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Friday, August 12, 2016

The Blood Spangled Banner: First Ladies Mystery By Barbara Schlichting

by Sandra Murphy

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Liv Anderson owns a unique business. She makes doll houses, complete with furnishings and dolls dressed in period costumes, all based on Presidents and First Ladies. Her favorite is Dolley Madison as she’s distantly related.

When she arrives at the store, the front looks as usual, but in the workroom, it’s chaos and the creator of the mess is still there! Liv’s able to stab him with a box cutter and make her escape. Luckily, her boyfriend is a cop so they’re on the scene quickly but not in time to catch the man.

Of all days for that to happen—she’s got a celebrity coming to the shop. Jackie Newell. She’s the owner behind the Jackie of New York department stores. An order from her could mean huge success for the shop.

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Jackie arrives with Wanda, her assistant, and a bodyguard. She seems fascinated by the Dolley Madison house, especially the dolls. In fact, she puts the First Lady and the President in her purse, she says to look at more closely later. Liv is smart enough to get a credit card number, but why take the dolls? Jackie claims to be a distant relative, too, and alludes to a family secret Liv’s never heard about.

Things get even worse when Liv discovers Jackie’s body in the shop. It appears she’d gotten in after hours and was examining the Madison White House when someone bashed her head in. Did she have an accomplice or did two people break in?

Image source: Darkhouse Books

There’s also the mystery of the embroidered sampler. Grandma has it hanging on the wall, and Liv is sure the symbols mean something special. When another sampler, almost identical, is discovered, she’s sure. And it can’t be a coincidence that jewels that had belonged to Dolley were stolen from a museum, and Jackie was nearby at the time.

Liv delivers information about the different White Houses, how the d├ęcor changed, the building was enlarged, and history preserved over the years to the current administration without interrupting the tale of the murder. Aaron is a good boyfriend, now going to be husband as they plan their wedding over the Christmas holidays. Grandma and Grandpa are an understanding pair although worried about what’s happening at the shop. There’s Dorrie and Max too, both work for Liv. Pay close attention when reading—you don’t want to miss a clue.

Look for the next book in the series titled. Words Can Kill—A First Lady Mystery, Mary Lincoln, coming soon.

To enter to win either an e-book or print copy of The Blood Spangled Banner, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “banner,” or comment on this article and please be sure to note whether you want e-book or print. A winner will be chosen August 20, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her newest, "Arthur", included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.


  1. Sounds like a great read. brichardson0056@yahoo.com

  2. I put this series & author on my TBR List because of this great post. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

  3. I had already put this book on my TBR list. Hopefully I can win a copy. fingers crossed. vlhcats@gmail.com

  4. What a creative storyline. Period White House dollhouses and First Ladies figures sounds like a very interesting read. Can't wait to read, definitely adding to my TBR list.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I love historical cozies.. Thanks for the review and opportunity to win. salvatoresmom71@yahoo.com

  7. Love the storyline! I read both e-books and print books but love holding a book in my hands so I would like to win a print copy.

  8. Love the storyline! I read both e-books and print books but love holding a book in my hands so I would like to win a print copy.

  9. I'd love to win a paperback copy!! lindaherold999@gmail.com

  10. Love the title of this one. Sounds like a great mystery! I would love a print copy, but would be happy with either. :)

    brookeb811 [at] gmail.com