I Remember

peggy I remember when I was a little girl sitting on the piano bench next to my mother, my legs swinging freely because they were too short to reach the floor, enthralled, watching her hands float over the ivory keys, hearing her soprano voice singing along, and being transported to another place by the sheer pleasure of it.

I remember my father nurturing and tending his irises, grapevines, and fruit trees when he wasn’t working. I always preferred playing hide and seek with my friends in my yard because I would always sneak behind the grape trellis and pluck away at the grapes as fast as I could, hoping no one would find me. Afterward, I would sit in the crook of a fruit tree, my legs dangling, biting into a pear or peach, and then wipe my sticky hands on the grass and running to my next adventure.

I remember my mother cutting a small bouquet from her numerous rose bushes still wet from the morning dew and wrapping them with wax paper for me to take to my teacher.

I remember in the summer sitting on the back porch step with a freshly-plucked ripe tomato from my father’s garden, sprinkling salt on top, and taking that first bite as the juices squirted all over me and giggling from the wonderful taste.

I remember my mother never wrote down recipes, not even her favorites. So when I was older, I had her sit down and list the ingredients and instructions, which I promptly filed away, only to laugh years later when I was newly married and finally read them. It was trial and error on my husband’s palate, experimenting with her ‘touch of this and handful of that, with a pinch on top’ until I got it just right.

I remember reclining on the grass under the massive oak trees in our backyard daydreaming and reading my favorite book of the moment, being carried to another world, totally captivated, and thankful the library kept me well supplied.

I remember my father always had a book in his hand, too, whether it was historical, biographical, or a scientific journal while I sat in his lap pretending I was reading it, too. He would often read three books, alternating from one to the other. Love for the written word was passed from father, to daughter, to my three children.

I remember racing my bicycle down the hill of our street throwing my hands up in the air and feeling the wind rake it’s fingers through my hair, tossing it in all different directions. It was exciting to feel free and race against the wind. To this day, the small scars on my knees are a constant reminder of those thrill-seeking rides that occasionally ended with me spread-eagled on a neighbor’s lawn, laughing.

I remember the joy, the heartache, the laughter, the pain, and the numerous celebrations of the births and deaths of the lives of those I’ve loved and lost.

I remember the birth of my three sons like it was yesterday.

I remember reaching the goals I set for myself, and those I never met.

I try to remember to stay humble and gracious to those who believe in me.

It is important for me to remember, to look back, to remind myself never to forget what molded me into exactly who I am today so I will always try to keep my adventurous spirit, my fearlessness, and my love of life.

And most of all, I try to remember what is important and what is not.

Chase your dreams and remember everyday is a blessing.

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The Snake

peggyMy three young boys were playing by our small waterfall moving large rocks at our log home in Highlands, NC (the setting for my first mystery, Volume 1, The Puzzle). They were hard at work hauling and dragging rocks to build a dam. My oldest son said his younger brother suddenly yelled out, “There’s a gigantic snake!” After getting a good look at it, our oldest son ran as fast as he could to go for help. I was in the kitchen baking cookies. He already knew how I felt about snakes and went straight for his father. My husband took the news in stride. He knew kid’s imaginations. They always exaggerated the size of things. He took his time strolling down that dirt road on our property wondering what kind of garden snake they managed to uncover.

He approached smiling, but then did a double take, stopping dead in his tracks. That snake was well over twelve feet long. My husband stepped back a pace and told our oldest son to quickly go back to the house and tell his mother to get his shotgun and cartridges from our locked gun case so he could bring them back to him. Our son ran back, hollering about what was going on. I handed over his father’s unloaded shotgun and he quickly flew through the door. I stared out the window, but they were too far away for me to see clearly. There was no way I was walking out there. I hate snakes.

I was told later on that our son gave the gun to my husband, who loaded the shotgun. He then waited so see what the snake would do, as he was undecided about shooting it. It wasn’t acting hostile. The snake then started to slowly slither toward the woods, but then it stopped. It turned around and rose straight up in the air about four feet, like someone was playing a flute then latched onto a branch with its head. It stopped and just stared at my husband at eye level, showing no fear whatsoever. The three boys and my husband could not believe what they were witnessing. My husband considered his dilemma. His young boys played in that spot everyday, and since the snake wasn’t slithering off like it should and wasn’t talking, the snake had to go. My husband didn’t want to take chances. He raised his shotgun and eliminated the potential future threat.

My husband then picked up a large branch, draped the snake over it and asked our son to go back to the house to show his mother the snake so I could see sheer the size of it, otherwise, I wouldn’t believe it. Well, I have to tell you it the wrong thing for him to do. I watched our son drag it back all excited. I had a fit. That snake was not entering our house. I beat our son to the door, took one look at how long that thing was, snatched that branch from my son’s hand and ran to the edge of our drive and heaved-ho. That snake went sailing over the cliff, branch and all.

Moral of the story to all potential predators vs. my children: Be cautious in the forest and pay attention where you walk or place your hands. ….Oh, and anything that remotely threatens the safety of my children better make sure they know how to fly first: dead or alive.

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A Perfectly Deadly French Mystery

86Aves-garden When I began the Samantha Jamison Mystery Series, Samantha made her debut as my protagonist in solving her husband’s death in Book 1 The Puzzle in Highlands, North Carolina. Certain distinctive characters from that book went on to Book 2, Without Any Warning at the New Jersey shore. When it came time to do the third in the series, 86 Avenue du Goulet, I decided to take everyone to the French Riviera. Why? Well, we had a house there and I thought the property lent itself to make a very intriguing mystery.

It was an old estate property built in 1954 by a married couple. It was all stone, with stone courtyards and curved arches, surrounded by elaborate gardens. Here is an excerpt from Book 3 describing the mysterious gardens and why it was a perfect backdrop for my next mystery. This was the exact way the gardens presented themselves when we first bought the villa. I merely added the intrigue and mystery, and, of course the storyline.

…I hustled up the stone path, but was startled when confronted by a massive several-foot-high cactus. I barely edged around it and pressed on, briefly turning now and then; noticing the views of the Mediterranean getting better the higher I climbed. A few empty pedestals with broken shards caught my eye too. What happened to the statues?

So many pathways crammed this unusual upper garden, but then they always seemed to turn off to a narrower connected pathway, which automatically led you right back toward the villa. Why the strange maze of paths?

I stubbed my toe and looked down. In the dark, these paths could be hazardous. On the edges of the path, stones were angled in an upright pattern. Intentional?

Whoever initially designed all this must have had a specific purpose in doing it this particular way. Why? Was I over-thinking the garden’s strange quirks?
I turned back to view the villa and spotted that the flat surface of the roof over the garage was also paved with the same earthy colored stone. At the very end of it, two old cement angel statues faced each other. That was it. Nothing else was up there. Why were they the only things up there?

A metal, spiral staircase led up to them. Like a magnet, this property began luring me in and latching onto me. Why was the staircase locked at the bottom with a gate?

I finally reached the upper level area where an abandoned swimming pool sat in disrepair, the mosaic tiles around its perimeter falling off or missing. The unusual structure I had noticed from below was a collapsed cabana, a stark contrast to the well-maintained gardens.
Why the disparity between the pool and lush gardens?

I turned again. The panoramic view at this height was spectacular, but being on a timetable, I had to keep going. I paused once more at a gated ‘fruit cellar’ that I was tempted check out, but staying focused, I turned away instead and hastily walked out the back gate to head for Martine’s.

However, my fascination for the villa and its property wouldn’t let me go. I stole one last look at the gardens that seemed to be calling me back for further scrutiny. Strange. Something wasn’t right. I could feel it…

I also tried to capture the beauty of not only the property but the whole area in general in describing what Samantha saw the first morning she woke up at her leased villa and looked out her second floor terrace at the Mediterranean Sea.

…I stepped out onto the deck. The residential area and town of Les Issambres had not changed much since I was here a year before, just a few new villas and houses here and there had sprouted among all the beautifully landscaped properties dotting the mountainous terrain. Yachts and jet skis crisscrossed far below as the sun reflected off the sea’s surface.
To my left in the distance were the beaches of St. Raphaël jutting out into the water and the magnificent Esterel mountain ranges beyond. Off to my right in the distance was the lovely town of St. Maxine and the bay of St. Tropez.
I looked downward. The small manicured lawn off the living room directly below was shaped in a half circle, just like the upper terrace where I stood. A stone wall, three feet high, bordered it to protect people from falling below.
Part of that curved wall dropped about two stories to the neighbor’s house and their pool, and then it curved around to my villa’s side gardens. Red bougainvillea spilled over it and trailed to the bottom. If you didn’t know where the wall was, it appeared as a lush carpet of red, and although beautiful to the eye, to a veteran, it concealed lengthy thorns, as sharp and painful as miniature daggers.
The wall continued from the back to along the side of the villa where stone arches ran parallel, wrapping around to the front entrance. I looked far to the right where an expansive stone stairway descended from the kitchen patio to a mosaic, tiled fountain.
At the bottom of those steps a maze of pathways cut from the same stone sloped downward along the lower gardens that contained benches and flower-filled urns.
I leaned out further and noticed in one shaded corner a cement table and chairs under a blooming magnolia tree. Ah – a perfect writing spot. I felt as though I had stepped into a Monet painting. At every turn, a blended brushstroke of color! With my agent lambasting me for taking this vacation instead of staying focused for my next novel, it seems as though this burial mystery was just the ticket I was looking for. Apparently my next book was emerging and unfolding right in front of me…

Our neighbors really were Martine, Jean, and their dog, Sonia, as in the book. In the interim of writing this mystery Jean passed away, so I dedicated the book in memory of him with a special thanks to Martine. All the rest of the names in the book are fictitious. I did spend time working in the gardens with our French gardener and the location of all the other properties that surrounded us and their exact locations played right into the mystery, including the house with the red light across the way. The mysterious cat lady who came and went at dusk, slipping cat food under our garden gate really did exist.

All our neighbors were from Paris with second homes on the Riviera. They were always gracious and hospitable to us on every occasion and the complete opposite from which I described the neighbors in the book, then again, you never know. I mean, after all, this was fiction, right? Since then, we have sold the property and I explain in the beginning of Book 4, A Lethal Time what really happened (which was true) to the old villa and it’s property after Samantha and her ‘crew’ left.

Like I said, I merely added the intrigue and mystery, and, of course the storyline. …Okay, Okay, so maybe my characters had a little say in it.

P.S. This is the exact location of my Memoir, The Riviera Is Burning. This is where my family and I fled the famous French Riviera fires one summer and explains my fear of fire to this day. We were a very lucky family.

My latest?

Book 11 Diamonds Are Not A Girl’s Best Friend.

Was it the value of the canes? Heritage? A collector’s sense? Or something else…?

Chase your dreams and remember, everyday is a blessing.

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The Puzzle Desk

the puzzleWe were moving across town and were selling our smaller place furnished with the large pieces, deciding we’d move the other things we were keeping ourselves. But as time wore on with all the packing, unpacking, loading the car, and making runs back and forth, I found our good intentions were heading south by the third day.

By the fourth day, I was donating, tossing, or leaving behind items I thought I would never part with. All that attachment, especially to the heavier pieces (not worth hiring a mover for) suddenly seemed not worth the effort. Did I really need this? Was it worth lugging several miles? Would it fit in our new place? What did I ever see in that piece in the first place? What was I thinking keeping it all these years?

I never thought I was capable of being so ruthless, but after several days and nights of sore muscles and lack of sleep, I was bordering on the edge. It was sort of like going through your closet and deciding on the keep and the donate piles. After several hours that emotional attachment started to wear pretty thin. All I kept envisioning was the time and effort involved in lugging all that stuff in and out of our SUV.

Normally I was a very easy-going individual, but several days into the big move, I was transformed into Sybil with multiple personalities. Happy, then depressed one minute and near hysteria the next. I wanted all this done. I wasn’t writing and was going toward the dark side from withdrawal. My schedule was no more. I was eating fast food from the drive-thru on the fly. Breakfast, lunch and dinner went by the wayside. Answering emails and twitter went down the toilet as well.

Where did I leave the normally pleasant, cheerful me? Was it in that keep or donate pile? Finally, on the last day of shutting the emotional door one last time on the old and embracing the new, I walked into our old bedroom and there squeezed into the corner sat my friend, my puzzle desk. It was the desk where I wrote my first mystery, The Puzzle.

(That mystery took place in Highlands, NC. Samantha’s log home really was mine, on the side of a mountain, the back porch elevated on telephone poles. And that ice storm, a frightening experience, really took place, our car covered in ice, the whole nice yards. I will never forget it. And yes, we used to wash our car under Bridal Veil Falls too. The Franklin auction held many memories, as well as inching along that curvy, dangerous road on the way from Franklin on many a foggy night, where we held our breath, as we drove, knowing that gorge was down there in the dark to our right. And Mirror Lake? Our favorite spot to feed the geese.) 

So needless to say, that particular Puzzle desk held a special place in my heart as I drew upon memories that inspired me. It was an old desk with multiple secret compartments. After a while, I thought I’d found them all, but I always managed to find another when I swore there were no more to be discovered. Just like in my mystery, The Puzzle, another secret was revealed. It was where I sat hour after hour: happy, sad, frustrated, brain blocked, pounding out clues and dialogue. I stood there just staring at it, but then decided that since I had moved on to other mysteries in the series and embraced new horizons, that maybe my desk should too. Why not let someone else discover and unlock all those secrets just waiting to be revealed?

Besides, it was very, very heavy…

…It was day number eleven (It took us longer that we figured) of our big move and the last of what we were taking with us was finally at our new house. We were on our way back from the store, when we decided to stop at the old place for one last look. I walked in and stopped dead in my tracks. Staring at me was The Puzzle desk. I looked at my husband and sighed deeply…

He knew he was in trouble when I asked, “Can we make just one more trip?”

Post Script:

We found an additional surprise puzzle piece when we went to lift (lug) it into the back of our SUV. The desk magically slid apart and separated into two large pieces, which made it not the heavy piece we originally thought to be! What a surprise! We stood there gaping and then laughed. Another puzzle piece was discovered, which cemented the deal to take it with us. Every time I pass that desk to this day I smile, glad I brought my friend with me. Who knows there might be another surprise lurking somewhere in this old gal.

Chase your dreams. And remember, everyday is a blessing! Make the most of it!

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Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks 

peggyI guess you could say that November is the perfect time to give thanks. And we should. But will it be a blanket thanks that covers just about everything you’re grateful for? Do you really mean it? Or are you actually going to sit back and really think about exactly what you should be grateful for? I do, all the time.

I am so very grateful to be blessed with a mother and father who taught me respect for others, even those we disagree with. They are no longer here, but their love, which was a constant, still surrounds me everyday. I know it goes without saying that I love the rest of my family to death, even the ones who annoy me and drive me crazy. Of course, my friends are also included in that. But what I’m really talking about, are the things that occur when you are too busy to think about at the time, but are still extremely grateful for, nevertheless.

I am grateful to my husband for rubbing my aching back when I was hustling to get my edited and approved book out. But in the sheer ecstasy of the massage, I hit the wrong key and didn’t discover that blunder until ten minutes before my book was to go to final print, and made a 911 panic-stricken plea to my publisher, who I am also grateful for, when I caught it and it was corrected in time.

I’m even grateful to my critics who point out my faults and shortcomings…chuckle.

I thought that was strictly my husband’s territory.

John Locke said it perfectly when referring to his novel, A Girl Like You. “Who’s gonna get hurt if you brake a flippin’ rule once in awhile? I get a lot of criticism from purists for my writing, but I can live with it, because English teachers aren’t my target audience. Not all English teachers. Just the cool ones.”

I’m grateful for the multi-talented authors whose friendship and sage advice over the years has meant so much to me. More than they will ever know. Thank you!

I am so very grateful to all my followers, many friends, and the other wonderful multi-talented authors I have met on Twitter. You know who you are.

I am grateful to all those wonderful people who left such heartfelt comments on my website to my posts, and the many thousands of readers out there who really do enjoy my books and give me great feedback and constructive advice. You are valued!

But most of all, I am grateful for every day that I am lucky enough to wake up and write knowing so many wonderful people, authors included, who are a part of my life. And as long as my fictional characters, I’m not mentioning any particular names, they know who they are, restrain themselves and stop telling me their dialogue is much better than mine, I am good to go.

Be grateful. Life is too short. Give thanks.

Chase your dreams, not someone else’s.

Remember, every day is a blessing.


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Suzanne Jenkins Interviews Author Peggy Edelheit

The Savant of Chelsea author Suzanne Jenkins interviews author Peggy Edelheit about her sleuth Samantha Jamison mystery novels.

Suzanne is a terrific Author of several books: The Greeks of Beaubien Street,  Pam of Babylon Trilogy, The Greeks of Beaubien Street, Someone Like You, The Tao Pam. Her website is: http://suzannejenkins.net Please check her out.



Author: Peggy A. Edelheit

I have always loved the written word and have been making up and writing stories since I first learned to write, which my parents wholeheartedly encouraged while I was growing up. Although I read and appreciated every genre, mysteries were my preference of choice. I always read late into the night. I had to know how that mystery turned out! Constructing and deconstructing the mystery always intrigued me. Later as an adult, after ignoring certain voices in my head that began intruding on my daily life, I finally let those voices have their say. Sam sort of jumped out to the forefront. (I’m afraid there might be a lot of me in there too…chuckle)

I’ve been extremely lucky to travel abroad with my family over the years and have drawn from those travels and experiences for my writing. We had a home in the south of France, which was the perfect backdrop for 86 Avenue du Goulet, Book 3 in my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series. That home was also the location for my French Memoir, The Riviera Is Burning. It’s my true story about how we fled the French Riviera wildfires one summer when they raged out of control. I can still see those flames. It was a frightening experience I wanted to share with my readers.

I have been blessed with three wonderful sons and live with my husband and Miniature Schnauzer, Sam. I spend time in both Bucks County, PA and South Florida.

The Samantha Jamison Mystery Series, Volumes 1-10, is a Mystery/Thriller series about an author, Samantha Jamison, aka Sam, who writes about how she gets caught up in unexpected mysteries, a kind of story within a story with a touch of humor. They are all written in the first person, so the reader has the same disadvantage as Sam, who occasionally turns around and talks to them and will sometimes ask the reader what they think is going on so they get involved in solving it with her. She confides in them. Maintaining my reader’s interest is important. If you lose your reader they will move onto another book and may not come back. With that in mind I try to keep my mysteries fast-paced page-turners with unusual twists and turns, and of course, my signature surprise endings.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Peggy-A.-Edelheit/e/B004RB75NS/

Samantha made her debut as my protagonist in Book 1, The Puzzle, which takes place in Highlands, North Carolina. As a widow, Samantha Jamison, an author, revisits her husband’s past to solve the mystery surrounding his questionable death. She is a reluctant sleuth having always lived in the shadow of her husband. The reader is shown how Samantha grows and changes both as a woman and author while doggedly pursuing the truth no matter the consequences. Originally, The Puzzle was meant to be a standalone book, but by the end of the book, I realized I wasn’t finished telling Sam’s story. It would continue in a series. Sam decides she enjoys and is fairly good at solving mysteries. Because I once owned a log home in Highlands, it was a great location to write that first mystery with those beautiful but mysterious mountains as a backdrop. I used to sit out on our back porch daydreaming what a great isolated place for a writer to get caught up in her own mystery. Events in that book did happen to me, including that frightening ice storm.

I try to write everyday. There may be times when nothing is developing the way I like it, but I keep typing anyway, trying not to lose momentum. I’ve even deleted whole sections of a chapter if it doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t outline. Like I’ve said many times before, I like to compare it to throwing food against the wall to see what sticks. Some days nothing sticks, but I keep typing. I swap dialogue between characters too. The important thing is don’t stop. When a character suddenly dominates the conversation or the crew does, and they often do, I can’t type fast enough, wishing sometimes they would slow down so I can get exactly what they are saying, yelling stop!

My personal workspace is everything. In other words, I surround myself with what I love: family photos and events, memorabilia that elicits a smile or laugh whenever it catches my eye. I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with a comfort zone environment. I find it’s a great atmosphere for writing. It is my space and no one else’s. I have a mug sitting on the shelf behind me. It says: Careful, you may end up in my novel. (They do!)

I can honestly say that no particular author has influenced me more than another. I love a well-written story that grabs me the minute I start to read it regardless of the genre. But somehow, I always seem to drift back to mysteries and how complex they are. I love trying to figure them out. Samantha is always repeating to her “crew” in the series to always expect the unexpected.

With The Puzzle I tried to convey how Samantha felt: her scattered, rambling thought process connected to her fear, anxieties and hopelessness in the loss of her husband, her marriage, and her life, which she discovers was all a façade from what she thought she actually had, hence her rambling on the pages and her anxious, incoherent thoughts, constant questions and second-guessing herself. As the mystery progresses Sam evolves, gaining confidence and becomes a stronger personality. Much to her surprise, she becomes obsessed just like her husband was as she searches for the truth to The Puzzle.

Digital books seem to be outpacing physical books in sales everywhere. 99.9% of my sales are digital. All I see when I travel are digital readers. I find it much easier to travel with one device rather than several books, which are cumbersome. I love my large Kindle fire HD. As a lover of words, I quickly became a convert once I got my hands on one. As an author, forgive the pun: I saw the writing on the wall. After Book 4 in my Samantha Jamison mystery series, I used digital format only. So far I am pleased with my decision.

New authors constantly ask me about any advice. First and foremost, don’t give up. It you have your heart set on writing then do it, even if you have to write early in the morning, late in the evening or during your lunch hour. Follow your dreams. Anything is possible. Sacrifice is a part of success. Don’t let other’s discourage you. Keep trying. Keep writing until you get it right. Read other authors to see what they are doing right. Proofread like crazy until it reads smoothly then use a professional EDITOR! A good editor will tell you what you should hear not what you want to hear. Once you get the book back from them make corrections, reread several times to make it flow. A beta reader helps or several. You might not like some of their feedback, but they are worth it. Then send it off to be published. Have your covers express exactly what you want to convey to the reader. You might have a great cover, but you better have a great story too.

Remember: Chase your dreams, not someone else’s!

My Samantha Jamison Mystery Series 1-10


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According to one definition, a friend is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. That is true enough, but that obviously does not always apply, depending on the circumstances. My husband is my friend. When my parents were still living, we were friends. I consider my three sons my friends. I am also lucky enough to have male and female friends as well. Continue reading

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Who is Samantha Jamison and why are terrible things always happening in her life?

peggyAuthor C. D. Kearby has just posted “10 Big Questions With Peggy A. Edelheit ” on Kearby’s writer’s blog.

1. Who is Samantha Jamison and why are terrible things always happening in her life?

Samantha Jamison, my protagonist, is an Author whose husband, Stephen, was suddenly killed in a questionable death. After receiving unsatisfactory answers from the authorities, Sam goes back to the town of Highlands, North Carolina, where her husband had some history to find out what happened. Once there, Sam befriends several characters that not only end up in the follow-up books, but also are a major influence in future scenarios of trouble for Sam in the Samantha Jamison Mystery Series.”

Read the rest of this great interview here!

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Sleuth Samantha Jamison is Interviewed by another mystery Sleuth protagonist

peggySamantha, you’re an author who gets caught up in real-life mysteries that you then turn into books. Love that idea. Think we could ditch your real author, Peggy, and my author and keep all the royalties for ourselves?

“Great minds think alike! I knew there was some kind of karma thing going on between us the minute I sat down. What a novel, forgive the pun, idea! We deserve some payoff, don’t you think? We’re the ones taking all the risks out there. The way I look at it, it’s a win-win situation that tips in my favor. Peggy may get all the glory, but I get to have all that fun. Who do you think is the one whispering all those crazy scenarios in her ear, especially after she’s had a glass of wine? She’s not so up tight then.

In your books, you’ve dealt with ice storms, bikers, a mysterious cat lady, antique enthusiasts, drug dealers and, of course, murderers. Who knew writing came with so many occupational hazards?

“Hey, even Peggy surprised me with some of those unusual mysteries. She’s running me ragged, even dragging me over to her old house in France on the Riviera. I believe that was Book 3, 86 Avenue du Goulet (Sam pauses and smiles) …Okay, I must admit that wasn’t so terrible. I mean some of those French guys were really hot! And she did eventually invite my girlfriends, and then Clay over, who also happens to be very hot.”

In The Puzzle, you got into solving mysteries when the details of your husband’s death didn’t add up. What’s kept you sleuthing since then?

“I guess my life and my crazy girlfriends have not exactly been what you call normal. But I kind of liked that. It made everything so unpredictable. They kept dragging me into capers that I found I was good at solving. Now Peggy? I could bend your ear with a couple of her real escapades over the years, but since she’ll never put those to paper and I don’t wish to end up like some of her antagonists, my lips are sealed. (Sam slowly looks both ways, speaking low) …Did you hear about that one time in Paris when Peggy ended up sleeping in her rented car under the Eiffel Tower with her husband and three little kids…”

Were you surprised to learn you were so good at cracking tough cases?

“Yeah, I was. It was empowering, taking charge and shaking things up. It became addicting, figuring out all those angles and details, and then watching them fall into place, sometimes neatly, and at other times, sort of on the messy side. But between Peggy and I, we always managed to come up with a great whodunnit ending! (Sam looks both ways again, whispering to me,) They’re mine, but I let her take the credit.”

You solve your mysteries with the help (and sometimes hindrance) of some wonderful friends. They don’t mind the dangerous situations you sometimes get into?

“I hate to spread rumors, but I think if I left them to their own resources, they would be worse than I am. But maybe that’s why we bond so well, accepting each other’s idiosyncrasies and are willing to overlook our imperfections, although, sometimes we can’t help pointing them out. The way I look at it, age has nothing to do with how well we get along. In my books, if we’re all crazy-minded to begin with, accept each other for who we are, and look out for each other, then that’s the glue that binds us. Oh, they complain, including me, but I think they love it just as much as I do.”

Your ‘senior consultant,’ Martha, is fashion challenged to say the least. If you could give her a makeover, what would she look like?

“An older me, but with short, spiky white hair instead. And that would be so boring. Where would the clash be? The arguments? I just love it when Martha gets right up in my face and goes at it. It keeps me on my toes. Besides, I like being shocked and blinded by all that color, flair and exuberance of hers. I must say sunglasses do help.”

Mona’s reappearance in your life in Without Any Warning caused all kinds of chaos. So when you got her cryptic message in The Mouth of the Rat, were you tempted to just hit delete?

“Tell me about it. She was the last person I expected to hear from. But that dead part of her message said, gotcha and I was hooked. And as usual, she was trouble from the get go, lying, sneaking around, deflecting and bending the truth. It just about drove me crazy until I realized I loved every minute of it. I just tried to outwit her so I could stay on top of things. You know, I still have that raincoat and hat I wore for my surveillance of her in Without Any Warning. I do have a sentimental side.”

Your adventures mean a lot of packing and unpacking. What are some items that you never leave home without?

“My Spanx. For you guys that are reading this, it’s kind of like a body shaper. They make them for men too. It holds in all that uneven stuff we ladies prefer not showing off (like bulges where they shouldn’t be) I buy it one size too small, hence my size 2/4. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to breath, but I time myself for the evening, you know, it’s like how long I can wear certain shoes, 1, 2, 3 hours or, if I’m lucky, the whole evening. Oh, I mustn’t forget my iPhone for Twitter, email, texting my girl friends…”

Your author, Peggy A. Edelheit, has, in addition to three sons and a husband, a Miniature Schnauzer. My author grew up with Miniature Schnauzers. Think that makes them kindred spirits?

“Isn’t that the oddest thing? Maybe we are! I do have to admit I’m still rankled about one thing. Peggy’s dog’s name is Samantha, Sam for short. Can you believe it? I mean, come on! She gave me her dog’s name? (Samantha pauses, leaning back) …Well, I do have to concede one point in Peggy’s favor. She did buy the dog in 2008 before I came along in 2009. But I’m still touchy and feel kind of foolish when she calls her dog and I come running.”

“Trust me, one day I will get even….”

Peggy’s life as a novelist seems to mirror your own in a lot of ways. How are you alike and how are you different?

“Oh my! Come to think of it we are very similar in that we think out of the box and see humor where other’s might not. That spills onto the pages a lot, especially when we are both trying to be serious, but hey, you can’t take everything seriously, right? (Samantha looks both ways, once more) To tell you the truth, I think I am her alter ego. That sure would explain a lot, don’t you think? It’s spooky sometimes.”

What does Peggy have planned for you next? Or should I say, what do you have planned for you next? Or what does Peggy have planned for you to have planned for you next? My head’s spinning a little.

“The Riviera Is Burning is a slight pause for her for a quickie. And no, it’s not what your thinking. I meant a brief personal memoir from France. In book 6, (Sam sighs loudly and rolls her eyes) once again, involves a plane, but skis. Then there is Book 7, 8, 9, and 10, and of course, they include some of the, (and I use this term lightly), girls. What she has planned for us, I can never predict, but we always have a meeting of the minds to discuss the plots over a glass of wine. Who knows what’ll happen after the second glass? I know one thing. They always have surprise endings.”

“That’s guaranteed!”

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Author Peggy Edelheit Guests on Ellis Vidler’s Unpredictable Muse Blog

the puzzleUnpredictable Muse blog.

“I’d say there’s a lot of Samantha in me, and visa versa. We seek advice, give others credit more so than ourselves, and are reluctant to take center stage. Although we get carried away on occasion, we have a great sense of humor. Just looking at the quirky characters we both have to deal with proves we’re unpredictable, too.”

To read the rest of this post, go to Ellis Vidler’s “How Samantha Found her Settings

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