The Hartfield Mysteries book 3 – Two o’Clock Slump – Chautona Havig
Alexa Hartfield, beloved mystery writer, lives in the small town of Fairbury and is famous, at home and abroad, for her everyday appearances in a wide array of elaborate and authentic vintage ensembles.
The recent arrest and conviction of her best friend, and seamstress extraordinaire, has given her attention of a new and different kind. Murder and mayhem found only in her popular books has leaked out into her personal life. An uncomfortable situation.
Change is unsettling to Alexa and there’ve been many others recently ….. a move to a new and larger house, a new engagement, and the discovery of a possible replacement seamstress – capable of the perfection she requires. All of these things have upset her orderly lifestyle. Strict routine has been her method of coping since breaking free of her dysfunctional family.
Her house and writing area was set up just the way she liked it. That made it possible to create the rituals which became an integral part of her writing process. Nothing is working the same way in the new house and it’s a struggle trying to recreate what was lost with the move.
The latest book is finished and the end always calls for a celebratory roast beef dinner. For years she’s done this alone but it’s different now with another person to consider. She feels the need for the presence of her policeman fiancé, Joe, at this meal. When he isn’t able to show up at the expected time and dinner is ruined, it’s too much. Her fragile hold on this life of change is severely challenged and she’s ready to run.
This concerns both Joe and her brother Wes. Especially Wes, he knows his sister and can see it all happening again.
Joe is happy her decision to break their engagement is tabled for now . She has a bi-annual trip planned to visit her judgemental, critical family. Her brother Wes is his roommate, and that’s given Joe some insight into the distressful family dynamics. He needs time to convince her to stay and take a chance on the good relationship they have together. He knows life can be different for them. The needed conversation can wait until after she gets back, that will buy him time to launch a defense.
Alexa stands up for herself and reserves a hotel room, not giving in to the pressure to stay with her family. Two weeks is just too much, two days would be too much.
She’s exhausted and thankful to crawl into bed after the long trip and the disastrous homecoming dinnertime spent with her parents and sister.
When she’s pulled out of a deep sleep at 2 am by an alarm ringing incessantly in the next room she calls the front desk to complain.
They say it can’t be happening, the room is empty. They keep insisting it’s unoccupied but finally agree to send someone up to investigate. There’s a lot of racket in the hallway and Alexa figures she’d better go see what’s happening since she made the call. She hears vomiting and then there’s a figure backing out of the room. Soon the hallway is filled with other guests wanting to know what the commotion is all about.
It seems the empty room has a body in the bed. A dead body.
The police keep asking her a lot of, what she considers, irrelevant questions. She’s tired and orders them out of her room if they aren’t planning to arrest her. They leave but she gets the unsettling impression they think she had something to do with it. For some reason they think the evidence is pointing in her direction.
It turns out someone is trying to frame her for this murder, but why?
Chautona Havig is always a good read. She has a vivid imagination turning out unique and varied story lines in different genres. She’s prolific, I’ve downloaded and read 30 of her books and there are still many more waiting to be read.
There has never been a moment in this reading experience where it felt like deja vu …. that’s amazing. One thing I have felt though is character recognition – wait a minute .. have we met? There is good reason for that feeling. She likes to link her books and often has characters popping up in the middle of someone else’s story. Sometimes inadvertently. Ooops.
As well as her wild imagination, Chautona has a unique take on life; that makes for interesting characters and situations.
I could spend more time on her books but then I’d be short on time to read all the other interesting authors I’ve downloaded. A wonderful dilemma.
In the meantime I need to get back to Hartfield Mysteries book 4 Front Window. Joe and Alexa are on their honeymoon and it looks like things are about to go awry.