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When art in the park
leads to murder in the dark,
the Shepherd sisters
have another crime to solve.
Savanna Shepherd, an art expert turned elementary art teacher, is planning the Art in the Park festival for her hometown of Carson. But apparently, someone isn’t happy that Carson got to host the event: the beloved statue in the park is destroyed. Not long after, Savanna finds the dead body of one of the people on the planning committee.
Savanna and her sisters are convinced that the arrested murder suspect didn’t do it, despite strong evidence to the contrary. With the help of Dr. Aidan Gallager, Savanna’s new romantic interest, they uncover hidden resentments and intrigue. Several people in Carson had a motive for the murder. Can they find out which one of them is behind the framing of an innocent person?
This intriguing mystery includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Mini Rhubarb Pies.
CHARACTER GUEST POST – SYDNEY SHEPHERD
By Tracy Gardner
I may be Savanna Shepherd’s little sister, but before Savanna came home to our little Lake Michigan town from Chicago, I was “the Shepherd sister with that dog salon.”
Most folks know each other around here, and I embrace being “the Shepherd sister with that dog salon.” It does seem though, ever since Savanna’s back home in Carson, now I’m actually “Sydney Shepherd, the Fancy Tails sister.” A little better, right? Maybe it’s simply our town’s way of keeping track of which sister is which among the three of us. I’m the baby. I’ve always been and always will be the baby. Our eldest sister, Skylar, is an accomplished attorney and married mother of one adorable little boy. Savanna is the middle child, who, after a broken engagement, left her career as an art authenticator to come home to Carson and teach elementary art. And then there’s free-spirited, mildly bohemian, dog-loving me.
I dreamed up the concept of a dog grooming salon and gourmet organic pet treat shop when I was sixteen, ten years before I’d make it happen. After getting my business degree with a minor in culinary arts, I went back to school to become certified in dog grooming. My idea was simple: I’d have a place on Main Street where folks felt welcome, whether they were bringing little Daisy in for a nail trim and bath, or wanted to pick up my latest chicken churros or pupcakes, or even just needed a handsome new collar for Duke (and I’ll let you in on a secret; Caroline Carson’s pampered poodles Princess and Duke get new collars every few weeks!).
The best part of my shop is the cozy nook by the front window. Here, patrons may wait while their pooch is groomed or grab a quick sit-down with a complimentary drink on my comfy aqua couch for a breather before Fido gets them back up and running the pavement again.
The best part of the nook is its view. We meet for lunch every week in the nook—Savanna, our older sister Skylar, and even our mom, Charlotte, when she’s not traveling for work. It’s a great spot to catch up, and since Fancy Tails sits smack in the middle between Carson Elementary where Savanna teaches art, and Skylar’s law office, it’s the perfect meeting place for lunch. Between what goes on outside that window on Main Street, and what goes on inside Fancy Tails, it’s sure easy to have a good feel for what’s happening in Carson.
As much as I love spending time with my human and four-legged customers, I also look forward to those lunch dates each week with my sisters. Our time together is always a delicious combination of delectable food, armchair therapy, brainstorming sessions, and sister support. Lately, until what happened at Savanna’s Art in the Park planning banquet, my favorite topic is whether Savanna and dreamy Dr. Gallager will ever get to actually go out on a date; the man is stretched thin, and so is Savanna! I am not looking for a relationship myself right now, and believe me, my sisters have plenty to say about that. Skylar avoids being the topic of conversation better than both of us, but when focus does roll around to her, I’m telling you, it’s over really big news.
Anyway, our lunch date conversation lately has been consumed by our theories over what in the world is happening in Carson. Savanna recently discovered our beloved Jessamina statue vandalized! The discovery she made the next night makes the Jessamina incident look like small potatoes. Now, Detective Nick Jordan has arrested our good friend on charges of murder. But we know he didn’t do it! The three of us resolve to uncover who the real killer is, so our friend will be cleared. With me running Fancy Tails and teaching Yoga in my down time, and Skylar juggling her law career with motherhood, Savanna ends up doing a lot of the legwork, and it’s a good thing. She’s got this talent—she doesn’t even try to do it. It just happens. Savanna sees significant details that others, even the good detective, sometimes miss. I only hope she’s able to steer clear of whomever really committed the murder; if the wrong person finds out she’s poking around for information and clues, it could lead to disastrous consequences, and not only for my sister!
About the Author
Tracy Gardner is a fiction author represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel. Tracy writes Hallmark Publishing’s Shepherd Sisters Mystery series, intriguing, engaging stories about Art Authenticator turned elementary art teacher Savanna Shepherd and her sisters solving murder mysteries in a small Lake Michigan town. A Detroit native, Tracy is the daughter of two teachers. She grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries and rock and roll. Tracy lives with her husband and best friend of thirty years and a menagerie of spoiled rescue dogs and cats, her front door constantly revolving with her two daughters and son back and forth from college. She is a strong believer in the power of baked goods, live music, family, and friends as staples to a happy life.