Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Murder at the Met (Penelope Harris Mysteries #2) by E.W. Cooper

Title: Murder at the Met
Series: Penelope Harris Mysteries #2
Author: E.W. Cooper
Publisher: Ink Dog Press
Publication Date: April 8th 2021
Print Length: 215 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery

November 1928, New York City. No one can keep a secret like high society – especially when that secret is murder.

There are two things Penelope Harris would rather do than get involved with another murder—sing opera and flirt with Thom Lund. When two tickets ensure Penelope and Thom get some precious time together at the Metropolitan opera, neither believes another murder will interrupt their romantic evening.

Fate has a different plan. Before the night is over a failed manufacturing tycoon is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, his poisoned and dying daughter nearby. Is it an accident? Suicide? Or murder? When a fellow soprano pleads for help, Penelope just can’t help her inquisitive nature.

As Penelope pulls back the cover on a diabolical crime, Lund rushes to complete the investigation of a suicide on the Gold Coast of Long Island. What they find will uncover the sordid underbelly of high society and put Penelope on the wrong side of her own gun.

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In the darkness of the Daimler’s back seat, Penelope held her hands together to keep herself calm, valiantly resisting the urge to lean over the middle seat and stare up as the magnificent building as it came into view. The Metropolitan Opera! It took all her resolve not to stare like a child at a candy counter. It was Mary who suggested they avoid the well-lighted street entrance complete with red carpet and a crowd of newspaper reporters. “It’s the photographers, Penelope. They’ll fall over themselves to get a picture of you.”

Penelope shuddered, pulling the borrowed opera coat close. “Are we sneaking in the back way?”

“There is no back way into the Metropolitan,” Mary proclaimed with exaggerated hauteur. “But there might be a way around the photographers if we’re lucky. You can drop us here, Parker.” Mary scooted across the back seat, opened the back door herself, much to Parker’s astonishment, and stepped out of the car.

Penelope leaned forward across the seat. “Parker, do the photographers know this is the Staughton car?”

“They might,” he admitted.

“Could you stay in the line until you reach the red carpet, stop, and open the door as though we are in the back seat?” Penelope lifted her voice hopefully. Parker tipped his hat. “Of course, miss.”

Penelope smiled and slipped out of the back seat to stand next to Mary on the sidewalk. Her eyes swept up the plain building rising eight stories above them. It didn’t look like the outside of any opera house she had ever seen before. An ornate fa├žade was flanked on either side by what appeared to be apartments. Many of the windows were lit with the occupants watching the crowd in the street. For a moment, Penelope wondered if they were in the right place.

Mary took her arm. “Have you ever done anything like this?”

“Like what?” Penelope pulled her attention away from the windows and returned it to the phalanx of photographers grouped around the ornate brass doors.

“Gone to the theater alone.”

Penelope was at a loss for words. She had done a dozen things young society women weren’t supposed to—driven a car, sung Jazz, operated a casino, eloped. Most nights in Shanghai she had run the Jade Tiger from the casino floor, Kinkaid too drunk or too bored to cope with the day-to-day attention the business needed. She had done so many things on her own that it was hard to list them all. While her cousin, she realized, had likely never gone anywhere without a male escort—unless it was a tea party or a fashion salon.

Mary blushed. “You’ve probably done this a hundred times at least. Silly of me.”

“Mary Staughton! I’m not that jaded.” Penelope put her nose in the air and intoned, “Young lady, you are not allowed to go to the opera alone! Your brother will be happy to take you.” She hoped urgently Mary didn’t notice her crossed fingers.

Mary giggled happily. “Does James like the opera?”

“He loathes it.” Penelope smiled at the thought of her brother as she watched the cars pull along slowly. She pulled Mary alongside her, habit putting them both in the shadow of a decorative column carved into the building portico. They weren’t quite close enough to make a dash for the entrance—the photographers were sure to see them as soon as they stepped into the light. Penelope kept her eye on Parker behind the wheel as the Daimler neared the photographers gathered around the red carpet.

“Parker’s still in the line!”

“Yes,” Penelope kept her eyes on the car, “Let’s wait here and watch.” They edged closer to the shadow of the building. Whispering began as the Daimler closed in. The photographers got ready, each hoping to get the jump on the others. But they were too orderly, Penelope thought. She and Mary would need a bigger distraction to cover their entrance. She thought fast. It wasn’t so long ago there had been a paid bounty on a photo of Penelope or Mary. Rumors persisted that there still was. Penelope had an idea. “Say,” she called out “isn’t that the Staughton car?” The effect was immediate. Just as Parker rolled up to the carpet, the photographers began pushing one another to get nearer to the car door spilling onto the red carpet and knocking over the brass stations holding the rope. As the photographers pushed past one another trying to get the shot, the cousins edged around the crowd and slipped through the door, cutting off the noise and exhaust from the street as it closed behind them. They stepped up one of the carved marble staircases on either side of the entrance and into the hushed golden light of the interior.
Author of the Penelope Harris Mysteries, E.W. Cooper was ecstatic to learn her debut in the series, The Jade Tiger, was the 2020 Booklife Prize Finalist in Mystery/Thriller. A lifelong fan of classic mysteries and Grand Opera, Ms. Cooper is hard at work on the second book in the Penelope Harris Mystery series, Murder at the Met (April 2021). She lives quietly with her partner, children, three dogs, and one cat in a very noisy house in South Texas.

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  1. I loved the excerpt. This is definitely on my reading list

  2. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

  3. Thank you for telling me about this book

  4. A historical mystery. I love it!!

  5. David HollingsworthApril 7, 2021 at 10:14 AM

    I love mysteries, and this book looks like a good one.

  6. I love a good murder mystery- a great distraction to occupy some time!

  7. I like the cover and would enjoy reading this story too.

  8. looks like a fun one

  9. I would love to read this historical mystery.

  10. I really enjoy reading historical mysteries so I am very interested in this book!