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Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown
by Jeannette de Beauvoir
January 12 – 21, 2017
Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown Mystery
2nd in Series
HomePort Press (September 28, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages
E-Book ASIN: B075ZY26XQ
Wedding coordinator Sydney Riley never thought she’d get caught up in a murder investigation, but she became an amateur sleuth when her boss was killed during Bear Week. Now she’s back, this time as the Race Point Inn hosts Provincetown’s venerable transgender event, Fantasia Fair… and murder is once again an uninvited guest!
It’s all hands on deck at the inn as visitors arrive for the week-long event and Sydney helps coordinator Rachel Parsons organize the occasion. Guest Elizabeth Gonzalez is attending with her spouse, Bob, who–as Angela–is taking a bold first step into a whole new existence. Angela, Elizabeth, and Sydney learn the ropes and politics from other guests, some of whom have attended annually for more than forty years.
But the next day, Sydney’s detective friend summons her to one of the town beaches where Angela’s body has been found–with a knife in her back, a knife stolen from Adrienne, the Race Point Inn’s diva chef.
Fair organizers and attendees try and carry on as Provincetown is overrun with police, press, and rampant speculation. Sydney, her boyfriend Ali, her friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, and a host of Fantasia Fair participants scramble to find out who killed Angela–and why–before the killer strikes again.
Character Guest Post
Character Guest Post: Sydney Riley from the Provincetown Theme Week Mystery Series
Every morning I remind myself how lucky I am to live in Provincetown, a summer resort at the tip of Cape Cod. In the winter, that’s easy to remember: I love the desolation of a beach town in the off-season. In the summer, I need the reminder, as the town is overrun with tourists (we go from a January population of fewer than 2,000 people to a July one of 60,000) and catering to them takes every ounce of goodwill one can muster.
Don’t get me wrong: we need the tourists. Well, I do, personally: I’m the wedding coordinator for the Race Point Inn, and Provincetown is Destination Wedding Central. We marry straight couples, gay couples, transgender couples; we marry them in churches and on the beach and in gardens. It’s an industry. It’s my life, in the summertime.
That morning started like most of them did: with a headache. I live in a small apartment over a nightclub, which makes for cheap rent—and, along with it, free Lady Gaga at one o’clock in the morning. I made coffee, flying strictly blind, pulled on shorts and a t-shirt, and headed out for one of the town beaches. No matter how much throbbing music I’ve been subjected to the night before, the water invariably soothes me.
That morning, of course, I wasn’t alone: I never am, in August. The usual dog walkers were there, and a few small children were splashing around in the shallows; but my attention was drawn to something at water’s edge, something bright and sparkling.
All right, so I’ll admit it: I like shiny stuff as much as the next girl.
Probably some piece of jewelry that someone dropped, I was thinking; or maybe something off one of the fishing boats that pass by here on their way around the breakwater from MacMillan Pier.
When I got closer, I realized that if a fisherman had dropped this, he was doing better than anyone else in the Provincetown fleet: this was gold. A coin. A large coin.
I picked it up (well, wouldn’t you?) and smoothed the sand off it. A stylized cross divided the surface into four equal parts, with words that I couldn’t make out in each quadrant. It was heavy. It was beautiful. And it shone—like gold.
I knew what it was, of course. Just by glancing up, I could see MacMillan Pier, and at the end of the pier is a museum filled with information and artifacts from the first authenticated pirate shipwreck in North America, the Whydah. How the coin had gotten from the museum—or even, possibly, from the wreck site itself, right off the Cape Cod coast—was a mystery; but this was part of the treasure for sure. I’d been to the museum enough times to know.
My fingers curled around the coin. Like every good Provincetown resident, I knew the story by heart. During the so-called Golden Age of piracy, the Whydah galley was captured by the famous “Black Sam” Bellamy, who used it as his flagship until a 1717 nor-easter storm sank it; in 1984 Barry Clifford found the ship and brought the treasure up. A piece of which was now sitting in my hand.
A really nice person would have made a beeline for the police station, or the museum, or even the Coast Guard; I didn’t. I went home. I wasn’t going to keep the coin, of course; but a small delay wasn’t going to make any difference that I could see.
Finding a pirate’s treasure is the perfect antidote to dealing with entitled tourists: who knew? All day I kept that coin in my pocket, and all day I kept touching it. I had a three o’clock wedding with a demanding bride, and every time she snapped out yet another order, my fingers found that coin. A group of guests got very inebriated and one of them stood in my office doorway loudly demanding that I join him for a drink, and I kept the smile frozen on my face while I secretly held a “piece of eight” in my palm.
When I finally got home, I practiced my pirate act in front of my completely uncaring cat. “Ahoy, matey!” I said to Ibsen. “Better watch your step, or I’ll send you to Davey Jones’ locker!”
His disdain notwithstanding, I had a lovely time with my very own Talk Like a Pirate Day, and when the next morning I headed out to the museum to turn in the coin, I felt different. Lady Gaga hadn’t bothered me. The tourists weren’t bothering me. For 24 shining hours I’d been touched by something dramatic, something exciting, something unforgettable.
And if the feeling ever faded, why—I could always come and visit my coin.
Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she’s not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing. The author of a number of mystery and historical novels, de Beauvoir’s work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley. More at JeannettedeBeauvoir.com
January 12 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 14 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
January 15 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
January 16 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 17 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
January 18 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW
January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
January 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 21 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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