I love a good cozy mystery, and when you add in Southern charm, I’m definitely right there. Tonya Kappes’ Ghostly Southern Mysteries series featuring Emma Lee Raines, an undertaker who can see ghosts who have been murdered, has fast become a favorite of mine. In celebration of the release of book three today, A Ghostly Demise, we thought it would be fun if one of my personal favorite characters, Emma Lee’s granny–Zula Fae Raines Payne–took you on a tour of picturesque Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky.
Sleepy Hollow through the eyes of Zula Fae Raines Payne, Mayoral Candidate
Well, hi-do. Welcome to the Sleepy Hollow Inn, I’m Zula Fae Raines Payne the proprietor around here. I’ve been expecting you. Here is an election pin to stick on your shirt while you are here. I’m running for mayor and I know you can’t vote, but you can support me while you are staying in my fine bed and breakfast.
Why don’t you grab one of them Mason Jars full of my sweet homemade ice tea, which everyone here in Sleepy Hollow says I make the best, and a pimiento cheese sandwich from the gathering room over there.
What? Let me guess. You pronounce it puh-minner, puh-minnah, or just plain minner. Either way, head on out to the front porch where I have a rocking chair with your name on it.
I just got back from Artie’s Meat and Deli where I just picked up a bushel of Dottie Kremer’s apples she grows right here in Sleepy Hollow on her farm. Dee-licious. And I picked up the latest copy of Cock and Feather Magazine.
See here. That’s our one and only Chicken Teater, God rest his soul. And Lady Cluckington, his prize hen, right there on the front cover with him.
Anyways, enough fussing over a dead man. I’ve got to get my scooter chained up around the tree out there in front so you go on and I’ll join you directly.
Um-kay, you can follow me if you like, but first I want you to go in there and get you some refreshments while we sit a spell.
My scooter? Yep, it’s one of them mopeds. I use to drive a hearse because I’m retired from over yonder. Across the town square, right over there is Eternal Slumber Funeral Home. My granddaughters, Emma Lee and Charlotte Rae, run the place now. But not without a lot of help from me, if you know what I mean?
Do you feel that breeze? I sure do love sitting right here on this porch and look out over our town during the fall. Look behind us, over there in the mountains are the caves of Kentucky. Don’t those orange, red, and yellow fall leaves look like a pretty picture? That’s exactly what you tourists come here to see. Me? Nah, I never hike them caves. Are you kidding? An old woman like me? Why I’m eighty years old.
Our town square is smack dab in the middle of town. As you can see, all our stores and businesses border the town square. You’ll find everything you need right here. I love all the hanging baskets the Auxiliary women hung from the carriage lights. Fall is just my favorite time of the year.
Stay away from that lady over there with that yoga mat under her arm. Yes, the one getting in the red caddy. She’ll know everything about you in a second of meeting you and spread gossip about it all over town before you can tell her goodbye. That’s Beulah Paige Bellefry. She’s as nosey as they come.
I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, like over there next to Eternal Slumber is the Pose and Relax Yoga studio.
Who on earth ever knew that all that stretching could make someone feel good? Here, look at me. Up, down, and lift your leg like this. This here is the salutation pose. At least that’s what Hettie Bell told me. You should see her. She’s as limber as a cat.
You can go get all relaxed from one of her classes and walk next door to the Girl’s Best Friend Spa where Mary Anna Hardy will fix you right up. Don’t get the willies because Mary Anna is the beautician for the dead at the Eternal Slumber. She’s good at what she does. But between you and me, she does apply a little too much makeup on the corpse.
If you want a little religion while you are here, you can walk down the street from the spa to the Sleepy Hollow Baptist Church. Tell Pastor Brown that Zula sent you.
Right over there with the big steeple is the Sleepy Hollow Courthouse. You can go in there and learn anything you want to know about Sleepy Hollow. It’s like our own little museum.
If you want a fancy cup of coffee like you get back in New York City, stop in at the Higher Ground Café. Cheryl Lynn Doyle’s daddy paid good money to send her to a fancy barista school up there and plunked down a pretty penny to purchase that old building. He did a right fine job turning it into a coffee shop for his little girl. I have to admit, she can make a good cup of coffee. Now, my homemade pumpkin bread is better than hers, but I still give her credit for trying.
Over there? Huh. That’s Burns Funeral. They ain’t no count. O’Dell Burns is running against me for mayor just because he’s mean as a snake. He’s always trying to steal business from Eternal Slumber. I wouldn’t let him bury my dead dog, much less a person.
Are you a drinker? Cause if you are, we are a dry county. You’re gonna have to head out of town to The Watering Hole. It’s on the other side of the border. If you do go to the Watering Hole keep an eye out for the police. Jack Henry Ross is the sheriff and he’ll stop you for drunk and driving in a heartbeat. He does date my granddaughter, Emma Lee, so I can’t guarantee you will get out of it if he does pull you over, so I suggest you just sip on my tea.
If you’d be so kind to take a handful of my election buttons and pass them out while you are walking around town, I’d be mighty appreciative. Don’t be late for supper. We are having beans and fried cornbread. Six o’clock on the dot. Have a nice day!
Oh, how I love Granny! She’s so feisty and pushes her agenda with no regrets. She’s adorable while she’s causing trouble.
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About Tonya Kappes
For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.
She has a B.A. in Education from the University of Kentucky and is a proud Kentucky Wildcat fan.
Married to an amazing man, Eddy, she has four sons ranging in ages from twenty-two to sixteen years old, Charlie and Scooter (Schnauzers), and Kitty Kappes.
Now a full time writer, she spends her days creating the fun-loving, quirky southern characters that are full of charm that readers have come to love.
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Thank you, Tonya, for writing such a fun guest post, and I hope that everyone will check out this wonderful series published by the Harper Collins imprint Witness. Check out A Ghostly Demise, on sale today, August 25.