Open for Murder

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Published by: Lyrical Press
Release Date: November 24, 2020
Pages: 304



Deep in the heart of touristy small-town Spirit Canyon, South Dakota, former journalist Zo Jones runs the Happy Camper gift shop, where she sells everything from locally made souvenirs to memorabilia. She even rents out mountain bikes, and dabbles in the adventure industry—and sleuthing . . .

It’s Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, and for Zo that means the return of summer shoppers. It also means the return of her good friend Beth, who’s moved back to the area to reopen her family’s premier hotel, Spirit Canyon Lodge. Beth and Zo spent many childhood summers there and Zo can’t wait to reconnect and celebrate the Grand Opening. But the festivities go from bad to worse when a power outage knocks out the lights—and morning reveals a competitor’s dead body found on the premises . . .

Soon enough, Beth is the prime suspect in the suspicious death. Fortunately, Zo isn’t afraid to put her investigative skills to work and prove her friend’s innocence. To start digging for information, she appeals to Max Harrington, a local Forest Ranger and unlikely ally. Though they’ve argued about Happy Camper’s tours, in this case they agree on one thing: Beth isn’t a murderer. Stranger things have happened than their collaboration. After all, this is Spirit Canyon. But as the list of suspects grows, Zo will have to keep her guard up if she doesn’t want to be the next lodge guest to check out . . .


“When you add up a fun setting, characters who would make excellent friends, and an engaging mystery you get Angela’s OPEN FOR MURDER!” –Lynn Cahoon, New York Times bestselling author of the Kitchen Witch series


"Open for Murder is an absolute delight! You’ll adore your visit to the charming Spirit Canyon, where nothing is quite as it seems. The very talented Mary Angela has created a gorgeous setting, a lively cast of characters, and a tremendously satisfying mystery that will keep readers happily guessing." – Cynthia Kuhn, author of the Agatha-award-winning Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries


"A great start to the Happy Camper series. Open for Murder features a strong protagonist, likable secondary characters and a compelling mystery with the gorgeous backdrop of the Black Hills." – Catherine Bruns, USA Today bestselling author and Daphne du Maurier award winner


"OPEN FOR MURDER is a fun read with a fresh setting, interesting plot twists, great characters, humor, and budding romance."  --Mystery and Suspense Magazine


“It was the visually descriptive narrative and the engaging dialogue that created a solid storyline that held from the first page to its conclusion.” 

-- Dru’s Book Musings


"The mystery was very well-plotted. I had my own shortlist and was pleased that I followed the clues correctly and solved the mystery just before the characters. The reveal was great! ...Open for Murder has set this series off to a grand start." --Lori Caswell Great Escapes Book Tours


"Open For Murder is a nice amateur sleuth/business based cozy that is easy to read, detailed enough to be interesting, and not overly dramatic. I look forward to the next installment." --The Cozy Review


“With a crisply plotted mystery, a unique shop, strong characters, and a beautiful setting OPEN FOR MURDER is a solid start to a new series.” --Cozy Up with Kathy


“It’s a really enjoyable cosy mystery, I am looking forward to the second of the series.” --Books Around the World


“This mystery was strong, writing excellent, and the setting so much fun. I want to go there!” --Texas Reader Girl


“I’m delighted with this new series set in one of my favorite states, South Dakota.” --Books Read by a Prairie Girl


"I really enjoyed the book, especially the setting! I spent many years working in hotels in a tourist destination … so this setting was very familiar."

--Reading with Mrs. Leaf


“What I think makes the series extra special is Mary Angela’s full realization of the Black Hills setting. She includes gorgeous nature descriptions, as well as specific details about the town of Spirit Canyon that really brought the place alive for me.” – I Like Old Books


"Open For Murder’s plot moves along quickly and skillfully and lays out the clues that challenge the best sleuths to figure out who masterminded this murder."  --The Editing Pen


"I think one of my favorite aspects of the story was getting to spend time in South Dakota. Zo was a great main character. She was smart and capable."

--Brooke Blogs


"Layered characters flow well with the gorgeous setting really drawing the reader into the story making it a delight for cozy fans."

--Books a Plenty Book Reviews


"I loved the way Ms. Angela slips in bits of information unique to the state (besides the monument) like Black Hills Gold (totally unique and gorgeous) and that the “most complete T-rex ever found” was discovered on a ranch within the state and later named Sue."  --Rosepoint Publishing




Also in this series:

Book Club Questions


1. In Open for Murder, readers learn that Zo grew up in foster care but feels a strong connection to Spirit Canyon and her Happy Camper giftshop. How do you define home? What makes a house a home? Do you believe the adage “You can never go home”? Why or why not?


2. Spirit Canyon is not exactly haunted, but strange happenings are not out of the ordinary. Zo tells Violet, Beth’s mother, a tale of two star-crossed lovers, separated in the canyon. Some say they still haunt the canyon looking for each other. What influence do stories and myths have in your community? Have you ever felt a paranormal presence? Did you dismiss it?


3. Names are important in the series, and later, readers will find out the story behind Zo’s name and her cat George’s name. Merrigan is also a well name in town and one that Zo has mixed feelings about. How do you feel about names? What about spellings? Are they important to a book?