The Eleventh Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 1
by Anina Collins
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Poppy McGuire has always been a curious soul, but it's her life that's usually the topic of conversation in the small town of Sunset Ridge. But now one of the town's most important citizens has been found murdered, and everyone's life is suspect.
What begins as a friendly wager with her old friend Officer Derek Hampton soon becomes far more for Poppy, and she turns to Alex Montero for help, but the enigmatic former Baltimore cop's quiet way hides as many secrets as each suspect they encounter.
Everyone in Sunset Ridge has something to hide, but Poppy and Alex are determined to uncover the identity of the murderer. They just have to watch that they don't become the next victims.
Okay, let's go," he said eagerly as he stood to leave, but I grabbed his arm to stop him.
"Not yet. I think since you seem to know so much about me that I should get to know more about you."
"There's nothing more to know about me, Poppy. I'm that guy who showed up at your door with a coffee this morning."
Shaking my head, I said, "Yeah, well I think there's more, so turnabout is fair play. If we're to be partners, I think I should know more about you other than you're good at getting coffee shop waitresses to divulge my favorite blend."
He slowly sat down again, and I saw by the hesitant look on his face that he didn't want to let me know more about him. But I wasn't going to be the only one in this who had been laid bare.
"I don't want to pry, Alex. That's not what this is about. But you can't deny that you know an awful lot about me, and I know next to nothing about you."
He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled before nodding just once. "Okay. What would you like to know?"
I'd wanted to know the answer to one question since meeting him, so I asked. "Why did you retire from the Baltimore police so young and then move here to Sunset Ridge, of all places?"
"That's a lot for one question," he said, avoiding answering.
"I have more," I said with a smile. "I just thought I'd start with the obvious one. You're very young to be retired from anything."
A frown settled into his features that made me momentarily regret saying anything, and when he spoke I knew that he'd been the Alexander I'd read about in that woman's obituary.
"I left the force after my wife died, and for a while I stayed in the house we'd found together. I thought I could live there, but that wasn't the case. So I moved away from everything that reminded me of that life and bought a house here."
The way he said it told me he was trying to be matter of fact about how much it hurt to lose his wife and leave the life they'd made together in Baltimore, but the sadness in his eyes showed me how much he still remained outside the land of the living.
"Well, I guess we better go then."
"No more questions about the kind of man your new partner is?" he asked as a look of relief washed over him.
I stood from the table and tossed both of our coffee cups away in the trash. "Nope. Thank you for being willing to answer any. I appreciate that, Alex."
"I have one for you, actually. That picture in your kitchen, the one of Ireland, if I'm not mistaken. Did you take that yourself?"
"No. I wish, but as much as I say I'm going to take a trip there, I've never gone."
He smiled as I set our plates on the counter for Jennie. "So you've got the wanderlust, huh? See? You're nothing like the people here."
"I guess it seems pretty pathetic spending all my time dreaming about places I'll probably never get to, right?"
Alex shook his head. "Dreaming of something more is never pathetic, in my opinion. Take it from me. When you stop dreaming, you stop living."
I didn't know a whole lot about my new partner, but I knew enough to believe that no matter how dark things had been for him, he never stopped dreaming, no matter what he thought.
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 2
While life in Sunset Ridge is quaint and charming during the day, what happens after the sun goes down might shock the citizens of this small town. Things are heating up in Poppy McGuire's home town, and it isn't just the July weather.
Poppy and her new partner Alex have their eyes opened to the realities of Sunset Ridge after dark when a traveling salesman is murdered in his room at the Hotel Piermont, a common destination for cheating spouses on the outskirts of town. When they find out what he sells, the mystery gets even more interesting.
Top of the Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 3
Controversy sells as much as sex, and nobody knows that better than the local radio morning DJ who loves to talk politics. His shows enrage people, but who hated Lee Reynolds enough to shoot him point blank and leave him for dead in the woods outside of town?
Poppy and Alex have no shortage of suspects and for once aren't at odds on who they like for the crime. But all is not well between the partners. This time, murder has brought with it a new love interest for Poppy, but Alex isn't happy with this turn of events.
Will he lose Poppy, the one person he trusts in Sunset Ridge?
The Darkest Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 4
Poppy and Alex come up against their toughest case yet, and they may never be the same again.
When someone close to both Poppy and Alex is found brutally murdered, all the clues point to Alex as the killer. But Poppy knows in her heart that her partner could never commit such a heinous crime. As the evidence begins to mount against him, Poppy must race against the clock to prove that the man she trusts with her very life isn’t the murderer, even as everyone around her is convinced of his guilt.
But if Alex isn’t the killer, who is? As the mystery unravels, the past and present finally meet in Sunset Ridge.
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 5
Poppy and Alex are back for another mystery in Happy Hour, the fifth book in the Poppy McGuire Mystery Series!
Springtime brings warm weather and murder to Sunset Ridge, and for Poppy, this particular case strikes close to home.
Antiques dealer Marcus Tyne is found dead in the front seat of his friend’s car outside of McGuire’s after a Cinco de Mayo celebration, but at first glance, there’s no reason why he’s dead.
Until the coroner finds out he’s been poisoned.
When a second man is poisoned, Poppy and Alex are thrust into a mystery that threatens to tear them apart. While they struggle to solve the case as their differences become more apparent, a murderer walks free in Sunset Ridge and may have another victim in their sights.
The Witching Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 6
In the middle of a late summertime heatwave, a woman Poppy interviewed for an article on paganism is found with a dagger buried in her chest in the woods out near Alex's house. Initially, Stephen and Craig are given the case, but when Derek determines that this murder shouldn't be their first big case together, Alex and Poppy are brought in to help.
But Stephen has never liked Poppy, and tensions quickly begin to run high between the two sets of partners. The Sunset Ridge police force can't afford to have infighting if they want to solve this case before a fear of witches takes hold in town.
It doesn't take long before everyone reaches their breaking point and Alex wonders if he will be a Sunset Ridge police officer for much longer. Life is about to change for him and Poppy, but will that change mean the end of his time in town?
The Finest Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 7
Join Poppy and Alex for the final Poppy McGuire mystery!
For three years, Poppy and Alex have worked together solving cases in their small town of Sunset Ridge, first as just co-workers but later as partners in nearly every sense of the word. Now they're about to take the final step and become husband and wife, but in the midst of getting ready for what folks around town are calling the wedding of the year, the murder of someone involved in the preparations makes their plans go awry.
Samuel Morrow, the kind man who has run Morrow's Jewelers for over twenty years, is found murdered in an apparent break-in, and there's no shortage of suspects who may have had a reason to kill him. Oddly enough, something very valuable to Poppy and Alex is missing from his store too. Is the theft connected to the murder?
As they hunt for Samuel's killer, carefully eliminating suspect after suspect, they must juggle cake tastings and reception planning, as all the while someone's watching their favorite amateur sleuth. Will Poppy and Alex solve the case and reach the altar, or will the killer make their ever after far less than happy?
Anina Collins has always loved a good mystery. As a child, her favorite books were Nancy Drew books passed down from her grandmother, and as she grew up, she moved on to Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and their famous detectives. She currently lives in North Carolina and writes her Poppy McGuire Mystery series.
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