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Murder, Mysticism and Kinky Sex in “Sunday Best”

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In the comic murder mystery Sunday Best,  Ann Lineberger shows us that even in a small, seemingly innocuous town with wealthy residents, things aren’t always as normal and virtuous as they seem. This satire dives deep into investigating seemingly polished high-end lives, and exposing the hilariously flawed personas and obsessions lying just beneath.

Sunday Best is a satirical mystery that dives deep into investigating seemingly polished high-end lives, and exposing the hilariously flawed personas and obsessions lying just beneath.

Wealthy publishing and realty magnate Walter Bloom is found hanging naked in a barn, with only half a penis. To complement the police investigation, his brother Charles launches his own murder investigation, enlisting the help of a handful of trusted employees. The murder is reminiscent of the hanging of Betsy Stone 20 years earlier, in a park belonging to a different town.

Walter Bloom was a sex addict who enjoyed kink, auto-erotic asphyxiation and variety. Charles Bloom decides the investigation should focus on local sex clubs, including the famed Manhattan club Rainbow. Walter hadn’t just been hanged—his body had been staged. The murderer was sending a message, and that message involved sex. Jackie and Darren, also Charles’s employees, are assigned to visit the clubs Walter frequented, posing as swingers.

MixItUp.net, ThreeOrMore.com and DirtDirtyDirtier.net. The people you find on these sites and in the sex clubs are skin-crawl creepy. Darren is sidetracked by a fall into temptation, but then with renewed ambition, navigates the clubs with Jackie to secure information without having to take part in the sexual swinging, a task easier said than done.

And what about Eleanor Masters, the minister of the hippy-dippy alternative church Unify and now a famous mystic? Unify “… drew a lot of misfits…. They looked like complete sideshow freaks…. It appeared as if a traveling circus had dropped off a busload.” Her two daughters Brooke Edward and Lauren Mark have distanced themeselves from their mother’s reach, but as Bloom employees, are drawn back to her for unanswered questions.

The girls had always known their mother’s claim of being a clairvoyant was a fake, but how far will she go to protect her secret and the Unify Church? Although Lauren and Brooke try to stay as far away from their mother as possible, their investigation into Walter’s death brings them back into Eleanor’s sphere of clairvoyance and crystal balls, the million-dollar business she’s made for herself on the back of her husband’s death and, of course, Unify.

As the investigation continues, Lauren and Brooke discover secrets long hidden behind the guise of religion and spirituality, uncovering the true mission of the Unify Church. Could the murder of Walter Bloom be related to the murder of Unify member Betsy Stone 20 years ago? And if so, who is responsible?

Written chronologically, the story is primarily told from the perspective of sisters Lauren and Brooke, with the fascinating backstory about their tenuous childhood growing up in the confines of the Unify Church.

Lineberger’s portrayal of a single mom reinventing herself as a psychic, and turning her new talent into a multimillion-dollar business, is simultaneously intriguing and infuriating (I’m thankful that my own motherly imperfections can’t compare to hers). As Brooke and Lauren investigate, stunning truths about their mother and Unify surface, revealing what really happened 20 years before.

If you are a fan of poking fun at the lavish exteriors that some of our societal elite tend to portray or enjoy a romping mystery, you’ll love Sunday Best.

Sunday Best is now available to purchase.

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ABOUT ANN LINEBERGER:

Ann Lineberger is the author of Sunday Best (2008), The Adjustments (Full Fathom Five Digital, 2016) and New Spaces, Old World Charm (McGraw-Hill, 2004). Ann has worked as a reporter, editor, and writer for numerous publications, including Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, Cottages & Gardens, and Home Remodeling. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from New York University and an associate’s degree from the New York School of Interior Design. Her independent studies program undergraduate degree is from Providence College. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dogs, yoga, running, photography, reading, and escaping to Maine in the summers. In addition to writing, Ann is trained and has worked as an interior designer and realtor. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters, and two adorable mutts.

K. L. Romo writes about life on the fringe: teetering dangerously on the edge is more interesting than standing safely in the middle. She is passionate about women’s issues, loves noisy clocks and fuzzy blankets, but HATES the word normal. Visit KLRomo.com or @klromo.

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