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.
“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!”
What a treasure...I laughed so much and it was a mystery too.
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is by Amy Metz. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! Life in the small town of Goose Pimple Junction, TN is lively as it is mysterious. Actually, the community is fairly sedate. Little to no crime at all, people living it up at the Silly Goose for an evening out or the more customary setting of the local diner for sweet tea and conversation. Life is simple...until writer, Tess Tremaine moves in to the neighborhood. To be fair, trouble found her, but you'll figure that out, "lickety split", when you unravel the mystery of the Hobb murder.
Recently divorced after 26 years of marriage, Tess picks herself up and launches into Phase II of her life. Although she tries to quietly observe the townspeople, Tess is thrust into the lives of several prominent characters and has to adapt to her environment. Most significantly is fellow writer, Jackson Wright. Unsurprising, he's handsome, witty and intelligent...all the characteristics Tess is determined to ignore. She swore never to get involved again. But he's so dang appealing! Perhaps never should be "not so soon"?
Let me say that I was immediately put off when I realized the central couple was middle-aged. I'm so used to panting over eternally hot vampires and studly shifters and/or swooning for lords and highlanders from the 16th century, I -- WAIT. Those examples are waaay older, but if you perceive yourself to be that heroine, to insert yourself in the story, it's appropriately hot, right? Everyone does this, right?! Ok...admonishing self...**get back on track!** Let me state clearly that Jack and Tess are such a wonderful couple, age is truly but a number. Amy Metz has written such an engaging couple, my ignorant impression was quickly dashed and I reveled in their every interaction; romantic or furtive in nature.
The parallel story of the murder of John Hobb (a real event!) is the foundation for the present-day mystery and Ms. Metz tells it in such a nuanced manner, the vacillation between 1932 and 2010 drifts effortlessly. Adjusting to her newly independent life and wanting to integrate herself into Pimple Junction, Tess gets a P/T job at the local bookstore. Unable to sleep one evening, Tess decides to finalize the move-in by scraping off old wallpaper in her bedroom. Picking up dozens of shredded pieces, Tess has to extract the smaller scraps from under a vent on the floor. Along with the bits comes a peculiar key labeled "trunk". Tess approaches her boss, Louetta Hobb, who happens to be the youngest child of the original homeowners. If Lou wasn't impressed by its discovery, and even encouraged Tess to use it as a good luck charm instead, why does Tess' house suddenly get ransacked? Someone DOES care. Ms. Metz enlightens us with the details of a bank robbery and subsequent unresolved murder of John Hobb (Louetta and her 3 siblings' father), while Tess and Jack investigate the mystery. These two suffer break-ins, an actual mugging and become the unsuspecting victims of a stalker's plan to keep the truth buried. It's sooo good!!!
Aside from the budding love story between Jack and Tess, Ms. Metz describes a slice of life so charming; I highlighted many colloquialisms on my Kindle! Please indulge me as they're laugh out loud funny and spot-on descriptive. A casual greeting is "Hireyew". When you're meeting someone formally, there's the expression, "We've howdied, but we ain't shook yet." Insults were some of my favorites! When Jack became jealous of a potential suitor of Tess', he discouraged her interest by saying, "He's about as handy as a back pocket on a shirt." There were some great put-downs, too! "The only thing that would make him dumber is if he was bigger"; "Jesus loves him, but he's the only one"; "That child was so ugly, her mama used to borrow a baby to take to church on Sunday." Just delightful! I was swept away by Metz' many metaphors and I am elated to hear there is more to this series.
Enticed by a mystery, riveted to the swoon-worthy romance and tickled by the "countrified" life, I was thoroughly entertained on all levels. A quick visit to Ms. Metz's website promises to continue the hilarity, as the sequel titled Heroes and Hooligans in Pimple Junction, is in the editing process. That must make her "busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin' contest"! Seriously...read this book! :)
Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction
When Tess Tremaine, recently divorced and looking to start over in a new town settles into Goose Pimple Junction, she has no idea what she's in for! Meeting the townsfolk, learning "southern speak" and "goosepimpleisms," working in a bookstore, and an attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright is enough to keep her busy ... or is it?
A 1935 bank robbery leads to the 1937 unsolved murder of witness John Hobbs. Seventy-five years later, Tess is living in John's old house, and while renovating the house, she finds an old key and decides to look into the unsolved murder mystery case. But someone doesn't want the past to be stirred up ... with Tess and Jack investigating ... murder, mayhem and a little bit of southern romance is sure to follow!
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is an entertaining whodunit story with a southern twist! The author weaves an intriguing southern cozy murder mystery tale told in the third person narrative that immediately draws the reader in with its quirky humor and fast-paced action that has enough twists and turns that will leave your head spinning! Rich in detail and vivid descriptions, the story takes place in Goose Pimple Junction, Tennessee, a picturesque southern town with a lot of heart and charm. The description of the town and surrounding area was wonderful, there's nothing better than down home country charm and living. I loved how the author weaved the two time periods, the 1930s murder mystery and the present day, into a suspenseful and riveting story. This laugh-out-loud mystery story will keep you in stitches as you turn the pages following along with the townsfolks' southern charm, quirky "goosepimpleisms," and the drama and mayhem that follows Tess and Jack on their quest to solve the old murder case.
The author has created a cast of characters that are quirky and lovable, their southern charm, crazy antics and hysterical dialogue will keep you in stitches. The reader is transported to lovely southern town of Goose Pimple Junction, Tennessee, where the friendly townsfolk welcome you with open arms and sweet tea! I really enjoyed all of the characters, but my favorites were Tess, Jack, Lou and Pickle. I loved how the author balanced the murder mystery with romance, while the drama and suspense kept me guessing, it was Tess and Jack's lighthearted romance that kept me smiling.
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is a riveting southern cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the investigation of the decades old murder mystery, while providing you with a dose of good ol' southern charm and humor. So pull up a rocking chair and set down for a spell with some sweet tea while the townsfolk of Goose Pimple Junction tell y'all their story!
So excited this is the first in a series...just fantastic!
When I first read the blurb for this book I was curious how someone would solve a 75 year old mystery. Anyone involved would surely be dead, so how on earth would you investigate such a thing? But Tess soon discovers that when she starts poking her nose into the past, someone is out to make sure that the past stays buried! I think this book proves just how strong family ties are in the South. The weaving of the 1930s story with the modern day story is seamless...there is no confusion at all like you sometimes get when two time periods are being tied together. The mystery is absolutely riveting...I was suspicious of several different characters at times (even Tess' love interest!), and proven to be wrong each time.
I really don't know how to put into words how much I loved this book except to say you just have to read it. Goose Pimple Junction, Tennessee is the perfect setting for a Southern mystery series and I am so excited that subsequent books are planned. (I read about the upcoming storylines on the author's website and my mouth is just watering!!!) The "goosepimpleisms" had me in stitches and several times I laughed out loud and had to read them to the nearest family member in the room. I loved the secondary characters...Jack, Lou, Pimple, Martha Maye, sweet little Ezzie! This book is pure southern charm and had me longing for a glass of sweet tea and the friendship of these wonderful characters.