SNEAK PEEK: TO KILL A HUMMINGBIRD by JR Ripley and Characters React to Murder


9781516103102Characters React to Murder by JR Ripley

Hi, this is Amy Simms. You may know me by now. This is the fourth time I’ve been involved with murder. It tends to make me stick out in a crowd-especially when that crowd is rather small, like the Town of Ruby Lake, located in western North Carolina, where I grew up and currently reside. I own a store in town called Birds & Bees, catering to the bird, bee and bloom loving crowd. I’m sure you love such things as much as I do. I can sense these things, almost as well as I can sniff out a killer.

My latest adventure, or misadventure, I suppose I should say seeing as this does involved a person of the corpse variety, is called To Kill A Hummingbird. Sounds icky, right? Don’t worry, not a single hummingbird was harmed, let alone killed, in the telling of this tale. If you don’t believe me, just look out my window: three hummingbird feeders and the hummingbirds are buzzing around like, well, hummingbirds.

By the way, if you have a hummingbird feeder, or are thinking of getting one (they are great), please don’t add red dye to your sugar water. Hummingbirds don’t need red dye any more than we do. Simple sugar water at a four-to-one ratio works great. That’s four parts water to one part sugar. When my sweet tooth is acting up, I treat myself with a personal batch of four parts sugar to one part water. Oh, and I find that one part rum helps that go down just a little smoother. Try it. You’ll see what I mean!

But I digress. Back to To Kill A Hummingbird. Did any people die during the course of events? Sure, this is a cozy murder mystery. I had to kill off somebody! Well, not personally, but you know what I mean. When my dear friend and old college professor Mason Livingston comes to town, trouble tags along.  As usual, I’ve got a list of suspects longer than a sword-billed hummingbird’s bill. Not familiar with the bird? Trust me, that’s long. Its bill is longer than its body! Fortunately, I’m getting almost as good at identifying murderers as I am at identifying birds on distant tree limbs. If you don’t believe me, just read for yourself.



For Amy Simms, owner of Birds & Bees, nothing is more important than impressing her old professor, but this odd bird is about to fall to earth . . .

When her favorite ornithology professor comes calling, Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms hangs six hummingbird feeders around the shop to welcome Professor Livingston with a flock of his favorite flying creatures. But Amy soon finds that the sugar water in the feeders brings more than a swarm of hummingbirds. It also attracts murder.

Professor Livingston is just as friendly as Amy remembers, but something seems to be troubling him. When Amy pays him a visit that night, she finds the professor slumped over a table with a pair of scissors buried in his neck. And standing over his body is Rose Smith, the local bookseller, who claims she killed him. But while the police believe they have a bird in hand, Amy thinks the real killer may still be in the bush . . .

You can purchase TO KILL A HUMMINGBIRD at:
Kensington Books

About the Author:
Ripley, J. R. RipleyIn addition to writing the Bird Lover’s mystery series, J.R. Ripley is the critically acclaimed author of the Maggie Miller mysteries and the Kitty Karlyle mysteries (written as Marie Celine) among other works. J.R. is a member of the American Birding Association, the American Bird Conservancy, and is an Audubon Ambassador with the National Audubon Society. You may visit for more information or visit JR on Facebook at

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