Jolie Gentil moves to Great Aunt Madge's bed and breakfast at the Jersey shore, taking her cat Jazz, and joining Madge's pair of prune-eating dogs. Jolie does not view this as a retreat from her embezzling ex-husband, just a smart change. She had no idea her life was about to get even more complicated.
Jolie finds work as a real estate appraiser, but a low-life named Joe Pedone demands that Jolie repay some of her husband's gambling debts and she runs into Michael Riordan, her high school crush. She's not sure which one is more trouble. Jolie appraises his mother's house and finds his mother dead in bed. Soon the mundane work of appraising real estate and dodging suggestions that she go to the ten-year high school reunion are mixed with calls from reporters, scary suggestions from Pedone, and requests that she help the local busybody with First Presbyterian's social services work. Jolie balances her fear of Pedone, conviction that Michael is innocent, and sometimes uneasy friendship with long-ago friend Scoobie.
Elaine L. Orr is the Amazon bestselling author of Trouble on the Doorstep, fifth in the Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series, which now has six books and a prequel. She wrote plays and novellas for years and graduated to longer fiction. Biding Time, was one of five finalists in the National Press Club's first fiction contest, in 1993. She is a regular attendee at conferences such as Muncie's Midwest Writers Workshop and Magna Cum Murder, and conducts presentations on electronic publishing and other writing-related topics. Her nonfiction includes material on caring for aging parents and carefully researched local and family history books. Elaine grew up in Maryland and moved to the Midwest in 1994.
When Jolie Gentil’s parents leave her with Aunt Madge for her junior year so they can ‘work things out’ in their marriage, she’s angry. She knows no one at Ocean Alley High School. Some kids snub her, but she makes friends with the irreverent Scoobie. He’s quirky and fun, but he’s skipped school and smoked pot in the past, so people avoid him. Jolie learns how to shoot a squirt gun from under the boardwalk and tries not to flunk geometry. She also learns that the family she babysits for has a secret, one that puts Jolie in danger. You’ve met Jolie and Scoobie as crime-solving adults. Check out their high school friendship. Same humor, different challenges. Plus a couple of hints about why Jolie wants to get to the bottom of murders when she’s all grown up.
Though she never wanted to sit on the plank above the dunk tank for the food pantry fundraiser, Jolie never dreamed what Scoobie saw would nearly kill him. His ex-con mother arrives and there's a murder to add to the mix. Even appraising real estate is complicated by home burglars. Jolie grudgingly seeks help from her nemesis, reporter George Winters, and tries to evade a kidnapper and murderer and take charge of her world again.
The police wish she'd butt out and Aunt Madge is furious that Jolie insists on talking to a couple shady characters on her own. Soon even the guests at Aunt Madge's Cozy Corner B&B are in the way. Can Jolie keep her friends safe, and will Scoobie recover enough to say what happened to him and plan another silly fundraiser?
Jolie Gentil and friends are putting the finishing touches on the Talk Like a Pirate Day fundraiser for the food pantry and trying to figure out who's breaking into some of the houses Jolie appraises. When she realizes a new face in town is leading high school kids into trouble in those houses, she's mad and lets him know it. But Hayden offers to help her mind her own business, and a lot of people at the fundraiser hear her give him what for. A hurricane's on the way to disrupt the fundraiser, and when a corpse turns up under the pirate ship the next day, someone wants to be sure Jolie looks like a suspect.
When her car gets run into a ditch, Jolie knows someone is seriously mad at her. Soon she's getting less work. Who wants a murder suspect appraising their house? Scoobie's pirate limericks can't solve a crime, so Jolie and her sometimes buddy local reporter George Winters look for the murderer and try to figure out who's trying to frame Jolie. They need to stay ahead of whoever's mad at her and off the radar of the local police who tell Jolie -- for the hundredth time -- to butt out. For a cozy mystery with a dose of humor and a touch of romance, join Jolie and friends in Ocean Alley.