Read A Basket of Trouble Online

Authors: Beth Groundwater

Tags: #Mystery, #a river ranger. When a whitewater rafting accident occurs, #it was poison. Tom King was a rich land developer with bitter business rivals, #The Arkansas River is the heart and soul of Salida, #including her beloved Uncle Bill—the respected owner of an outfitting business, #and infuriated environmentalists.Mandy cooperates with the local sheriff's department to solve the murder. But little does she know how greatly the case will affect those she loves, #who cheated on his wife, #refused to support his kayak-obsessed son, #but a man dies anyway. But it wasn't the river rapids that killed him, #Colorado. It fuels the small town's economy and thrums in the blood of twenty-seven-year-old Mandy Tanner, #she deftly executes a rescue, #out of whose raft Tom King fell. She goes on an emotionally turbulent quest for the truth—and ends up in dangerous waters.

A Basket of Trouble



Claire is roped into a new murder

A Basket of Trouble

mystery at her brother’s horse stable

When gift basket designer Claire Hanover saddles up for the opening event at her brother Charley’s new riding stable, the last thing she expects is for a death to ruin the festivities. Kyle Mendoza, one of the stable hands, is found dead in Gunpowder’s stal . Everyone assumes the horse trampled him, until it’s dis-covered that someone murdered Kyle before dragging him into the stal .

Charley’s troubles worsen when a rival stable owner starts wrangling his clients and Kyle’s family decides to sue him for negligence. Claire is determined to corral the killer and keep her brother’s business from being put out to pasture. However, solving the mystery could be more HANOVER MYSTERY

difficult than finding a needle in a haystack . . . and maybe even deadly.


Praise for the Claire Hanover series:

“Will appeal to
Desperate Housewives
fans and those
who like cozies with a bit of spice.”

“A tense, exciting debut.”
—Kirkus Reviews


Coming from Midnight Ink - November 2013


Paperback Original • F iction


ISBN: 978-0-7387-2703-5 • U S $14.99 CAN $17.50 • 53/16 x 8 • 312 pp WA


Publicity contact: Amelia Narigon • A [email protected]



UNCORRECTED PROOF: If any material is to be quoted,

it must be checked against the finished book.




Basket of Trouble.indd 1

5/21/13 10:01 AM

More cheers for Beth Groundwater’s

a claire hanover mystery series

To Hell in a Handbasket

“Groundwater’s second leaves the bunny slope behind, offering some genuine black-diamond thrills.”—
Kirkus Reviews

“An engrossing and entertaining mystery that keeps you reading until the final page.”—

“The wait is over for the second title in the Claire Hanover Mystery series … Her page turning style is welcome to any reader looking for a great read.”—
Fort Collins Coloradoan

A Real Basket Case

An Agatha Award Finalist for Best First Novel

“A tense, exciting debut.”

Kirkus Reviews

“This will appeal to
Desperate Housewives
fans and those who like cozies with a bit of spice.”


A Real Basket Case
and its author are a welcome addition to the mystery genre.”

Crimespree Magazine

“An enjoyable mystery . . .
A Real Basket Case
should not be missed.”

—Romance Reviews Today,

“I really enjoyed this book. I can’t wait to read the next!”

—Mystery Lovers Corner,

“A clever, charming debut novel. Her well-crafted characters comprise a nicely balanced cast, and she does a good job incorporating a blend of humor and relationship drama into a deftly twisted plot with the kind of surprise ending guaranteed to satisfy. Quick-paced and well written with clear and comfortable prose,
A Real Basket Case
is a perfect afternoon read for cozy fans.”


“A gutsy sleuth, a fast-paced plot, and intriguing characters that keep you guessing.
A Real Basket Case
is a real winner! Don’t miss it.”

—Maggie Sefton,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Knitting Mystery series

“A crackling good novel with the kind of twists and turns that make roller coaster rides so scary and so much fun!”

—Margaret Coel,
New York Times
bestselling author of

the Wind River Mysteries

“An impressive debut! Groundwater brings new meaning to the term

menopausal in this flawlessly crafted mystery. Her gutsy, power surging heroine keeps the pressure on until the final chapter.”

—Kathy Brandt, author of the Underwater Investigation series

“Like one of Claire’s baskets, Beth Groundwater has put together the perfect mixture of humor, thrills, and mystery. A terrific debut!”

—Christine Goff, author of the Birdwatcher’s Mystery series

also by beth groundwater

A Real Basket Case,

Midnight Ink, 2011

Deadly Currents,

Midnight Ink, 2011

Wicked Eddies,

Midnight Ink, 2012

To Hell in a Handbasket

Midnight Ink, 2012

Midnight Ink

woodbury, minnesota

A Basket of Trouble: A Claire Hanover Mystery
© 2013 by Beth Groundwater. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Midnight Ink, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

First Midnight Ink Edition

First Printing, 2013

Book design by Donna Burch

Cover design by Kevin R. Brown

Cover illustration © Glenn Gustafson

Editing by Connie Hill

Midnight Ink, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data (Pending)

ISBN: 978-0-7387-2703-5

Midnight Ink

Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.

2143 Wooddale Drive

Woodbury, MN 55125-2989

Printed in the United States of America




the opening

“Would you please stop fidgeting?”

Claire Hanover jumped, startled out of her troubled thoughts

by the bemused sound of her husband’s voice. She looked out the

car window and saw they still had a ways to go. Then she glanced

at Roger sitting beside her, his steady hands on the steering wheel.

“Sorry,” she said. “I’m anxious about the stable’s opening event.

I want everything to go well for Charley’s new business.”

“Honey, I’m sure everything will be fine.” Roger took his gaze

off the road for a moment to eye her hands. “And if you keep picking at the cellophane on that gift basket, you’ll tear it open before your brother gets a chance to.”

She stilled her nervous fingers and pressed her palms against

the sides of the large gift basket on her lap. She had taken a lot of care in choosing the contents and decorating it with vintage horse tack and a bow made from a horse-themed bandana. The last


thing she wanted was to destroy the basket before Charley could

even see it.

Claire took a deep breath to calm herself and slowly blew it

out. “Okay, okay, I’ll try to be still.”

Roger reached over and gave her arm a squeeze. “We’ll be there


She peered at the cornflower blue Colorado sky, where a few

puffy white clouds floated on a light breeze. At least the weather was holding for the opening. Being early June, the summer mon-soon season hadn’t kicked in yet, with its afternoon thunder-

storms. Claire wondered how the summer storms would affect

the trail rides through the Garden of the Gods Park that Charley

was offering at his stable. But, he had dealt with the same weather pattern in Durango before he relocated to Colorado Springs a few

months ago.

In fact, her younger brother and his wife Jessica had managed

his stable business in Durango very capably for quite a few years.

But then the economic downturn had dried up tourism in Du-

rango. After struggling to hold on, Charley had looked around for alternatives. Anxious to help, Claire had suggested he investigate Colorado Springs, where she and Roger lived, because summer

tourism was still fairly steady there.

In a serendipitous turn of events, the owners of a large parcel

of commercial land near the intersection of Garden of the Gods

Road and 30th Street were happy to negotiate a lease with an op-

tion to buy. And, Charley was able to reach an agreement with the city to run commercial horseback trail rides down Foothills Trail through the adjacent Blair Bridge Open Space and into the scenic

Garden of the Gods Park.


Thankfully, Charley had found a buyer for his property in

Durango. That gave him the funds to make the move and buy a

downsized home in Colorado Springs. They didn’t need as much

space because their son, like Claire’s and Roger’s two kids, was

grown and on his own. An added benefit of the relocation was that Charley would be living closer to Claire. She hoped that would

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