Five Stars for Death By A Dark Horse

8-17 Death by a Dark HorseWhen Thea’s missing horse, Blackie, is found in the pasture with a dead woman, the first thought was that crushed head was caused by Blackie. Thea knows that’s not true, but how did Valerie die?

Was it murder? Who did it? And why? Soon Thea is asking all those questions, but so are the police, and they have more clout.

Death by a Dark Horse is the first in Susan Schreyer’s Thea Campbell series. Blackie is a prominent character in each one. (For a horse lover, how can that be bad?) And, since Thea has a habit of finding danger, and her horse seems to realize that—how can that be bad for a mystery lover?

Let me share some other reviews from Goodreads. “The cleverly titled Death By A Dark Horse has all the trappings of an engaging murder mystery: high stakes, an independent heroine, intimidating goons and a clever villain. All of this is set upon a backdrop of horse-riding and dressage, so right off the bat I can easily recommend this story to horse lovers.”

Another one: “This mystery has enough twists, turns, and interesting characters to keep me reaching for my Kindle every free moment.

“I enjoyed learning interesting tidbits about horses and their care while trying to figure out “whodunit” and why. The protagonist’s characteristics make her someone I will follow into the next book of the series: Levels Of Deception.”

I, too, found this mystery a captivating read. Recommended for horse lovers, mystery lovers, heck, let’s just say for all readers and be done with it! And, I just discovered, right now it’s a free ebook at Amazon.

Dressed for Summer Fun

7-23 PicnicThere’s nothing better than a summer picnic, along with a few summer games. It’s time to look in my “many years ago” file. I found a picture from a Sunday School picnic with children dressed to enjoy a lot of fun.

Umm, really? The year was 1908. The children gathered at the church, then marched to the picnic grounds, accompanied by a band. A decorated wagon carried those too young to walk. The activities included a program with drills, music, and addresses by prominent speakers. Finally, a free supper wrapped up the event. But not before the accompanying photo was taken.

Where were the children’s games, the splashing in water, Where7-23 sack race
were the races? I remember those— three-legged race, wheelbarrow race, all number of ways to give the little ones a fun time. And, don’t forget the gunny sack race. (Gotta be dressed just right for that one.)

7-23-Goat race 2Speaking of being dressed just right, and races as well—how about a goat race? Twenty-five years ago, that was on the summer picnic agenda. And of course, the goat had to be dressed for the occasion. (Don’t know if this was the winner, the loser, or just the most photogenic.)

Do you remember school picnics in your past? Maybe there are some in your present and future. (Or, do they still have them?)

5 Stars for An Error In Judgment

An Error In Judgment-coverThis is the third in the Thea Campbell Mystery series, but one I especially like.

As one review said, “OK, I was already a fan, so I bought An Error in Judgment expecting an entertaining read. I already knew and liked the characters and I knew Schreyer delivered a well crafted, well plotted mystery with lots of twists and turns. No surprise that An Error in Judgment delivers all of that. What blew me away and made this a must read book is that with this third offering in the Thea Campbell series Schreyer deftly moves from traditional mystery to romantic thriller and blows the doors off the genre while keeping her story real with gently comedic and completely realisic moments between her lead characters.”

I summed it up this way. “Mystery writing and showing horses have a lot to do with pacing, and this mystery with Thea combines her business, her horse Blackie, her boyfriend Paul, and murder with unmatched pacing. There are moments of terror, moments of tenderness, moments of doubt, and moments of fulfillment—all combined to keep the reader eagerly turning the pages.”

Is it possible to have a favorite book in a series? Yes, it is. And one reader’s favorite may not be everyone’s favorite, just as no one book or type of book appeals to every reader. I say, “Thank goodness for that!”

Five Star Read – THE ANTEATER OF DEATH

Anteater coverNow, you have to admit—The Anteater of Death is an unusual name for a mystery story. Okay—crazy! But I truly like it. It’s got a lot going for it.

A. The name attracts attention. (Always good.)

B. The story lives up to the title. (Also good.)

C. The anteater (in a zoo, thankfully) is not only a suspect in murder, but has a devoted advocate in the heroine of the story—Teddy, the amateur detective.

This was how I put it a couple of months ago when I read The Anteater of Death:

The plot is full of unexpected twists, the characters are mostly known to eah other (for generations) and quite individual. The suspense is right up there, along with enough humor to fit the title. But there is also suspense to keep the reader on the edge of her (or his) seat. The book starts and ends with a chapter in the anteater’s viewpoint—quite a bit different than a human viewpoint. In between it’s Teddy’s story. She’s related to the wealthy zoo donors and working at the zoo. And yes, there is death. Great story for those looking for the unusual subject. Spiced with zoo and animal information.

Right now the Kindle ebook is $.99. Betty Webb is the author. She has two other zoo books, and a desert series of mysteries.

The Eagle Has Hatched!

I must take a pass on sharing my War of 1812 research. Over a month ago I blogged about a pair of eagles on their nest of two eggs. Then we had snow on the first day of spring. How were the eagles faring?

Yes, you see an eagle head.

Yes, you see an eagle head.

This picture might give you a clue. They were keeping those eggs warm. (An authority answered worried watchers, “Notice the snow doesn’t melt over the parent. That means his or her feathers are keeping the body well insulated.”)

Now, this morning our paper had the news—the first egg had hatched! Byeagle feeds baby the time I sat down at my computer to write this blog, the second egg had hatched and the first eaglet had already had its first meal. Fish bits, yum, yum. Mamma (or Papa) had to keep trying to connect with the tiny wobbling beak.

Here’s some interesting articles to read and videos to watch: Article in this morning’s newspaper. Video-first egg hatches. Video-second egg hatches. A first meal.

Eagles on the Nest

The temperature is about to hit zero in my part of Pennsylvania. Who knew it is eagle nesting time? Not me, until I noticed an article about a nearby eagle nest with an eagle cam mounted to see all the eagle’s intimate moments. Laying egg one? Got that. Egg two? You bet. I just checked the eagle cam and saw one of the eagles standing by, watching the eggs, before she (or he—they take turns) settled back down.

I also learned a little bit about eagles and their eggs. Cold as it is, it evidently doesn’t hurt the eggs to be uncovered for ten or so minutes. In fact, that keeps them from being overheated. Another fact—it takes thirty-five days for an egg to hatch.

Here’s a few links to follow our local eagles, named Liberty and Freedom by newspaper readers. That’s unofficial, since the Pennsylvania Game Commission, whose camera is livestreaming these eagles and their nest, does not “personify wildlife.” (I should imagine the eagles are unaware of these names as well.)

The Valentine’s Day love story.

The first egg. The second egg.

And, since every story should have a bit of controversy—were the eagles scared off the nest?

And here’s the eagle cam, so you can watch at any time. Plan on viewing on March 21, the estimated time for the first hatching.

Are there any eagle cams near you? Are there any other animals watched by camera?

Saving Dogs

Dogs on a plane. A mercy flight for animals facing death in overcrowded shelters.

Recently our newspaper told the story of the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team when they brought fifteen dogs to the Lancaster County SPCA shelter. The PAART began when a couple of new pilots wanted a mission other than just flying around Pittsburgh. After one transported a dog for a friend, the idea took hold. When the group hears of an overcrowded shelter about to euthanize dogs, they fly in and collect up to one thousand pounds of animals and take them to a shelter that has room and people who want to adopt dogs.

Since 2006, they’ve moved more than 600 dogs. They’ve also shifted cats, ducks, even pigs and a python. Sometimes the dogs are in crates, other times they are loose. The altitude makes them sleepy. The only problem has been when an affectionate dog wants to sit on the pilot’s lap. (The only damage to a plane was when one Great Dane chewed up the co-pilot’s seat.) Many of the dogs are puppies.

The team of pilots has gone out nearly every weekend for the last two years. On occasion a pilot will adopt one of the dogs. But they know the dogs face a bright future. Locally, the Lancaster shelter had previously taken twenty-eight dogs from the same overcrowded shelter in another state, but these were the first that came by plane. All of those those taken earlier have been adopted.

“Our turnover has been phenomenal,” said Lancaster’s Susan Martin. “We live in such a great county. There are so many dog lovers.”

The full article with pictures is here.