The Backyard Model Mysteries is a series that puts Wisconsin, the land of fish fries, brandy old-fashioneds, and deep-fried cheese on the page. To describe the traditional mystery series in one line: A retired fashion model uses her savvy at spotting posers to solve mysteries in her Wisconsin hometown.
Mel Tower, the protagonist, is a retired fashion model who owns a craft mall in her touristy small town. Life is good—except for the folks around Mel who keep dying.
In the first book, “Pinned,” a woman is found dead in Mel’s mall, pinned under a vintage door. The crafter-social media star had been new to the area.
Mel is considered a suspect in the crime. Her life becomes twisted as macramé while she fights to save her business and prove her innocence. It’s the start of the holiday shopping season. To find the killer, Mel attends a week of kick-off parties. But red clown noses keep appearing around her—who is making jokes when the village of Cinnamon is in turmoil?
In the second book, “Pontoon,” Mel is vacationing in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. She is seduced by turtle sundaes, campfires, and a handsome sheriff with a Yooper accent. Truly, who wouldn’t fall in love in that environment?
Then, a businessman is killed, his pontoon cut loose from its dock; he was released like an illegally hooked walleye.
Mel struggles to find the real killer against the backdrop of an unusual competition, the Deliveree, a prize tournament among package-delivery drivers. Can she free her friend and save her relationship with the sheriff?
Both books in The Backyard Model Mysteries are 85-90,000-word traditional mysteries with romantic elements, and they take place during holiday events. The series protagonist, Mel Tower, moves through a character arc of breaking free from a restrictive past to embrace new relationships.
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