BY: BENNI CHISHOLM
Philomela Nightingale and her employee, Janice McGill, take the trip of a lifetime—around the world. They fly to amazing places, stay in lovely hotels, meet fascinating people, and experience different cultures. To their horror they also become involved with kidnapping and murder. Will Philomela’s observational powers and intuition enable her to help the police solve these puzzling mysteries or has she finally bitten off more than she can handle?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Odd Odyssey by Benni Chisholm, Philomena Nightingale runs a monthly magazine. She and her employee Janice take a trip around the world, a month-long adventure. Unbeknownst to them, Janice has been targeted by people who want to kidnap her and force her wealthy father to ransom her. They send a guy on the trip with Philomena and Janice, and he tries time after time to hijack her, coming up with excuses for his odd behavior when the attempts fail. But sooner or later, he’s bound to succeed. Isn’t he?
The book is a fun read, a cozy mystery. Odd Odyssey has an unusual storyline and an author whose voice is fresh and unique.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Odd Odyssey by Benni Chisholm is a mystery/adventure that defies genre classification. Janice McGill and her employer Philomena Nightingale work for a magazine The Integrator in Calgary, Canada. Philomena and Janice decide to take a month-long around-the-world cruise, just as Janice becomes the target of a group of bumbling kidnappers. Undaunted, our intrepid villains send their man on the tour. He’s supposed to get Janice alone, in what she is supposed to think is a romantic escape, while his cohorts back home collect the ransom money. But things don’t go quite the way anyone expects, resulting in a very odd odyssey indeed.
Chisholm has a nice way with a story. Her voice is fresh and unique, her characters fun, realistic, and charming, and her plot is strong with plenty of twists and turns. A clever and fun mystery/adventure.
A chill crawled up Don Webster’s spine. What was he getting into? Clutching his glass, he gazed over the oak table at his two companions.
He watched Bob Evans glance around the room and heard him whisper, “McGill’s daughter should warrant a high ransom.”
“Janice?” Pierre Lalonde’s voice croaked.
Don saw his face blanch and his hands almost knock over his glass.
“You know her?” Bob sounded surprised.
“She and my daughter are friends. Collette manages one of my gift shops and Janice works for The Integrator.”
“Damn.” Bob furrowed his brows and clenched his fists. “The editor of that magazine is Philomela Nightingale. She’s nothing but trouble.”
Pierre placed his hands on his lap and slowly shook his head. “I advertise my three businesses in The Integrator. Ms Nightingale is knowledgeable and helpful. She also has a great sense of humor.”
Don glanced from Pierre’s gentle eyes and relaxed hands to Bob’s furrowed brow and clenched fists. He was intrigued. Who was this controversial woman? Why did one man admire her and the other dislike her?
“You obviously don’t know her very well,” Bob said. “Philomela’s stubborn as a mule and snoopy as a terrier. If she starts to worry about a missing employee, she’ll cause double trouble.”
“Good reasons to drop Plan B–which, of course, is also illegal.” Pierre’s face blossomed into a smile. “Let’s drop Plan A, too.”
Don had arrived later than his two companions so hadn’t heard about Plan A. He wondered if it was as edgy as Plan B. In all honesty, he couldn’t understand why Bob wanted to kidnap McGill’s daughter. It wasn’t as if their investments with McGill Oil and Gas weren’t doing well. Puzzled, he continued to look from one of his buddies to the other.
Bob Davis, a high flying accountant with a quick mind and a forceful personality, dominated the meeting. Pierre Lalonde, a successful owner of two gift shops and one sun-tanning salon, leaned back in his chair, apparently pleased with his rejection of Bob’s two plans. Don knew from experience that Pierre liked things straight forward and legal. Bob, it seemed, liked twists and turns that stretched beyond the law.
Glancing nervously around the second level of the Coyote Lounge, Don glimpsed oak tables and chairs while his eyes focused on nearby patrons. All appeared intent on private conversations.
He could hardly believe it was only a year ago that he’d left his job at Pierre’s sun-tanning salon to become a ranch hand. Equally hard to believe was that six months ago he received Uncle Harry’s inheritance–a joint-venture partnership with McGill Oil & Gas. His uncle’s unexpected gift changed his life. It placed extra bucks in his jeans and put him on a par with sophisticated people like Bob and Pierre. The invitation to attend today’s business meeting was based more on his recent windfall than on his financial expertise.
He drained his Canadian Club rye whisky and ginger ale, set his glass on the table and gazed at the two older men. Their subdued ties, button down shirts, and three-piece suits made his neat jeans and cowboy shirt seem overly casual. Having followed cowboy etiquette by placing his white hat on his lap, he fingered it uneasily.
“Service,” Bob called and waved his arm in the air.
Lola glided over to the table. “What will you have, Mr. Davis?”
“Two more single malts.”
“With water on the side?”
“Right. And a CC and ginger for the cowboy.”
Don and Lola exchanged furtive smiles. As she walked away, he admired how her black tunic and tights clung to her slim waist and hips. Pierre’s voice stopped his reverie.
“Your cowboy shirt’s nice, Don, but aren’t you rushing things? The Calgary Stampede doesn’t start until Friday.”
“These are my working duds, Pierre. I no longer work in your sun-tanning salon. This morning I rode horse-back and moved cattle from one pasture to another.” With a mock sneer he added, “On Friday you’ll be a cowboy too–an urban one.”
Pierre grinned. “Touché.”
Bob interrupted their jests by clearing his throat. “I think we should discuss Plan A,” he said.
Don wondered if Plan A would involve what’s-her-name Nightingale.
© 2015 by Benni Chisholm