Authors: Ritter Ames
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Organized for Murder
is a very enjoyable first in a new series. Ritter Ames really hit it out the park with this debut, and with her organizational tips included (throughout the book and at the end), I know this is one book I will be hanging onto. If you haven’t discovered this series yet, I highly recommend picking it up."
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
"Ritter Ames keeps ratcheting the suspense until I started skipping sentences just to find out who murdered Amelia and another woman. It was thoroughly enjoyable with well-developed, 3-dimensional characters."
~ BookTalk with Eileen
"If you enjoy cozy type mysteries, I think you'll enjoy this light fast read."
~ Murder Most Cozy
"The characters are well written and stay true to who they are from the beginning to end of the book, and they feel real as if you could meet the in real life."
~ Hiding from My Kids
Organized for Murder
by Ritter Ames is the first in a new cozy mystery series, Organized Mysteries. This is a quality cozy mystery. The story is well-written and the mystery kept me guessing. This is a great start to a new series, and one I am looking forward to revisiting. Great characters, fantastic writing, and a clever mystery all combine to make a really wonderful book."
~ Brooke Blogs
"I am a huge lover of cozy mysteries, and this by far is one of my favorites. I loved the premise of the main character Kate being an organizer and I loved all the organizational tips that I picked up throughout the story."
~ Doctor’s Notes
"The plot was well paced and I enjoyed the way Kate followed the clues in a very organized fashion. The author added some great twists, I was surprised by the actual murderer. I enjoyed all the organizational tips that started each chapter. Several will be introduced into my own household."
~ Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book
ORGANIZED FOR HOMICIDE
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Copyright © 2014 by Ritter Ames
Cover design by Lyndsey Lewellen
Gemma Halliday Publishing
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
If you've admired my book covers, I've been lucky enough to always have had designer Lyndsey Lewellen working her magic for me. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but people do it every day. I appreciate that Lyndsey Lewellen and my publisher, Gemma Halliday, always come through with covers I judge to be the best around!
A move doesn't have to be a time of stress and chaos. With a little planning and follow-through, a family can move anywhere and find everything they need once they arrive. All it takes is following these steps.
Use a List—Don't try to remember everything that must be done.
Sort Well and Say Goodbye—Don't move what won't be needed.
Say "Yes" to Help—If friends or family offer help at either end of the move, jump at the offer.
Start Early—The sooner packing gets started, the less stress in those last days.
Work with Good Tools—Assorted sized boxes give better packing options, and all should have lids or can be taped closed.
Rooms Need Distinction—Pack each room separately.
A's Get Priority—If it must be unpacked right away, label the box with a big "A."
Survival Kit—For that first night in the new home, have the things needed to get through until morning.
Plan to Succeed—For a smoother unpacking job, sit down as a family and discuss unpacking plans.
Keep Stress at Bay—Right away, build a retreat in the new house by getting one room set up and free of boxes.
See the more comprehensive version of this 10-Step plan in the Appendix at the end of this book.
Tip for Packing Tableware
nstead of wrapping each plate in newspaper, alternate each one in the packing box with a foam disposable plate. This not only makes packing much faster and easier, but offers more cushion for the fragile dishes during transport. Then you can use that newspaper to pack around the sides of the plates so the empty spaces in the box are filled and nothing slides around.
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"Here's the view I mentioned earlier." Kate McKenzie pushed back the master bedroom's heavy cobalt drapes and threw open the French doors, leading her neighbor and sometimes employee, Meg Berman, to the balcony view at the back of the house. Kate moved across custom tile and made a sweeping motion above the artisan railing to encompass the one-eighty-degree landscape beyond the almost alpine, three-story luxury home. The owner, Blaine Collier, a divorced father of three, had contracted with Kate's organizational business, Stacked in Your Favor, to coordinate the family's move from southwestern Vermont to the California West Coast. She breathed deeply and savored the fresh, earthy-leaved smell that rode in the brisk air. "Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?"
The sky was a perfect robin
's egg hue above the lush panorama that included the nearby Prospect Mountain ski area, and from this height the edge of Green Mountain National Forest peeked through in the distance. The landscape was peppered with both hard and soft woods, and Kate noted the different greens that dotted the landscape, from sturdy hemlock and balsam trees, to the lovely planes of white pine. She let out an involuntary sigh as the palette unfolded around the house and balcony.
A whiff of wood smoke drifted from a neighbor
's chimney. Well, chimneys plural. Hammered copper chimneys. The few homes in this exclusive neighborhood were executive models, almost anomalies in the rugged state, and each sported multiple fireplaces. Kate counted smoke fingers rising from two chimneys in the luxury contemporary about six hundred feet away, all glass and metal that looked ready to relocate into the Hollywood Hills or the Swiss Alps. Almost a direct contrast with the warm, wooden peaks and balconies of the Colliers' contemporary home. These were the only two homes in the housing development that were not Tudor or overgrown cottage-styled, and she wondered whether the Malibu home Blaine Collier already purchased was similar to either structure.
It really is lovely," Meg replied, stepping to the end of the terrace and rubbing her palms along the top of the railing. "Makes you wonder why Collier would give this up, and move his family clear across the country."
Kate laughed, clasping her project notebook closer to her chest so she could rub her arms and offset the chill of the late May morning. Her
sea foam green polo shirt, with its embroidered logo for Stacked in Your Favor, was great for business. It had taken some searching to find a color and look both women liked and wanted to work in, and the light green flattered both Kate's blonde complexion and Meg's red hair. But even after braving her first Vermont winter, she still wasn't acclimated for short sleeves in the lower-than-she-was-used-to brisk temps. "Oh, I don't know. It's an amazing view, and this balcony alone is probably worth buying the home, but I might be persuaded to trade it for a luxury beach house."
"Trade picture perfect changing seasons for endless sunny days, and the risk of mudslides when it rains. Not to mention earthquakes. Naw, I don't see what Malibu has to offer."
A bright sunbeam cut through the trees, and Kate stepped into the brightness and sighed. Having lived with her own native Vermonter for ten years, husband Keith, she had begun to think he and everyone from his home state were born with flannel-wrapped veins. Not her, definitely not her.
"A little more warmth comes to mind."
They'll be bored in six months and wishing they were back here." Meg nodded as she spoke. "His ex-wife is staying here in Hazelton, right? And the older daughter."
Right." Kate opened her notebook and set it on a wrought iron and majolica- style tiled table. She could get used to this view, this kind of extravagance. But when she'd met Lila Collier the day before, to go over the items getting moved to the ex-wife's new two-bedroom condo, the house hadn't really seemed like "home sweet home" as much as "a house divided."
Lila had rubbed the back of her neck as she talked, radiating frustration and more than a little anger, despite the fact that the divorce was already finalized.
"It looks nice, sure. But something like this can take over. You start fighting about bills and mortgages, and even someplace nice starts looking like a dungeon."
In spite of Lila
's words, Kate couldn't imagine a less dungeon-like home. She told Meg about the encounter then added, "It's amazing how the breakup colored the woman's ideas about the place. I've already fallen in love with it, and I'm not even looking for a new house. With its cedar closets, huge great room with vaulted ceilings and skylights, gourmet kitchen, carpeting with pad so deep my feet disappear, and custom wood accents everywhere, it's one of the most welcoming homes I've ever walked through."
Not to mention the outside amenities," Meg said, then pointed over the side to the wide stone patio running the length of the back wall. "Can you imagine the barbeques we could have down there all summer?"
Kate flipped pages in her notebook. Each section was color coded, and every person in the family had his or her own individual color. Flipping to the calendar, she checked off the note for the change
-of-address cards and the self-inking stamp she'd picked up at the office supply store on her way over that morning. Change-of-address notices had been sent weeks before, both by mail and via website services, but she wanted quick and easy cards for her client to use if new needs arose after the move.