A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, March 21, 2014




Who said life was simple, complacent, and boring?

After the man of her dreams, Scotsman Aidan Sinclair, walks into her bread shop, Melina Cameron immediately realizes her life has taken a sharp left turn.

Finding her ill-tempered landlady murdered, only complicates matters.

Melina's seventy year old grandmother has chosen to take a walk on the wild side of life, and Detective Graham, lead investigator from the Providence Police Department, has taken a fancy to Melina. Too many issues and too little time to adjust to the implications of them all, leaves Melina floundering to keep her business, The Hole in the Wall Bakery, open and running smoothly.

Excitement and danger ramp up when a fellow tenant, in the string of shops in

Melina's building, is found murdered in the same fashion as the landlady. Who

would be cruel enough to incriminate Melina, along with her BFF and neighbor,

BettyJo Seever, in the crimes? Who's next on the killers list, and why?

The answers are beyond her reach. Melina finds she's out of her depth and drowning ever so slowly in the deaths that surround her. Can she and BettyJo prove their innocence before Detective Graham charges them both with conspiracy to commit, murder resulting?

Will they reveal the culprit and find the proof needed to put these deaths to rest?

It's only after Aidan joins the hunt, that Melina comes face to face with the person responsible for the killings. Fearful that she's about to become victim number three, Melina takes the killer head on.

Chapter One:

Chapter 1

Crusty bread protruded for her mouth, a dreadful halo of dark red blood pooled around her head. But, it wasn’t a halo. It was a nightmare scene before me. I peered closer touching the bit of bread. My fingers brushed her skin. I gasped and jumped back. Mrs. Peterson was dead.

I stumbled back, tripping over my own feet in haste to escape the gruesome sight of my landlady. Somebody had dealt her a blow, more than one, judging by the amount of blood on the floor. I scanned the shadowy room for the instrument of death and wondered how to handle this disaster.

"Are you coming back soon? BettyJo has a problem with her bread dough," a student called from the door of BettyJo’s shop. I’d gone to fetch her cell phone while she prepared her sour dough for baking.

Lost in thought, the words slowly penetrated my brain. "Uh, I’ll be right there," I called. My voice sounded as wobbly as my knees felt. I grabbed BettyJo’s cell phone off the table and hurried out the door.

When I’d rejoined the class, five people stared at me. No one uttered a sound, at first. Then all hell broke loose.

Madeline, a realtor who needed something less stressful to deal with than real estate in a poor economy, appeared startled. "Are you all right? You’re very pale, Melina," she remarked.

Aidan, the man of my dreams, stepped forward. He laid a flour covered hand on my arm and said with his Scottish accent, "Lass, you’d best sit down."

BettyJo, not one to be easily excited, asked, "Was there a problem finding the phone?"

"N-no, it’s Mrs. Peterson. She’s over there," I thumbed in the direction of her store. "And she’s dead." That’s when I passed out cold.

Sometime later, I awoke on the floor, a cold, soggy cloth draped across my forehead. Students huddled, gaping, and a worried BettyJo was on the phone.

When I began to rise, Aidan grasped my arms and lifted me to my feet. He motioned to a chair. I gladly slumped into it.

"Lass," Aidan said with a worried look. "Are ya fine, now?" He handed me a glass of water.

I nodded and tossed the wet cloth onto the table. I sucked in a deep breath and stared at the concerned faces around me.

"I’m fine, really. Just shocked at finding Mrs. Peterson dead." I murmured, "Who could have done such a ghastly thing to her?"

Heads shook, shoulders shrugged, they hadn’t a clue who Mrs. Peterson was. After all, other than BettyJo, she wasn’t their landlady, was she?

Though shaken by my find, BettyJo insisted that she and I go to her shop. As reluctant as I was, I refused to allow her to go alone. The students hung about, waiting to see what would happen next. I asked that they return to working their dough and said we’d be right back.

As BettyJo and I reached the door, I found Aidan was hot on our heels.

I glanced at him. His concerned face told me he didn’t intend for us to go alone.

"I’ll be going with you on this," he said.

The three of us strode toward BettyJo’s back door.

A Crusty Murder (Book 1 Deadly Bakery Series)A Crusty Murder by J.M. Griffin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Crusty Murder by J.M. Griffin is a 2013 Lachcisis Publication.
Melina runs The Hole in the Wall bakery with her grandmother in Rhode Island. When the very unpopular landlord turns up dead, Melina is implicated. Melina's best friend BettyJo is also a suspect. Melina is trying to keep her business afloat, keep an eye on her seventy year old grandmother who still thinks she is in her twenties, and stave off the ambitious detective Graham who likes Melina and her baked goods, but also wouldn't mind putting her in prison for murder. The other huge thing going in Melina's life is her attraction to Scotsman Aidan Sinclair, a man in the states for a brief time on business who decided to take bread making classes at The Hole in the Wall. When another murder occurs, and once more Melina is implicated it looks as if someone is trying to frame her. Will detective Graham believe in her innocence? What about Aidan and the other tenants? Could one of them be responsible?

This very short cozy style mystery was a cute whodunit centered around the aromas of the bakery. Eccentric characters, several suspects with clear motives, and a touch of romance round out the mystery. Melina is a sincere and honest girl trying to stay afloat in a terrible economy. She wants to be a good granddaughter and friend and business woman. She would also like a little romance with a certain Scotsman, but she is plagued by doubts about him.
While there was bit of a guessing game involved, the mystery was just a little predictable and the motive was a little dicey. The charming atmosphere and the characters made up for the holes in the mystery part of the story. If you like cozy style mysteries, I think you will enjoy this one. If nothing else you will have a craving for a fresh baked muffin. Overall this one is a B-/C+


J.M. Griffin/Dana Stone grew up in rural Maine. She relocated to Rhode Island and lives in the north western part of the state with her husband and two cats. J.M.'s first published novel For Love of Livvy, began a series of humorous mysteries featuring Lavinia "Vinnie" Esposito. J.M. has also written a romance under the pseudonym Dana Stone.


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  1. I love cozy mysteries and this books sounds very interesting..:)
    I'll give it a try soon.. :)
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    -Njkinny @ Njkinny's World of Books

  2. Sounds like a fun cozy! Congrats and best wishes.

  3. Sounds like a cute, fun read. Thanks for sharing

    ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

  4. You had me at "bakery."
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  5. This sounds like such a fun book, thanks for sharing!



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