Denise Swanson - New York Times Best-Selling Author
 (Photo by David Stybr)
Chicago Tribune: "With its endearing heroine, terrific cast of realistically quirky secondary characters, and generous soupçon of humor ... Denise Swanson's charming series, set in the small Illinois town of Scumble River, is a delight."
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Bibliography and Reading Group Guides

  Book Covers  

Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries
— in Shadow Bend, Missouri —
featuring Devereaux Sinclair
Book 1 - March 2012: Little Shop of Homicide
Book 2 - March 2013: Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death
Book 3 - March 2014: Dead Between the Lines
from Obsidian — division of Penguin

Music: Lazy River Waltz for Woodwind Quartet and Piano by David Stybr (1¼ minutes, © 2002)

The Sun dawns on another slightly out-of-kilter day in Scumble River, Illinois.

Scumble River, Illinois and Shadow Bend, Missouri are fictional small towns in the Midwest. The characters and events are entirely fictional, and any resemblance to living persons is pure coincidence.

Murder of a Stacked Librarian
Murder of the Cat's Meow
Murder of a Creped Suzette
Murder of a Bookstore Babe
Murder of a Wedding Belle

The New York Times Print Paperback Best-Sellers
Scumble River Mysteries
— in Scumble River, Illinois —
Collect the entire New York Times Best-Selling series —
featuring School Psychologist Skye Denison!
Book 1 - July 2000: Murder of a Small-Town Honey
Book 2 - April 2001: Murder of a Sweet Old Lady
Book 3 - April 2002: Murder of a Sleeping Beauty
Book 4 - April 2003: Murder of a Snake in the Grass
Book 5 - November 2003: Murder of a Barbie and Ken
Book 6 - July 2004: Murder of a Pink Elephant
Book 7 - July 2005: Murder of a Smart Cookie
Book 8 - August 2006: Murder of a Real Bad Boy
Book 9 - April 2007: Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
Book 10 - April 2008: Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry
Book 11 - April 2009: Murder of a Royal Pain
Book 12 - April 2010: Murder of a Wedding Belle
Book 13 - March 2011: Murder of a Bookstore Babe
Book 14 - October 2011: Murder of a Creped Suzette
Book 15 - September 2012: Murder of the Cat's Meow
Book 16 - September 2013: Murder of a Stacked Librarian
from Signet and Obsidian — divisions of Penguin

Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries

Little Shop of
H
omicide

Book 1 - March 2012: Début book in the
Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery
series!

ISBN 978-0-451-23618-0
Large Print ISBN 978-1-61173-397-6

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Devereaux Sinclair is the happy new owner of the adorable old-fashioned shop in her small Missouri town. But when a revenge-crazed cop accuses Dev of murdering her ex's fiancée — and the murder weapon is found with her fingerprints all over it — Dev's store, and her life, quickly turn from charmed to troubled. If she doesn't find the real killer soon, this five-and-dime owner will be serving twenty-five to life...


"Swanson puts just the right amount of sexy sizzle in her latest engaging mystery." — John Charles, Chicago Tribune

Rating: 5 Stars
"Veteran author Swanson . . . débuts a spunky new heroine with a Missouri stubborn streak . . . slightly zany, multigenerational take on small-town mores."
Library Journal

Nickeled-and-Dimed
to Death

Book 2 - March 2013: The second
Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery
breaks the mold!

ISBN 978-0-451-23942-6
Large Print ISBN 978-1-61173-756-1

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Devereaux Sinclair loves running her old-fashioned store in her small Missouri hometown. If only she could manage her love life as well. Torn between Deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Del Vecchio and her ex, Noah Underwood, the local doctor from a high-society family, she welcomes the distraction when Elise Whitmore offers her a great deal on antique chocolate molds for her Easter gift baskets. But when Elise is shot and Dev's good friend Boone is taken into custody, Dev must clear his name and find the real killer...


"Delightful . . . Readers will look forward to seeing more of the quick witted Dev." — Publishers Weekly

Dead Between the Lines

Book 3 - March 2014: The third
Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery
opens the book on trouble!

ISBN 978-0-451-41888-3

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Opening an old-fashioned five-and-dime shop in her small Missouri hometown has been a great change for Devereaux “Dev” Sinclair. But when she hosts a reading group there, she learns that bad writing can mean life or death...


Rating: 4 Stars
"Swanson is in her groove with the third entry in her entertaining Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery that features a real whodunit. The characters are fun and enjoyable, including two hot guys fighting for the heroine's hand. Swanson is a master at the classic small-town mystery."
Romantic Times Magazine

"Dev ('tough chick') Sinclair — now hosting a book club — is stunned when a guest poet is killed outside her store. Three's the charm in Swanson's fresh, new series (after Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death) set in Missouri."
Library Journal


  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  


Scumble River Mysteries

Murder of a
Small-Town Honey

Book 1 - July 2000: The first
Scumble River Mystery
buzzes with sweet suspense.

ISBN 0-451-20055-1
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-3329-X

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When Skye Denison left Scumble River years ago, she swore she'd never come back. Now, having been fired from her job, jilted by her boyfriend and rejected by her credit cards, she has reluctantly returned....

Immediately, Skye's determination to keep a low profile as the new school psychologist is assaulted by an army of small-town busybodies and well-meaning family members who can't wait to pry into her life, dole out advice, and volunteer her services in the Chokeberry Days festival. And when the fair erupts in chaos and controversy, the Cow Chip Bingo sabotaged and the jelly contest ruined, Skye closes the event down altogether by finding a dead body....

The deceased, who at first appears to be the elderly host of a beloved children's TV program, and a dear, sweet thing, turns out to be quite different — a sexy young woman with a wild past and more secrets than are in Aunt Minnie's Jello Surprise. And if this stunning revelation weren't enough to intrigue Skye's inner snoop, soon her own brother is accused of the crime....

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Sweet Old Lady

Book 2 - April 2001: The second
Scumble River Mystery
cooks up more suspense.

ISBN 0-451-20272-4
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-3674-4

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When she left Scumble River years ago, school psychologist Skye Denison thought she'd never be back. But after a run of bad luck in the big city, she has a new appreciation for the down-home charm of small-town life — and decides to start over in the town where she started out....

When Skye's beloved grandmother is found dead in her bed, the family consensus is natural causes. Still, Skye insists on an autopsy — an examination that proves the sweet old lady was, in fact, murdered! But who could have done the deadly deed? Skye is determined to find out, though her snooping doesn't sit well with the relatives.

Family tensions can mean only one thing: family secrets. And when a series of hooligan attacks on Skye's property leads to an outright physical assault, Skye has to wonder if by exposing the rotten roots of her family tree, she's one step closer to exposing the killer....

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Sleeping Beauty

Book 3 - April 2002: The third
Scumble River Mystery
dreams up more intrigue.

ISBN 0-451-20548-0
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-4402-X

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Sleeping Beauty is dead. Star of the school play, cheerleader, and beauty pageant queen, Lorelei Ingels was the most popular girl in school. But today, no one envies her....

While the principal and the police are busy with the politics of this high-profile case, Skye Denison counsels kids and combs for clues ... ever more convinced that high school is a truly dangerous place....

Finagling her way around crazy school administrators, stupid rules, pushy parents, and teens whose slang needs decoding, takes all of Skye's formidable ingenuity. And even ever-optimistic Skye knows that, in this case, finding the killer won't end this tale happily ever after....

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Snake in the Grass

Book 4 - April 2003: The fourth
Scumble River Mystery
picks up kicks on Route 66.

ISBN 0-451-20834-X
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-5629-X

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Scumble River is celebrating its bicentennial in style — with historical reenactments, bingo, a coal-tossing tournament, and a Crazy Craft race. Serving as the guest of honor is none other than the town founder's great- great- grandnephew, Gabriel Scumble. But his visit turns out to be short-lived when Skye's students Frannie and Justin find him dead with a pickax protruding from his chest.

Meanwhile, Skye's deceitful ex-fiancé, Luc St. Amant, has appeared out of the blue, creating turmoil in her love life. Does the real danger lie in the chance that Luc will drive away the men in Skye's life ... or in the possibility that there's a menacing connection between Luc's arrival and Gabriel Scumble's murder?

Trivia: Scumble River is a fictional small town in Illinois, like those in which Denise Swanson grew up; but Up A Lazy River Motor Court recalls a motel owned by family friends in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she enjoyed summer vacations as a girl with her parents. An idealized version graces the cover of Murder of a Snake in the Grass.

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Barbie and Ken

Book 5 - November 2003: The fifth
Scumble River Mystery
has icy consequences.

ISBN 978-0-451-21072-2
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-6126-9

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It all began innocently enough, when Skye and Simon joined The Grand Union of the Mighty Bulls, Scumble River's premier social club. But then Skye ended up wrapped in wallpaper, and the club leaders, Barbie and Ken Addison, ended up dead.

Barbie and Ken appeared to be living a dream life, but then who would want to kill such living dolls?

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Pink Elephant

Book 6 - July 2004: The sixth
Scumble River Mystery
rocks and rolls.

ISBN 0-451-21210-X
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-6798-4

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The last things school psychologist Skye Denison expects to find in Scumble River are sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But when her brother, Vince, forms a band called Pink Elephant, the town goes wild — and things get very weird.....

First, a student is found in the locker room talking a shower ... with his clothes on. Then a groupie turns stalker, seducing the band members one by one. But when one of the Pink Elephants winds up murdered, the music stops dead. Who's to blame? Everyone seems to think it's Vince — and now Skye has to clear her brother's name....

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Smart Cookie

Book 7 - July 2005: In the seventh
Scumble River Mystery
that's how the cookie crumbles.

ISBN 0-451-21584-2
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-7765-3

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Yard sales bring out the worst in people. Nobody knows this better than Scumble River school psychologist Skye Denison, organizer of the First Annual Route 66 100-Mile Yard Sale. Neighborly folks get downright nasty, fighting over plastic knickknacks — even pulling rocking chairs right out from under little old ladies.

U.S. Route 66 in Scumble River, Illinois
When her own mother creams a woman for suggesting her pies aren't the flakiest and her daughter is too fat, and a battle of the sexes breaks out among her parents, best friends, and students, Skye knows things have gotten out of hand. But the worst is yet to come. Skye's former summer-job boss, Cookie Caldwell, has just been found murdered. And although the sheriff suspects Skye did it, nobody knows for sure how this cookie will crumble....

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Real Bad Boy

Book 8 - August 2006: In the eighth
Scumble River Mystery
the ladykiller turns up dead.

ISBN 0-451-21828-0
Large Print ISBN 0-7862-9282-2

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Still recovering from the breakup with her boyfriend and alienating half the people in town, school psychologist Skye Denison has sworn off men. Even so, she hires sexy contractor Beau Hamilton to renovate the old house she inherited. After all, who can ignore his qualifications? Golden hair, bronzed chest, muscular thighs — he's just too good to be true.

And when she discovers that Beau has a reputation for conning the ladies, she decides to fire him. But before she can, he turns up dead. Since even bad boys deserve justice, Skye must juggle a passionate police chief, a cagey brother with a secret, and a possibly haunted house to catch Beau's killer.

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Botoxed Blonde

Book 9 - April 2007: The ninth
Scumble River Mystery
gives Skye Denison the full treatment.

ISBN 978-0-451-22141-4
Large Print ISBN 978-0-786-29680-4

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A health spa complete with tofu turkey and "Dress for Sexcess" lectures is the last place school psychologist Skye Denison wants to spend Thanksgiving. But when her best friend, Trixie Frayne, convinces her to take a complimentary weekend at the new Scumble River Spa, Skye accepts her fate and prepares to be slathered, wrapped and roasted.

Then an annoying quartet that includes both Skye's mom and her ex-boyfriend's mother impulsively joins her for a girls-only holiday, and Skye wonders just how bad things can get. She soon finds out — when she's confronted with treatments only a masochist would enjoy, a diet plan fit for a Barbie doll, and a troublesome trespasser searching for a cache of jewels supposedly hidden in the spa seventy years ago. Worst of all, a famous former model turns up dead in the Miracle Mud bath. It looks like no one will be leaving the spa until Skye can identify which of the eccentric guests, pesky local protesters or sneaky treasure hunters is also a killer deserving of special treatment — in the county jail.

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Chocolate-Covered
Cherry

Book 10 - April 2008: The tenth
Scumble River Mystery
cooks up trouble.

ISBN 978-0-451-22368-5
Large Print ISBN 978-1-410-40771-9

  View the Trailer  

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Skye Denison has never aspired to culinary excellence. In fact, she can't tell the difference between mousse and meringue. So when Grandma Sal's Soup-To-Nuts Cooking Challenge comes to town, competing is the last thing on her mind. But that's before she's bullied into entering by her mother, who has four recipes — one of which she has submitted under Skye's name.

Right from the start, trouble brews among the contestants, among the judges, and even Grandma Sal's own family. But a spiteful saboteur takes things too far when cocky contestant Cherry Alexander is discovered drowned in a chocolate fountain. Still struggling with the basics of cooking, Skye must catch a killer. And when it comes to suspects, there are just too many cooks in the kitchen from whom to choose....

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Royal Pain

Book 11 - April 2009: The eleventh
Scumble River Mystery
scares up intrigue.

ISBN 978-0-451-22658-7
Large Print ISBN 978-1-60285-486-4

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When school psychologist Skye Denison stumbles over the body of pushy promfest chairperson Annette Paine during a Halloween fund-raiser, it looks like a clear-cut case of promicide. Annette was not the only prom mom desperate to see her daughter crowned queen — and her skirt-chasing hubby is no prince either.

Skye's anxious to investigate, but she keeps getting sidetracked by the overeager new social worker at school and also by her beau's emotional distance. Still, one question haunts her: Since Annette Paine was wearing a witch costume identical to Skye's, which witch was the intended victim? Will Skye realize too late that finding this killer is a matter of her own life and death?

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Wedding Belle

Book 12 - April 2010: The twelfth
Scumble River Mystery
ties the knot on a killer wedding.

ISBN 978-0-451-22961-8
Large Print ISBN 978-1-60285-486-4

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School psychologist Skye Denison is already in a tizzy of indecision contemplating her boyfriend Wally's marriage proposal when she very reluctantly agrees to act as maid of honor in her California cousin's over-the-top platinum-style wedding. What's more, she's expected to assist the control-freak wedding planner, which means being available to help 24-7. There goes Skye's much-needed summer break....

Then Skye discovers the flawlessly chic wedding planner lying not so flawlessly dead less than a week before the big event. Suddenly Skye is working double duty on two fronts: making sure every elaborate nuptial detail is executed perfectly, from the butterfly release to the martini luge, and helping the police find out who hated the bossy bridal consultant enough to bash her on the head. Can Skye get her cousin to the church on time — and save herself from a killer who may actually be on the guest list?

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Bookstore Babe

Book 13 - March 2011: The lucky 13th
Scumble River Mystery
delivers a crush of excitement.

ISBN 978-0-451-23280-9
Large Print ISBN 978-1-61173-121-7

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Who could be driven to kill by books and sweets? While school psychologist Skye Denison eagerly anticipates the grand opening of a new bookstore called Tales & Treats, many of Scumble River's most outspoken citizens want to shut down the owners before they even open — and one is angry enough to commit murder...

Dropping off some books at Tales & Treats, Skye trips over a toppled bookcase, which has crushed a woman beneath its weight. While police search for motives, Skye sees the messy aftermath of a half-baked plot to murder somebody else. Skye is juggling her own busy life, but when all the clues lead to dead ends, she turns up the heat on her own investigation ... and stumbles upon the deadly secret that got this bookstore babe done in. And if Skye isn't careful, the killer just might make her the sequel...

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of a
Creped Suzette

Book 14 - Oct. 2011: The fourteenth
Scumble River Mystery
yields another smashing case.

ISBN 978-0-451-23500-8
Large Print ISBN 978-1-61173-306-8

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When megamillionaire and imitation cowboy Rex Taylor proposes building a country music theater in Scumble River, everyone's ready to do the boot-scootin' boogie except school psychologist Skye Denison. She's been asked by Suzette Neal, Rex's assistant and a rising country star, to investigate her mother's suspicious death twenty-seven years earlier. No sooner does Skye agree to help than she finds Suzette literally flattened — and very dead.

This has fast become a case of two questionable deaths, and suspicion seems to be hovering over Suzette's inner circle: Rex's jealous wife, a mysterious man in a black pickup truck, and the sizzling-hot singer Flint James, who also happens to have been Suzette's bitter rival for country-western fame. With a honky-tonk full of suspects and a tangled web of motives that stretches back two decades, Skye has two options: Rise to the occasion or end up as flat as a crêpe.

  Downloadable Reading Group Guide in MS-Word DOC file  

Murder of the
Cat's Meow

Book 15 - Sep. 2012: The fifteenth
Scumble River Mystery
claws up trouble.

ISBN 978-0-451-23781-1
Large Print ISBN 978-1-61173-580-2

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When ex-Vegas showgirl and local business owner Bunny Reid starts an online dating service called Cupid's Cat’s Meow, out-of-town visitors flock to her bowling alley for the speed-dating and cat show events. Bunny’s scheme sounds harmless enough, but school psychologist Skye Denison knows all too well that an influx of strangers into Scumble River always spells trouble...

Soon, Skye is called to the bowling alley to break up a fight between a riled-up contestant and the judge who insulted his feline. When the judge’s body is found — strangled with a cat toy — it’s up to Skye to solve the purrplexing mystery and show a devious killer that her sleuthing skills are the cat’s meow.


Murder of a
Stacked Librarian

Book 16 - Sep. 2013: The sixteenth
Scumble River Mystery
stacks up trouble.

ISBN 978-0-451-41650-6
Large Print ISBN 978-1-61173-980-0

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There’s no place like Scumble River at Christmastime, and this year, school psychologist Skye Denison has twice as much to celebrate — and to do. In addition to the usual holiday frenzy, Skye’s wedding is less than a week away — that is, if the groom isn’t too busy working to attend. The town’s sexy new librarian, Yvonne Osborn, has just been murdered, and the list of suspects is piling up faster than late fees on an overdue book.

Yvonne’s strict sense of right and wrong annoyed some townspeople and infuriated others. Did her high standards lead to her death? Skye is distracted by worries about what havoc the crazy Dooziers will wreak on her wedding day and whether she’ll fit into her dress. But Skye can’t afford to leave any page unturned because unless she works quickly to expose the scheming killer, her happy ending may be put on permanent hold....


Now available from Audible Books! Murder of a Stacked Librarian
  http://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B00I2WVQG0&source_code=SCLGB90AOWS012914  
Audible Sample:
Click on a book cover for synopses, reviews and purchase information.
Devereaux's
Dime Store
Mysteries
Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries Denise Swanson: Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries
 - Book 1 - Little Shop of Homicide Denise Swanson: Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries
 - Book 2 - Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death Denise Swanson: Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries
 - Book 3 - Dead Between the Lines
Scumble River Mysteries
  Return  
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Scumble River Mysteries Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 1 - Murder of a Small-Town Honey Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 2 - Murder of a Sweet Old Lady Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 3 - Murder of a Sleeping Beauty Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 4 - Murder of a Snake in the Grass Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 5 - Murder of a Barbie and Ken Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 6 - Murder of a Pink Elephant Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 7 - Murder of a Smart Cookie Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 8 - Murder of a Real Bad Boy Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 9 - Murder of a Botoxed Blonde Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 10 - Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 11 - Murder of a Royal Pain Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 12 - Murder of a Wedding Belle Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 13 - Murder of a Bookstore Babe Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 14 - Murder of a Creped Suzette Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 15 - Murder of the Cat's Meow Denise Swanson: Scumble River Mysteries
 - Book 16 - Murder of a Stacked Librarian
Short Story, June 2001
"Not a Monster of a Chance"
from the anthology
   And the Dying is Easy   
(e-book only): Amazon
Novella, February 2005:
"Dead Blondes Tell No Tales"
from the anthology
Drop-Dead Blonde
(e-book only): Amazon * Barnes & Noble

    Many now available or coming on Audible Books!    



Music: Shadow Bend Suite by David Stybr
1. Devereaux's Blues for Jazz Quartet (1 minute).
Music: Scumble River Portrait by David Stybr
1. Scumble River Legend, a Ballad for Small Orchestra (1 minute). How many book series have their own signature music? It's quirky, but so is Scumble River, Illinois.
2. Lazy River Waltz, for Woodwind Quartet and Piano (1¼ minutes). The Sun dawns on another slightly out-of-kilter day in Scumble River, Illinois.
3. Rolling River Rag, for Piano (4 minutes). Rags were inspired by the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and now Scumble River too.
4. Prélude to a Muse (and to Amuse), a Passacaglia for Rock Band, Percussion Ensemble and Harp (3½ minutes), performed by Vince Denison's band Pink Elephant (and friends). (for Murder of a Pink Elephant)
5. "Bad Boys and Blondes" Bossa Nova, for Brass Quintet and Percussion (1¼ minutes). It can only mean trouble in Scumble River, Illinois. (for Murder of a Real Bad Boy and Murder of a Botoxed Blonde)
6. Dance of the Three Witches, for Organ (1 minute). Which witch is which? (for Murder of a Royal Pain)
7. Wedding Belles, for Trumpet, Organ and Bells (1 minute). (for Murder of a Wedding Belle)
David Stybr, Engineer and Composer
It's Left Brain vs. Right Brain: best 2 falls out of 3.
( http://www.DeniseSwanson.com/Stybr )

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Created 25 December 1999 * Updated 1 March 2014
© 2014 Denise Swanson * Der Webmeister:
David Stybr

This web site is purely for entertainment and information purposes. We hope that you enjoy our simple yet informative format.