Hey, y’all! Today I’m running my mouth on the Great Escapes blog tour for Fireworks on the Fourth, the third in B. J. Bowen’s Musical Murder Mystery series!
Fireworks on the Fourth (Musical Murder Mystery #3)
Publication Date: May 9, 2023
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Camel Press
Preorder on Amazon (affiliate link)
The fiery festivities of the Symphony’s annual Fourth of July extravaganza feature cannons, liberty bells, and fireworks. But the noise covers gunshots which leave a shifty Board member dead and Emily Wilson’s friend, KC, the prime suspect. Can Emily face down blackmail, danger, and a threat to her loyal companion to find the killer?
Author Guest Post:
Many Musings, Mostly Musical—Fourth of July Memories
My most recent Musical Murders novel is Fireworks on the Fourth. I’ve been asked if it is based on my symphony experiences. I have to say, “No,” because, during my tenure, no one was ever murdered at the Symphony’s Fourth of July concert. However, many elements of the setting were lifted from my experience. The donation booths for the fireworks, the carillon bells, and especially the cannon from the nearby military base are strongest in my memory.
But as far as incidents, probably the most memorable of our Fourth of July performances came at least 35 years ago, in the days before hour-by-hour weather apps. One of the TV news programs was featuring a segment on Fourth of July celebrations around the country. Our orchestra had been scheduled for one of the spots, to be aired live at 8:00 PM. But it was raining. And I don’t mean it was a typical Colorado rain that hardly gets you wet. No, it was a downpour worthy of the Midwest. I’m surprised Noah hadn’t floated the ark. It had started at 4:00 PM, drenching everything, complete with thunder and lightning, and had continued for hours.
The orchestra? According to our contract, if an outdoor concert wasn’t cancelled by half an hour before the performance, management would need to pay musicians. I kept waiting for the call cancelling the performance to come. It didn’t.
So, in order to be ready to perform in case the performance wasn’t cancelled, I arrived at the park half an hour before the performance. The entire orchestra was packed like Skittles in a bowl under a canopy with no sides, about 12 feet by 12 feet. Needless to say, those musicians on the outside of this mass of people, including me, were getting soaked. Meanwhile, the orchestra manager kept insisting, as she had since 4:00, “This is Colorado. It’ll blow over,” meaning her words as encouragement.
The audience, 100,000 of them, hardy souls all, huddled under umbrellas, wearing raincoats. The stage and orchestra chairs were covered, the amplification system was covered, the recording system was covered, and the TV cameras were safely inside their moving vans. Only one van, connected to a cherry picker approximately three stories high, was empty. All was in readiness, if only the rain would stop.
Fed up and feeling like wet dogs, another woman and I ran for the empty TV truck. I may have been risking my life under the shadow of the cherry picker among the lightning and thunder, but at least I was dry.
For twenty minutes I sat inside that truck chatting with my colleague. Then, at ten minutes to eight, the call came. “We’re on!” Poking my head outside the truck I saw that, indeed, the storm had blown over. Stagehands scurried to stow the raingear covering our equipment. TV personnel hurried to set up their cameras. I assembled my instrument and started a truncated warm-up. The sky was completely clear, the air had that fresh scent it gets after a rainstorm, and the sun was setting over the mountains.
Another perfect Colorado evening. An ideal setting for the TV cameras, the audience, and the orchestra. And a tribute to the faith of the orchestra manager.
Has rain ever ruined your Fourth of July celebration? How does your family celebrate the Fourth of July? Do you have memorable Fourth of July moments? We’d love to hear them. Answer below in the comments.
This series is so much fun! I love that our protagonist, Emily Wilson, is a flutist. That’s an occupation not often seen in the cozies I’ve read. The details B. J. Bowen includes about the symphony and its inner workings are wonderful to learn about, because that’s something way out of my experience.
And the inner workings of the symphony may be what got Curtis Strange killed here. He was on the Symphony Board, where he got along with exactly no one, and he was a land developer with ethics that were questionable at best. He’s shot at the climax of the symphony’s Fourth of July performance, when a gunshot or two would sound like just another firework. Many people had reason to dislike him, but who wanted him dead? When part of KC’s past rears its head and makes her the prime suspect, Emily knows she’s got to find some way to focus the investigation away from her friend.
Bowen’s writing style is smooth and easy to read, dare I say, almost lyrical. She creates a world I can easily envision and think I’d like to visit. I love the characters she creates, and I’m glad we get to know more about KC in this story. We get to see a lot more of Emily’s beloved dog, Golden, too, and that’s always a good thing. And Bowen certainly had me guessing as to the mystery! She set up suspects and then deftly knocked them out of the running, and kept me enthralled right up to the end.
Cozy fans, I highly recommend you pick up Fireworks on the Fourth. Just in time for summer reading!
About B.J. Bowen
Barbara Bowen is a freelance writer. She was a finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2018 Focus: Eddy Awards for her article, “Letting Go with Grace,” published in Unity Magazine. Ms. Bowen is also an accomplished professional oboist who played throughout Mexico and with the Colorado Springs Symphony for nineteen years.
Drawing on her quirky fellow musicians and orchestral experiences, she created the mystery series, Musical Murders. The first is Music is Murder (Release date, 6-9-21). The second is Ballistics at the Ballet (Release date 9-14-2022) The third is Fireworks on the Fourth (Release date 5-9-2023).
She is a member of Sisters in Crime, lives in Colorado with two canine friends, and has a song for any occasion.
June 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 1 – Indie Author Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 1 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW
June 2 – The Plain-Spoken Pen – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST
June 2 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
June 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
June 3 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
June 4 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 4 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 5 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
June 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR GUEST POST
June 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
June 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews Blog – SPOTLIGHT
June 8 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
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