Love and murder: two words that should never go together. But when Jennifer and long-time beau Sam Culpepper finally decide to tie the knot, murder rears its ugly head to intervene. Now Jennifer has more to contend with than choosing colors and flowers for the most important day of her life. She and Sam must thwart whoever is bent on keeping the secrets of an old kidnapping case. One man is dead, and young reporter Teague McAfee is next in line. Jennifer finds herself embroiled in a twisty tale of love gone wrong, while dodging her friends who are determined to give Jennifer and Sam the perfect wedding.
This 7th installment in the delightful JENNIFER MARSH MYSTERIES is sure to satisfy fans of the series. All of Jennifer’s writer friends–Leigh Ann, Teri, April, and Monique–plus Emmie Walker and Muffy are back to help Jennifer plan her wedding and solve the mystery as bullets, arrows, and poison threaten to derail it.
Targeted Age Group:: general
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Dying Before “I Do” is the seventh in The Jennifer Marsh Mystery Series. Readers asked me to write another in this cozy mystery series, and I was very happy to once again find myself in Jennifer Marsh’s world. Jennifer is an unpublished mystery writer with a group of zany writer friends who are always willing to jump into the fray to help Jennifer solve whatever crime she’s currently involved in. In this book Jennifer and long time beau are finally getting married. The mystery part of the book, which involves an old kidnapping case, started out with my usual “what if” inspiration. Why are people suddenly dying and in danger over something that was over and done with four years ago? What if the kidnapping was more complicated than it at first appeared? I love mysteries that challenge me to write them and this was one of them.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My characters have been in all the other Jennife Marsh books. Jennifer, herself, was born out of my own frustrations of trying to get a book published. I combined my experiences with those of other writers I know, and she was born. Her character grew out of the plot of the first book in the series, Dying to Get Published. It’s a dark comedy. She’s very Southern and her friends and acquaintances all have a large role in shaping each mystery.
“So, has he asked you yet?” Leigh Ann pushed back the hair tickling the top of the shoulders of her silk blouse that hung becomingly on her petite frame. She only had about twenty minutes left of her lunch hour and wasn’t about to waste it with idle chatter. “You two are the slowest couple I’ve ever known. I mean really, Jen. Just get it over with. You’ve known each other for three years. How much more time do you need? If it doesn’t work, get divorced like half the married couples in this country, but for goodness sakes put yourself, Sam, and the rest of us out of our misery. Just marry the guy.”
Jennifer felt her jaw set in that all too familiar clench that frequently accompanied discussions with Leigh Ann. She brushed away a wisp of her long, taffy brown hair and wadded the paper her tofu sandwich had come in into a tight, angry little ball. Then she sighed, trying to force some of the tenseness out her body, and mumbled. “He’s not going to ask me.”
Leigh Ann’s jaw dropped farther than Jennifer had ever seen it. It was literally almost touching the signature yellow Formica table top at Macon, Georgia’s first fast food vegetarian restaurant, Timothy’s Tasty Treats, on Riverside Drive. Thank goodness almost nobody ate there, at least none of Jennifer’s friends.
“Why not?” she demanded. “He didn’t…he didn’t…” Leigh Ann’s lower lip trembled as she gulped in air. The romantic in her was desperately afraid of being crushed.
“No, he didn’t.” Jennifer sighed. It wasn’t as though she hadn’t seen this coming. Sooner or later it was going to come out. “He didn’t break up with me.” Although why he hadn’t, Jennifer would have been hard pressed to say, considering her gun-shy, bordering on phobic attitude toward marriage.
Sam had made it plain over the last year that he was ready for them to get married, that she was the only crazy, wannabe mystery writer and part-time caterer that he ever wanted in his life, and that they made a great writing team. Also, if he didn’t actually love her greyhound Muffy, he was very fond of her and would treat her as his own. And that for some inexplicable reason, he loved Jennifer more than life itself, even if she did drive him nuts with alarming regularity.
And she, amazingly enough, was hopelessly, deeply, unconditionally in love with him—a fact she had at last admitted to herself.
“Then what? If there were ever two people more perfect for each other—”
“I have to ask him.”
Judy Fitzwater grew up an Air Force brat and has lived in nine states, including Maine and Hawaii. Her first published mystery, DYING TO GET PUBLISHED, was plucked from a stack of unsolicited manuscripts at Ballantine Books. It was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. The subsequent seven-book series, The Jennifer Marsh Mysteries, was a delight for her to write, especially the scenes with Jennifer’s quirky writers’ group. All seven are now available in ebook editions. Judy suspense thriller, DROWNING IN AIR, is now in paperback, as well! She’s also written a very funny romantic comedy, VACATIONING WITH THE DEAD, filled with ghosts and mayhem. She has plans for more mystery, suspense, humor, and paranormal adventures to come. She is currently working on a book about writing, but it won’t be the usual how-to book. It’s more of an if-I’d-only-known sort of book. 🙂