When Zeffie Got a Clue [NOOK Book]

Overview

It’s an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother’s medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth–or so she thinks.
 
But complicated questions form when Christy ...
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When Zeffie Got a Clue

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Overview

It’s an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother’s medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth–or so she thinks.
 
But complicated questions form when Christy rips out the box’s lining and uncovers a clue to a cold case murder mystery from eight years ago. Despite warnings from her family and handsome boyfriend Dan Brockman, Christy decides to do a little detective work of her own. After all, the infamous murder happened close to her grandmother’s farm. How risky could it be to take the jewelry box back to the Strickland plantation and ask around about it?

Soon Christy finds there is more to the small box than someone wants her to know. A jewelry theft. A mansion murder. Dangerous family secrets buried in history. Can Christy convince others to let go of the past before it’s too late?


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Christy Castlemann and her aunt run a trash-to-treasure shop in sunny Florida. When a young girl sells her a jewelry box, Christy finds a clue to an old unsolved murder in the box's lining and decides to dig into the crime, which occurred near her grandmother's home. Darty (When the Sandpiper Calls; When Bobbie Sang the Blues ) lives in Alabama.

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Handed a clue to an unsolved murder, Christy Castleman (When Bobbie Sang the Blues, 2007) discovers who killed a former neighbor. Zeffie Adams comes into I Saw It First, the Florida panhandle's premier junk shop, with a battered jewelry box. Christy pays more for the box than it is worth to help the kid selling it. Hidden in the lining, she finds a priceless clue to a cold case. The box once belonged to wealthy Annabell Strickland, neighbor to Christy's grandmother, whose son Kirby was shot to death when the jewels were stolen. Kirby's sister Ellen is thrilled that Christy's find will encourage the police to reopen the case. Grateful that Kirby once saved her from drowning, the mystery writer and part-time sleuth dives into the investigation. Kirby had just hosted a party for the ten-year reunion of his high school football team when he was killed. Christy puts his teammates on her list of suspects along with Ellen's husband Vince, who inherited Kirby's job and wealth, and R.J. Wentworth, who married Kirby's fiancee, Julie Clark. Trying to trace the path of the jewelry box, which Zeffie's late mother may or may not have picked up in a yard sale, is not easy. But as she keeps digging, Christy finds the facts growing ever clearer and ever more dangerous. A pleasant cozy with a slow pace but engaging characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307499080
  • Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,212,024
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Peggy Darty is the award-winning author of twenty-seven books, including two other cozy mysteries set in Summer Breeze, Florida: When the Sandpiper Calls and When Bobbie Sang the Blues. She has worked in film, researched for CBS, and led writing workshops around the country. Darty and her husband call Alabama home but spend a great deal of time in Colorado, Montana, and on Florida’s Emerald Coast.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

“Do you want to buy a jewelry box?”

A little girl stood in the open door of I Saw It First, the shop that Christy Castleman and her aunt Bobbie Bodine had recently opened. Sunlight bounced off the girl’s long blond hair, forming a gauzy halo that lit her face and exaggerated the wisdom and sorrow in her green eyes. She wore jeans too short, shoes too scuffed, and a sweatshirt too big for her, the living definition of the word waif.

Gripping a small brown chest with slim hands, she glanced back at the sign in the calico-framed window that read “We buy, We sell, We trade.”

“Come in,” Christy called. A breeze rolled in from the Gulf to ruffle the vintage parasols decorating a cast-iron hall tree beside the door.

The little girl stepped in, then hesitated. Christy could imagine a budding beauty, but today she read only sadness and fear in the girl’s small, delicate features. Her face looked too pale for a child who should be out riding a bike or playing at the beach.

“My name’s Christy Castleman.” She crossed the polished wood floor to close the door. “What’s your name?”

“Zeffie Adams,” the girl answered in a clear, firm voice despite the indecision on her face.
“I’m glad to meet you, Zeffie.”

Christy looked at the scarred mahogany jewelry box Zeffie hugged. It appeared similar to others she had seen at discount stores, though less valuable because of a tiny dark stain on its lid. “Does the jewelry box belong to you?” Christy asked.

“Yes ma’am. I need to sell it.” She lifted the lid. “It plays music.”

Christy recognized an old, melancholy love song and bent to examine the box. The top compartment was made of three small sections for earrings or broaches. The red suede lining smelled musty and old, and in one corner the fabric had been Scotch-taped together. Two narrow drawers completed the box.

“Nice,” Christy said, looking more closely at the little girl. She thought she had seen her with a thin, gray-haired woman at the market, but she didn’t recognize the name Adams. “May I see it?”

Zeffie studied Christy’s blue eyes, then slowly extended the box. Christy smiled, took the box, and headed toward the counter. “Come on over,” she called, glancing back. Zeffie looked her up and down.

Christy’s small frame would not be intimidating, but ever since she’d begun her association with her long-lost aunt, she wore more jewelry, dressed with flair, and arranged shell or antique combs in her long brown hair. Zeffie’s eyes followed the swish of Christy’s skirt, a frothy autumn print, matched with a gold camisole and a crimson cardigan. “I’d rather be wearing my jeans and sweatshirt,” she said, winking at Zeffie.

“But your clothes are so pretty,” Zeffie blurted, dropping her guard. Her gaze swept the shop again. “I like pretty things.”

“So do I. What we like to do here is rework something that’s lost its purpose and make it pretty again. Most of the things you see here are castoffs, things other people no longer wanted or tossed aside as broken. My aunt repainted and repaired them. See that cupboard?”

She pointed to the red, crackled-paint cupboard, its door open to display a collection of mismatched plates and saucers. “She found it at a garage sale. It was an ugly brown, all scratched up, but she turned it into this.”

She swiveled and pointed at another object. “And this teacart was once a baby carriage that had lost its wheels. My aunt replaced the wheels and converted it into a teacart.”

Zeffie admired the English tea sets displayed on the glass top. “And over here,” Christy said, moving to stand near a scuffed trunk, “this came out of a warehouse near the docks. She rescued it, cleaned it up, and covered it with a quilt she purchased from a ninety-year-old quilter up in the Smokies.”

Zeffie looked at the crowded mix of ladder-back chairs, settees, armoires, and bistro sets. “What did you make?” she asked.

“Well,” Christy sighed, “you see the mirror framed with seashells? Those are shells I collected over the years and kept in a crystal vase at home. My aunt taught me to superglue them to the plain frame of the mirror. Other than that, I just wait on customers and run errands.”

Zeffie continued to stare at the contents of the shop, her mouth open in awe. Christy smiled.
“Come on, I’ll show you where she creates the magic.” She led Zeffie to the wide workroom in the back of the store that held a pegboard of tools, shelves of fabric and upholstery, and a bookcase overflowing with books and magazines covering every topic from crafts to flea markets to antiques. There were at least a dozen how-to books stacked on the top shelf.

“My aunt is great at refinishing furniture or upholstering chairs.” Christy pointed to a child’s rocking chair with a torn cushion centered on the long worktable. “She’s going to remove the torn fabric and cover the cushion with something new and pretty.”

“Maybe she could do that to the lining of my jewelry box.” Zeffie looked hopeful.
Christy knew Bobbie would have little use for the jewelry box, but this little girl had a refreshing dignity about her, rare in one so young. If she was determined to sell her jewelry box, then Christy would buy it for more than its worth.

“I love crafts,” Zeffie said, staring at one of the craft magazines.

“I’d like to learn how to make jewelry.”

“Maybe we could start a crafts class for kids.”

“That would be wonderful!” The sadness in Zeffie’s eyes when she first entered the shop disappeared, but then her smile faded. “You probably can’t do much with my jewelry box.”
Christy stared at her, unsure why the little girl and her words tugged at her heart. She fought an impulse to reach out, take Zeffie in her arms, and ask how she could make the sadness go away.

“I have an idea,” Christy said, leading the way back to the front room. “See that dress?” She pointed out the beaded cocktail dress displayed on a French chair.

Zeffie nodded, clasping her hands tightly before her. Christy wondered if she was fighting an impulse to touch the beads and sequins, which is what Christy would have done at Zeffie’s age.

“Well,” Christy continued, walking back to the counter where the jewelry box sat. “Maybe we can fix up your box and display some vintage jewelry in it on a table beside the dress. Do you have any jewelry in the drawers?”

“No. I moved it to a shoe box.”

Christy dropped her gaze, trying to conceal a rush of pity.

“Would you mind telling me why you’re selling this? We always ask our customers that question.”

Zeffie hesitated, twisting a corner of her sweatshirt. She stared at
Christy, her green eyes glittering like emeralds beneath the glow of a Tiffany lamp.

“Grandma is sick. She has lots of doctor’s bills. And that”–she looked at the jewelry box–“belonged to my mother. She left it the last time she took off.”

“Oh. Where is she now?” Christy knew she was overstepping polite boundaries, but the little girl fascinated her.

“She died years ago.” Zeffie spoke as though discussing a stranger.

“What about your dad?” Christy asked softly, pretending to study the jewelry box.

Zeffie shrugged. “We don’t know who he is.”
Christy felt a flush of embarrassment and wished she had not forced such terrible truths out of this troubled child. “Tell you what. I’ll take the jewelry box, if you’re sure you want to sell it.” She glanced across the counter at Zeffie.

“I’m sure.”

“You didn’t say how much you want for it.”

“Is five dollars too much?” Zeffie asked. Her small hands bunched into fists at her side.

“You’re cheating yourself,” Christy replied, opening the box’s drawers to find more tattered lining. “Not all jewelry boxes play music, so that makes it worth at least ten dollars.” She closed the drawers and picked up the jewelry box to examine the bottom. The scuffed wood appeared to be real mahogany, not a cheap imitation. She had been wrong about it on first glance; at one time, many years ago, this had probably been a very nice jewelry box.

“And because the grain of wood is good,” she continued optimistically, “that’s worth another ten dollars.” She looked at Zeffie. “How does twenty dollars sound?” She’d buy it herself if no one else wanted it.

Zeffie’s hands relaxed at her sides, and a smile curved her lips, showing off the tiny dimple in her chin. “That sounds fine. That’ll pay for Grandma’s medicine.”

Christy frowned. “Doesn’t your grandmother have insurance?” Zeffie shook her head, the ends of her long blond hair swinging about her face. “All she has is Medicare and some help from welfare.”

“How old are you?” Christy asked, struck by the intelligence behind Zeffie’s words.

“I’m eight.”

“Are you in third grade? Mrs. Ragland’s class?”

Zeffie nodded. “She’s nice.”

Christy removed two ten dollar bills from the cash register. “How about I send you home with some ice cream from the shop down the street? Maybe that would make your grandmother feel better.”

Zeffie backed away. “I can’t take things from strangers.”

Christy walked around the counter and pressed the bills in

Zeffie’s small hand. “Please don’t think of me as a stranger. I’d like to be your friend. I’m not married, and I don’t have any children. I don’t even have a niece.”

Her admission captured Zeffie’s attention. “Do you have a brother or sister?”

“A brother, Seth, but he’s away at Florida State and not married. So you see, I don’t have any little friends, and I’d like one. I hope you’ll come back to see me, Zeffie. Do you live near here?”

She nodded but volunteered nothing. “I’ll come back,” she said.

Her face lit up, and Christy caught her breath. The glow in Zeffie’s eyes and the bright smile transformed her into a beauty. “I like it here.”

“What about you, Zeffie? Do you have brothers and sisters?”

“No,” she said, turning toward the door.

“I might know your grandmother,” Christy said, keeping her tone light. “What’s her name?”
“Molly Adams.” Christy shook her head. “I guess I don’t know her. Thanks for stopping by, Zeffie. I’m usually here on Mondays and Fridays. If you come in after school on one of those days, we could walk down and get an ice cream cone, and I could show you what I’ve done with your jewelry box.” She looked at it perched on the counter by the cash register. “I imagine I’ll clean it up and put some new lining inside. It’ll be pretty, don’t you think?”

Zeffie nodded, casting a final glance at the box before thrusting the bills into her jeans pocket. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. If you need anything or have anything else to sell, let me know. I work at home part of the week. I’m a writer. Do you like to read?”

The green eyes lit up again. “I love to read! What kind of books do you write?”

“I write mysteries about pirates and treasure chests and stories I’ve heard over the years about Shipwreck Island.”

Zeffie looked as though she’d just met a celebrity.

“Anyway, my home phone number is listed in the telephone directory, and my name is Christy Castleman. Can you remember that? Oh!” Christy rolled her eyes. “What a silly question. Of course you’ll remember.”

“Yes, I’ll remember it, Miss Christy.” She opened the door and rushed out. Christy walked to the window and watched her hurry along the sidewalk, turn down Fourth Street, and disappear around the corner.

Christy mentally reviewed the street of middle-income homes. She knew everyone on that street, but she’d never heard of a Molly Adams. Two blocks down, a side street held smaller, cheaper rentals. She had a hunch this was where Zeffie and her grandmother lived. She turned away from the window and walked back to sit behind the counter. It had been a busy day, since the area was celebrating Veterans Day weekend. The Florida panhandle was heavily populated with veterans, especially around Bay County, home to active-duty air force, navy, and coast guard personnel and retirees.

The schools and some of the businesses had closed today to honor Saturday’s holiday, but she and Bobbie had been asked to remain open. A group of veterans’ wives were hosting a luncheon and a shopping spree, and they wanted to browse through I Saw It First. The annual Holly Fair was also this weekend, and Bobbie had taken several wreaths to display at their booth. She called earlier to say there were hundreds of shoppers at the boardwalk inspecting the Christmas-themed fair.

Her aunt loved those events, but while Christy enjoyed shopping, she didn’t care for large crowds. Between Veterans Weekend activities and the Holly Fair, minding the shop had been the easiest alternative for her.

She glanced at the clock, suddenly aware that for the first time all day she was alone in the shop. She sighed, then picked up her cold cup of tea and took a sip, her eyes on the jewelry box perched on the counter.

As soon as she’d finished off her tea, she picked up the box and took it back to the workroom. She placed it on the worktable and picked up a lemon oilcloth. She began to rub the mahogany box, smiling to herself as the grain of the wood responded with a shine.

She laid the rag aside and studied the huge array of tools on the pegboard, most of which baffled her. Unlike her aunt, she was clumsy with tools and made herself useful by knowing everyone in the area and helping sell some of the unique items in their shop. She’d seen her aunt use an X-Acto knife to remove linings before, so she reached for one. She couldn’t live with the soiled, musty-smelling fabric inside the drawers.

Lifting the lid, she positioned the knife at the edge of the lining and pried it away from the wood. It peeled away in chunks, but one tiny corner held stubbornly. Christy yanked harder, and the stained piece of cloth popped out. The top drawer was even tougher. But the lining in the bottom drawer came away easily, revealing a thin sheet of paper, yellow with age, lying flat against the wood. She picked up the worn paper, noting the name of a prominent jewelry store in Panama City stamped at the top, and realized it was a jewelry appraisal. On the first line she read the name Annabell Strickland.

Christy frowned at the familiar name, her heartbeat accelerating as her eyes moved to the next line. When she read the rural address in the community where her grandmother lived, she stared in shock.

Adjacent to Granny Castleman’s farm was Deerfield, the Strickland estate. Mrs. Annabell Strickland, a collector of expensive jewelry, had died of a heart attack in 1998. Soon afterward, her son Kirby had been murdered during a robbery at the Strickland mansion.

The criminal who took the jewelry and Kirby’s life had never been caught. The paper fluttered in Christy’s shaking hand, and she dropped it on the table, her mind spinning.

Whenever she thought of Kirby Strickland, she recalled that hot July Fourth in 1987 when she and Seth had visited Granny. She was eleven years old and overconfident of her new skill as a swimmer after a few lessons in summer day camp. Granny had taken them to a community picnic at the lake where everyone was swimming.

Eager to show off what she had learned, she dove into the cool water. Her confidence abandoned her with the same speed as her ability to float, and she began to flounder. When she went under the second time, gulping water, arms flailing, she felt panic overwhelm her, as cold and terrifying as the dark water.

Then, in the next second, strong arms enveloped her, lifting her to the surface. She blinked through wet lashes and focused on the kind blue eyes of Kirby Strickland. He smiled at her as his dark hair dripped lake water onto his tan shoulders.

“Hey, little girl,” he said. “Let’s go to shore.” With a protective arm around her shoulders, he steered her to safe ground. Having saved her life, he then salvaged her wounded pride by telling everyone she’d been doing okay and he’d just helped her a little.

Later, wrapped in a towel, her teeth chattering, Christy stared in adoration at seventeen-year-old Kirby, starting his senior year of high school. He grew taller in her mind’s eye, settling into the role of a hero as she replayed over and over how he had saved her. From that day on, she’d had a huge crush on him. In dreamy moments during her adolescence, she imagined being a sophisticated senior, attending football games and parties with Kirby, riding beside him in his white convertible. She swore that someday she’d do something to repay him, but that day never came.

Until now.

Christy stared at the appraisal slip, swallowing a rush of tears. It was too late to save Kirby, but she could help find the monster who had robbed him, not just of heirloom jewels, but of his most precious gift–his life.

Tears blurred the small jewelry box as she turned to stare at it, struck dumb by the possibility of what she faced. Fresh horror flooded her senses, as cold and stark as the lake water so many years ago.

Whose blood-stained hands had touched this jewelry box? And how had it ended up in little Zeffie’s arms?


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Foreword

1. When eight-year-old Zeffie Adams walks into Christy Castleman’s shop to sell her jewelry box, Zeffie inspires Christy to help her. As the story progresses, Zeffie’s effervescent personality touches everyone she meets. How would you react to her? Do you believe God places certain people in your life for a special purpose? Can you share an experience supporting this belief?

2. Zeffie’s jewelry box opens a cold case that turns Christy’s comfortable world upside down. She faces a tough decision. Should she honor her parents’ request not to get involved? Or is she justified in helping find the killer of the friend who saved her life? Was Christy wrong to go against her parents’ request? What would you have done? What circumstances do you feel justify going against parental wishes?

3. In today’s society, are people more inclined not to get involved in a controversial situation? When do you believe one should speak or act on another’s behalf? Give an example of how you, or someone you know, took a risk and got involved. When is “getting involved” inappropriate? What guidelines do Scriptures provide?

4. In cozy mysteries, authors use a lighter touch for planting clues in a murder, which must happen “off stage”, before the story begins or as it unfolds. In When Zeffie Got a Clue, I set up a round-robin of one character’s suspicion against another in order to plant clues. In addition to being suspicious, one might conclude that April, Tex, Sheryl and Reuben are disreputable characters. By the end of the story, however, we begin to see goodness and mercy in the hearts of most characters. Exploreand define some verses that advise us not to judge others. Are there extenuating circumstances that warrant judgment?

5. Readers of cozy mysteries expect humorous quirky characters. In the Summer Breeze series, I wanted to inject humor while adding a gentle message of faith. Since there are very serious tones to the novel, I attempted to balance sadness with humor through Jack, Bobbie, Miz B, Seth and Big Bob. Even Christy and Dan add flashes of wit during difficult times. Which characters resonated with you, and in what way did they strengthen your faith?

6. Throughout the Summer Breeze series, Christy gets a second chance to love again. Dan Brockman’s kindness and unconditional love resolve Christy’s deep-rooted fear of losing someone she loves. By guarding her heart, she risked losing Dan. Discuss Proverbs 4:23. What does this verse mean to you in terms of guarding your heart? How could you use this verse and Christy’s hard-earned victory to improve your relationships?

7. Many characters in When Zeffie Got a Clue faced roadblocks to their plans for the future, leading them instead on a different journey. Has this happened to you? The disciples sacrificed their futures to follow Jesus. Do you believe the roadblocks in life’s journey serve as building blocks for Christian character? Has this happened to you? Discuss.

8. Scripture warns us that in this world there will be trouble. Almost every character in When Zeffie Got a Clue encountered faith-testing challenges, yet each reacted differently. Discuss whose behavior mirrored faith and hope and whose did not. Give examples of how you responded to a life-changing challenge or tragedy. Find Scriptural guidelines to overcome the difficulties of life. Consider starting a prayer journal so you can track the way God answers prayers.

9. Seth is a rebellious character in the beginning of the series. In When Zeffie Got a Clue, Seth achieves a comfortable balance in meeting his parents’ expectations while maintaining his own identity. Do you feel we can meet the expectations of others, while being true to ourselves? Discuss.

10. In the final chapter, Christy endures the most terrifying hour of her life. In the midst of her fear, she cried out to God. What verse(s) would you draw on if you were frightened?

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Reading Group Guide

1. When eight-year-old Zeffie Adams walks into Christy Castleman’s shop to sell her jewelry box, Zeffie inspires Christy to help her. As the story progresses, Zeffie’s effervescent personality touches everyone she meets. How would you react to her? Do you believe God places certain people in your life for a special purpose? Can you share an experience supporting this belief?

2. Zeffie’s jewelry box opens a cold case that turns Christy’s comfortable world upside down. She faces a tough decision. Should she honor her parents’ request not to get involved? Or is she justified in helping find the killer of the friend who saved her life? Was Christy wrong to go against her parents’ request? What would you have done? What circumstances do you feel justify going against parental wishes?

3. In today’s society, are people more inclined not to get involved in a controversial situation? When do you believe one should speak or act on another’s behalf? Give an example of how you, or someone you know, took a risk and got involved. When is “getting involved” inappropriate? What guidelines do Scriptures provide?

4. In cozy mysteries, authors use a lighter touch for planting clues in a murder, which must happen “off stage”, before the story begins or as it unfolds. In When Zeffie Got a Clue, I set up a round-robin of one character’s suspicion against another in order to plant clues. In addition to being suspicious, one might conclude that April, Tex, Sheryl and Reuben are disreputable characters. By the end of the story, however, we begin to see goodness and mercy in the hearts of most characters. Explore and define some verses that advise us not to judge others. Are there extenuating circumstances that warrant judgment?

5. Readers of cozy mysteries expect humorous quirky characters. In the Summer Breeze series, I wanted to inject humor while adding a gentle message of faith. Since there are very serious tones to the novel, I attempted to balance sadness with humor through Jack, Bobbie, Miz B, Seth and Big Bob. Even Christy and Dan add flashes of wit during difficult times. Which characters resonated with you, and in what way did they strengthen your faith?

6. Throughout the Summer Breeze series, Christy gets a second chance to love again. Dan Brockman’s kindness and unconditional love resolve Christy’s deep-rooted fear of losing someone she loves. By guarding her heart, she risked losing Dan. Discuss Proverbs 4:23. What does this verse mean to you in terms of guarding your heart? How could you use this verse and Christy’s hard-earned victory to improve your relationships?

7. Many characters in When Zeffie Got a Clue faced roadblocks to their plans for the future, leading them instead on a different journey. Has this happened to you? The disciples sacrificed their futures to follow Jesus. Do you believe the roadblocks in life’s journey serve as building blocks for Christian character? Has this happened to you? Discuss.

8. Scripture warns us that in this world there will be trouble. Almost every character in When Zeffie Got a Clue encountered faith-testing challenges, yet each reacted differently. Discuss whose behavior mirrored faith and hope and whose did not. Give examples of how you responded to a life-changing challenge or tragedy. Find Scriptural guidelines to overcome the difficulties of life. Consider starting a prayer journal so you can track the way God answers prayers.

9. Seth is a rebellious character in the beginning of the series. In When Zeffie Got a Clue, Seth achieves a comfortable balance in meeting his parents’ expectations while maintaining his own identity. Do you feel we can meet the expectations of others, while being true to ourselves? Discuss.

10. In the final chapter, Christy endures the most terrifying hour of her life. In the midst of her fear, she cried out to God. What verse(s) would you draw on if you were frightened?

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Summer Breeze, Make Me Feel Fine

    Peggy Darty has become one of my favorite cozy authors to read. She also has a tight storyline with engaging characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing throughout. This latest addition featuring the gang from Summer Breeze did not disappoint. The mystery was really good because once again, the reader is kept guessing as to who the killer really was. This story was like a cold case being reopened years later. Therefore there are many suspects, including several who I myself guessed wrong. Zeffie was a cute character and I liked her. She wasn't annoying like a lot of bright little kids are normally portrayed in books. My absolute favorite part of reading this story was when Christy would visit the barbecue place. I envied her so much for the huge platters of ribs and sweet tea that she would get. I would get hungry every time it was mentioned. If I could get sucked into the story, I would definitely be tagging along with her when she ate there. I was geeked to read about Christy and Dan getting back together. I missed him in the 2nd book and it was good to see that he was able to keep up with her sleuthing habits in this one. These stories are perfect for those who love mystery but hate gritty suspense. It's perfect for a read on a lazy summer day. I do hope there will be more books featuring Christy and the residents of Summer Breeze. I will be anxious to make another trip down there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    'Cozy Mystery'

    This is my first cozy mystery to read by Peggy Darty and I¿m sure it won¿t be my last. The author says ¿The cozy mystery is, by far, my favorite, because this genre allows the reader to participate in solving the mystery.¿ I did like that about reading this book. I really liked the town in Florida called Summer Breeze. It¿s a place you definitely want to stay for a while. Zeffie is the most adorable little girl that everyone falls in love with and wants to take home. She meets the main character Christy at her store called ¿I Saw It First Shop¿. Don¿t you just love that name? I also like what there store does. Christy explains to Zeffie ¿What we like to do here is rework something that¿s lost its purpose and make it pretty again.¿ I think every town needs one of these shops. I know God allows us to be re-worked once we¿ve lost our purpose. All things are made new once we give our lives to him. I liked her analogy. Zeffie hands Christy a clue that reopens a case from years ago. This case was personal for Christy. The man that was murdered saved her life. With this new clue she is determined to track down the killer if it¿s the last thing she does. You will love this town and the Characters as well. This is the third book in Peggy Darty¿s cozy mystery series. Reading this book makes me want to go back and read the rest. Nora St.Laurent

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2008

    Find the time sit down and leisurely drift with the balmy ocean winds into Summer Breeze, Florida, and join in solving a solid cozy mystery.

    When Zeffie Got A Clue, don¿t you just love the title? I did and that¿s what made me pick up book three of Peggy Darty¿s Cozy Mystery series, where we find mystery writer Christy Castleman at work along side her somewhat eccentric aunt, Bobbi Bodine in the I Saw It First Junk Shop. As the story opens, eight-year-old Zeffie Adams brings into the shop an old jewelry box she received from her mother. Zeffie is hoping to receive enough money from the sale of the box to help pay for her grandmother¿s many medical bills. Taken by the young child¿s vulnerability, Christy generously pays Zeffie for the box and begins work on refurbishing it for resale. When Christy removes the worn lining, she finds an appraisal for jewels belonging to Annabel Strickland, the mother of Kirby Strickland who was shot to death years ago in an unsolved case that was labeled a burglary gone wrong. Believing Kirby¿s killer stole this box, Christy sets out to locate the person who gave the box to Zeffie¿s mother with the hope that this trail will eventually lead to the killer. When things get interesting and dangerous, and even when Christy¿s boyfriend, encourages her to back off for her own safety, Christy, because of her fondness for Kirby who saved her from drowning once, moves forward in search of the killer. The mystery moves along at an even pace, with enough interest to keep you reading until the book leads to a very satisfying conclusion. This entertaining mystery has many elements of a good cozy¿a smallish town, people who know one another, some quirky characters, and an amateur sleuth tracking down a killer. Also in cozy style, the mystery unfolds slowly so you have time to savor the characters in the book while appreciating the strong leading character, Christy. Darty displays Christy¿s fine personal qualities through the relationships with the other characters, most notably with Zeffie when her grandmother passes on and the elderly retired housekeeper now alone and lonely at the nursing home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2008

    cozy mystery with adventure

    When I was younger I loved mysteries. I love to read them and watch them on various television shows or movies. My mother, my sisters, and I all watched Murder She Wrote together when I was really young and I can still remember the popcorn on the floor... Peggy Darty has made a really believable mystery stand out in this When Zeffie Got a Clue. I found out the hard way tha...more When I was younger I loved mysteries. I love to read them and watch them on various television shows or movies. My mother, my sisters, and I all watched Murder She Wrote together when I was really young and I can still remember the popcorn on the floor... Peggy Darty has made a really believable mystery stand out in this When Zeffie Got a Clue. I found out the hard way that this is the third in a series, and although I have not read the others and was able to understand the plot completely, there were some points where I was largely frustrated and a mention of a previous event that I can only assume would have been explained in a previous cozy mystery. I do fully intend to put When the Sandpiper Calls and When Bobbie Sang the Blues on my TBR pile. Zeffie is a sweet little girl in an unfortunate point of circumstances in her young life and Christy, the local mystery writer/murder solver of the area of Summer Breeze, Florida is able to jump into detective mode and seek out answers to find for Zeffie's questions as well as others that are closer to home from her own youth. This is the first Christian cozy mystery that I have read, and it really makes me thirst for more. The overall story is riveting and near impossible to put down once started. There are many different emotions and as a reader, one really gets pull into everything that is going on and debates all of the clues themselves. I really recommend this book if you have a few hours to spare and jump in to see if you can help Christy and Zeffie find what they are looking for!

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

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    Nice cozy

    I don't normally read cozy mysteries, but this one was fun and it held my interest. The title was intriguing and once I got involved in the story and got to know the characters I wanted to finish the book. It had a nice hook and pulled me in. Nothing was edgy or compelling in a suspenseful sense. There were no graphic descriptions or things that made me cringe (not that I like that). There was nothing heart-wrenching or spiritually moving. It was just a nice read. Kind of like a Matlock murder mystery. The characters were well done, the writing was good, and it gave me the warm fuzzies - especially the subplot involving Zeffie. Maybe I would have felt even more attached to the characters if I had read the previous two books in the series. I dunno. Overall I'd say this book is a winner, because not once did I dread picking it up to finish the story. That's a great book!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining regional cozy

    In Florida, eight year old Zeffie Adams brings an old worthless jewelry box into the I Saw It First junk shop because the kid needs money to pay some of her grandma¿s bills. Co-owner Christy Castleman (along with her Aunt Bobbie Bodine) gives Zeffie a lot more money than the box is worth. However, to her surprise Christy finds an appraisal slip in the box¿s lining that she believes gives her a clue to the cold case murder of Kirby Strickland who was shot to death when jewels belonging to Annabel Strickland that were once in the box were stolen. Knowing she owes Kirby who saved her life, published mystery writer Christy ignores the admonition of her police officer boyfriend and investigates the homicide not realizing the danger she places herself in with her inquiries. --- This entertaining regional cozy returns Christy and company for a second mystery (see WHEN BOBBIE SANG THE BLUES). This time the mystery writer works a cold case that is very personal to her and others. The cast is solid as Christy leisurely investigates the link between the jewel robbery and the homicide. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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