Authors: Marg McAlister
Tags: #cozy mystery, #crystal ball, #psychic detective
Book 4 of the Georgie B. Goode Gypsy Caravan Cozy Mystery Series
By Marg McAlister
Up to No Good
Copyright 2015 Marg McAlister
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All Rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the author’s permission.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Whether she wanted to believe it or not, from birth Georgie was destined to follow in her Great-Grandma Rosa’s footsteps—as well as inherit her crystal ball! Here’s your chance to find out more about the crabby old lady that Georgie sees as a kind of taciturn genie.
Visit my website below and sign up to our Georgie Updates list to get your complimentary copy of Rosa’s story in “Fortune’s Wheel”.
The Georgie B. Goode Gypsy Caravan Cozy Mystery Series
In order of publication
Release Dates for Future Titles
In Good Hands (Book 5) July 20th 2015
As Good as it Gets (Book 6) August 10th 2015
If ever there was a stark contrast to the fun of the retro scene with its rockabilly fun and gorgeous little homes on wheels, it would have to be preppers, stockpiling food and waiting for the Apocalypse. It’s not a scene that Georgie has ever had much to do with, until her brother Jerry starts specializing in building bug-out vehicles and selling Get Out Of Dodge packs.
Unfortunately, Jerry draws the attention of some of the more extreme members of the survivalist movement—and it’s not only his expertise in building the ultimate bug-out vehicle that they want! They are seeking information that he’s not ready to give, and very quickly he realizes that his usual charm isn’t going to work with this crew.
Georgie, struggling right now to read anyone’s fortune, still manages to catch a glimpse of a dangerous time ahead for Jerry and Tammy, but by the time she gets word to them it’s all too late. Jerry has disappeared, communication has broken down, and his fate is in the hands of a couple of gypsy fortune-tellers: his great-grandma Rosa and his sister Georgie.
The Crystal Ball Investigation Team sets off in hot pursuit, armed with a crystal ball that appears to go to sleep when it feels like it and only a vague sense of where Georgie’s missing brother might be.
They just need Jerry to stay alive until they find him…
Georgie sat with her chin resting on her hand, frowning at her crystal ball. She should have been a hacker instead of a fortuneteller. Hackers could dig deep and find out people’s deepest, darkest secrets with much more certainty than staring into a stupid crystal ball.
Being a wizard could work, too. Schazam, wave a wand, and demand answers from… well, somebody. Or maybe to have messages from beyond arrive via owl post, like Harry Potter.
“Will I marry and have children?”;“Give me a second, an owl will be along any second now with the answer.”
She reached over and smoothed a hand over the gleaming surface of the crystal ball, and then gave it a light tap. “Come
. What’s going on with you?”
For two weeks now, her crystal ball had been acting up—if that was the right term to use with something that didn’t plug in to a wall. Her customers still seemed entertained enough – but there was some kind of serious blockage in the channel.
Did you even
it a channel?
Georgie groaned and banged her head gently on the table. She was such a know-nothing. A couple of months of success had made her over-confident, that was the problem. She had expected her understanding of all this to grow, and instead she had gone backwards. So much for being an eighth generation gypsy who had supposedly inherited the Sight.
What had happened to the strange drifting white mist that had scared her to death the first time she used the crystal ball? It was gone.
She needed it; it had always presaged some sort of insight.
Light footsteps sounded on the steps outside her caravan, and Layla’s cheerful voice called, “Georgie?” before she appeared in the doorway.
“Hi,” Georgie said without enthusiasm.
Layla took in the situation at a glance. “It’s still not working, huh?”
“No. I’d ask Rosa what’s going on, but I can’t bother her right now.” Her great-grandmother had used the crystal ball for decades before Georgie, so should know its quirks, but a few days earlier Rosa had taken a tumble down the steps of one of the new gypsy caravans back at the Johnny B. Goode RV Empire. With a sprained ankle and a nasty knock to the head, she was resting up in bed. According to Georgie’s father, she was covered in bruises and more irascible than ever.
“How is she?” Layla set down the folders she was carrying on the table and slid into the seat opposite. “It can’t be good news for a ninety-year-old lady to have a fall like that.”
“The doc says she’s in amazing shape for someone her age, but was lucky not to break a hip. He’s ordered bed rest for another week, and she’s not happy about it.”
“Good thing you’re two hundred miles away,” Layla said. She jerked a thumb at the folders. “Do you want to go through sales figures now, or leave it for tomorrow?”
Georgie eyed the folders, feeling guilty for not showing more interest. Layla was doing a brilliant job selling vintage trailers. Not only that, she had an entrepreneurial eye for what the retro crowd wanted. A vintage trailer was just the first step: after that they wanted to play house with it. Dress it up, buy things for it, buy clothes for themselves to look the part… even now she could hear the happy beat of rock and roll hits of the 50s somewhere outside, where the rockabilly band booked for the retro rally was in full swing. She owed it to Layla to spend some time on this.
“No, let’s do them now.” She gently covered up the crystal ball with the familiar black velvet cloth, almost as though tucking a sick child into bed.
That made her think of Rosa, lying in her bed, and she flicked a glance at Layla. “Do you think that there’s any connection between Rosa’s accident and what’s going on with the crystal ball?”
Layla widened her eyes at her. “You’re asking
“Well, I was just thinking…she had it forever before she passed it on to me, and now it’s playing up just as she has an accident.” Georgie thought about it some more. “I know the problems started
her accident, but it can see the future, right?”
“Not exactly, from what I’ve seen.
see the future, using it as a conduit.” Then Layla shrugged. “I’m just guessing. I don’t have a clue.”
“Nor do I.” Deciding to leave her uncooperative crystal ball to its own devices, Georgie moved it to its place on the shelf. “What have we got?”
Layla flipped open a folder. “Overall sales figures for vintage trailers are still climbing. Your dad made the right call; there are plenty of people out there who want the retro look without the problems of restoration. Having said that, our vintage renovation team of specialists is growing too. People find it’s too hard to do it themselves and end up coming to us.” She turned the folder around so Georgie could read the numbers.
Georgie skimmed through the figures, and her eyebrows rose. “Nothing like the figures for motorhomes and fifth wheels, of course, but this is enough to keep Dad happy. Jerry too, now that he’s finally let Tammy put vintage trailers near the entrance instead of hogging all the space for his precious motorhomes.” She and Layla exchanged a grin. It was a source of enjoyment to both of them to see Georgie’s conniving brother Jerry being deftly outmaneuvered by his retro-look girlfriend. Jerry, it seemed, had at last met his match.
“Speaking of Jerry,” Layla said, “have you
your brother today?”
“Not since breakfast.”
“You know how Tammy’s been all mysterious about a surprise? Well, I just spotted him ducking back inside her trailer. All I can say is, he doesn’t look like the usual Jerry.”
“Ye-es…?” Georgie made ‘give it up’ motions with her fingers.
“Tammy has sworn me to secrecy. Just know that you don’t want to miss this.” Layla mimed zipping her lips, and sat back with a gleam in her eye.
“A special event at 3 pm.”
Georgie eyed her suspiciously, and then her jaw dropped. “They’re not going to announce their
“No, no.” Layla hastily waved away that idea. “Nothing like that. Can’t say any more. Just make sure you’re in front of the stage at three o’clock.”
Georgie glanced at her watch, cunningly disguised as a gorgeous gypsy bracelet. “That’s only twenty minutes away.”
“So let’s run through these. Won’t take long.” Swiftly, Layla summed up the current orders and the production schedule, and finished up with a list of prospects. Then she grinned. “Now for the fun stuff: our spinoff lines. Tammy has started an eBay store for retro chinaware, flatware, kitchen accessories, cushions, and posters. She’s got ideas for more—see here?” Her finger skated down a list. When Georgie nodded, she flipped to the next section. “Here we have the clothing line. There’s your Gypsy Georgie label, and here’s Tammy’s line of 50s fashions. She’s going to add 40s and 60s as well, but this is a start.”
Georgie shook her head, smiling. “Who would have thought this would grow so big?”
“I know.” Layla gave a happy sigh.
“Jerry might make more money with his extreme RVs,” Georgie said, “but we have more fun.” The thought of Jerry made both of them check the time.
“Let’s go.” Layla slid out of the seat and ran down the steps, with Georgie close on her heels, careful not to catch a heel in her gypsy skirt. Whatever it was that had Layla so excited, it sounded as though it would be worth seeing.
“Perfect timing—look, the band’s just finishing a set,” Layla called over her shoulder, weaving her way through the crowd.
“Excuse me…” Georgie squeezed through in her wake, edging past a group of thirty-somethings in bobby sox and bright dresses and men with t-shirts under black leather jackets. She and Layla finally snagged a spot close to the stage.
The MC tapped the mic a couple of times, made an expansive gesture toward the band, and boomed: “Weren’t they great, folks? Let’s hear it: give it up one more time for Rockabilly Fillies!”
The revved-up crowd cheered and whistled, while the all-girl band punched the air and then moved their mic stands back to make room at the front of the stage.
“And now,” the MC said, “we have something really special. A girl who was one of our finalists in the rock’n’roll comp last year, a talented singer and dancer… I’m sure you all know Tammy Dyson, who runs the vintage and retro division at the Johnny B. Goode RV Empire. C’mon up, Tammy!”
There were more yells and cheers as Tammy skipped up the steps, quickly followed by ear-splitting wolf-whistles from a good number of the males present.
“Oh wow,” Georgie said. Tammy took her breath away. She always looked wonderful, but today, clad in black spandex pants and a tight off-the-shoulder black top, she was stunning. Her blonde hair fell in artfully-styled tumble of curls around her face. “She’s Sandy from Grease!”
Tammy pranced about a bit on the stage and waved to the crowd, looking perfectly steady in her high-heeled bright red shoes, to a shrill chorus of deafening whistles.
The MC had to hold up a hand and call for quiet before he could go on. “And appearing with Tammy is someone else you know all know well, someone who’s had a hand in designing half the trailers here today…Jerry B. Goode!”