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The Cart Before The Corpse (The Merry Abbott Carriage-Driving Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

Carolyn McSparren
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Famous southern carriage-horse trainer Hiram Lackland, a handsome widower, dies mysteriously after retiring to a farm outside Mossy Creek. His estranged daughter, Merry Abbott, also a horse trainer, arrives to settle his estate. But Merry quickly plunges into bit-chomping dilemmas when her father's friend and landlord, mystery-novel maven Peggy Caldwell, insists he was murdered. Before Merry can so much as snap a buggy rein, a handsome and annoying GBI investigator, Geoff Madison, is on her case. Then there's the troublesome donkey: Don Qui. Short for Don Quixote. And the fact that Hiram was teaching all of Mossy Creek's lonely women how to--ahem--drive his carriage. Can Merry rein in the truth? What kind of horse play was her rakish dad involved in, and why would someone want to giddy-yup him into an early grave?

Editorial Reviews


This is one wonderful ride! --Virginia Brown, author of Dixie Divas

About the Author

Carolyn McSparren's grandfather held her on a horse when she was two. That moment began a love affair with horses that has continued all her life, even when she lived in cities where the only horses she saw were either pulling carriages through the park or maintaining crowd control.
Although she longed for her own horse when she was a teenager, her parents couldn't afford to buy or keep one, so she set her dream aside. While in graduate school at the University of North Carolina life intervened. Carolyn fell in love, married and followed her new husband overseas.
After five years in Europe, Carolyn returned to the States with her Army officer husband, a fourteen-year-old step-daughter, and what the British call "a bun in the oven." She earned her Master's Degree from the University of Memphis, then became a developer of continuing education programs in business.
After her first published book, a Harlequin Super Romance titled, The Only Child, she has gone on to publish ten more. She's won multiple romance novel awards on the state and national level. She's served as president of the River City Romance Writers in Memphis, TN, and is founder and first president of Malice in Memphis, a chapter of Sisters in Crime.
Carolyn lives in the country outside Memphis with her daughter, Megan, her husband of 38 years, George, three horses, four cats, and a basset hound. Over the years Carolyn has known many veterinarians, farriers, trainers, riders, dog and cat fanciers, and general animal people, all of whom love to tell stories.

Product Details

  • File Size: 574 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0984125833
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (October 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008JG8LFS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,513 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Steve (Hubby) December 10, 2009
"The Cart Before the Corpse" by Carolyn McSparren, is a murder mystery spin-off of the Mossy Creek Hometown Novels. Mossy Creek Hometown series are books of anthologies by different authors set in Mossy Creek, Georgia. It's a Southern rural hometown that claims "it ain't going nowhere, and don't want to." Populated by colorful local as well as retired out-of-town folk, the characters are all a bit flawed, and truly southern.

McSparren love horses, carriages and mystery, not necessarily in that order and combined all three in "The Cart Before the Corpse." Southern carriage-horse trainer Hiram Lackland, a handsome widower, dies mysteriously after retiring to a farm outside Mossy Creek. His estranged daughter, Merry Abbott, also a horse trainer, arrives to settle his estate. Peggy Caldwell, Hiram's landlord and friend, who happens to be a mystery-novel buff, claims he was murdered.

This fast paced, action-packed mystery is filled with odds and ends of the horse carriage world. If you don't know what that is, you will have a good understanding after reading this. The only thing missing was the fresh scent of horse `apples'. This was the first Mossy Creek story I've read and it covers all you need to know. Even though this is the first of the series, it is complete in itself. This was a good, enjoyable read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cozy quick read for a rainy-day February 14, 2010
"The Cart Before the Corpse" by Carolyn McSparren is a new spin-off book of the Mossy Creek Hometown series. Having not read those books I was a bit afraid I'd find myself out of my depth before I even have a chance to get started. I was happily mistaken - you don't need to know one single thing about the series this spins off from to pick up the reins and start in on this new series.

I love horses and reading about their handling and various competitions, equipage, grooming, and the like, but I'm not terribly knowledgeable about the proper terms...until now. This book doesn't assume that you come from the world of horse shows, driving and carriages but it also doesn't "talk down" to the reader to explain things. The explanations all fit in very well without breaking the flow of the story and I know a lot more now than I did about it all. For some reason I had a preconceived notion that the book would be in a bit more of a "primitive" setting. It wasn't that way at all - much to my delight - I like a good historical or "primitive" set book, but I generally prefer to not mix those with my mystery/investigative reading.

Merry is a strong female character, if you like your female characters to be simpering "let the guy take the lead and sweep her off her feet and solve her problems" types, this is probably not the book for you. She's not so strong that she doesn't have emotions, break down, cry or freak out, but she handles what must be done first, then falls apart if she feels she needs to.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Editor Needed February 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I spent more money on this cozy than I usually do but it sounded entertaining, the reviews were good, I loved the first two Mossy Creek books, and I figured I could learn something about carriage driving while enjoying a mystery at the same time. The author achieved this goal quite well. Fast paced and filled with facts about the horse carriage world, this spin off of Mossy Creek is written from the point of view of a few pivotal characters but this isn't distracting as it could be.

Merry's father dies while she is beginning to reunite with him leaving her with a horse carriage farm, his murder to solve and some of her own baggage to reconcile. The character development is very good the story keeps your interest and Merry is a strong female lead.

The reason for the three stars is the lack of an editor. If a book is going to be sold for $8.99; the reader should be able to read without needing a red pen.

For Example; Peggy, mother of 4 cats, takes one cat to the vet to stay a few days. Upon returning home, Peggy is met by 4 cats. I guess the one cat didn't want to stay at the vet and beat everyone home?

Another example; Merry called her mother and got her email. There are some words inserted that shouldn't be which are disconcerting.

This could be a good series if an editor can be found.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and different January 21, 2012
By Leaser
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the unusual setting of the competitive carriage driving world for this murder mystery. The characters are pretty well drawn and the plot not too transparent. I deducted 1 star because I solved it about 1/2 through the book, but it didn't detract too much from my desire to keep reading. The characters are enjoyable in their own right. I will look forward to more in this series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the book April 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a freebee posted on a horse BB so I thought what the heck, there's always the delete key. I was pleasantly surprised...the book has the horsey details correct, the characters are interesting and believable and the plot held my attention. This was my introduction to Mossy Creek and I hope there will be more Mossy Creek/Merry Abbott books in the future.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book for those that love a mystery and horses!
Published 3 months ago by kathy sue
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I found this book interesting as it taught me a lit about the horse and carriage. it was fast reading and had a surprise ending. very enjoyable.
Published 9 months ago by maryteresa platt
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-moving and enjoyable
Merry Abbot # 1

Horse show manager Merry Abbot pursues the killer of her estranged father, after the police insist on calling his death an accident. Read more
Published 10 months ago by MamaSylvia
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cart before the Corpse
Love it - She has all the Carriage-driving terms down pat for the horseperson and stills writes a spellbinding mystery. I can't wait for the next one to come available.
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, good flow!
Terminology correct, story line excellent and endearing- I couldn't put it down! Great for any mystery loving equestrian or enthusiast!
Published 17 months ago by R. Aynes
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cart Before theCorpse
Great read. I like murder mysteries that don't go into so much detail they feel like a step-by-step autopsy. The incidental love story was also very appealing.
Published 20 months ago by Anne M. Wilkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Mossy Creek book!
I've grown addicted to the Mossy Creek series from Belle Books; this is a new sub-category of Mossy Creek mysteries. Hurray for Belle Books! Read more
Published 22 months ago by Voice Teacher
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice "cozy" mystery
I got this one for free and liked it well enough to look up and read the second one in the series.
Published 22 months ago by J. Whitten
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of mystery
I enjoyed this book partly because the author really knew the horse carriage business and it showed in the writing. Read more
Published 22 months ago by redhead05
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious!!!!
All about the hidden agendas of having a horse related life. This comes too close to the truth as I have worked in the horse industry for many years yet it is written in such a... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mustang Fyant
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