Dixieland Dead by Penny Burwell Ewing

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    When the economy tanks in Whiskey Creek, Georgia, hairstylist, Jolene Claiborne expands her business to include skin care. A wise move until Scarlett Cantrell, a local celebrity, is murdered in the facial room. The police brush aside Jolene’s suspicions that the incident is tied to a recent break-in, and to complicate matters, the victim's ghost threatens to make Dixieland Salon her permanent place of residence if Jolene fails to expose the killer.

    Scarlett’s last words provide the only clue: “Find the jade elephant. Explains everything.” That is until a book of poetry turns up with a dangerous secret inside. Dealing with a diva ghost ain’t easy in the Bible belt. Throw in a sexy police detective, a crooked mayor with connections to the mob, a family cover-up, a mother who hasn’t cut the apron strings, and you get one stressed out middle-aged hairstylist with murder and mayhem on the brain.

    Rating: Sweet
    Page Count: 358
    Word Count: 87770
    978-1-5092-1092-3 Paperback
    978-1-5092-1093-0 Digital


    The kitchen door swung open. Mama stood in the doorway. “What’s going on out here? Stop horsing around. Go find Billie Jo. I’m ready to leave.”

    “Jolene’s going in there.” Deena jerked her thumb toward the closed facial room door.

    Billie Jo rounded the corner. “What’s all the commotion?”

    “Jolene’s going in there,” Deena repeated.

    “No, she’s not,” Mama said. “The police will accuse us of tampering with evidence. We’ll go in when Sam gives the okay.”

    “We can’t leave before making sure that multi-function Skin Care Station is properly shut off,” I said. “It cost over fifteen hundred dollars.”

    “No one’s going in there,” Mama huffed. “Got it?”

    Billie Jo reached out and tested the knob. “It’s locked anyway.”

    “That’s strange. It wasn’t a moment ago,” I said, twisting the knob to find it locked. “Go get the key, Deena.”

    “We lost the key years ago.”

    “Wait,” I said, excitedly. “I’ll get a butter knife from the kitchen.” I turned to leave, but Mama grabbed me by the arm, causing me to stumble against the door. With a thump, it flew open, propelling me into the room. As I stumbled for balance, something white fluttered in the semi-darkness. Regaining my balance, I quickly flipped on the overhead lights before Mama could protest.

    “Ahhh!” I said with vexation, my eyes taking in the discarded jars lining the counter top. A dusting of fine powder covered the floor. “This room’s a mess. It’ll take hours to clean.”

    “They must’ve taken a sample of everything.” Deena piped up behind me. “What’s on the floor?”

    Billie Jo bent down and ran her finger over the floor, leaving a thin trail. “It looks like oatmeal. Carla said she mixed everything she could get her hands on into that death mask.”

    Mama stuck her head in the door. “Don’t touch anything and get out of there right now. We need to get over to the hospital. Jolene, if you don’t come out of there this instant, I promise you that when the roll is called up yonder, you’ll be there!”

    Deena backed out of the room. “She’s right; the hospital is expecting me.”

    “I’m ready to leave, too,” Billie Jo said, joining Mama and Deena in the hallway.

    There wasn’t any need to try and argue my point with them—my vote would be vetoed immediately. The facial equipment was unplugged, so I turned off the lights and shut the door. A loud crash sounded from inside the room. Quickly, I flung open the door, flipped on the overhead lights, and screamed with every ounce of my being—for there, on the facial bed, sat the faint, ghostly image of Scarlett Cantrell.


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Dixieland Dead

Dixieland Dead

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