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Cozy mystery conundrum: When everyone wants him dead, how will she determine the true killer?

Tribune News Service logoTribune News Service 11/27/2021 Emily LaSita, Booktrib.com
"The Fragile Flower," by Kerry J. Charles. © Edmund+Octavia Publishing/Edmund+Octavia Publishing/TNS "The Fragile Flower," by Kerry J. Charles.

An eccentric artist come to teach a master class turns out to be a master jerk when he manages to insult each one of his students and disturb those closest to him. He may be an artistic genius, but is he really worth the hassle? Someone doesn’t think so and after he ends up dead, it’s up to Dr. Dulcinea Chambers to find out who killed him.

"The Fragile Flower" is the compelling third book in Kerry J. Charles’ bestselling Dulcie Chambers Museum Mysteries series (Edmund+Octavia Publishing). Join the dauntless Portland native, museum director and amateur sleuth, Dr. Dulcinea Chambers, as she solves a baffling mystery and while protecting her heart.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE … AND IN MAINE, TOO

Dr. Dulcinea Chambers can’t seem to escape her hectic life, not even on a solo trip to Bermuda. But why should she feel she needs to escape? Could it be the demands of her distinguished role as director of the Maine Museum of Art or a certain handsome local detective she can’t seem to put out of her mind?

Detective Nicholas Black can’t catch a break. Deep in the jaws of divorce, a drained Black is trying everything to depart from a loveless marriage sustained by greed and protect his future. He wonders if he will ever have a companion and a chance at personal happiness. Will Dulcie ever forgive him for his deceit?


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ODD FAMILY DYNAMICS AND A CLASS FULL OF SUSPECTS

Upon Dr. Chamber’s return home from the island trip, she learns from her devoted confidant and assistant, Rachel, that all has not been well at the museum in her absence. Her plans for the esteemed British artist and guest at the Maine Museum of Art, Logan Dumbarton, are spilling out like fattened oil paint. Unexpectedly, Logan has arrived as part of a troublesome trio; his sister and new bride prove to be challenging counterparts. Isabel, his alluring wife, is a perpetual distraction with her relentless whining and general disinterest in their Portland stay. Linda, Logan’s highly efficient, borderline robotic sister and business manager, pacifies her brother’s every whim. Worse still, Logan’s behavior fluctuates between sickly and sniveling to irritatingly snobbish every other day.

Initially honored to have the abstract expressionist painter come all the way from London to teach a master class, Dulcie’s faith in his abilities to do the job well is quickly fading. Within his first week, Logan manages to alienate the initially bright-eyed and excited class of talented local artists. He finds a way to insult each student: sports-fan Bryce, tough and tattooed Willow, uptight Bethany, good-humored Kimberly, insightful Scott, and completely-in-sync twins, Mary and Tara. Throwing a student’s painting out to sea isn’t even the worst of it. The following week, Logan winds up dead.

It seems like everyone’s got a secret. More than one relationship is a bit fragile, and the last thing Dulcie wants is to once again join forces with the man who led her on, Detective Nicholas Black, to solve the case. Each of the students had the opportunity and motive to murder their impossible instructor, but when everyone hated him, how will Dulcie determine who wanted him dead?

MURDER AND MAYHEM IN MAINE

"The Fragile Flower" is a fast-paced cozy mystery with a touch of romance. Set in the small coastal Maine city of Portland, author Kerry J. Charles precisely illustrates an urban setting with a small-town feel as the backdrop for her evocative story.

Readers will be inspired by Dulcie’s resourcefulness and determination in achieving her goals, and stick around for the relationships she cultivates. The well-developed connections Dulcie has with the students, guests, a new friend, her brother, Dan, and of course, Detective Black, will pique interest. Charles skillfully blends information about art history and painting technique into her exciting whodunnit that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

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