Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is the fourth book in the Country Club Murders series:  Send in the Clowns, by Julie Mulhern.





Intro:  (October, 1974, Kansas City, Missouri)

I’ve tripped over a body.  I’ve run over a body.  I’ve even swum into a body.  I never imagined one would fall on me.

Then again, wandering around a place called The Gates of Hell, what did I expect?

How I came to be at The Gates of Hell is a story in itself.  The short version is that my daughter, Grace, missed her curfew.  It was a school night and she’d sworn on a stack of Emily Posts that she’d be home by ten.  When I called her friends’ homes, I learned that each thought she’d gotten a ride home with someone else.  She’d been left behind.  At a haunted house.  In a neighborhood best described as sketchy.  “Omigosh, Mrs. Russell I don’t know how this happened,” spoken in a breathless, apologetic voice didn’t help.  Not when Kim said it.  Not when Peggy said it.


Teaser:  The building was purple—a deep violet shade.  Bamboo grew out of pots flanking the door.  The windows—there were two—had peace symbols painted on them.  The sidewalk was cluttered with a mismatched assortment of tables and chairs. (63%).


Synopsis:  Haunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth.
Now death wears a red nose and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney? And why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?
With Mother meddling, her father furious, and her date dragged downtown for questioning, turns out Ellison’s only confidante is Mr. Coffee.


What do you think?  Does this one grab you?  I know that I’ve loved the three previous books in the series, so I’m eager to enjoy this one.






Autumn in Kansas City, Missouri, is the time for auctions, galas, and get-togethers. Ellison Russell’s home is overflowing with house guests, from her Aunt Sis to her sister Marjorie.

Marjorie seems to have left her husband Greg, and in her attempt to feel better about the situation, is conducting herself in a very flirtatious manner, while showing a lot of cleavage.

Aunt Sis is hiding something, and hints of a big secret come out when Frances, mother to Marjorie and Ellison, makes some remarks.

The first of many attempts on the unknown target’s life begins at the auction when a bust falls over the rail and almost strikes Ellison. But nobody is sure she was the intended victim. However, when someone firebombs her house later, it is beginning to look like she is.

At the gala, place cards have been switched around for various reasons, so nobody is sure who was supposed to be sitting in the seat Ellison has taken…and even stranger is the fact that Hammie Walsh, who just happened to grab Ellison’s “water” glass, dies from some kind of poisoning.

Anarchy Jones is front and center in the investigation, and as more deadly episodes occur, the mystery ratchets up. Secrets are revealed, and strange alliances form. Clouds in My Coffee was an engaging book that drew me into the world of the 1970s and to the connections between the characters.

As always, I loved watching the attraction grow between Anarchy and Ellison. I also liked seeing the sisters argue and one-up each other. First, the older generation of sisters: Frances and Cecelia (Sis); and then Marjorie and Ellison.

I didn’t figure out who was the target and who the perpetrator until the end, so I was pleased with how the story unfolded. A definite 5 star read.