The Lost Dutchman’s Secret
I’m pleased to announce that Book #5 in the Ever After Mysteries, The Lost Dutchman’s Secret by Rebekah Jones, is now available! To celebrate, the authors in the series have written a mini blog hop. A pair of villainous treasure hunters are trying to find Rebekah’s missing map. I don’t have it! At least… not anymore. Start the story HERE with Celebrate Lit Publishing, and visit all the websites to enter the giveaways on each!
The Mystery of the Missing Map
October was a crazy month for me. In addition to spending nearly every day peddling pumpkins and tossing around bales of straw at the family farm, I had three new books come out. I wrote more words in one month than I’d ever accomplished before, which left me a little befuddled about what was fiction and what was reality.
So, when I woke up on November first, it was with a delightful sense of accomplishment. The fall sales at the farm were finished for another year. The books were published. My memories of the past month were a fuzzy blur, but I’d met all my deadlines and we’d saved the farm.
Like a dollop of happiness on a pleasant day, I was surprised and delighted when my friend and fellow author, Rebekah Jones, showed up at my door. I’ve known her mother since Rebekah was just a little girl, and I’ve enjoyed watching Rebekah grow up and become a wonderful author. In all these years of online friendship, though, I’d never actually met her in person! I opened the door wide and invited her inside for a cup of tea and some crumpets. Because that’s just the kind of thing one would offer Rebekah.
She glared at me. Really. Rebekah glared. She did it surprisingly well, too. “Don’t you ‘tea-and-crumpets’ me, Cathe Swanson. I want it back.”
I stepped back, confused, and she stalked inside. Her belligerent attitude was at odds with her ladylike appearance. Her neat gloves and pillbox hat were blue, to match the cardigan she wore over her 1950’s-style dress, and she wore her trademark pearls. I would have known her anywhere. But there she stood, hands on hips, tapping her well-shod foot and… and glaring.
“Want what back?” (I write better than I speak extemporaneously.)
An exaggerated eyeroll, followed by an exasperated huff, informed me that I’d seriously underestimated Rebekah’s dramatic flair. “The map. The one I mailed you a month ago. Three thugs in Indiana Jones hats and muddy boots showed up at my house last week, demanding the map, and no matter how many times I explained that I wrote fiction, they insisted on seeing my papers. They tore apart my notebooks, but fortunately, I’d already transcribed the whole book into my computer.”
“But… what…” (Really. I tend to speak in ellipses.)
“Also fortunately,” she said, “I’d already mailed it to you to be scanned into the computer. You were supposed to send it back. Remember?” Her voice – was that sarcasm? – rose on the last word.
“Oh.” My gaze wandered to the office door. “That map. I remember that. I’m sure I sent you the file.”
“You did, but I want the original!”
“Um… I got kind of busy last month and… Wait!” I squinted, trying to remember. “Did you say Indiana Jones hats?”
“Yes, and muddy boots, too. Duh… they were treasure hunters!” A dramatic sigh punctuated the statement. “Anyhow, I told them I sent it to you. After all, it’s going to be published any day now, so it’s not exactly a secret.”
Muddy boots. Indiana Jones hats. “Yes!” I shouted the word a little more triumphantly than the occasion warranted. “They came by the farm a couple weeks ago, but I was driving the tractor for the hay wagon ride. They kept saying they wanted the map, but I was busy. I told them to get it from my sister in the barn.”
“You took my map to the farm? Why on earth…” She dropped into a chair, shaking her head.
I couldn’t help it… I chuckled. I laughed. The glare reappeared, and I laughed harder. I howled with laughter.
“I fail to see what is so funny…”
I tried to compose myself. “She gave them a map…” Another spurt of laughter interrupted, and it took me a minute to settle down. Rebekah sat, ramrod straight, perched on the edge of the chair, clearly offended. “She gave them a map to the corn maze.” I doubled over in helpless laughter. “To the corn maze!”
Rebekah blinked. “A map to the corn maze? And they believed that was my treasure map?”
“They must have, because my sister said they grabbed the map and rushed off.” Another giggle escaped. A chortle. A snort. “But… get this… they got lost! The next morning, just as we were opening up for the day, they staggered out of the maze, babbling incoherently about curses and ghosts.” I’d felt sorry for them at the time, because being lost in the corn maze overnight was indeed the stuff of nightmares.
Rebekah shivered. “I hate corn mazes. It serves them right, though. So, where is my map?”
I walked into my office and opened the top of the printer. “Here it is. I’m afraid I forgot to take it out of the printer after I scanned it. I do apologize, and I’m sorry those nasty men scared you.” (After all, I’d known her since she was a little girl.)
“I’m just relieved to have it back,” she said. “I’m sure they won’t bother me again. Now, I’d gladly accept a cuppa and some crumpets!”
I headed into the kitchen, hoping she’d accept English muffins instead of crumpets and giggling a little at the idea of confusing a Minnesota corn maze with a gold mine in the Superstition Mountains. If they were in pursuit of Rebekah’s fictional treasure, they’d be disappointed. Maybe they’d go after one of the other Ever After authors next – probably April, since her book was set out west, too. April could handle them. They weren’t real bright to start with, and they’d been scared out of their wits after a night in the corn maze. I put the kettle on and dug out my pretty china dishes. It would be fun to have tea with Rebekah.
Check out the Ever After Mysteries on Amazon!
All the books in this series are so fun! They’re 1920’s mystery novels inspired by fairy tales, written by Chautona Havig, Marji Laine, April Hayman, Cathe Swanson, Rebekah Jones, Denise Barela, and Liz Tolsma!
Find more information about my contribution, Murder at the Empire, HERE. Happy reading!