Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Anthology: FESTIVE MAYHEM 3, A Limited-Edition Collection of New #Mystery and #Crime Fiction Stories and Reissued #Holiday Favorites by Carolyn Marie Wilkins ETAL

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A Limited-Edition Collection of New Mystery and Crime Fiction Stories and Reissued Holiday Favorites



Seven crime writers of color have teamed up for the third year running to offer you the gift of escape this holiday season. This limited-edition collection includes brand-new stories set throughout the year, as well as some reissued seasonal favorites. Whether you enjoy humorous cozy mysteries with plucky amateur sleuths, or hard-boiled noir starring gritty private investigators, this anthology is for you.

What you’ll find inside:

  • “Black Easter” by Francelia Belton. In 1967, a militant husband and father tries to push his political views onto his wife’s conservative family at the annual Easter social—and things don’t end well.
    • “A Deadly First” by Delia C. Pitts. Thanksgiving takes a fatal turn when New York private eye SJ Rook finds himself thrust into his first murder case in this darkly atmospheric tale of noir. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)
    • “Whiteout Wipeout” by Paige Sleuth. A lost cat leads Cherry Hills, Washington, animal rescue maven and amateur sleuth Imogene Little to the body of a murdered man at the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.
    • “The Troublesome Rich Girl” by Stella Oni. When Elizabeth agreed to look out for the rebellious teenager Tayo Adelaja and her cousin Angelica, she enlisted the help of the Mews hotel’s social media obsessed apprentice, Rosie O’Toole—only for the three to disappear!
    • “Trace of Lace” by Barbara Howard. On the eve of his wedding day, Milo has to save his bride when news of a serial killer near Birston College puts the campus on lockdown.
    • “A Christmas Tip” by Elizabeth Wilkerson. A surprise Christmas bonus becomes too tempting for Philadelphia nursing assistant Brianna Byers to resist—even if accepting requires some skillful skirting of the law. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)
    • “Serenade for Suicide” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins. The melody turns deadly when music teacher Bertie Bigelow invites her Grammy-winning ex to give a songwriting workshop at an inner-city community college.This short story bundle is only available for a short time, so grab it now before it’s gone. It would be criminal to miss it!

A Limited-Edition Collection of New Mystery and Crime Fiction Stories and Reissued Holiday Favorites

“Serenade for Suicide”

By Carolyn Marie Wilkins


My boss, Dr. Humbert X. Grant, is the president of Metro Community College. An imposing man with a deep voice, thinning hair and a rust-brown complexion, he demands perfection from himself and everyone around him. When Dr. Grant summoned me to his office two days before Spring Break, I had the sinking feeling I’d done something terribly wrong. The problem was, I had no idea what.

As I settled myself in the green leather armchair opposite his desk, Dr. Grant fixed me with a disapproving stare. “Metro College is not a Broadway theater, Professor Bigelow,” he said in his clipped, precise voice. “We are an educational institution. A fact you seem to have forgotten.”

Ten years ago, I’d given up my singing career to lead the music department at Metro, a community college located in the heart of Chicago’s embattled South Side. If I’d learned anything during my tenure in academia, it was to avoid Dr. Grant’s displeasure at all cost.

“I assume you’re referring to the Spring Songwriting Workshop this weekend,” I replied cautiously. “Is there a problem?”

“I should say so!” A vein on Dr. Grant’s left temple had begun to throb. “Your guest lecturer is refusing to set foot on campus unless he’s paid in advance. What’s more, he is demanding to be paid in cash.”

I sighed inwardly. “Terry Grimes is a Hollywood music producer,” I said. “He’s not familiar with how things are done in the academic world. I’ll give him a call this morning and straighten things out.”

Dr. Grant shook his head angrily “There are over two hundred students enrolled in this thing. We’ve been advertising it for weeks,” he fumed. “Nevertheless, I will not be bullied. Inform Mr. Grimes that the Soulful Spring Songwriting Workshop has been cancelled.”

If this had been any other event, I would have let the matter drop. But Terry Grimes was not only a world-class music producer, he was an old friend. For six glorious months during our senior year at Hyde Park High School, the two of us had been inseparable. He wrote beautiful songs and I sang them. After high school, we’d drifted apart, but I had kept up with his career – his move to L.A., the hit songs he’d written, his two Grammy Awards, and his messy divorce from a Hollywood starlet.

Meet Author Carolyn Marie Wilkins…

Carolyn Marie Wilkins is the author of three mystery novels: Death at a SéanceMelody for Murder, and Mojo for Murder, all available from Pen-L Publications. She is also the author of Tips for Singing (Hal Leonard Press) and two memoirs: Damn Near White: An African American Family’s Journey from Slavery to Bittersweet Success, and They Raised Me Up: A Black Single Mother and the Women Who Inspired Her, available from the University of Missouri Press. You can learn more about Carolyn at: https://www.carolynwilkins.com/


Links to Carolyn ETAL’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3TRFeT1

Available at: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo


Learn more about the rest of the Festive Mayhem 3 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.wilkins.3114

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carolynauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jemaya7/

authors by visiting their websites:

Francelia Belton: https://franceliabelton.com/

Delia C. Pitts : https://www.deliapitts.com/

Paige Sleuth: https://www.marlabradeen.com/

Stella Oni: https://stellaonithewriter.com/

Barbara Howard: https://www.barbarahowardmedia.com/

Elizabeth Wilkerson: http://elizabethwilkerson.com/


Thanks Carolyn, Francelia, Delia, Barbara, Elizabeth, Stella, & Paige, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

13 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Anthology: FESTIVE MAYHEM 3, A Limited-Edition Collection of New #Mystery and #Crime Fiction Stories and Reissued #Holiday Favorites by Carolyn Marie Wilkins ETAL”

  1. Good morning, ladies, and welcome back to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. We enjoyed your last visit so much, we had to have you back. I’m looking forward to reading this anthology. Thanks for sharing it with us today!

  2. This book with the different holiday stories sounds great! I love your excerpt, your story sounds like a great read! Thank you for sharing your excerpt . Have a great week.

    1. Thank you, Crystal! We appreciate that, but the anthology is in ebook format only. However, let me know if you are interested in reviewing it as an ebook. We have a special link for book reviewers. 🙂

  3. Carolyn, I enjoyed the excerpt of your book and the descriptions of the other books. This sounds like a great anthology. You’re all authors I haven’t heard of before. This anthology would be a great way to introduce me to each of your writing. Thank you for sharing.

    Thank you Karen for introducing me to more authors I hadn’t heard of.

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