked to death by a chicken.”
Tess laughed. “I know what you mean. But you just wait. In ten years time, you’ll be wishing he were five again. The time goes by so fast.”
"How many you got?”
"Just one. My son's twenty-five now, but it doesn't seem possible."
"You married?” the woman asked boldly.?
"Divorced," Tess answered.?
“Here’s yer Co’cola, hon,” Willa Jean said. “It’ll be just a minute?more on the sandwich. You visitin’ or are ya new in town?” She propped a hand on her waist.
“Brand new as of a week ago. I've been unpacking boxes for days. I guess you could say this is my debut in Goose Pimple Junction.”
“Well, all Southern Belles have to have a debut. And we're mighty glad to have ya, sugar. Lessee…did you buy the old Hobb house on Walnut?”
“My house is on Walnut, but I believe the previous owner’s name was York.”
“Yep, that’s the one I’m thinkin’ of. Houses ‘roundcheer are known for the families that lived in ‘em the longest. Them Hobbs had the house for over seventy years, up until old Maye Hobb Carter died a few years back. It was her late huband's family home and then hers, even when she remarried. She was a sweet old soul, bless her heart. We all hated to lose her, but it was her time. She had a hard life, and I reckon she was ready to meet her maker. Her daughter still lives in town, but she and an older sister are all that’s left of the Hobbs ‘round here. Mmm-mmm—the things that family went through.”
“Willa!” the cook behind the counter yelled. “Order up!”
“Hold yer pants on, Slick,” she yelled and then turned to Tess. “Be right back.” Willa hurried off to get the order and came bustling back with Tess’s sandwich. “It was nice talkin’ with ya, hon. I’ll leave ya to eat in peace. Holler if ya need anything else.”
A few minutes later the door to the diner opened, and almost every head turned to see who came in. Tess noticed everybody, except for her, raised a hand up in greeting, and a few said, “Hidee, Jackson.” The man’s eyes caught Tess’s and held them a little longer than normal. He sat down at the counter with his back to her and ordered iced tea. Willa waited on him, and Tess heard her say, “You don’t need ta be any sweeter than ya already are, Jackson. I’ma give you unsweetened tea.” She leaned across the counter looking up at him adoringly.
“Don’t you dare Willa Jean or I will take my bidness elsewhere!” he said with a big smile.
Big flirt, Tess thought.
He was a good-looking man who looked to be in his early to mid- fifties, Tess guessed, but she wasn’t in the market. Being newly divorced, the last thing she needed was to get involved with another man.
As far as I'm concerned, they're all Martians and are to be avoided at all cost. Men Are From Mars, And Women Are From Venus wasn’t a best seller for nothing, she thought.
The door to the diner opened and a middle-aged man of medium height, dressed in a conservative suit and tie stuck his head in. “Vote for Henry Clay Price for governor, folks,” he said, with a wide politician’s smile.
“You know it, Henry Clay. You’re our man. We’re proud as punch to have you runnin’,” Willa Jean said.
Other than the smile, Henry Clay didn’t look like a politician. He had thinning auburn hair that was almost brown, and he wore round wire-rimmed eyeglasses on a round face. He reminded Tess a little of an absentminded professor.
“You gonna let out all the bought air?” Slick grumped, and Henry Clay waved and closed the door, then ambled on down the sidewalk.
Tess finished eating and walked to the counter to pay her bill. Willa gave her change and said, “Nice meetin’ ya, hon. Don’t be a stranger, now!”
As she closed the door she heard one of the men at the counter tell the other, “Yer so slow, it would take you two hours to watch 60 minutes!”
“I love this town," she whispered to herself.
Mystery & Thrillers, Humor, Romance
Amy Metz, author
A Blue Million Books
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Amy Metz attended Centre College and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BA in Elementary Education. She taught first grade until her first child was born, and then motherhood and volunteer work took up her time. When her mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2009, she turned to writing as therapy. Needing an escape from life and from the memoir, and desperately needing to laugh, she began writing a humorous southern mystery that eventually became Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, and an author was born.
Amy has been richly blessed with two sons – an adult and a teenager – and a daughter-in-law. When not actively engaged in writing or spending time with her family, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in her hands. Amy's debut novel, Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, was first published in August 2012, with the second edition released in September 2014. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
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