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Claire Malloy, for as long as she can remember, has been the local bookseller and owner of the Book Depot and the widowed mother of teenage Caron, who frequently speaks in ALL CAPS. But her life has changed dramatically in recent years. Claire has married her longtime beau, Deputy Police Chief Peter Rosen. Still the owner of the Book Depot, Claire has passed the day-to-day running of it on to her very efficient employees. With Caron inching ever closer to college, there's but one thing that remains steadfastly unchanged--Claire's astonishing ability to attract, find, or even just randomly stumble across trouble. Summoned for jury duty, the prosecutor on a murder case, harboring a grudge against her husband, decides to humiliate Claire and dismiss her.

About the Author

Joan Hess

Oh dear, this seems so personal. I was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, luckily a blue dot in a red state. Did the normal kid stuff, avoided the long arm of the law. I earned a BA in art from the U of A, and a MS in early childhood development from Long Island University. I was teaching art in a preschool (pretty clever combination of the degrees, right? ) when a friend suggested I write a romance novel. I wrote ten unpublishable ones before I realized I needed a splash of blood and a slather of humor in my prose and turned to mysteries. The Claire Malloy series came first, followed by the Maggody series. A third series, the Theo Bloomer mysteries, sputtered out after two novels, alas (it was going to be my "travel" series, requiring me to take tax-deductible business trips to do the research) .

Now I live in Austin, Texas (also a blue dot, but a bigger one) , a ten-minute drive from my absolutely adorable twin grandchildren Jack and Annabelle, soon to be three years old. Please don't ask me if they're identical. Their gracious mother frequently allows me to drop whatever I'm doing and dash over to babysit. And I do.

I'm currently working on my forty-fifth (or so) mystery, a Claire Malloy based on my brief experience in the jury pool. When I'm not babysitting, that is.

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