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When Zeffie Got a Clue [Paperback]

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Item Number 84378  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   344
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.9" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.64 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 18, 2008
Publisher   WaterBrook Press
ISBN  1400073332  
EAN  9781400073337  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
It's an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie just opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother's medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth-or so she thinks.

Publishers Description
It's an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother's medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth-or so she thinks.
But complicated questions form when Christy rips out the box's lining and uncovers a clue to a cold case murder mystery from eight years ago. Despite warnings from her family and handsome boyfriend Dan Brockman, Christy decides to do a little detective work of her own. After all, the infamous murder happened close to her grandmother's farm. How risky could it be to take the jewelry box back to the Strickland plantation and ask around about it?
Soon Christy finds there is more to the small box than someone wants her to know. A jewelry theft. A mansion murder. Dangerous family secrets buried in history. Can Christy convince others to let go of the past before it's too late?

Buy When Zeffie Got a Clue by Peggy Darty from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781400073337 & 1400073332

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More About Peggy Darty

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Peggy Darty is the award-winning author of twenty-seven books, including two other cozy mysteries set in Summer Breeze, Florida: "When the Sandpiper Calls "and "When Bobbie Sang the Blues." She has worked in film, researched for CBS, and led writing workshops around the country. Darty and her husband call Alabama home but spend a great deal of time in Colorado, Montana, and on Florida s Emerald Coast."

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
...a fun, easy going journey that will keep you guessing to the end.  Dec 13, 2008
Cozy mysteries are a comfortable fit for Christian fiction. By nature there is no gore, outright violence, or anything else too disturbing. They're light and fun, as we follow casually along until we find the murderer. When Zeffie Got a Clue fits right in with a page turning plot that won't give us nightmares.

Christy is a Christian, her father is a pastor, and her life is safe and predictable in the peaceful town of Summer Breeze, Florida. She's on her second try at romance with Dan, and things are looking up for them. Many of us already know Christy, as she's solved two other mysteries before, but this book stands alone just fine if you're new to Summer Breeze. Now she's trying to warm up a cold case she cares about very much. Kirby was her idol after he saved her from drowning. He was the all-American town hero, and his murder has remained unsolved for years.

The book's opening scene, even the first line, hooks the reader right away. A sweet little girl enters Christy's second hand shop. The girl is Zeffie, and she inadvertently opens Kirby's case wide open again with an old jewelry box she holds in her hands. Since Christy happens to be a mystery writer, she can't resist the opportunity to repay Kirby if she can only find his killer.

Our heroine is surrounded by an extended family of loving people, all who play a large part in her life, if not in solving this mystery. Perhaps an even bigger mystery here is why every character who is in the vicinity of the age of fifty refers to themselves as if they are elderly, and seem obsessed with talking about their age.

Zeffie has a sub plot all her own intertwined with the investigation, as the grandmother she loves and who has raised her is about to die. The only living relative they know of is definitely not going to give Zeffie the love and nurturing she needs, so Christy tries to find Zeffie's unknown father. We've got a budding romance for Christy's aunt and business partner, as well her own deepening relationship with Dan, which could be heading towards marriage. That is, if they can work out their uncertain future. She struggles to get closer to Dan, and she tries to be supportive as the possibility of a new job far away looms.

The number of suspects mounts, as do the coincidences, leading Christy and an officer friend closer and closer to the real truth of what happened to Kirby in his family mansion that day. We consider several scenarios, all pretty plausible, while none stands out as the obvious truth.

Thankfully, we haven't been tricked by Darty. She doesn't throw in some unrelated clue at the very end and reveal the murderer as someone we never could have guessed. That can be a frustration to the reader in this genre. It's a satisfying ending all the way around, and a fun, easy going journey that will keep you guessing to the end.
Summer Breeze, Make Me Feel Fine  Aug 5, 2008
Mystery writer and amateur sleuth Christy Castleman has managed to come across another unsolved case in her small Florida town. This time, the clue comes in the form of a letter from the jewelry box of a young girl named Zeffie. This letter reopens an unsolved murder that took place over eight years ago. The killer was never found. With the new info that Christy has, she sets out to find the murderer before they realize she's looking for them.

Peggy Darty has become one of my favorite cozy authors to read. She also has a tight storyline with engaging characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing throughout. This latest addition featuring the gang from Summer Breeze did not disappoint. The mystery was really good because once again, the reader is kept guessing as to who the killer really was. This story was like a cold case being reopened years later. Therefore there are many suspects, including several who I myself guessed wrong. Zeffie was a cute character and I liked her. She wasn't annoying like a lot of bright little kids are normally portrayed in books. My absolute favorite part of reading this story was when Christy would visit the barbecue place. I envied her so much for the huge platters of ribs and sweet tea that she would get. I would get hungry every time it was mentioned. If I could get sucked into the story, I would definitely be tagging along with her when she ate there. I was geeked to read about Christy and Dan getting back together. I missed him in the 2nd book and it was good to see that he was able to keep up with her sleuthing habits in this one. These stories are perfect for those who love mystery but hate gritty suspense. It's perfect for a read on a lazy summer day. I do hope there will be more books featuring Christy and the residents of Summer Breeze. I will be anxious to make another trip down there.
Romance and intrigue in coastal Florida  Jul 14, 2008
Faith fiction fans of the cozy mystery genre who have enjoyed Peggy Darty's "A Cozy Mystery" series will find the third installment, WHEN ZEFFIE GOT A CLUE, chugs along in the same gentle vein as its predecessors.

In the first book, WHEN THE SANDPIPER CALLS, Darty introduced amateur sleuth and author Christy Castleman, a young single woman living a stone's throw from her parents in her Florida panhandle hometown of Summer Breeze, Florida. If you haven't read SANDPIPER and WHEN BOBBIE SANG THE BLUES, stop reading here. You'll enjoy the storyline of ZEFFIE more by reading the series in order.

This latest episode has a sweeter-than-sugar beginning. In WHEN BOBBIE SANG THE BLUES, Christy's Aunt Bobby Bodine was opening a new shop, I Saw It First, a "trash-to-treasures" sort of establishment where Bobby bought old items and made them interesting and saleable. As the new story opens, it's almost Christmas. Christy is staffing the shop when Zeffie Adams, a young elementary-aged waif shows up with cheap jewelry box to sell. As Christy gently probes the girl for an explanation, she discovers the box once belonged to Zeffie's deceased mother. Zeffie, who now lives with her grandmother, is selling it to help pay for her grandmother's medical bills.

Christy generously pays Zeffie more than the box is worth and makes it her mission to ensure Zeffie is taken under the wing of numerous people in the small town of Summer Breeze. Heartstrings, prepare to be tugged!

In a bit of a credibility stretch, Christy discovers a piece of paper under the lining of the jewelry box that holds a clue to a long-ago unsolved murder --- coincidently, the murder of one of Christy's long-ago friends, Kirby Strickland, who had once saved her from drowning. The plotline follows Christy as she tried to solve the murder. Christy also continues her romance with Dan Brockman, her on-again, off-again boyfriend --- and this time, it looks like a proposal might be in the offing.

Darty does a good job leaving the identity of the killer in question right up until the closing pages. Is it R.J. Wentworth, the owner of a Florida marina, who married Kirby's girlfriend, Julie Clark, after Kirby died? What about Vince Brown and his wife, Ellen, Kirby's sister, who inherited the business and palatial house after Kirby's death? Another suspect, Wayne Crocker, is a ladies man with conquests up and down the coast and a successful boat broker with past ties to Kirby. Della, a housekeeper who quit soon after the murder and Rueben Foster, an alcoholic painter employed by the victim's family, also leave question marks in Christy's mind.

The faith themes are strong. As Christy, a pastor's daughter, gazes on a crystal angel figurine in her bedroom, she prays, "God, please help us bring this murderer to justice."

Overdescription can slow things down ("Sunlight bounced off the girl's long blond hair, forming a gauzy halo that lit her face and exaggerated the wisdom and sorrow in her green eyes.") The dialogue can become stiff ("Christy Castleman! It's been ages. I enjoy your books, and I see your grandmother often.") Wordiness also can slow down the pacing: "She would find the person who had killed Kirby. She was onto the killer, and the killer knew it. She knew it too."

But readers of the series will be delighted to discover the ongoing relationships developing between the characters in the tropical setting of Summer Breeze. It's nice to see the character of Bobbie making a return appearance as well. Tender-hearted readers will root for a happily-ever-after ending for Zeffie, and Darty doesn't disappoint. Darty knows what her readers want, and she delivers redemption, a neatly-wrapped up conclusion, and plenty of question marks about the identity of the killer as the plot unfolds in WHEN ZEFFIE GOT A CLUE.

--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Enjoyable Mystery  Jun 12, 2008
Fans of cozy mysteries will be delighted to solve this cold-case mystery alongside Christy Castleman, part owner of I SAW IT FIRST JUNK SHOP and mystery writer turned part-time sleuth.

When little Zeffie comes into the I SAW IT FIRST JUNK SHOP to try to sell her music box, to help her sick grandmother, she doesn't know her life is about to drastically change. Christy buys the box and begins a friendship with her young patron. When Christy sets out to fix the damaged box, she finds a jewelry appraisal slip belonging to the mother of Kirby Strickland who was thought to have surprised a burglar in his home and was tragically shot. Did Zeffie's family have something to do with the murder?

Not one to allow a good mystery to go by and especially since Kirby was a dear friend, Christy is determined to use her investigative skills to solve the mystery against the sage advice of her parents and boyfriend. But as Christy gets close to piecing together the clues to the mystery, a dark sinister stranger sets out to stop her. Christy finds that everyone is not who they appear to be and the killer will stop at nothing to keep the secret hidden.

When Zeffie Got a Clue is a moderately paced mystery which allows the reader the opportunity to solve the mystery right along with Christy. I prefer a more rapid pace but I still did not figure out who killed Kirby and was surprised by the outcome.

Fans of Nancy Drew (the older years, remember it on T.V.?) and Murder She Wrote might want to pick up this cozy mystery set in Summer Breeze, Florida.
Fun Cozy  May 29, 2008
Young Zeffie Adams just wants to get some money for her grandmother's medical bills, so she brings a jewelry box to the I Saw It First Store, hoping to sell it. Christy Castleman doesn't think the box is worth much, but she is so touched by Zeffie she pays more than she should out of sympathy. Inside the ripped lining, Christy finds a clue to the murder of an old friend. She decides to talk to a few people who might not want the case reopened, which stirs up secrets better left alone.
When Zeffie Got a Clue is Peggy Darty's third cosy mystery set in Summer Breeze, Florida. It's an easy going story with a cast of comfortable, down-home characters, which makes this the perfect Cozy. Check out books one and two of this series, When the Sandpiper Calls, and When Bobbie Sang the Blues.

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