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Crime and Clutter
Cover of Crime and Clutter
Crime and Clutter
Friday Afternoon Club Mystery Series, Book 2
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A storage unit, a 1963 Volkswagen minibus, and tattered letters...reveal shattering secrets from the '60s.

It's been a year since Mary Alice lost her father -- the father she never really knew. Now she's stuck cleaning out his rubbish from a storage unit. Just when she'd rather it all go away from her well-ordered life, her long-held secret is discovered by the feisty Marina, one of the six members of the Friday Afternoon Club. When these friends make it their mission to help Mary Alice tackle her stash, they arrive at the storage unit, prepared to clean. But what they discover takes them on a riotous ride through the crime and clutter of the sixties, the angst and betrayal of those caught in The Revolution, and the forgiveness that can only come through acceptance of a different kind of Cause.

Includes fun, easy, and tantalizing recipes!

A storage unit, a 1963 Volkswagen minibus, and tattered letters...reveal shattering secrets from the '60s.

It's been a year since Mary Alice lost her father -- the father she never really knew. Now she's stuck cleaning out his rubbish from a storage unit. Just when she'd rather it all go away from her well-ordered life, her long-held secret is discovered by the feisty Marina, one of the six members of the Friday Afternoon Club. When these friends make it their mission to help Mary Alice tackle her stash, they arrive at the storage unit, prepared to clean. But what they discover takes them on a riotous ride through the crime and clutter of the sixties, the angst and betrayal of those caught in The Revolution, and the forgiveness that can only come through acceptance of a different kind of Cause.

Includes fun, easy, and tantalizing recipes!

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Chapter One

    FRESH LEMONADE

    1 cup sugar9 cups cold water1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (yellow part only)Lemon slices and fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)Instructions1. Combine sugar and 1 cup water in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.2. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool completely.3. Combine syrup with lemon juice, peel, and remaining water.4. Serve in a glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon slice and fresh mint, if desired.Makes 2 1/2 quarts.

    EASY CROCKPOT LEMON CHICKEN

    5-6 frozen, skinless chicken breasts (bone in)lemon pepper seasoning2 tablespoons melted butterInstructions1. Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper.2. Place in slow cooker. Pour melted butter over chicken.3. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

    I have always hated guinea pigs -- or any kind of rodent for that matter. So why I agreed to become one in my sixteen-year-old son's psychology experiment is still a mystery.

    Perhaps it was the puppy dog look in Josh's chocolate brown eyes. Or maternal pride at being asked to do something that didn't involve cooking or laundry. Maybe I'm just a sucker, and he knows it.

    Regardless of the reason, I, Elizabeth Harris -- grown woman and award-winning lifestyle columnist -- find myself sitting at the kitchen table with a number-two pencil clutched in each hand, poised over two blank sheets of paper.

    I am supposed to simultaneously draw a circle with my right hand and a square with my left. Although I'm trying to concentrate, all I can think about is how I'd like to get my hands on the sadistic psychology teacher who thought up this inane project.

    "Ready, Mom?" My freckle-faced son is standing over me -- thumb cocked to click on his stopwatch.

    "I guess."

    In a split second, I reconsider my answer. "No! Wait! My palms are sweating. Let me wipe them off."

    I rise from the chair to grab the striped dishtowel hanging from the handle of the stove.

    "Come on, Mom! I've got baseball practice in thirty minutes. We've gotta get this done. My project is due Monday, and my psych teacher -- "

    Hot button.

    A spark of parental ire temporarily replaces my nervousness at garnering a low score and having my lack of dexterity whispered about at PTA.

    "Josh, is it my fault you waited until the last minute?" I say, leaning back on the counter and wiping my hands on the dishtowel.

    Do all children wait until a project is in crisis mode before beginning, or am I one of the lucky mothers whose kids claim to work best under pressure?

    "Mom, you're the one who's been telling me all week we'd do it later," my son reminds me. Rather smugly, I might add.

    Another hot button. Insecurity sprinkled with maternal guilt. A teenager's perfect weapon.

    Before I can fully explore the depths of culpability, the telephone rings. All sense of scholastic duty forgotten, my son snatches up the cordless phone from behind the microwave.

    No wonder I couldn't find the phone when I needed to call John this morning.

    "Oh yeah, she's here, Miz Favazza," he says in a low tone. "But she's kinda busy."

    Busy! Josh would kill me if I told one of his friends he was busy and couldn't come to the phone. I hold out my hand. "Josh. Give me the phone."

    Josh blows a hank of russet-colored hair out of his eyes and gives me the handset.

    "I'll just be a minute." I turn away before speaking into the phone. "Hi, Marina. You're still coming over for FAC today, aren't you?"

    "Yeah, I'll be there," Marina booms on the other end of the line, "but maybe a little late. That's why I'm...

About the Author-
  • Cindy Salzmann is a wife and mother who does much of her writing on the back of fast food wrappers -- usually while waiting to pick up her children. Desperate for an excuse to avoid laundry, she has written three Christian nonfiction books, launched a national speaking career, and taught her children how to sort colors. Dying to Decorate is her first novel and first book of the Friday Afternoon Club Mystery series. Cyndy and her family live in Omaha, Nebraska.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 2, 2007
    The second installment of Salzmans inspirational cozies (Dying to Decorate) finds the Friday Afternoon Club, a group of funny middle-aged women who love to cook, eat, and chat, helping Mary Alice clean out an old Volkswagen minibus that belonged to her mysterious father. The story veers back and forth between the womens present, and Mary Alices parents hippie past. The Friday gangs Christian faith sustains them as they gradually discover the difficult truth about Mary Alices dad, who abandoned her when she was a baby; Mary Alice must discover whether she can find it in her heart to forgive him. The plot is thin, and Mary Alices extreme shame about her father, which prompts her to do things like drop glass pitchers when his minibus is mentioned, seems over the top. The portrait of the commune in which Mary Alices parents lived is also a bit of a caricature (characters with names like Willow use the slang-term bread for money, quote the Beatles, and, in the name of love and harmony, want to deny medical care to pregnant women). But the likeable narrator, Elizabeth, will hold readers attention. Discussion questions and the recipes scattered throughout make this lighthearted mystery a probable pick of Christian book groups.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2007
    The Friday Afternoon Club is made up of six midlife mothers who retreat from children, jobs, and busy schedules on Friday afternoons to devote themselves to chocolate, chat, and good times. When Mary Alice is forced to face the difficult memories of her father's abandonment when she was a baby, her friends rally around to help Mary Alice to resolve her family's long-buried secrets. Likable characters and vivid 1960s flashbacks of politically charged events take readers on a great ride. A combinaton of high-spirited mom lit and cozy mystery (complete with recipes for Homemade Twinkies and Coffee Can Bread), this second "Friday Afternooon Club" title (after "Dying To Decorate") is recommended for collections where women's fiction and light mysteries are popular. Salzmann lives in Nebraska. [See the Q& A with the author on p. 70.Ed.]

    Copyright 2007 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Cyndy Salzmann
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