About the book:
Andi’s stepmother is a real piece of work! But is Ruby a murderer?
Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.
“Tell me what’s going on. Slowly, and about fifty decibels lower. Why are you in jail?”
“Well, honey, I’m not sure. Oh, I know what they’re saying, but I didn’t do anything. I swear. Well, at least nothin’ I can remember. You see, it all started on the cruise ship dance floor, quite innocently, mind you.”
“What started?” I located my slippers and shuffled to the bathroom.
“As I was saying before you interrupted, it all started on the dance floor. You know, they play such romantic music on these cruises like, Shadow of Your Smile and Mandy. Oh, don’t you just love Manilow? Well, anyway, Lenny and I were having a lovely time, and he was obviously enamored, if you catch my drift.”
I knew this was a mistake. Still, I asked, “Lenny who?”
“Why, Lenny La Mour, of course!”
I drew a blank.
“Lenny La Mour,” Ruby huffed, “The famous Las Vegas performer? He’s the reason I picked this cruise. He had his own humongous nightclub and everything. Oh, Andi Anna, don’t tell me you’ve never heard of him. Why, women my age swoon at the sound of his voice. But, I suppose your generation only has eyes for that Bon Ami person.”
“Uh, are you, by any chance, talking about Bon Jovi?”
“Well, you know who I mean.”
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Inspiration behind the Andi Anna Jones Mysteries:
Did you ever wish you could take a horrifying job experience and turn it into something positive? My latest character, Andi Anna Jones, is my way of coming to terms with a short-lived, yet disastrous career as a travel agent. Oh, yes, I was truly awful, and often wished, during that time, I could disappear into the life of a fictional confident protagonist who could think on her feet. Unfortunately, my crowning achievement was pretending to be invisible when customers walked through the door.
Which brings me around to my determination to write Andi’s story. One of the first bits of advice I received when I became serious about writing books and getting them published was, “write what you know.” I followed that advice with Andi, the South Florida location, and even Andi’s assistant, Ellie. It was a priority when writing the story line to pay tribute to the real agent who saved my backside in Miami more than once: the very efficient Ellen from Tennessee who made my Southern Indiana accent sound like I grew up in New Joisey.
I suppose it was a bit mean to make Andi go through some of my trials and tribulations, but it was a cathartic experience for me. Fortunately, I went on to teach travel and the airline reservation system with much more success. Still, this series will go far in finally exorcising those ghosts!
My favorite quote? Oh, there are so many! This scene speaks volumes about Ruby and her ill-fated cruise connection.
“I’m okay. As long as I don’t think about poor Lenny. Ohhh! My poor, sweet Lenny!”
That did it. I grabbed Ruby by the shoulders. “Snap out of it! You barely knew the guy!” Her tears shut off instantly. “Well! You don’t have to be rude.” She dabbed at streaks of mascara, and tried, unsuccessfully, to straighten her flea market hairpiece.
Review Blurbs for Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder!
“If Evanovich's Stephanie Plum were a travel agent, she'd fit right in working this case alongside Andi, a wanna-be detective readers are sure to love.” —Regan Black, USA Today bestselling author of the Escape Club Heroes and Knight Traveler novels.
Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder... WOW. Snappy dialogue, quirky characters, opens with a curious bang and yanked me through the pages. A fun, fantastic read. —Jean Rabe, USA Today Bestselling author, Piper Blackwell Mysteries.
“Grab a margarita and hold on tight; you're in for a wild ride.”
—Karen MacInerney, Agatha Award nominee and author of the Dewberry Farms Mysteries
“An intoxicating mix of laughter, kooky characters, and a yummy setting.”
—Joanna Campbell Slan, bestselling/award-winning author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series
“A zany murder mystery with a touch of romance and a handful of humor.”
—Nancy J. Cohen, author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries
Meet the Author:
Mary Cunningham, grew up on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.
Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning, five book middle-grade series, Cynthia's Attic, set in her childhood home in Southern Indiana.
Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, was inspired by Cunningham's own horrifying stint as a travel agent and more rewarding experience teaching travel and tourism. She is now writing book two, along with another middle-grade series, The Adventures of Max and Maddie, a historical time-travel.