Title: Pressed to Death
Author: Kirsten Weiss
Blurb: A Perfectly Proper Party in Wine Country Takes a Deadly Turn
Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski has the perfect exhibit for the harvest festival―a haunted grape press. But when she’s accused of stealing the press, and her accuser is murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie. Knowing the perils of amateur sleuthing as she does, Maddie is reluctant to get involved . . . until her mother insists she investigate.
Does her mom have a secret agenda? Or is she somehow connected to the murder? Facing down danger and her own overactive imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.
“In Weiss’s engaging sequel . . . Well-drawn characters and tantalizing wine talk help balance the quirky aspects of this paranormal mystery.”―Publishers Weekly
I was going to jail.
Worse, my arch nemesis would be the one to drag me from my own paranormal museum.
“I do not traffic in stolen goods.” My voice cracked on the final word. You’d think my innocence would go without saying, but Detective Laurel Hammer’s loathing for me was irrational.
So I was saying it. I crossed my arms, defiant. The photos of executed murderers watched, impassive, from the museum’s glossy white walls.
GD, the museum’s ghost detecting cat, hopped off the haunted rocking chair in the corner. He landed, silent, on the checkerboard floor and cocked his sleek black head.
Blue eyes crackling, the detective planted her hands on the glass counter and loomed over the tip jar. Looming—of the tall and blond, beautiful and terrifying variety—was Laurel’s signature move.
I edged away, dropping my arms to my sides. Unable to meet her gaze, I focused on her manicure, pale pink and elegant.
“Mr. Paganini says otherwise.” She blew a wisp of short, side swept hair out of her eyes. “He reported his antique grape press stolen from his winery, and said it was in your possession .”
I shivered, tugging my black Paranormal Museum hoodie closer around my matching tank top. The museum was freezing, and I turned to the thermostat to escape her glower. The seven a.m. sun slanted through the blinds. I winced at the morning light as I pretended to adjust the heat. It was going to be another warm autumn day in California’s Central Valley. There was no sense in turning down the AC.
“I bought the press from Herb Linden,” I said. “My collector. I have a copy of the receipt.”
I never should have done business with a man who lived with his mother and worked out of the trunk of a VW. But paranormal museum curators had to take what they could get. I’d taken over the museum less than a year ago. It wasn’t the only paranormal museum in the country, but I was determined to make it the best. Or at least make a decent living off it. That wouldn’t be possible from jail. What was the penalty for trafficking in stolen goods?
Kirsten Weiss writes genre-blending cozy mystery, urban fantasy, and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.