Paint the Town Dead

September 1, 2015

Leslee Stanton Nix—aka “Nixy”—thought moving to small-town Lilyvale, Arkansas, would be about as thrilling as watching paint dry. But keeping up with her retired Aunt Sherry and her troublemaking housemates—collectively known as the Silver Six—has proven to be as exciting as it is exasperating.
To kick off the grand opening of their craft shop, the Handcraft Emporium, Nixy and the Silver Six invite Doralee Gordon to teach a gourd painting class. Doralee’s spirit gets squashed when her ex-husband crashes the class with his new fiancée, but things really get messy when the bride-to-be later turns up dead. Now it’s up to Nixy and the Silver Six to use their melons to find the killer—before someone else gets painted out of the picture...


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“This really is everything I look for in a cozy read and a cozy series. A great small town, filled with eclectic citizens, an intelligent main character, family fun, wonderful writing, you name it, Paint the Town Dead has it. If you are a cozy mystery fan, this book and this series needs to be added to your TBR list. Nancy Haddock has crafted with artistic precision a truly fabulous cozy read. Join this fun and fantastic southern crew for a colorful adventure to solve this well-constructed mystery.” ~ Kayt, Open Book Society

“This was a wonderfully enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in this delightfully charming series.” ~ Dru’s Book Musings

“Lilyvale is more exciting than you’d expect, with people you’d love to meet and classes you’d want to take. Drop by for a visit—you won’t be disappointed. ~ Sandra Murphy, Kings River Life Magazine

“The cover is GOURDEOUSand the mystery is delightful. Several twists and moments that had me giggle and a couple that has me laughing out loud. This story was a real treat.” ~ Dollycas, Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book





Eric knocked at the alley door that led to Fred’s workroom at eight sharp, just as I was flipping the deadbolt.

“Good morning,” he said with a bright smile and an odd twinkle in his brown eyes.

“Good morning. Let me open the service door.”

“Okay. Do you know you have visitors?”

“Besides you?”

He pointed down and to the side of the doorway. I stepped out and stopped short.

A dog and cat sat on their haunches, gazing at me with soulful eyes. The dog reminded me a bit of a Doberman a friend had owned except this one was much smaller. Not a miniature, but more the size of a beagle our neighbor in Tyler had when I was a kid. This dog was black with tan markings, and its coat gleamed with apparent health. Floppy ears framed its face as it blinked at me with intelligent golden eyes.


The cat made a sound between a meow and a chirp, its mesmerizing green eyes steady on my face. Its short-haired coat was tiger striped in browns and golds, and it had a white chin. They were both adorable, but—

“How did they get here?”

“Walked would be my guess.”

His sarcasm untied my tongue. “I mean why are they here here? You think someone dumped them?”

“I doubt it.” He hunkered down to pet them, first the dog, then the cat, who leaned in for a scratch under its chin. “They both seem to be in good health.”

“So they can leave anytime they want?”

He slanted me a look. “You don’t like animals?”

“No. Yes. I mean, I like animals. I played with my friends’ dogs and cats when I was a kid. We just never had animals because my dad was allergic. After he died, well, I was in college, and I guess my mom never felt the urge to get a pet.”

“These two are small, but they’re out of the young puppy and kitten stage. They may have been the runts of their litters.”

“Maybe they belong to one of the shop owners.”

Eric shook his head as he stood. “I’ve never seen them, but I can ask around. The thing is, our county animal control will pick them up if they’re running loose.”

“You don’t have a rescue shelter? I could take them there if they don’t leave on their own.”

“We have a small one, but last I heard, it was full. Tell you what. Let’s get the banner up. Now that these two have had some attention, they may go on home.”

“Except they don’t have collars or tags.” I murmured the comment more to myself than Eric. They could’ve slipped out of their collars, but chances were just as good they were strays. With super soulful eyes.

With a sigh, I caved and stooped to offer the back of my hand for each of them to smell, first the dog, then the cat. The dog sniffed my knuckles and gave them a shy lick. The cat sniffed, then rubbed its cheek against my fingers. Okay, I was charmed, and I scratched them behind their ears. Cute and sweet as they were, though, I did not—repeat not—have time for pets right now. Besides, the dog probably wouldn’t be happy in my apartment. My apartment with its freshly stained floors and white furniture . . .

Who was I kidding? The moment I looked into those hopeful faces and touched their soft fur, I was a goner.









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