Virginia Is for Mysteries is a collection of sixteen short stories set in and around the commonwealth of Virginia. All stories are written by Virginia residents with “murder” in mind. Six of the authors are members of Mystery by the Sea. Each story features a Virginia landmark – from the shores of Cape Henry Lighthouse to Richmond’s Old Hollywood Cemetery to Jefferson’s Monticello – and transports readers across Virginia’s rich, unique, and very deadly landscape.
This anthology contains seventeen stories for your reading pleasure. Here’s a little bit about each story, and which Virginia landmark inspired it:
MURDER AT MONTICELLO — Meredith Cole
Location: Charlottesville, Jefferson’s Home
A trip to Monticello turns deadly when guide Rory Adams takes members of a horticultural society on a tour of Jefferson’s house.
JUSTICE DELAYED — Maria Hudgins
Location: Tidewater Virginia, Thimble Shoals Lighthouse and Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel
As the saying goes, “Justice delayed is justice denied,” and justice has certainly been denied Tony Dyson, who has spent the last ten years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Convicted on flawed bite mark evidence, new evidence has cleared him and he’s recently been released. Norfolk’s Judge Maris, who originally sentenced him, is determined to find out where the court went wrong, but meanwhile, what is Dyson up to?
THE CAGED BIRD — Fionna Quinn
Location: Richmond, Historic Church Hill and focuses on St. John’s Church and Elizabeth Poe’s grave
A high-school student reveals that the dead and the accused are not the only ones impacted by a murder.
TWENTY-FIVE HEADS ARE BETTER THAN NONE — Maria Hudgins
Location: Hampton, Grandview Nature Preserve (Chesapeake Bay)
Grandview Nature Preserve in Hampton hugs the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay where the salt water of the Atlantic meets the water from the Bay. Marsh grass, woodland animals, sea birds, turtles, and long-legged waders meet and compete here. It’s an ideal spot for science class field trips, and Mrs. McCarthy has taken her high school students here for a beach study. But she hasn’t prepared the teenagers for what the tide has washed in.
SHOPPING FOR MURDER — Teresa Inge
Location: Chesapeake, Battlefield Shopping Center, site of Revolutionary War Battles
When fabric store owner Jana Karson tries to clear her name in the murder of ex-boyfriend and fellow merchant in the Great Bridge Shopping center, she uncovers a love triangle, bad debt and her own hurt feelings.
OBSESSION — Linda Thornburg
Location: Nelson County, Elk Hill, a historic tobacco farm on Route 151
Ham Cohen visits a century-old tobacco farm looking for a slave ancestor and runs into another man on the same quest. The two men get together for dinner to talk about their ancestors and life in general and the other man falls on the restaurant floor and dies. Turns out he was murdered. Ham solves the mystery of who murdered him.
GUIDE TO MURDER — Teresa Inge
Location: Virginia Beach, the Cavalier Hotel
A trip to Virginia Beach turns deadly when Connar Randolph, owner of the historic Cavalier on the Hill, discovers a dead body on the property while giving a tour of the inn.
A TRI-ING DAY — Smita Harish Jain
Location: Stafford, The Battle of Aquia Creek
James Parker, the proverbial 98-pound weakling, has only one enemy … that he knows of. Tired of losing to Patrick Swann – in school, in work, in love, and in life – Parker sets out to beat him at his own game, triathlon. Entered in the fictional Battle of Aquia Creek Sesquitennial Half Ironman, both men compete in the same age group, giving James a chance to finally claim a victory over Swann and Swann a chance to crush James once and for all. Thinking he has designed the perfect end to his nemesis’s tyranny, Parker rests easy, until the end, when he realizes that it is he who has been his own worst enemy.
A NOT SO GENTEEL MURDER — Maggie King
Location: Richmond, Kent-Valentine House, headquarters of the Garden Club of Virginia.
A birthday party at Richmond’s historic Kent-Valentine House sets the scene for this tale of betrayal, loss, and the power of family ties. After two years, Sharon Taylor is still reeling from the deaths of her husband and daughter, but she drags herself to her friend’s party. Divorcee Olivia Thompson has her eye on Sherwood Aimsley as her new husband and is devastated when he shows up at the party with a statuesque beauty on his arm. Sharon and Olivia keep each other company while their happier friends whoop it up and spread cheer. Until truth and illusion collide … and the evening ends in tragedy.
BIRDSEED — May Layne
Location: Norfolk, Downtown area via The Tide light rail system
Freddie’s supposed to be taking care of things at his girlfriend’s apartment in Norfolk while she’s gone, but he’s too busy eyeing the new girl at the office, and bad things happen.
DEATH COMES TO HOLLYWOOD CEMETERY — Vivian Lawry
Location: Richmond, the Hollywood Cemetery
Clara is a fun-loving “soiled dove” who specializes in fetishes in Civil War-era Richmond. When a body turns up in Hollywood Cemetery, because of the peculiar aspects of the case, the sheriff concludes he is one of Clara’s clients. Clara must solve the murder to protect herself and her livelihood.
WHERE HEAVEN FINDS YOU WAITING — Michael McGowan
Location: Norfolk, the Naro Theater
Past, present, reality, and illusion culminate in one young man’s act of love and vengeance.
BEST FRIENDS HELP YOU MOVE THE BODY — Jayne Ormerod
Location: Virginia Beach, the Cape Henry Lighthouse
Playing hooky from work lands two best friends in trouble when their day of sightseeing has them discovering only one thing . . . a dead body.
KEY TO A CRIME — Fionna Quinn
Location: Henricus Historic Park and Pocahontas State Park
Find out how a young homeschooling mom finds herself driving down 288 with a dead body in the back of her pale-blue minivan.
THE CHRYSLER CASE — Yvonne Saxon
Location: Norfolk, the Chrysler Museum
An assistant to the art conservators at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, discovers a room with duplicates of valuable paintings and clues to a murder. But the museum’s imminent remodeling will close the building for over a year. She has 72 hours to find the artwork and the murderer before both he and the originals disappear forever.
DEATH IN THE HOUSE – Rosemary Shomaker
Location: Richmond’s Capitol Square area
Delegate Carolyn Flournoy’s future is compromised. “She could have been Governor one day,” says fellow delegate Phillip Exeter. “Code Alpha,” gloomy tunnels, and suspicious circumstances in Richmond’s Capitol Square ignite attention-seeking Delegate Pamela Taylor’s involvement, and her unlikely bond with Flournoy spurs her to find the truth.
WASHED UP — Heather Weidner
Location: Virginia Beach, Chic’s Beach
A suitcase with a rusty gun and shriveled hand appears on the beach outside of a struggling bar near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in Virginia Beach. A friend of the bar’s owner seems to know where it came from, and he gains instant celebrity with his story about a paranormal experience. The attention does wonders for the bar’s profits until something ordinary provides the missing piece of the puzzle.
Click HERE for more information on the Virginia is for Mysteries Author Tour schedule.