Monuments to Murder - Paperback

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  • Item #: 121-P-MSJ-MONUMENTS
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By Margarite St. John

About the Story:

At 36, Poppy Beaudry McBride is the beleaguered wife of a prominent Florida politician. In the 1989 Miss South Carolina contest, she finished first runner-up to Molly Applegate Standardt, now an investigative journalist for The Naples Daily News. Poppy and her husband, U.S Rep. Ferrin McBride (R), are staunchly pro-life, but they are made to look like hypocrites when a popular women’s magazine publishes an article claiming she had an abortion as a teen-ager. Molly Standardt does her best to rehabilitate Poppy’s reputation.

The erroneous abortion story threatens to derail Ferrin McBride’s campaign for re-election to Congress. It also sets Poppy’s mother, Jerry Lee Beaudry, on a quest to find the traitor who leaked an old family secret. Her famous Naples gardens, stocked with enigmatic monuments and deadly herbs, are silent testimony to Jerry Lee’s fierce maternal instincts. Her brother, Verlin Grubbs, a savant who knows the Latin name of every herb he’s ever ground into powder, is not as silent as he should be about who resides in the gardens.

Fortunately for the McBrides, the abortion scandal threatening to destroy them is overtaken by a scandal in the family of Myron Mullett, McBride’s progressive political opponent. Though he’s an ugly man with a comb over and a wen on his chin, Mullett gets it on with Muffy Wayne, the sexy assistant to his chief of Staff, Harley Wangle. When Mullett’s wife, LuAnn, finds out about the affair, there is hell to pay.

Hollywood plays a major role in the story. Jerry Lee’s companion is Phil Coker, a washed-up actor who’ll do anything to make a comeback. Verbena Cross, the famous Hollywood actress who hired Tom Lawton in Face Off to find her stalker, defies her famously liberal father, Virgil Goldstein, by agreeing to appear at a McBride fund-raiser. And Goldstein’s support of Myron Mullett and betrayal of Phil Coker result in a cascade of deaths.

Tom Lawton, a local private detective, and Matt Bearsall, a retired chief of detectives, collaborate to expose the source of the libel against Poppy McBride and the financial support of Myron Mullett. Jerry Lee herself inadvertently exposes the identity of the person who will murder anybody to avenge Poppy and cover up the family’s past. The unexpected twist at the end of the story is engineered by Verbena Cross on a mission of her own.

Many of the memorable characters in Face Off reappear in Monuments to Murder, and the story is again set in southwest Florida, with jaunts to Savannah and the Napa Valley. Like Face Off, this second novel is witty, suspenseful, and action-packed with a thriller ending.

About the Author: Margarite St. John

Author Margarite St. John is two authors and sisters Johnine Brown and Margaret Yoder. The pen name is a combination of the two first names with the added panache of the strong mass market sounding moniker.

For over three years, they have collaborated to write a steady stream of murder mystery novels, a how-to book for aspiring authors of popular genre novels and, in the last quarter of 2012, a holiday-themed book, Postcards from a Tuscan Christmas. Although the latest release doesn’t include a murder plot, it has its own charm and intrigue and includes a cast of characters from previous titles as they work on a mystery abroad in Italy. Born in Iowa, the sisters eventually landed in Fort Wayne, Indiana which is good fortune for local reading public. Even if you are not from Fort Wayne, you will notice the hometown feeling you get from the varied references to Fort Wayne and businesses that give you a feel for a medium-sized Midwestern city.

There is slightly more than a 15-year age difference between the two, but they write as one in their fast-paced, edgy thrillers. The older sibling, Brown, is a retired attorney with advanced law degrees. She also has another career path which is handy if you plan on writing novels, as she was an assistant professor in Chicago State University’s English Department with a masters in English lit and a doctorate in English language and lit. Combine that with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and you have your bases covered for all aspects of human nature plus the added benefit of being proficient in grammar, spelling, punctuation and style. Yoder is also well-educated and has degrees in education and a medical background. Between her work experience and her surgeon husband, she rounds out the team with medical expertise.

Although the recurring characters interspersed in the novels create a series feel, all of the books stand alone as individual titles, so you won’t feel let down if you happen to read any of their seven books out of sequence.

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