Who Dunnit?

Charley and I decided to escape reality and travel up to the Berkshires for the weekend. We had book business to take care of and I had to shoot some photos for another story in the ZuZu Series – A Christmas Book which I’m planning to launch in the fall of 2017. Charley’s been wanting me to publish a Christmas Book Β and I decided this will be the year. He loves Christmas!

Outside the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge
Outside the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge

After wandering around Stockbridge and Lenox visiting with the shopkeepers who consign my books, we took a ride to the Hilltop Orchards and Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond. (Links included if you want to learn more.) The winery belongs to the people who run the Garden Gables Inn where we’re staying this weekend. The wine tasting room, with its woodfire roaring in the gigantic fieldstone fireplace, was full. On the shelves were wines and jams and relishes. Behind the counter were fresh baked pies and apple cider donuts – the aromas totally amazing. We did some early Christmas shopping.

Roxie would absolutely have loved the big gazebo where people can enjoy a picnic lunch with their wine. Β Outside, everything was a bit bare, but in early fall you can pick your own bushel of apples from the nearby orchard. It made a lovely day trip.

Apple Orchard in November
Apple Orchard in November

img_4142This evening the Inn hosted a murder mystery dinner. Charley hates that kind of thing but went along with it because he knows I love a mystery. We were assigned parts and all of the guests came in Medieval Costumes to fit the theme. Charley was a Bishop and I was the wife of a Duke. We were clueless as to the seriousness with which Murder Mystery Weekend Fans take these events, so we were not in Β costume. But, we made up for it with our incredible acting skills. I took lots of photos, even though a true Medieval Duchess would not be walking around with an IPad. In the end, I guessed the murderer and motive, of course. What kind of a clueless mystery writer would I be if I couldn’t figure it out?

Right now I’m sitting in our suite of rooms writing a first draft of this post. We were upgraded to a suite after we lit a log in the fireplace of the first room we were assigned and smoke came billowing in. (Not my fault, for once.) The wind had caused the flue to close. We opened windows and got the whole thing sorted out, but the lovely woman in charge insisted we take an upgrade. It’s pretty nifty! I could stay for the rest of the fall but we’ll be heading home tomorrow.

A final note: Roxie was not happy when she saw the suitcase on the bed. She tried her best to thwart our plans, escaping outside just before we were about to leave. Charley called me from his cell phone to tell me she was hiding under the gazebo and to bring out the bag of treats. Needless to say, once we coaxed her out with the treats, we wanted to strangle her. She’s at home right now planning ways to make us feel guilty for leaving her home with ZuZu. But I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it in her next post.img_4204

I haven’t read a newspaper or watched television the entire weekend. I have no idea what is happening in the real world nor do I care. I strongly recommend this for anyone needing to escape. Have a peaceful week.

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75 thoughts on “Who Dunnit?

      1. Oh no! Our worst nightmare – Americans doing British accents! Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins is still the subject of much mirth here. But you probably say the same about us! It was a good theme though, and there were plenty of murders in those days 😊

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  1. How fun that looks!! But you didn’t wear your costumes?? Even tho I’m SURE you had them at home in the closet?? Oh Ethel, Ethel. What a wonderful thing, to get upgraded!! OF course it wasn’t your fault!!
    Naughty Roxie!! But really, can you blame her, when you had such a great relaxing time??
    LOve, Lucy

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    1. It was fun all around. Charley was quite a good sport and we’re still chuckling about it now. The clothes in my closet actually are more along the lines of Crazy Lady With Cat Theme. Roxie has taken to hiding behind things, lately. I get the idea that she wants us to think she’s left the house and gone on vacation. I can see it in her eyes: “So, how does it feel? Not so great! Huh? Huh?” I’ll let her write a blog and vent, so maybe we can get back to some semblance of normal. I know you’ll love that.
      πŸ˜ΌπŸ’œπŸ˜Ύ

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      1. Charley can’t seem to get out of character now that we’re home. He keeps asking if there is something I’d like to confess and I keep confessing that he’s driving me crazy and he needs to go to the golf course. I may be reinforcing his behavior.

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    1. Yvette, It is a truly beautiful area. You’d love it – theaters, concerts at Tanglewood, art exhibits, the Clark Museum, ballet at Jacob’s Pillow, little towns with shops. If you ever get to New England, this is a wonderful cultural place in the summer and fall. (Cold and snow in the winter, though.) Just ask ZuZu.

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  2. Thanks Claremary. My late wife would have eaten that up. And son No. Three says she would have nailed the guilty bugger in the first act. I enjoyed reading about your weekend. It sounds like you have a very full and satisfying life going on. Congratulations.

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    1. Herb, Things are going well and we are weathering the bumps in the road as they come. So, your wife was a mystery lover. I’d always wanted to tackle writing one and found it is quite a complicated process and challenging in so many ways. I’m hoping to have Last Train to Kingston published by next spring.
      I’ve been a bit remiss in keeping up with blogging lately but am now back on track. I’ll be visiting you this weekend and look forward to seeing your latest writings. Take care and have a peaceful Sunday, my friend. Clare

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      1. Always great to hear from you Claremary. Just posted a new one today. I’ve got myself too busy again, so I have become even more erratic in keeping up with everybody. So much to do, so little time. I’m expecting the final stage soon on the way to publication. I’ve done the two proofreadings now and it’s all in the hands of the company. Here’s hoping.

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      2. You’ve been unbelievably busy, Herb. I know the feeling, I stopped blogging for almost a month, trying to get the mystery ready for beta readers. I did manage to answer comments on my old posts and visit those bloggers, but I’m glad to be back to normal. I’m working on a post for this week and have kept up with comments and reading other’s posts so far. When I have to start on the second draft, I can see going into hibernation for a few months. What company are you using? I’m thinking of going with Create Space this time. Good to hear from you and take care. Clare

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      3. Hi Claremary,
        I keep falling behind, sadly so with my 2nd MS for the follow-up book. Now three weeks with a really heavy cough and cold — wow! Don’t want, can’t do anything but cough and snooze. Thanks for this warm little letter. I’ll check you out again after breakfast. Cheers.

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  3. It sounds like an idyllic weekend Clare. Too bad you must face the wrath of Roxie when you return. I see you are ready to publish The Last Train to Kingston next spring – how exciting! Charlie looks as though he is fully into the acting role. Good for him! The husband of a mystery writer has responsibilities after all. πŸ™‚

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  4. Oops! I need to finish that thought…as long as he’s available to beta read and edit my books ad infinitum. He was heard during the never ending final drafts of A Berkshire Tale to say under his breath, “That book has got to get out of this house!” (Much like a bothersome teenager who is driving his/her parents crazy.)

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  5. I imagine this to be a delightful place. Fireplaces and wine are some of my favorite things. We experience pouting from our feline when the suitcases appear, as well. You and Charley enjoy your holidays, Claremary.

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  6. Sounds wonderful, Clare. Just what you and Charley needed! I don’t know if I could get Doug to do one of those kind of events…definitely not the dressing up part! (Though a Bishop might be right up his alley, lol, as he is so Presbyterian that kind of hierarchy with him as a Bishop is ludicrous from the start!) One of the bed and breakfasts in Edenton, actually the one run by friends, does mystery weekends, some set around early times when Edenton was the capital, with some of those townsfolk, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, etc. are the cast and characters…I would love the history parts! Anyway, maybe I can convince him that we could go back to visit Edenton for one of those…or…not! So glad you had fun….sorry for Roxie, though…she really hates being alone with baby sister! I hope you are having a great Thanksgiving holiday…Love, Jo

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  7. Wow – I wrote a whole reply and lost it in the ether somewhere. I’ve been having some issues with WordPress. We are taking a “vacation day,” and I am trying to catch up on comments, giving the packing, sorting and downsizing we are doing in prep for our move…but wanted to say how much fun this looked like…so glad you and Charley got away and enjoyed yourselves! Loved the costumes…but know that I’d never get Doug into one…well, the Bishop one would be hysterical – the inside joke being Doug being so Presbyterian the idea of hierarchy with him at the top as a bishop makes me laugh since his whole life when people at church asked what to call him he said, “Doug!” Certainly not Father, or Bishop!

    A little B&B in Edenton owned by friends does mystery weekends. One is based on Edenton history using townspeople from its time as the first capitol as characters. I think it’d be fun to come back for…but doubt Doug has that same historical irony I have!

    I hope you and Charley had a great Thanksgiving…it can be such a tough holiday for many when family strife rears its head. So thinking of you and hoping yours was wonderful!

    Tell Roxie I know it’s hard babysitting “little sister,” but I know she was up to the task! Love, Jo

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  8. Hi Clare,

    Do you think third time might be the charm? This is my third attempt at a comment (and of course, I didn’t copy either of the other two.) I have been having such a time with WordPress of late…any way, one last college try as they say! Your mystery weekend sounds like so much fun, and I am so glad you and Charley had a grand time. An Edenton Bed and Breakfast run by some friends does mystery weekends…but no dress up stuff that I know of. I know they do one set back in colonial Edenton with some of the characters from back then…so I think Doug and I should come back for one, lol,…Charley seems like a better sport than Doug! And a larcenous bishop, to boot! (Which given how very Presbyterian Doug is makes me laugh to think of him as a head of church hierarchy – he has always told everyone he is just “teaching elder,” Presbyterian speak for minister or in his translation, “I’m Doug, I like to study and discuss God and stuff, how are you?”)

    Thank you for our Thanksgiving greeting – I love that song! Seeing the squirrels made me think of the one downside to our new home…no squirrels because we have no big trees….YET! I hope you had a wonder filled day yesterday…we did, but I know sometimes family holidays can be a bit less jovial!

    Oh, tell Roxie to come out of hiding and get to the keyboard…I have been missing her tall ‘tails’ or was that high crimes and misdemeanors…or adventures, of course.

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Love, Jo

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    1. Jo, I wrote you an email and Roxie is in total agreement – she wants her time at the laptop!
      Thanksgiving with the Lucas Family ( a tradition) was wonderful and we hated to leave. But tonight we went back to Boston for Handel’s Messiah and just got in a while ago. Of course it was spectacular and we are really feeling very holidayish. tomorrow morning is skipping with China and then going to Church to put up the tree. In the afternoon is book signing at the alpaca farm open house.
      It really sounds like you had a wonderful family Thanksgiving. I’ll be by your site to find out al about it. Take care. Love, Clare

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  9. Oh my, Word Press is really messing with me! I kept checking and nothing seemed to post and now it appears you got two of my three attempts, lol! Sorry about that. I’m glad you had a nice Thanksgiving and got to go to the Messiah, what a perfect start to the holiday season! I hope the Paca book signing goes well! Jo

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      1. They are much easier than horses and there used to be tax benefits involved. I also think they’d be much easier than Roxie, but that’s not saying much at the moment. She is feeling her oats and is keeping everyone on alert with her antics. I should have let her keep her rotten teeth.

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      2. Poor Roxie! Poor you! Mephie, my college cat, whom I told you about, I think, short for Mephistopheles, HATED the vets, (if I looked close enough I could probably find the scars!) Going was painful for him and me. But even normally sweet tempered creatures can be ornery if they have a toothache. Tell her Nessa and I hope she feels better!

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      3. Dearest Nessa and Jo,
        I am better than ever and eating up a storm. The other day I learned how to pry the plastic from the half can of cat food on the counter for a midnight snack. My one fang tooth is an excellent lever. And when I’m done I carry the cover upstairs and put it on the pillow right under Mom’s nose. It’s hilarious! And I find I can yank her hair and bite her even without the three missing teeth. Life is good! Your extremely adaptable friend, Roxie D.

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  10. Dearest Roxie, sounds like a great way to reap revenge and have a delightful snack! I am not allowed on the counters and it sounds as if you are more nimble than I am! (Cat be nimble, cat be quick, cat be adaptable and steal treats real slick!).
    Things are insane at my house – boxes everywhere. Now that is normal when things get cold. Santas usually come out, lights and garlands…a little tree, a big one, crazy glass balls and beads, little houses under the big tree. Mom says those come from Christmas boxes, but these are empty boxes and my mom is putting all her things in them. No lights or wreaths! Guess what she does before she puts everything we own in boxes? She bubbled them – Our twins play with bubbles and I chase those. These bubbles are caught in plastic. I grabbed a piece and it exploded in my face. I ran. My mom laughed! What do you think will happen? They pack suitcases sometimes and I go stay at the vets… but this time she who is taking away everything says she is packing the house!! Do you think she will pack our yard? Will we take the squirrels? Perhaps I should pack my toys? I need advice dear Roxie! Love, Nessa

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    1. Oh, Nessa. I have a funny feeling a big change is coming for you. I hate change. I don’t even like it much when Mom changes the sheets! I am sorry about the bubble rap incident. It’s happened to me more than once and it is not pleasant! I hope they plan on taking you with them when the big change day arrives. If not, you can come here to live with us. Love, Roxie D.

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  11. I don’t like change either. When it’s warm, after we get up, mom feeds me then she takes her coffee and blueberry breakfast bars outside. I eat half of her bars! She tells me I am a hobbit eating second breakfast – but I like blueberries, especially since this is her first breakfast

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  12. Oops, well, to continue, we don’t get to go out often when it’s cold. Lately she hasn’t played outside much in her garden either. Wherever we take the house, I want to play in the yard! I hope that doesn’t change! I don’t like things in boxes that’s for sure but mom said we will be closer to the “puppies,” her grandkids, so they will throw my ball for me…at least I think so. Thank you for the invitation to your house, if things don’t get better soon I may need to come! Do you have snow and Santa? Santa always fills a stocking with treats and toys for me. Love, Nessa

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    1. We had snow this morning. I tried to escape and ran into the back yard and froze my toes! I hate snow! It doesn’t even taste good. No matter what color it is. Yes, Santa is always good to me even though Mom tells him all the bad things she imagines I’ve done during the year. He doesn’t care. If he didn’t live at the North Pole, I might get in his bag and hitch a ride back with him this year.

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