The Blue Suede Mysteries

Hound Dog Blues

Hound Dog Blues

Who says a Gen X hipster can’t solve old-school mysteries?

Harley Jean’s a failed college student. Her brief career in corporate banking went up in flames. She can’t find Mr. Right and might settle for Mr. Wrong. She’s twenty-six-years old—staring down the barrel at thirty—and now she works as a tour guide in the whacko land of Elvis. She’s named after a motorcycle. Her dad’s an Elvis impersonator. Her Mom talks to spirit guides.

Someone kidnaps her family’s dog—named King, in Elvis’s honor. There’s a ransom note.

And then, things really get weird.

Memphis tour guide Harley Jean Davidson is about to enjoy a rare day off when her parents call with news that King, their border collie, has been dognapped. Harley Jean’s mom insists the culprit is Bruno Jett, their next door neighbor. Harley Jean would rather run over her own foot with a motorcycle than talk to him. He’s drop-dead gorgeous—with a dangerous attitude she’d like to avoid.

But King has to be rescued, so she sets off to find him. Harley Jean gets more than she bargains for when she finds a body, as well. Bruno Jett is definitely involved, but how?

The Memphis P.D. wants to pin the murder on Harley Jean’s dad. Now it’s up to her to clear his name . . . and avoid becoming the killer’s next victim.

Leaving corporate banking for a job free of stress had been a matter of survival. So here she was, in her late twenties and burned out, but finally in a job she didn’t have to take home with her at night. It was a good trade-off—most of the time. At least, when she didn’t have to deal with a very sexy possible murderer . . .

The basement door opened. Looking up, she saw Jett through the cracks in the wooden stairs.
For a moment he just stood on the top step, the door propped open with his foot, then he let it close softly behind him but remained still and silent. He knew someone was here. The lights . . . she’d left the lights on. She barely breathed, just shallow breaths to keep from passing out, afraid he’d hear her. Bruno Magli shoes descended to the second riser. She briefly closed her eyes, thoughts of O.J. and his infamous shoes reverberating ominously in her brain. Surely, it was coincidence.
The shoes descended another step, then another, and she held her breath until her ears rang and her lungs ached.
The shoes stopped on the second from the bottom stair. She saw denim though the gaps, dark socks, long legs—she looked up and her gaze locked with dark blue eyes peering at her through the risers. Oh damn.
He smiled, but it wasn’t a very nice smile. “Well,” he said, “I seem to have an uninvited visitor.”
“I . . . uh, was just looking for you.”
“And now you’ve found me.” He reached the floor and turned to look at her where she’d edged out from beneath the stairs to feel for an escape route in the concrete block walls.
“Why yes,” she said, aware she spoke too brightly, “here you are. Now that you’re home, I’ll just be going.”
“No, I don’t think so.” He moved a few steps closer, near enough she could see the cold, dangerous gleam in his eyes. Uh oh.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said, “really. I think I hear my mother calling me.”’
“They’re not home.”
She stared at him suspiciously. “And how do you know that?”
“Because that obscene, puke green van is gone from the driveway.”
“Oh.” That sounded logical. After all, it had been Bobby’s first clue. So maybe Jett hadn’t done anything to them or was responsible for them leaving. Maybe.
He loomed over her. “I don’t like you being here, and I don’t like my privacy violated. Usually, I tend to get nasty about things like this.”
Uh oh. Not at all a promising conversation.

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Harley Rushes In

Harley Rushes In

Local Tour Guide Breaks Jewelry Theft Ring and Helps Crack Murder Case, read the large headline. The leading sentence in the article said so much less than had really happened: Harley Jean Davidson, 27, tour guide for Memphis Tour Tyme, had a narrow escape from jewelry thieves Friday night that ended with an arrest on charges of grand larceny, attempted murder, and two counts of murder. Ms. Davidson was instrumental in capturing the suspect . . .
In Hound Dog Blues, Harley Jean proved that a Gen X slacker can kick butt along with the rest of the crime-solving gurus. Now she’s up to her handlebars in mystery again. Her Aunt Darcy, an interior designer, needs Harley’s help catching a smuggler of prized artifacts. When Harley finds Aunt Darcy’s suspicious business partner hanging off her shop’s elk antlers, Harley can’t help but wonder if Aunt Darcy murdered him. Soon Harley’s already quirky life spins way off the Normal Meter again, with another corpse in the mix, an assault by cranky farm animals, a kidnapping attempt, and surprise assistance from a temperamental Siamese cat. Add hunky detective Mike Morgan to the trouble, plus the usual collection of Elvis impersonators, psychics and unpredictable relatives.

The city of the blues, the King and the mighty Mississippi is about to get steamy. The jailhouse will rock, someone may get caught in a trap, and Harley’s in the middle of it all-taking care of business.

Maybe she was in mid-life crisis. Only four more months and she’d only be three years away from thirty, and here she was with just one serious relationship behind her—two if she wanted to count George Goldfish, now freed in the Audubon Park koi pond. Of course, her on and off relationship with Bobby Baroni through the years had been more friendship than anything serious, despite the fact they’d tried out the physical stuff a long time ago. She loved Bobby, but only as a friend. Besides, he was dating an exotic dancer at the moment, a really hot blonde who went by the name of Angel.
And she had Mike Morgan. A shiver dispelled some of the heat inside the car. Oh yes. He was definitely a distraction. A hold-on-to-your-panties-this-is-gonna-be-good kind of distraction. He made her want to swear off panties altogether.
Why did she have to go and get sidetracked by an undercover cop?

Harley made one last trip to the nightclub’s bathroom. One glance in the bathroom mirror was enough to convince her that four beers were past her limit. She looked like something out of Fright Night.
Suddenly, the bathroom light went out. “Hey! I’m still in here!”
She fumbled with the latch on the stall door, then eased out and felt her way along the tiled wall. She bumped into the sink and ricocheted off the opposite wall. Swearing loudly, she wrenched open the bathroom door and ran right into a solid wall of muscle. A smelly bag was yanked over her head and her arms were pinned in a viselike grip as she was dragged down the hallway and out into the alley.
Whoever had her was trying to force her into a car, and she was just as determined not to go. Somehow, she got her legs up with one foot braced on each side of the open door. She blindly grabbed for a handful of his clothes to pull him off balance. He made a high-pitched sound like a loose fan belt and dropped her. His family jewels were probably missing a few stones by now. She crawled away and stumbled to her feet, ripping the bag from her head to yell for help.
That was when someone smacked her on the side of the head and she saw stars explode in front of her eyes. She hit the ground in the alley hard. Unable to move, she just lay there staring up at the stars.
Then someone bent over her, squeezing her cheeks together and peering into her eyes. “Hey, are you all right? Talk to me, honey. Focus . . . that’s right, both eyes looking in the same direction at once, now.”
A face slowly came into focus. She blinked. Diana Ross? “Why’d you break up the Supremes?”
Diana laughed and said to someone else nearby, “She’s coming around. She’s just not making much sense yet.”
“Trust me, she doesn’t make much sense when she hasn’t been hit in the head,” a familiar voice said. “I’ve never met anyone who can’t even go to the bathroom without getting into some kind of trouble.”
That would be Morgan, Harley thought hazily. He sounds upset.

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Suspicious Mimes

Suspicious Mimes

Maybe Harley Jean Davidson should have finished college, but at the time it hadn’t seemed nearly as important as it did now. She should have stayed in corporate banking. She should have settled down with Mr. Right instead of dallying with Mr. Right Now—irresistible Memphis detective Mike Morgan. It was time to put her shallow youth behind her. She was closing in on thirty, entering the halls of maturity, and proving that she has a talent for catching bad guys. Things could be worse. Much worse. Her job as a Memphis tour guide is about to get even stranger than usual.

“Hey,” she called, “last stop for all Elvi. This is it, sir. Sir?”

He didn’t respond, just remained in his seat on the bus, staring out the window. Maybe he’d gotten cold feet about the Elvis contest. With a sigh, Harley walked to the back.

“Hey, buddy,” she said when she reached his seat, “we’re here. Time to go on stage and sing your heart out. Knock ’em dead.”

When he still didn’t respond, Harley put a hand on his shoulder to give him a slight shake. He slumped forward, his head hit the back of the seat in front of him, and she jumped into the aisle. The hilt of a knife protruded from his back. She froze. This couldn’t be happening. Not to him, not to her, again.

She leaned closer, and the rusty smell of blood made her stomach lurch. Backing slowly away, she fumbled at her waist for the cell phone that she now kept tethered to her with a chain, and hit speed dial. The police dispatcher answered quickly.

“Nine-one-one?” Harley said in a voice that sounded a lot calmer than she felt. “We have another dead Elvis.”

Will her talent (jinx?) for stumbling into crime scenes eighty-six her relationship with Mike?

Was he working up to a break up or just still upset about the dead Elvis in her van?
Only one way to find out.
“So,” she said when she put the heated plate of fried rice and egg rolls in front of him, “is this a break up?”
He gave her a startled look. “What are you talking about?”
“Me finding bodies. You not liking that. Us. Maybe we need to talk about it.”
“Yeah. Well. I’m not really good at that kind of conversation.”
“Me either.” She sat down in the chair opposite him, and Sam immediately jumped up on the cushioned arm to sniff her plate. He purred. Little beggar. She gave him a piece of rice and he gave her a horrified look. Then he leaped down to cross to Morgan, who had chicken fried rice.
Morgan obliged the cat with a piece of chicken, and then looked over at Harley. “Maybe we just need a break from each other. Just for a couple weeks or a month. Something like that. Give us time to think about . . . things.”
Her throat got tight, but she nodded casually. “I think you’re right. I don’t want you to feel like I’m jeopardizing your job, and lately I can’t seem to stop tripping over bodies. I don’t know what it is. Some kind of murder magnet, I guess.”
One corner of his mouth tucked into a wry smile. “Any chance you can get rid of it?”

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Return to Fender

Return to Fender

Find out who’s trying to kill one of the best-known drag queens in Memphis? No problem. Harley’s on the case. Until someone decides she’s getting a little too close to the truth . . .
Halloween’s just around the corner, and business is brisk at Memphis Tour Tyme. Harley doesn’t need an extra job, but when her pal Tootsie asks her to help Jordan Cleveland, his fellow drag queen, she can’t resist poking around in the mystery. How dangerous could it be for her? After all, Jordan’s the target of the threats, not her. He’s had his brake line cut, a concrete flower pot dropped over his head, a pickup truck nearly ran him down, and someone tried to push him off a sidewalk into heavy traffic. He and Harley think his ex-wife is the most likely culprit, but after Jordan is sideswiped by a car and ends up in the hospital, trouble starts to turn Harley’s way. The next thing she knows, she’s dangling off the side of the city’s famous Peabody Hotel while an anonymous thug tells her to mind her own business . . . or else.
Things can only get worse, and she ought to heed the demands of her hunky police boyfriend, Mike Morgan, who’s really worried. Even the guests at a local Halloween party start to look like suspects. Maybe the guy dressed up as Jay-Z is out to get her. Or one of the Kardashian sisters.
But how dangerous can it be to leave the party just long enough to retrieve her brother’s coveted Fender guitar from Tootsie’s empty house? Harley will return safe and sound, right?

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