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Murder under Blue Skies: A Stanley Waters Mystery
     

Murder under Blue Skies: A Stanley Waters Mystery

by Willard Scott
 
Folksy appeal . . . like a story told from a front-porch rocker. -- Publishers Weekly

Willard Scott, America's most beloved weatherman, and acclaimed mystery writer Bill Crider team up to bring readers an engaging new mystery series starring Stanley Waters. In his first outing, Stanley is hosting a gala opening of his bed-and-breakfast -- a lifelong

Overview

Folksy appeal . . . like a story told from a front-porch rocker. -- Publishers Weekly

Willard Scott, America's most beloved weatherman, and acclaimed mystery writer Bill Crider team up to bring readers an engaging new mystery series starring Stanley Waters. In his first outing, Stanley is hosting a gala opening of his bed-and-breakfast -- a lifelong dream fulfilled -- when one of his guests drops dead, apparently poisoned. In an effort to maintain his reputation, Stanley, an ex-weatherman and budding innkeeper goes after a cunning killer.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
Though you may find it surprising that Scott would want to write a murder mystery, it makes sense that his protagonist, Stanley Waters, would be a weatherman, albeit retired; and that his former show, "Hello, World!" would be "the number-one rated morning program in the whole world." You won't discover any inside stories about Scott's present or former "Today Show" associates here. But, thanks to his new literary associate, veteran mystery novelist Bill Crider, this breezy yarn manages to stir up a fair amount of suspense and humor. It involves Waters's attempt to open a bed-and-breakfast in the fictitious little town of Higgins, Virginia, a "comfort reading" locale not unlike the equally fictional burg of Pickax in Lillian Jackson Braun's bestsellers. And feline fans will be pleased that while Braun has given her hero only two Siamese, Scott and Crider have upped their cat count to three.

—Dick Lochte

The Barnes & Noble Review
Well-known weatherman and beloved television personality Willard Scott now makes his first foray into mystery fiction (with some help from acclaimed novelist Bill Crider), offering readers the enjoyable and lighthearted "Murder under Blue Skies". Making full use of his notable tongue-in-cheek wit, the author presents a fast-paced tale of small-town passions and antics, and gives us an endearing narrator who returns from the world of television to find that his hometown is just as full of quirkiness and anxiety as broadcasting had ever been.

Retired from his career as a nationally renowned weatherman, Stanley Waters has decided to open a bed-and-breakfast inn called Blue Skies in his hometown of Higgins, Virginia. The opening of Blue Skies draws a huge crowd and major publicity, and everything seems superb. Superb, that is, until Belinda Grimsby drops over dead in the salsa. In no time at all, Marilyn Tunney, the chief of police and focus of Stanley's ardor, discovers that the salsa was poisoned with insecticide, and virtually the whole town is suspect. In an effort both to impress Marilyn as well as save his business, Stanley is soon asking questions of all his neighbors and searching through Belinda's past in the hopes of finding out why someone might have wanted her dead. He discovers that Belinda Grimsby appeared to be a woman who was never quite able to form a stable relationship with any of the many men she dated, and yet she also proved to be somebody that no one either loved or despised to any great extent.

Among those whom Stanley interviews at length are JimNugent, a one-time police officer who fell out with the department and opened his own security service instead; Hal Tipton, the inn's handyman, who had access to insecticide; and police officer Mike Kunkel, who seems to have his own hidden agenda when dealing with this case. Other suspects include Stanley's innkeeper, Bill Caldwell, and his wife, Caroline, the cook for Blue Skies who also made the salsa and might still hold decades-old resentments. Belinda apparently had pertinent encounters with each of these people in the past, though Stanley finds it difficult to believe that jealousies buried for nearly 40 years could have ever erupted in such a lethal fashion. However, after several attempts are made on Stanley's life, he suspects that perhaps the killer might have a more personal reason to attack him than his mere nosiness.

Scott's greatest strength is his effectiveness at creating the small-town atmosphere of Higgins, Virginia, and populating it with a proper assortment of old friends, enemies, and acquaintances, all of whom harbor crushes, affection, esteem, and angers from long past. The author writes well within the parameters of cozy mystery fiction, insofar as even allowing Stanley not one but three adorable cats he must at turns baby and save during the course of his investigation. "Murder under Blue Skies" is a prime example of light, fun reading that owes a nod of debt to the masters and mistresses of cozy charm and stalwart meddling. Even if the weather is fine outside, you might find yourself drawn to the indoors and staying in with this amusing and appealing first novel.—Tom Piccirilli

School Library Journal
YA-Internationally famous weatherman Stanley Waters purchases a bed-and-breakfast inn and makes the news when one of his guests, Belinda Grimsby, falls facedown in a bowl of salsa, dead as a soggy chip. When the investigating police chief turns out to be Stanley's high-school sweetheart, dealing with the murder becomes even more complex as their renewed romance gently blooms. With assorted ill-planned maneuvers, Stanley haphazardly solves the case but almost loses his own life in the process. Scott's novel contains a goodly share of humor, both slapstick and of the more intellectual variety. Stanley, while lovable and kindhearted, has a tendency to become quite clumsy when nervous, and he's nervous a lot. This results in frequent lighthearted moments that balance nicely with the deadly events occurring in the search for the killer. The characters sound like the basic types found in most small-town settings, complete with appealing quirks and strong personalities, age-old disputes and gossip. The mystery itself unfolds carefully, allowing for plenty of speculation and red-herring clues.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786214150
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
05/01/1998
Pages:
374
Product dimensions:
5.71(w) x 8.75(h) x 1.37(d)

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