Southern Double Cross: A Southern B&B Mystery

Southern Double Cross: A Southern B&B Mystery

by Caroline Fardig

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A fundraising party goes south in a delightful cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Southern Discomfort and the Java Jive novels
Quinn Bellandini is ready to get back to running her grandfather’s B&B in Savannah, Georgia, with her sister, Delilah—but first, she has to coordinate a fundraising event at the house of local philanthropists, with the help of her boyfriend, Tucker Heyward. Everything is running smoothly until Quinn’s friend, Pepper Fox, frantically calls her with the horrifying news that the lady of the house was found dead. Pepper’s brother, who was working as a caterer, is soon charged with her murder.
Pepper knows her brother didn’t commit the crime and asks Quinn, now a veteran detective with two solved murders under her belt, to prove his innocence. Quinn can’t bear to see her friend upset and enlists Delilah and Tucker to help investigate.
The invite list quickly turns into the suspect list as tensions mount and old feuds are brought to light. Could Quinn have hired the only catering company in Georgia that throws in a murder on the side?
Discover all of Caroline Fardig’s gripping Southern B&B mysteries:
And don’t miss Caroline Fardig’s thrilling Java Jive mysteries, which can be read together or separately:

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984800305
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Series: Southern B&B Mystery , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 6,388
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Caroline Fardig is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen mysteries. Fardig’s Bad Medicine was named one of the best books of the year by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 

“Would you mind terribly to take this bouquet of flowers and set it on the registration table?” I asked one of the waitstaff, who was walking that way. I had a million little things to do and not enough time to do them. 

The man stopped and stared at me for a moment. “That is not my job. And I don’t know you.” 

I gave him a pleasant smile. “My name is Quinn Bellandini, and I’m a member of the committee in charge of this event. Would you mind helping me out? I’d very much appreciate your help with the flowers, and you seem to be headed in that direction anyway.” 

His face twisted into a scowl. “You’re not my boss.” 

Keeping my smile in place, I said, “I’ve got the checkbook to pay your boss.” 

He rolled his eyes and grabbed the flowers out of my hands. “Fine. Whatever.” He stalked over to the registration table and slammed the bouquet of flowers down onto it. 

I winced. The unpleasant exchange I’d had with the waiter had wasted the time I saved by not walking over there myself. Why couldn’t people just be nice and help one another out? Wasn’t that what a fundraiser was all about? So far, this guy had been the only person here who hadn’t been more than happy to pitch in to put today’s fundraiser for the Chatham Crescent Women and Children’s Shelter together. 

My best helper had been my boyfriend, Tucker Heyward. He’d been my rock, doing anything and everything I needed to make sure this event ran smoothly. Since it was my job to fill the fundraising group’s Instagram page with shots of the afternoon, one of the many tasks I had him on was photo duty. He was a much better photographer than I was, anyway. He’d run off to capture some shots of the old plantation we were using as the venue for today. 

The antebellum plantation mansion was massive, having two wings connected by a cavernous foyer with a sweeping staircase. My committee was under strict instructions from the owners, Duke and Magnolia Stiles, not to let anyone, especially “the help,” wander around their home. The catering staff was allowed to use the kitchen, but other than that, no one was permitted inside. 

Our lovely city of Savannah was temperate and perfect in April, in my opinion the ideal time for an outdoor party. Warm enough to wear a pretty spring dress without a sweater, no pesky bugs to worry about just yet, and not so hot and humid that the food would melt or spoil. 

My attention was drawn to two ladies facing off against each other on the mansion’s terrace, arguing and gesturing with their hands. I rolled my eyes and chuckled to myself. Magnolia Stiles and Lucille Davis were at it again. They were both on the fundraising event committee with me, which had made the planning of today’s event difficult from the start. They’d butted heads over everything from the food to the venue and even to the color of the napkins. These Southern belles had known each other for fifty years and knew exactly what buttons to push to get each other’s noses out of joint. Wondering if they were arguing over an actual problem that needed fixing before the guests arrived, I wandered closer so I could hear their heated conversation. 

Lucille’s voice dripped with disdain as she gestured toward the pool house. It was a wonder she could even lift her hand with as many carats of diamonds as she was wearing. “Really, Mags, you couldn’t have had the pool house repainted before the event? The last coat you had put on there is starting to chip away. I can see the hideous shade of green from years ago peeking out. Not a good look.” 

From where I was standing, which was closer to the pool house than they were, I couldn’t see any peeling paint. Granted, the place wasn’t sparkling with a brand-spanking-new coat of paint, but it was far from an eyesore. 

Magnolia’s cheeks blazed red. “You try keeping this monstrous money pit maintained. I’ve been wanting to sell for ages, but Duke won’t hear of it. He was born here, and he’ll die here.” With a sneer, she added, “At least my home is large enough to provide a venue for an event of this size.” 

That comment was hardly fair. Lucille lived in an absolutely gorgeous home in Savannah’s historic district, and it was good-sized for a house in town. Its square footage and lot size could never compete with that of a sprawling old tobacco plantation. It was like comparing apples to oranges. 

Eavesdropping on their catfight wasn’t worth my time, so I started walking and made a sweep of the grounds. The caterers had the food well under control, and the smells from the kitchen had my mouth watering. The bartender had several drink stations set up and ready with plenty of ice and luscious-looking cocktails. The florist had finished her job and was pulling her van out of the driveway, having festooned the place within an inch of its life, including the pool, which had a dozen huge flower arrangements floating on its still surface. It was quite the floral wonderland around here. The band had completed a sound check and was warming up. Everything was in its place. That was, except Tucker’s tie. 

I approached him to straighten it, but when I got within arm’s reach, he surprised me by grabbing me and planting a kiss on my lips. 

“What was that for?” I asked, smiling up at him. 

He smiled back at me. His smile always warmed me to my core. “To take your mind off stressing over this party for two seconds.” 

“I’m not stressing,” I said, trying to convince myself as much as him. 

He gave me a pointed look. 

“Okay, so maybe I’m stressing a little,” I admitted. 

His face fell into a mock frown. 

“Okay, fine. I could stand to simmer down a little.” 

“A lot. You could stand to simmer down a lot, Quinn.” 

I sighed. “Point noted.” 

He dropped his arms from around my waist. “Tell me what I can do to help.” 

“Would you mind running around to the front of the house to make sure the valet stand is fully staffed and ready for the influx of guests?” 

“I’d be happy to. While I’m gone, you take a break. You’ve got a long evening ahead of you.” He gave me a pat on the back and trotted off. 

I wanted nothing more than to take a break, but there was no time for that. The moment Tucker’s calming presence was gone, I slipped back into stress mode. I flitted around all over the party setup, double and triple (or maybe more—I’d lost count) checking everything one last time. As the first of the guests started arriving, I handed out donation envelopes and brochures detailing how the money we raised would benefit Chatham Crescent Women and Children’s Shelter, while Magnolia and Lucille welcomed everyone. The two ladies’ demeanors had turned on a dime since I’d last seen them. They were nothing but graciousness and good cheer. 

Once the guests had all arrived, I took yet another walk around the grounds. As I was fussing over a bouquet of flowers on the donation table, Clara McLeod, another of my fellow committee members, came over to speak to me. 

Clara took my hands in hers. “Everything is absolutely perfect, dear. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about anything else. Relax and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it.” 

I squeezed her hands. “Thank you, Clara. I just want everything to go off without a hitch.” 

Giving me a knowing smile, she said, “I’ve put together enough of these parties to know that we’ve got all our ducks in a row for today. Nothing will go wrong. Mark my words.” She waved over a waiter with a tray of champagne flutes and took two of them. She handed one to me and clinked her glass against mine. “To a spectacular party.” 

“Hear, hear,” I replied, taking a sip with her. The champagne was phenomenal, but I needed to keep my head, so one sip was enough for a lightweight like me. 

Tucker appeared next to us. “Toasting your success already?” 

Clara tittered out a laugh. “Yes, Tucker. We’ve already deemed the party a winner.” 

He beamed at me. “I couldn’t agree more.”

My phone rang in my pocket. I’d managed to find a lovely dress with a hidden pocket in the skirt, perfect for stashing my phone. I had a feeling I was going to need it today. “One sec,” I said to Tucker, as I stopped to answer the call. It was from my friend Pepper Fox, who was part of the catering staff. “Hi, Pepper. Everything going well with the food?” 

“The food? It’s fine.” Her voice sounded strained. Laid-back Pepper’s voice never sounded strained. My body tensed.

Customer Reviews

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Southern Double Cross: A Southern B&B Mystery 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
GratefulGrandma 3 days ago
This is the third book in the Southern B&B Mystery series by Caroline Fardig. Although there is some continuation in the development of the characters and their relationships, the mystery is self-contained and this book can be read as a standalone story. Having said that, I have read all three in the series and would recommend you read them all. Quinn Bellandini and her sister Delilah have a great relationship, Not only do they work together at the family B&B, they sleuth together and have become known around Savannah for solving crimes where the police have arrested the wrong person. In this story it is Quinn's friend and band mate's brother who has been arrested for the murder of Magnolia Stiles. Magnolia is a socialite who has more enemies than a person can count, so there are plenty of other suspect. Pepper begs and bullies Quinn into helping her prove her brother's innocence. I enjoy how well Quinn and Delilah work together when investigating and this book has Pepper join in the search. Once again, they know just the right questions to ask to get information that the police don't have. The secondary characters are well rounded and add much to the story. Tucker, Quinn's boyfriend also works with them, but he has some real reservations about putting themselves in danger. Ending up in some seedy bars, being warned off, some vandalism and being held at gunpoint definitely give strength to is concerns. I enjoy the setting of Savannah with all the descriptions of the homes and the social activities. The story is well-written and the mystery has plenty of twists and turns. I thought I had it figured out than changed my mind many times. A fun story that had me guessing right up to the end. Another fine addition to this series although I did enjoy the first two in this series more than this one.  I do recommend this series to cozy mystery lovers. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Stephanie Clanahan 4 days ago
The series is getting better but there is just still something missing. I kind of wish I hadn't started reading the series. It just doesn't hold my in interest enough. It's way too bland. Stephanie Clanahan
TastefullyTracy 5 days ago
Best Bellandini sisters B&B mystery yet! Quinn gets dragged into yet another murder mystery because she did the right thing. What starts off as a charity event ends in tragedy or at least in murder with a side of larceny and fellow band member Pepper 's brother Parker is left holding the bag containing the bloody and expensive cat statue. Naturally, Pepper demands that Quinn makes it right and get Parker out of jail and off the hook for murder, larceny, well that is another story. Tucker, ever the southern gentleman respects Quinn's need to help but is even more worried this time around because one of the thieves could also be a murderer and the Bellandini sisters are sleuthing in all the scary places. Delilah, or D as Quinn refers to her, has decided that the less savory interviews will be her and Pepper's task, which leaves the social elite for Quinn to deal with, I mean to entertain. Are we sure that the killer is a hoodlum or might it be one of Mag's own frenemies since she seems to be keeping her friends close but her enemies close enough to stab her in the back. This is a great third book for this series and I very much like the blossoming romance and the realness of their disagreement and the way they work things out. Even D gets a taste of romance in this one. It definitely looks like Tucker Heyward is here to stay regardless of his Mother's foolish attempts to spread untruth's about their relationship status or the female sharks aka Savannah's social "sh"elite (debutantes). Best of all, I now have another scone recipe to try out!
Anonymous 7 days ago
A great second installment in a great series. It's got all the elements that make me love Kevin Hearne: a great plot, humour, well developed characters and an amazing world building. it can't be read as a standalone. I love it and I strongly recommend it. I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
CozyUpWithKathy 8 days ago
friends, enemies, and betrayal SOUTHERN DOUBLE CROSS by Caroline Fardig The Third Southern B&B Mystery Quinn Bellandini is stressed out. She's put a lot of effort into the fundraiser for the women and children's shelter and wants the event to go smoothly. Things start well enough, aside from minor complaints and one disastrous run in between the hostess and a waiter with raspberry galettes. But when her friend Pepper calls her to come quick it's more than raspberry stains on Magnolia Stiles dress. Pepper's brother found her murdered body...while he was stealing. Now the elite in charge kick Quinn off the committee since she hired the help, and Pepper demands she investigate and get her brother out of jail! There are a lot of unpleasant people in Savannah, Georgia. At least among the characters found on the pages of the third Southern B&B Mystery. There are plenty of catty women, from the social elite to "the help". Heck, Quinn's boyfriend's mother is telling all the rich young things that Tucker dumped her and is available. Even Pepper, Quinn's bandmate and friend, is a nasty demanding shrew. She's lucky Quinn is a goodie two shoes helper because I'd tell her to shove it and let her thieving brother rot in jail! I like the methods in which Quinn and her sister, Delilah, run their investigation. What I don't like is that they now seem to consider themselves professionals and don't bother giving the police pertinent information they discover until the very end. This even after someone they spoke with was assaulted and vandalism was committed against them. Tucker's anger over Quinn's involvement and the ensuing fights also became tiresome. I appreciate Uncle Frank's role, and especially loved the part he played in the ending. SOUTHERN DOUBLE CROSS is a story about friends, enemies, and betrayal. It's a clever mystery wrapped in Southern manners and the insidious way those manners can hide the sordid underbelly of truth. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Tangen 8 days ago
ozy-mystery, southern, family-dynamics, murder-investigation, situational-humor, verbal-humor, romantic, **** The sleuthing sisters' best friend's idiot brother has been scapegoated for murder when he chose to get involved with some rather savvy thieves and everyone is in a dither to find the right murderer and reduces the charges on the brother. Lots of disconnected sleuthing, red herrings, misdirection, and still time for a new romance. A fun read! The sisters are in charge of the daily operations of the rather large B&B, their mother is a flake, there's a ghostly uncle, and grandpa was a marvelous stage magician before grandma opened the B&B in Savanna, Georgia. Lots of laughs, red herrings, and misdirection make this a great read! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Alibi/Penguin Random House Publishing via NetGalley. Thank you!
Booksandknitting 8 days ago
This is the third book in the Southern B&B mystery series, and Quinn and her sister Delilah are investigating a murder once again. A friend and her brother are working at a society fundraiser that Quinn has helped to organize, and the horrible hostess is murdered during the event. The friend’s brother is framed for the murder, and his sister insists that the sisters help clear her brother. There are plenty of suspects since the woman had more frenemies than actual friends. Quinn is kept busy running the B&B with her sister, investigating the murder, and maintaining her relationship with Tucker. The town is full of interesting characters and southern charm and the story caught me from the very beginning.
Karen-Hollins 8 days ago
"Southern Double Cross" is the 3rd instalment in the ”Southern B&B Mystery” series by Caroline Fardig. I read a novella by Caroline in Year-Round Trouble Anthology and enjoyed it so thought I would give this a try. I found the story to be very entertaining and have purchased the previous books in the series. Even though this is the first book I have read in the series I was able to follow along easily so it can be read as a stand alone. I really enjoyed it and practically read in one sitting and have since purchased the other books in the series. The protagonist Quinn and her sister Delilah have a great relationship, and I liked how they came together to help their friends brother. The side characters are well rounded and seem real as I could relate to almost all of them . The town of Savannah Georgia is somewhere I have always wanted to visit, so I found the setting interesting. There are plenty of twists and turns in this story, and I kept guessing and second-guessing myself on who the murderer was right to the very end. The story moves at a steady pace, and I had a hard time putting it down. I recommend this book to all my cozy lover friends. I requested and received an advance reader copy of this book from Random House and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
jjthor 12 days ago
I enjoyed this book. It was a fun cozy mystery set in the south. plenty of fun and twists poor Quinn in the wrong place right time trying to solve the mystery. I found it to be a quick read and very entertaining
Coffee_Books_Life 12 days ago
Quinn and Delilah are a hoot! When you are known around town as the solver of murders and your best friends brother is framed for murder he didn’t commit, Quinn can’t help but get her arm twisted into this mess that is as hot as the southern heat. Quinn is a sweet southern girl with a knack for solving murders faster than the local police. She’s kind to the core with a quirkiness and spunk. She is a guitar player after all. I enjoyed the entertaining banter between Quinn and her sister Delilah. They are so different and that is part of what makes them so comical. Delilah will speak her mind and has a great knack for putting two and two together. Pepper is a hot mess with everything going on but even with her pushiness she's a grateful and loyal friend. From rubbing noses with the elite to shady meet ups in dive bars and crazy stakeouts Quinn and Delilah walk with their head held high into craziness that their world seems destined to stumble upon. Southern Double Cross is a fun and twisty cozy in the Southern B&B Series. This is my first read by Caroline Fardig. I enjoyed her fun and entertaining style of writing. A plot that hand me guessing and then double guessing myself. With so many suspects and a lot of personalities going around Quinn uses her good and not so good wits along with her southern charm to peel through the many layers of this mystery.
lynguy1 12 days ago
SOUTHERN DOUBLE CROSS by Caroline Fardig is the third book in the Southern B&B cozy mystery series. The story takes place in Savannah, Georgia and features a wonderful array of characters including Quinn Bellandini and her sister Delilah who help their grandfather run his B&B. Quinn is coordinating a fundraising event when someone is found dead. The brother of one of the Bellandini’s good friends is charged with her murder. Obviously, Quinn and Delilah with help from several others work to prove his innocence. While this is the third book in the series, it is the first book that I have read by this author. It worked for me as a stand-alone novel, but the first two books would likely add more background and show character growth over time. I rated this one 3.5 stars and rounded it down to 3 stars. There is a nice mix of characters and personalities in the book and the author even provided a character list at the beginning of the novel to help readers keep them straight. Additionally, there are a few recipes at the end of the book for items that are mentioned in the story. Most of the characters felt well-rounded and the relationships between them did not feel contrived. However, there was one of the characters that I felt and acted somewhat inconsistently. Additionally, I did not feel strongly about the brother that was charged with the murder. Nonetheless, there were plenty of red herrings and plot twists to keep a reader interested and there were several themes running through this novel including murder, southern elite stereotypes, family dynamics, friendship, and there was even a ghost that played a minor part in the story. Overall, the plot was appealing and entertaining. The prose was well-written and engrossing. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, then this author may be one you will enjoy. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Alibi and Caroline Fardig for a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
TheCozyReview 13 days ago
From Random House/Alibi comes the latest in the “A Southern B&B Mystery” series from Caroline Fardig. I like Quinn a lot, she’s cautious, polite, and slightly afraid to speak her mind but she still has courage. She is the ultimate southern lady. I love her sister Delilah, she is spunky, not scared to tell people what she thinks! I love cozies that have a B&B base and this book delivers. The inn sounds like it would be fun to stay in, the food sounds wonderful. The victim isn’t necessarily a nice person, but as the story moves along, readers will find that they may feel sympathy for her choices in life. Suspects seem to drop at our detectives' feet almost daily with more than enough to confuse Quinn, Pepper, and her sister, and keep them on their toes. The killer is not what you would expect but it is easy to believe. Just when you think the story is over, the group is confronted with the truth at the B&B. Giving readers an entirely new perspective on the murder. Readers will enjoy the back and forth between Quinn, her sister, friends, family, and Tucker. Southern Double Cross is a page-turner, an intriguing mystery, it takes place in a fabulous B&B filled with fun guests and mouth-watering descriptions of breakfast that will leave readers hungry for more. I am happy to recommend this book and series.
CozyOnUp 13 days ago
The Bellandini sisters are back and in full on sleuthing mode. When the brother of their friend Pepper is arrested for the murder of a society matron at an event Quinn is in charge of, three women team up to clear his name. This series has been fun as we watch Quinn and Delilah Bellandini evolve over the past three books. From Quinn being shy and timid to being a go getter and gaining her assertiveness to Delilah finding love, it’s been a fantastic set up. I do hope this is not the end of a trilogy, but that there is more to come from the Bellandini sisters in the future.