Wednesday Hodgepodge–April 2, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 2nd April

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1. Since the questions posted on the first day of April it seemed only right to ask-when was the last time you did something foolish? If you can’t answer that one, try this one-when was the last time someone fooled you?

I honestly can’t remember when I did something foolish but I must have. Oh yes. I did something stupid when I tried to cook egg rolls in a microwave instead of frying them in a frying pan. That was stupid and foolish. Does that count? I think so.

 

2. What’s the last biography or non-fiction book you’ve read? Was it any good?

I read the Quran. I also read a book on John Adams, a biography. It was very good. He was a fascinating man.

3. Garlic-friend or foe? What’s your favourite dish made with garlic?

Garlic is most definitely a friend. My favorite dish is shrimp scampi. I love shrimp and the garlic is divine.

4. Several spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April. Of those listed which would you most like to see in person…The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Washington, The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville Tennessee, The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington North Carolina, or Daffodil Festival Weekend on Nantucket Island Massachusetts?

I would love to see the tulip festival in Washington. I love tulips.

5. How do you choose which blogs to read? What is something that will make you stop and read every time? Something that makes you say, ‘eh, think I’ll skip this and move on to the next’?

I have my favorite blogs and I always read them. I know they will have something to say and they are always “on.” I catch other as I can. Sometimes their titles catch me and I stop to read.

6. April is National Mathematics Education Month so tell us, when did you last use maths?

I use maths on my taxes and balancing my checkbook. And I used it to answer a trivia question this morning.

7. In honour of the A-Z challenge which kicked off on April 1…choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe your yesterday.

Awesome.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s time for me to make another run down to the little shop in the Mexican market where I buy my postcards. I buy 200 postcards at one time to send out to my postcard club. So today I will go down to the market and sort through the postcards and pick out my 200 postcards that I will stock up on to have at my disposal for the next few months to send out. That’s my errand for today.

 

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Wednesday Hodgepodge–February 26, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 26th February 2014

 

1.What is something you’ll never forget about the age you are right now?

I like having older grandchildren with whom I can be friends. I like giving back to my community. I like having perspective. I quite like being 64.

2. What’s a household chore you’ve never done? How have you managed that???

I don’t do windows. I just leave them the way them are. I leave the blinds closed with a space for the dogs to look out at the bottom. There, I’ve said it.

3. Does nature shape our personalities more than nurture? Explain.

I think it’s a combination of nature and nurture. We are born a certain way but the way we are raised influences much of what we do.

4. Friday (February 28th) is ‘Something on a Stick Day’…funny because Zoanna at A Penchant for Pens recently sent me a question for the Hodgepodge relating to this topic.  What’s your favourite food eaten on a stick?

It has to be the corn dog. I love to go to the rodeo or the fair and eat a nice corn dog.

5. Which of your five senses do you treasure most, and why?

I would hate to lose my sight most of all. I am a very visual person and treasure the images of my family and dogs. Next, I would miss my hearing.

6. What’s the best music, theatre, or sporting venue you’ve been to? What made it great?

The theater in New York City where the American Ballet Theater performs and the Metropolitan Opera is held. The venue is just superb. The acoustics are perfect and the sight lines are wonderful.

7. It’s the last week of the month…in five words or less bid adieu to your February.

Glad the cold is leaving.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I’m picking up a new CASA case and hoping that I do justice to it. There are two little children and I pray that I can affect their lives positively.

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Wednesday Hodgepodge–January 22, 2014W


1. It was decided on Sunday the Denver Broncos will meet the Seattle Seahawks in this year’s Superbowl.  So, when was the last time you bowled?  Not where you thought this question was going is it? Do you like to bowl? Are you any good?

I last bowled when my daughter was in grammar school. Her class went bowling and I chaperoned. I like to bowl but I am a terrible bowler.

2. Should sports stars be role models?

They shouldn’t be role models. They are who they are, both good and bad. But young people will emulate them no matter what they do. It’s hard to explain to kids why they shouldn’t be role models and no amount of effort will make them into role models. It’s a sad situation.

3. January is National Oatmeal month…are you a fan?  How do you like your oats?

I am a fan. I love oatmeal warm with milk. I like the flavored kind, with maple and brown sugar the best.

4. What is one book on your reading list for 2014?

Anything by Elizabeth George. I’m also going the be reading The Aviator’s Wife for a book group. It’s about Charles Lindbergh’s wife. That should be interesting.

5. What would you like your future self to say to your present self?

Don’t hold grudges and appreciate each day.

6. When scrolling through the TV guide, what is one movie title that makes you want to stop, grab the popcorn, and watch for a while?

Any Woody Allen movie. I love Woody Allen and his movies. They are the best.

7. What are two style trends you hope never come back into fashion?

The color blocks that were popular in the sixties and the granny dresses. They were horrible.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m currently bracing for a winter storm here in south Texas. We are expecting icy roads and snow flurries. This is a big deal for us since we aren’t used to driving in ice and sleet. My book group for tomorrow was cancelled because of the storm warnings. So I plan to stay in and stay warm.

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Book Challenge Update–159

I have finished the 159th book for the book challenge. It was Murder Imperfect: A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery by Lesley Cookman.

MurderImperfectLibby is preparing for the village pantomine and besides being the director, she must also be the fairy.

Harry calls her and asks her to look into the anonymous letters his friend Cy in the next village has been receiving. She agrees but before she can start, Cy is attacked. Cy is gay and they assume that this is a case of gay-bashing. That same night, another gay man, Patrick, is killed.

Libby starts to investigate by looking into the matter of anonymous letters. That leads her to poison pen letters written in the village many years ago by Maud Burton to Amy Taylor who killed herself. Amy had a baby out of wedlock. Maud had written several poison pen letters to people in the village and had even blackmailed people. Then she had disappeared. The police under Ian O’Neil are reopening their cold case files on Maud Burton. They believe Maud was murdered.

Libby also investigates Cy’s background. She learns that Cy was born to Josephine, a fostered child. Her mother was a murderer named Norma Cherry and her father was a farmer named Feltman who had a young son who was sent to Australia and also a daughter. The woman who gave Josephine to the Robinsons to foster her was Maud Burton.

Libby visits Patrick’s aunt Dolly and also his mother to learn more. She learns that Patrick’s mother also received poison pen letters and Libby suspects that Josephine received poison pen letters. Cy’s neighbor Sheila rescued him from the attack and she said that she too received a poison pen letter about her mother years ago.

Libby calls in her psychic friend Fran to help with the investigation. She visits Sheila. Fran says that Sheila is the daughter of Feltman the farmer. Margaret, Patrick’s mother, is the product of rape by Feltman. Amy Taylor’s baby was raised by her mother-in-law and his named was changed to Barkiss. His son tormented Cy and Patrick in school. Then this same Barkiss wrote graffiti on the wall at Cy’s work.

Cy is attack in his home and then his home is ransacked. He and his partner Colin go to stay at Steeple Farm for a while.

Libby continues her investigation. She is convinced that the grandson of the boy who went to Australia is here in England and is attacking gay people. Fran goes to see Sheila and get the impression that Sheila knows much more than she is willing to tell. Sheila orders her out of her house. Then Fran goes back to Libby’s house. Cy calls to say he saw a young man come out of Sheila’s house. Libby tells him to call the police. Then her door bell rings. It is the young man. He attacks Libby and Fran. They fight back and the phone line to Ian is open. The police arrive and take the man into custody. He is the grandson of the man who went to Australia. He killed Patrick and attacked Cy. He also attacked Sheila. Sheila wrote the poison pen letters to Cy and Patrick. She was jealous that their lives had turned out well and she felt her family’s lives did not.

This was an extremely confusing book. There were just too many connections between too many people and I couldn’t quite believe that all these people were related in this way. I just didn’t believe that all of this connected the way it did. It defied belief. Maybe another book I will believe. This was just too convoluted. I enjoyed the book but I gave me a headache.

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Book Challenge Update–158

I have read the 158th book for the book challenge. It was Helen Of Pasadena by Lian Dolan.

Helen of PasadenaHelen Fairchild became a widow on New Year’s Day when her husband Merritt’s volunteer scooter hit a Panda float in the Rose Parade as he was texting his mistress. The night before he had told Helen that he was leaving her for a television anchor woman. It was a bolt from the blue. And now he is dead.

Another bolt from the blue. Merritt has mismanaged their money and Helen is broke. She will have to sell their house and all their antiques and paintings and Merritt’s wine collection so that Helen can buy a cheaper home and maybe be able to afford her son’s school tuition. Her friends Candy and Tina give her moral support. But she feels stunned.

Helen needs a job. But she dropped out of her masters program in archaeology at Berkley years ago to marry Merritt and has been a stay at home mom ever since. True, she has been involved with much fund raising for her son’s school. But she really has no skills. But she has been a docent at the Huntington, a library and museum and so she goes there to beg for a position–any position. Fortunately, they have a research assistant position open for a Distinguished Scholar. Helen fits the bill. The DS is Dr. Patrick O’Neil, an archaeologist who studies ancient Troy and will be looking at some journals that refer to ancient Troy and its discovery.

Helen and Patrick get on well. They go off one day to the beach and have a long discussion about many things and Helen feels really alive. When they come back, Patrick kisses her and she loves it. But they go back to being just colleagues.

Patrick is asked to speak at Helen’s son’s school. Helen and Aiden help him spruce up his talk to make it appealing to the eighth graders and it is a smash hit. Then Patrick is asked to be the honoree at the charity event of the year. Patrick asks Helen to be his date for the event. Helen is thrilled. Patrick is talked into auctioning off a two weeks all expenses luxury vacation at his dig at Troy in Turkey. It will be the highlight of the charity event.

Aiden is trying to get into high school. His mother is trying to get him into his father’s alma mater, a Catholic high school, and Aiden messes up his interview. His grades are not stellar either. But his grandmother made a sizable donation and he was accepted. Then an acceptance envelope arrives from Los Angeles School of the Performing Arts. Aiden has applied there for acting on his own with Helen’s mother’s help and he has been accepted. That is where he really wants to go. Helen says that he can go.

Helen goes to the charity event with Patrick after she does production work for a television show that he is doing with Annabeth, another archaeologist. She has really impressed Annabeth and her partner Olympia, a famous British actress. Patrick auctions off his trip and a donor offers $250,000. The donor comes forward. It is Mitsy Fairchild, Helen’s mother-in-law. After the event, Patrick and Helen go back to his room and have a wonderful evening but Helen tells him that things wouldn’t work out between them. She leaves to look at a house and then goes to work to say good-bye to him, only to find him gone. He had to go to London to see his daughter on an emergency. Helen cries.

Over the months, Helen has a new job as executive producer for Annabeth’s archaeology television show. She keeps in touch with Patrick in Turkey and Greece. Now it is the summer and they need footage of Patrick for the show and Helen must go to Turkey to film him. Mitsy gives Helen and Aiden the trip she bid on. Helen decides to go. When Helen gets to Turkey, Patrick is wild to see her. Helen says she made a mistake to say that things wouldn’t work out. They plan to keep seeing each other whenever they can.

This was a sweet story. Helen was so beaten down from the misdeeds of her husband and then along comes this wonderful man. She just couldn’t believe that it was all real and happening to her. She didn’t think it could work out for her. But she just had to be open to the possibilities.

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Book Challenge Update–157

I have finished the 157th book for the book challenge. It was Goldberg Variations by Susan Isaacs.

goldberg variationsGloria Goldberg Garrison has called her three grandchildren to her Santa Fe, New Mexico home. She is offering to give the ownership and control of her beauty company Glory to one of them. She is estranged from all of them, not having seen them all for many years. Raquel’s father Travis was Gloria’s favorite son, but he dies tragically many years ago. Matt and Daisy’s father Bradley is not her favorite and she has not seen him for many years. But she is offering control of her company to one of the three and to the other two–nothing.

The three cousins arrive with misgivings but with open minds. The cousins and Gloria scope each other out and Gloria explains her motive in asking them to her home. The cousins take some time to think about Gloria’s offer. But each decides not to accept the offer and on Friday night, each cousin tells Gloria that they have decided not to accept her offer. Matt likes his job in PR at the New York Mets and is in love with his girlfriend Ashley who is studying to be a doctor in New York. He doesn’t want to leave New York and plans to start his own company. Daisy is a reader at a film company in New York and flies often to the West Coast. She likes her job and doesn’t want to leave it. Raquel is a lawyer at Legal Aid in New York and is living with Hayden who is at Goldman Sachs. She is close to her mother who is a social worker. She too doesn’t want to leave New York.

Gloria is shocked and at first wants to send the three back to New York right away. But she sort of likes them and decides to take them to dinner and them show them Glory and maybe they will change their minds. They have a good dinner and get to know each other a little better and actually like each other somewhat.

The next day the cousins and Gloria go to Glory and get a guided tour of the company. It is a company that is mobile and brings beauty to rural areas and small towns of America. It is a thriving company that Gloria built with two trucks that she took from her ex-husband Joe Goldberg when she divorced him. Raquel and Daisy get make-overs and Matt learns about the PR side of the business from Gloria’s PR people. The cousins are quite impressed with Gloria’s company. They all reconsider but eventually reach the same decision.

On Sunday morning, Daisy has a heart-to-heart talk with Gloria about reconciliation. She talks to Gloria about forgiveness. Gloria was going to give control of her company to her right-hand person Keith. But Keith rejected her when his partner Billy became ill with a stroke and Gloria refused to see him in the hospital. They have been on the outs ever since. Daisy explains the Jewish tradition of going to the person you have harmed three times to ask for forgiveness. Gloria is unsure about this. Raquel calls Hayden and breaks up with him over the phone from Santa Fe. She knows he has checked out of the relationship and it isn’t working. Matt decides to take the plunge and asks Ashley to marry him from Santa Fe.

When the cousins have gone back to New York, Gloria decides to work on reconciliation. She goes to Keith to ask forgiveness. He is very cold to her but she hopes in time he will forgive her. Then she goes to New York to ask forgiveness from Adrianna, Raquel’s mother. She breaks down in tears at her home and says she is so sorry for ignoring them after Travis’s death. She also goes to Bradley and asks his forgiveness. Then she meets with Raquel. She offers Raquel the company again. This time Raquel is willing to accept but she is worried about leaving her mother and cousins. But Gloria tells her she can come back to see them or her mother can come out to Santa Fe. Raquel decides to accept the offer. Gloria explains how she is working on Daisy’s method of reconciliation. She still has to go to Florida to ask Joe Goldberg’s forgiveness. Raquel and her grandmother are reconciled and will work together in the business.

This was a very interesting book. It is told from the perspective of each of the characters in turn. We hear first from Gloria, then from Matt, then Raquel, then Daisy, then Gloria again. It is interesting to see the change in attitudes of the various characters as they interact with each other and get to know each other better. They become more open to one another and more accepting of each other. All this happens over one weekend and the change is remarkable to see. I loved this book.

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Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 18th December 2013

 1. Do you believe in miracles?

Yes, I do. There are many things that happen in life that can’t be explained rationally and that HAVE to be miracles. I have seen my share of them. And I am glad to have seen them. I believe in the power of prayer, too.

2. What’s a recent fad you admit to trying?

I wear sweatshirts, like everyone does. And of course, I have a cell phone. I don’t really follow a lot of fads. I thought about getting an iPad but am content with my Kindle.

3. Peppermint-are you a fan? If so, what’s your favourite food or beverage containing peppermint?

I like peppermint candy canes.

4. Break the ice, on thin ice, as cold as ice (emotionally, not literally)…which phrase have you run into most recently? Explain.

I have heard “break the ice” several times in meetings lately. Also “on thin ice” but rarely have I heard “as cold as ice.”

5. Have you ever broken or spilled something in someone else’s home? Still friends?

I have broken a glass at my daughter’s house and also spilled soda at her house. She still loves me.

6.  ’Tis the week before Christmas…are you feeling more like Buddy the Elf or theGrinch before his heart grew?

I’m Buddy the Elf. I have all my shopping done and have to wrap my gifts. Don’t know when we’ll exchange gifts yet but I’ll be ready.

7. Share a favourite quote relating to Christmas.

I really don’t have a famous quote relating to Christmas. Except for the Biblical quotes about the Nativity. They are too long to post here. But they are perfect for Christmas. 

 

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Thursday Hodgepodge

 

1.  According to Oxford Dictionaries, the 2013 word of the year is ‘selfie‘. Your thoughts? When did you last take a selfie? Do you post them online somewhere? Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind the lens?

I took one selfie about two years ago to post for a young friend of mine who was bugging me to post one. I hate selfies. I much prefer to be behind the lens. I don’t even like someone else taking my picture.

2.  Will you send out Christmas Cards this year? If so, are they ready to go? If not, are you glad or sad about leaving that tradition behind?

I send Christmas cards to keep in touch with relatives and friends far away. I also send Christmas cards to Postcrossing friends who ask for them. I have already sent a few of these. I will send my Christmas cards in the next week I guess. I actually like the tradition.

3.  Do you trust easily?

No. I’ve been burned too many times. I really don’t trust easily. I’m very wary.

4. Pine-cinnamon-peppermint-vanilla (as in sugar cookie)…of those listed, which one is your favourite December scent?

Pine is my favorite Christmas scent. It reminds me of Christmas trees.

5.  Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday?  Was that by choice or by necessity?

I did more listening. I listened to my granddaughter’s woes about her job.

6.  What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?  Sorry if it’s back there now :-)

Of all things, it’s Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball. Horrors!

7.  Which world explorer (in the whole history of the world) would you most like to have travelled with, and why?

I think I would have liked to travel with Alexander the Great. He was the first great explorer and conquerer. I think his travels would have been amazing for his day and age.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Our temperature dropped from the 80s to the 50s and will continue to drop today through the 40s. Our weather is crazy. In 24 hours we went from shirt-sleeve weather to heavy jackets.

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Book Challenge Update–156

I have read the 156th book for the book challenge. It was The Family Man by Elinor Lipman.

Family ManJohn Henry Archer offers sympathy to his ex-wife Denise Krouch on the sudden death of her husband Glenn Krouch. While at Denise’s condo, Henry notices a photo of his adopted daughter Thalia, whom Denise and Glenn had taken away from Henry when Denise and Henry divorced and Denise married Glenn. Henry has resented that fact all these years and is pleased to discover that Thalia is now the coat-check girl at the salon where he has his hair cut. He decides to reach out to Thalia and try to mend the relationship.

Thalia is thrilled to meet Henry after all these years. She remembers Henry fondly and thinks it is horrible what Denise and Glenn did to Henry all those years ago. Thalia is an actress and decides to take Archer as her stage name. Henry offers Thalia the use of his maisonette apartment in which to live. Thalia readily accepts and is thrilled. She also springs on him her new acting gig. She is to play the girlfriend of a B-movie horror film actor, Leif Dumont. Leif needs publicity and a girlfriend. She is to play the girlfriend and get publicity and then have a very public breakup. Henry agrees to look at the contract for her.

Meanwhile, Denise sets up Henry with an acquaintance of hers, Todd who works in a Hom Store. They hit it off. Henry became aware that he was gay after the divorce from Denise and is comfortable with it. He likes Todd and Todd is aware of Thalia’s newest acting gig. Thalia is wearing clothes from Henry’s late mother Winniebelle. She likes the look. But in her acting gig, she gets a clothing wardrobe and Todd is her consultant. Henry weighs in too. There is also a hairdresser and makeup artist. Meanwhile Thalia has hooked up with Philip, a DJ at a club and is seeing him after her dates with Leif. Henry and Todd are swore to secrecy. They hope Thalia does not get caught.

Things aren’t going as planned with Leif. He isn’t getting the great publicity he wants. So he gets himself arrested for turnstile jumping. Thalia is having trouble getting her name in the paper. Denise has seen Thalia’s picture in the paper but no one wants to explain the situation to Denise.

Denise is fighting her step-sons on a pre-nuptial agreement that her husband had and Henry is handling that fight. He died just shy of a 25-year date and they want her out of her apartment. She is fighting to keep the condo. She is maintaining that Glenn burned the pre-nuptial agreement and that the copies are not valid.

Todd and Henry have dinner with Todd’s mother and Todd comes out to his mother. This is not news to his mother. She is thrilled to meet Henry and loves Todd and Henry together. She can’t wait to meet Thalia.

Thalia is supposed to have a fight with another girl and breakup with Leif. But she tells Henry that she has broken the contract and had sex with Leif. She has the fight with the girl but the fight goes wrong and she ends up with Leif. His underage girlfriend in California dumps him and he and Thalia become a couple for real. Thalia is pregnant with Leif’s baby.

Henry manages to get the step-son Glenn to set aside the pre-nuptial agreement and let Denise keep the condo. He meets Denise’s current boyfriend, Glenn Senior’s former partner. They are very happy together. Denise is happy that she gets to keep the condo. She sort of reconciles with Thalia.

Henry and Todd move in together. Leif moves into the maisonette with Thalia and Thalia has a baby girl. They are a happy family. Henry is complete.

This is a funny, sweet story. Thalia is a quirky, sweet girl. Henry is the voice of reason but goes along with his crazy daughter, picking up the pieces of her wild life. He is so happy with Todd. Todd is a stabilizer for Henry. Todd’s mother is the matriarch over everything. It is nice to have  story where everything ends up so well.

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Book Challenge Update–155

I have finished the 155th book for the book challenge. It was The Litter Of The Law: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown.

litter of the lawHarry and Fair are out driving with the animals on an October evening when the animals become rowdy. They stop the car to let the animals run for a bit and see a scarecrow in the field. The animals immediately are attracted to the scarecrow. But it isn’t a scarecrow; it is a dead man dressed as a scarecrow. He has been shot through the heart. It turns out that the dead man is a young accountant from Farmville named Joshua Hill. No one seems to know him and his computer is missing.

Plans are being made for the scary Halloween hayride. Hester is selling tickets. She is telling Tazio that she wants Tazio to continue her quest to renovate the Random Row schoolhouse if she (Hester) is not around. Tazio thinks this is strange but agrees.

Buddy has been asked by Wesley to sell 100 of his acres closest to the schoolhouse to him for development. Buddy refuses. Neil also puts pressure on him and also puts pressure on him to use his fertilizers.

Susan and Harry are out driving and see the stand advertising the hayride. There is a witch advertising it. That is strange. They get out to investigate. They find that it is a dead Hester. She has been shot through the heart. At Hester’s funeral, at her home, Harry sees a photo of Hester and Joshua Hill. She looks for a connection. It seems that both were members of Indian tribes. Hester had asked Hill to do some research for her but they cannot find the research. They have Hester’s computer but it doesn’t tell them much.

Harry decides to search Hester’s fruit and vegetable stand and her tractor looking for the research. She finds the research hidden under the mat in the tractor. It is a print out of the land surrounding the Random Row schoolhouse and shows the land that could be designated Indian land. Some of it is Buddy’s land and it is also the Random Row schoolhouse. Could Buddy or Wesley or Neil be the killer?

Sheriff Rick and Coop and Harry and Fair are on high alert during the hayride. They expect trouble. And at the end of the ride, trouble comes. Buddy is playing the Frankenstein monster and a Count Dracula attacks him. Buddy is chased into the field and is stabbed. Then Count Dracula grabs Tazio and races off with her on a dirt bike. Harry runs after them and they wreck and Harry shoots Count Dracula. It is Wesley and Neil is also running after them. He is captured and arrested. Wesley and Neil are the murderers of Joshua Hill and Hester.

Buddy is willing to sell his land to the Indian tribes and Random Row will be renovated as a museum. This will be a legacy to the Indian tribes.

I enjoyed this book. The animals are a large part of the story here and also played a large part in the capture of the criminals. I like how the animals talk throughout the story. Pewter and Tucker are at each other’s throats in the story and it’s why Harry and Fair had to stop the car and let them out and find the dead man. Harry is into everything and generally has her hand on everything in Crozet. This was a great mystery for Halloween.

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