Kill Them with Canvas (A Paint by Murder Mystery)
by Bailee Abbott

About Kill Them With Canvas

Kill Them with Canvas (A Paint by Murder Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639101047
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639101047
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Q7Z7TDJ

In Bailee Abbott’s second book in the Paint by Murder mysteries, Chloe and Izzie are taking their paint party business on the road—with murder as the first stop!

Chloe Abbington and her sister, Izzie, are enjoying huge success running Paint with a View, their paint party business in the tranquil western New York lakeside town of Whisper Cove. Now, their aunt Constance—president of the local chapter of the Chautauqua Sisterhood—has hooked them up with a gig hosting a Halloween painting party. The guests will be painting a local ghost legend, the Lady of Chautauqua Lake, who died a hundred years earlier and rises from the lake every October to haunt anyone who dares venture out on All Hallows’ Eve.

The event seems to be going off without a hitch, until Chloe overhears an argument between Constance and Viola Finnwinkle, the Sisterhood director, about the fate of the local chapter. Both women leave and the sisters finish their painting. But the next morning, Viola’s body is discovered floating face down near the town ferryboat dock, her long red hair spread around her. Eerily, the image is an exact replica of a painting Chloe and Izzie had discovered at the event the night before.

What’s more, the police find Constance’s purple knit hat lying on the ground near the crime scene. Constance pleads innocence, saying the hat mysteriously went missing during the event. Frantic that she might be charged with murder, she begs Chloe and Izzie to help her. The sisters believe their aunt is innocent, but if so, who’s the real killer—and when will the next victim turn up?

About Bailee Abbott

Bailee Abbott is a native Ohioan who spends her days plotting murder and writing mysteries. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. Bailee lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio. Bailee also writes the Sierra Pines B&B mystery series under the name Kathryn Long.

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“A Ghostly Element”

by Bailee Abbott

First off, I need to disclose that I do NOT care for really, really scary movies or books. I’m more of a Hocus Pocus or Casper fan. Keep the bloody, gory stuff behind the scenes, please. That said, I do love a scary ghost story. One with maybe a folklore or historical significance to it surely grabs my interest.

Even though the cover of my latest Paint by Murder mystery, Kill Them With Canvas, looks all cheery, there’s a ghost in this tale. I was thrilled to give Chloe and Izzie Abbington, the sister duo and main characters of the series, a spooky element to challenge them as they investigate the latest murder mystery. After all, the story takes place around Hallows Eve when ghosts and goblins making their appearance, even if only during trick or treat night.

My creation of Abigail Bellows, the ghost lady of Chautauqua Lake, includes a fictitious history that was so much fun to write! In the nineteenth century, Carter Bellows moved from New York City to the area near Whisper Cove. He built the town of Willow Shores from the ground up. His Bellows estate and the Bellows Lodge were his legacy. His family included a beautiful young woman and only daughter, Abigail, who he doted on constantly, but then she drowned in a boating accident on Chautauqua Lake. The story ends with even more tragedy when Carter sank into depression, drinking away his days and nights until the alcohol finally killed him. However, it was Abigail who had the last word as she has haunted the waters of Chautauqua Lake every year around Halloween but especially on Hallows Eve.

Such a sad and tragic tale like this could never die. Folks love to sit around campfires or wherever they gather to relate the story and warn the children not to go out alone on Hallows Eve. The ghost lady of the lake might choose one of them as her victim and who knew what curse would haunt them? The Halloween ghost story is the central theme every year and there’s even a crowd of curious folks who will set up their cameras and chairs along the shore, hoping to catch a glimpse of the eerie vision of white hovering over the lake.

I thought long and hard in how I would use the story in my book and tie it into the mystery and murder of Viola Finnwinkle. First, the body had to drown in the lake—the perfect place for the ghost lady to leave a victim. Of course, I had to toss in a few overly superstitious characters who might believe a ghost actually exists and could cause someone to drown. Like Rita Morgan. Her reaction to most every uncomfortable situation is to become hysterical. And boy, does she ever enjoy spreading rumors! Then to make the plot believable I added some likely suspects. Human ones, that is. After all, mystery readers love a challenge, one with lots of clues, red herrings to throw them off track, and at least a few characters who could be the killer, even if one of them is a ghost. Right?

Weaving the details of a mystery and building the suspense is a challenge. I wanted to keep Abigail’s ghost present, but mostly in the background of the story. The real characters, the human ones, are the key players, and they needed to carry on the actions and events that lead to the perfect ending. Chloe and Izzie keep on their toes to clear their aunt’s name—Constance Abbington is the number one suspect and always in Detective Hunter Barrett’s line of sight. I usually include at least three or four suspects in my novels. Kill Them With Canvas has four, five if you believe a ghost could commit murder! How much of a believer readers are in the supernatural is what makes this novel or any ghost story so much fun.

This brings us to what elements can be included and usually are to make a cozy mystery. There must be some lighthearted, cheery moments and descriptions that give readers that warm, cozy feeling. Whisper Cove is known for its festivals and the lake is always at the center. In book one, A Brush with Murder, the summer sailboat race is an annual event with plenty of excitement as spectators cheer on their favorites, and of course there’s food, usually from Bob’s Barbecue and Claire’s bakery, for everyone to munch on while they enjoy the race and each other’s company. The display of community gatherings and that small town feel where everyone seems to know everyone by name is what draws me to a cozy mystery. I believe plenty of readers feel the same. Oh, and the cozy becomes extra special when there’s a four-legged friend included. Max the dog is Chloe’s pal. He’s twelve pounds of fluffy white fur and with plenty of energy to steal every scene he’s in. I’m pleased to say that in Kill Them With Canvas he takes on a bigger role. Yes, the pets are favorite character additions in cozies. Even in ghost cozies!


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By KellyATX

I'm a Blogger, Reader, Reviewer & Bookstrammer. Die Hard TX Native & Rangers Fan.