No More Time
(A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
by Suzanne Trauth
About The Book
No More Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
5th in Series
Lyrical Underground (July 23, 2019)
Paperback: 214 pages
Digital ASIN: B07JYQD61M
DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY
Restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has found her niche in the cozy New Jersey town of Etonville, creating menus that make a delicious double-act with the community theater’s productions. Now she’s ready for a vacation at the Jersey Shore town she called home before a hurricane hit. Sun, salty air, and seagulls make for a nostalgic escape from regular life—until a contingent from Etonville arrives to compete in a Jersey Shore theater festival.
Roped into helping her former boss cater the event, Dodie also gets a visit from her old flame, Jackson, who’s hoping to revive his charter boat business and is looking for a place to crash. Before Dodie can tell him that ship has sailed, Jackson’s partner is found murdered on his boat. Dodie knows her ex is a mooch, but she’s sure he’s no killer. But as she follows a trail of evidence that leads into her own past, Dodie stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy theory that could bring the festival to a shocking finale…
As I sit at my desk on a lovely, early summer afternoon, I am already contemplating some time down the Jersey Shore in the next couple of months. I can’t wait for the sun, sand, salt air, and seagulls… Being from the Midwest, I grew up in a state far away from the ocean. Summer water sports happened either at a lake an hour away or at the neighborhood swimming pool. Both of which were fun, but not the shore! Since moving to New Jersey decades ago, I have become an avid ocean devotee. There’s nothing like slathering on the suntan lotion, digging your toes in the sand, absorbing the heat beating on your skin while the sun rises higher in the sky.
As Dodie says in No More Time, the upcoming novel in the Dodie O’Dell mystery series, after a day on the beach, “…the night was warm and sensuous…every muscle in my body limp, my skin tingling from the heat of sunbathing, my mind dull and woozy. This was my kind of vacation, spending a holiday at the shore, basking in the sun, indulging my passion for seafood, not a care in the world, no responsibilities to assume…” I couldn’t agree more.
But even the Jersey Shore has its options. Having spent vacations at a variety of New Jersey beach locations, here are three that offer a range of summer fun. Cape May is an old town with a pristine beach, beautiful Victorian homes, a famous lighthouse, quaint streets and shops, and fabulous restaurants. A quieter and more stately version of the Shore, the entire city has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Sitting at the southern tip of New Jersey, it is one of the oldest vacation resorts in the nation. In recent years Cape May was ranked one of the best beaches on the Middle Atlantic coast.
And then there’s Avon-by-the-Sea. Besides loving the name of this shore town, I have fond memories of a family reunion in this city, more residential than its brighter, brasher neighbors. Surrounded by three bodies of water—a lake, a river, and the ocean—Avon has a non-commercial boardwalk, great for late afternoon strolls, a clean beach, and a leisurely, old-fashioned charm.
However, my current favorite Jersey Shore town is Point Pleasant Beach. Sure, it has a bustling boardwalk with restaurants, tiki bars, a game arcade, and an aquarium; a beautiful, expansive beach with easy access to the boardwalk; its own range of seafood restaurants, both high-end and casual; and evening fireworks and concerts on the beach. But most importantly, it is the basis for No More Time’s fictional Candle Beach.
When I decided to set the fifth Dodie O’Dell mystery in Candle Beach, the Shore town where Dodie grew up, there was no question it would be based on “Point Pleasant Beach.” Not only is PPB one of my favorite beach locations, it also suggests the kind of setting that would allow Dodie to spend time schmoozing with her old boss at a new restaurant on the boardwalk, provide her with easy access to a marina where some scenes of the book are set, and give her an arcade to complicate the mystery. Point Pleasant Beach was hard hit by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, as was my fictional Candle Beach: Sandy was the storm that drove Dodie north to Etonville to manage the Windjammer restaurant and start a new life.
Besides, PPB has a town park that inspired me to create a gazebo and a renovated-barn-turned-theater that hosts the Candle Beach New Jersey Community Theater Festival. What’s that about a theater festival, you ask? No spoiler alerts here. You’ll have to check out No More Time to find the answer.
Maybe while you’re sitting on a beach somewhere… happy reading!a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
Suzanne Trauth, Harvard Studio, Montclair, NJ. 06/27/2014 Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
By noon we were both hot and famished. I suggested a break from the sun at the tiki bar and we gathered our beach gear and trudged through the sand to the Polynesian music. We were halfway through our bucket of steamed clams when an elderly twosome at a table next to ours gasped in shock. We couldn’t help noticing.
“Is everything okay?” I asked gently.
The woman’s head bobbled and her wide-brimmed sunhat swung from side to side. She picked up the newspaper she’d been reading, the Candle Beach Courier, a local rag, and shoved the front page at us. “He was such a nice boy. We knew his parents years ago.”
I smiled sympathetically and scanned the sheet. Then I gasped.
“Dodie, what’s the matter?” Lola said.
“Were you acquainted with him too?” the woman asked.
I nodded numbly. Was I ever. The headline read LOCAL MAN DEAD. Underneath was a photo of the victim: It was Vinnie C. I rotated the paper so Lola could see the front page. “It’s him,” I said hoarsely.
Lola blinked. “Vincent Carcherelli,” she read.
I scanned the story. Apparently his body had been washed up on the beach sometime overnight and was discovered by a jogger early today in time to make the mid-morning edition. The police were calling it a drowning and speculating that he’d fallen off his boat, The Bounty, which had drifted half a mile off the shoreline. No foul play suspected at the moment but the investigation was ongoing.
I offered to return the newspaper but the couple refused to accept it, saying the story was too upsetting. They picked up their bill and left.
“Wow. What a coincidence. We were talking about how Jackson saw him yesterday …” Lola stopped. A light bulb went on. “The police will want to speak with Jackson. He might have been one of the last people to see Vinnie alive.”
It was Lola’s last word that brought me up short: alive. Jackson had been steamed during that meeting on the boardwalk. Did he know anything about Vinnie’s last hours? If Bill were here he’d tell me to mind my own business, let Jackson alone, let the police determine the actual cause of death. Bill was right, of course. But something about the whole event didn’t sit right with me. Why did Jackson lie about what happened when he met Vinnie?
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