The Matchmaker Series, Book One
Comedic romantic mystery
Publisher: Ballantine (Random House)
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: About 80,000
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Certain to appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, and Katie MacAlister, Elise Sax’s hilarious series debut introduces matchmaker-in-training Gladie Burger, who stumbles into a dangerous quagmire of murder and red-hot romance.
Three months has been Gladie Burger’s limit when it comes to staying in one place. That’s why Gladie is more than a little skeptical when her eccentric Grandma Zelda recruits her to the family’s matchmaking business in the quaint small town of Cannes, California. What’s more, Gladie is also highly unqualified, having a terrible track record with romance. Still, Zelda is convinced that her granddaughter has “the gift.” But when the going gets tough, Gladie wonders if this gift has a return policy.
When Zelda’s neighbor drops dead in his kitchen, Gladie is swept into his bizarre family’s drama. Despite warnings from the (distractingly gorgeous) chief of police to steer clear of his investigation, Gladie is out to prove that her neighbor’s death was murder. It’s not too long before she’s in way over her head—with the hunky police chief, a dysfunctional family full of possible killers, and yet another mysterious and handsome man, whose attentions she’s unable to ignore. Gladie is clearly being pursued—either by true love or by a murderer. Who will catch her first?
Praise for An Affair to Dismember
“Elise Sax’s new Matchmaker series is off to a rousing start! . . . Sax gives the comic mystery genre a new spin. . . . A fun read sure to entertain.”—RT Book Reviews
“Fans of laugh-out-loud romantic suspense will enjoy this new author as she joins the ranks of Janet Evanovich, Katie MacAllister, and Jennifer Crusie.”—Booklist
“Elise Sax will win your heart.”—New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis
“In the tradition of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, Elise Sax’s new novel is a funny, sexy ride.”—Valerie Frankel, author of Four of a Kind
“What a fun book! It will leave readers begging for more.”—Kim Gruenenfelder, author of There’s Cake in My Future
When you first start out, you’re going to ask people what they’re looking for. This is a big mistake. Huge. They want the impossible. Every woman wants a Cary Grant with a thick wallet who doesn’t mind if she’s a few pounds overweight. Every man wants a floozy he can take home to Mom. See? Asking their opinions only leads to headaches you could die from. Take it from me, I’ve been doing this a lot of years. Nobody knows what they want. You have to size a person up and tell them what they want. It might take convincing, but you’ll widen their horizons, and they’ll thank you for it. Eventually. Remember, love can come from anywhere, usually where you least expect it. Tell them not to be afraid, even if it hits them on the head and hurts a lot at first. With enough time, any schlimazel can turn into a Cary Grant or a presentable floozy.
Lesson 22, Matchmaking Advice from Your Grandma Zelda
The morning I found out about Randy Terns’ murder, I was happily oblivious. I was too busy to care, trying to make heads or tails of my grandma’s matchmaking business. Nobody actually mentioned the word “murder” that morning. I sort of stumbled onto the idea later on.
That Thursday I sat in my grandma’s makeshift office in the attic of her sprawling Victorian house, buried under mounds of yellowed index cards and black-and-white Polaroid pictures. It was all part of Zelda’s Match making Services, a business I now co-owned at my grandma’s insistence as her only living relative and what she called “a natural matchmaker if ever I saw one.”
“Gladie Burger,” she had told me over the phone three months before, urging me to move in with her, “you come from a long line of Burger women. Burger women are matchmaker women.”
I was a Burger woman, but I had strong doubts about the matchmaker part. Besides, I couldn’t decipher the business. It was stuck in the dark ages with no computer, let alone Internet connection. Grandma fluctuated between staging workshops, running group meetings, hosting walk- ins, and just knowing when someone needed to be fixed up. “It’s an intuitive thing,” she explained.
I pushed aside a stack of cards, stirring up a black cloud of dust. I had been a matchmaker in training for three months, and I was no closer to matching any couples. To be truthful, I hadn’t even tried. I wiped my dusty hands on my sweatpants and stared at the giant mound on her desk. “Grandma, I’m not a matchmaker,” I said to her stapler. “I’ve never even had a successful relationship. I wouldn’t know one if I saw one.”
I had a sudden desire for fudge. I gave my stomach a squish and tugged at my elastic waistband. My grandmother was a notorious junk food addict, and I had slipped into her bad habits since I moved in with her. Hard to believe I was the same person who not even four months ago was a cashier in a trendy health food store in Los Angeles, the second- to- last job I had had in a more than ten- year string of jobs— which was probably why Grandma had twisted my arm to move to Cannes, California.
I decided against fudge and picked up an index card. It read: George Jackson, thirty- five years old. Next to the note, in Grandma’s handwriting, was scribbled Not a day less than forty- three; breath like someone died in his mouth. Halitosis George was looking for a stewardess, someone who looked like Jackie Kennedy and had a fondness for Studebakers. Whoa, Grandma kept some pretty old records. I needed to throw out 95 percent of the cards, but I didn’t know which 5 percent to keep.
Putting down the card, I stared out the window, my favorite activity these days. What had I gotten myself into? I had no skills as a matchmaker. I was more of a temp agency kind of gal. Something where I wasn’t in charge of other people’s lives. My three- week stint as a wine cork inspector was more my speed.
A man and his German shepherd ran down the street. I checked my watch: 12:10 p.m. Right on time. I could always count on the habits of the neighbors. There was a regular stream of devoted dog walkers, joggers, and cyclists that passed the house on a daily basis. Not much changed here. The small mountain town was low on surprises. I tried to convince myself that was a good thing. Stability was good. Commitment was good.
With sudden resolve, I took George Jackson’s card and threw it in the wastebasket. “Bye, George. I hope you found love and an Altoid.”
I tried another card. Sarah Johns. Nineteen years old. She had gotten first prize at the county fair for her blueberry pie, and she was looking for an honest man who didn’t drink too much. My grandma had seen something more in her. Poor thing. Art school better than man, she had written in the margins.
I tossed the card, letting it float onto George. Matchmaking was no easy task. It wasn’t all speed dating and online chat rooms. Lives were on the line. One false move and futures could be ruined.
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