Cynthia Baxter

REIGNING CATS & DOGS MYSTERY SERIES

MURDER PACKS A SUITCASE MYSTERY SERIES

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AUTHOR'S NOTE

OTHER BOOKS BY CYNTHIA

Before writing mysteries as Cynthia Baxter, I wrote books under the name Cynthia Blair –both women’s fiction and young adult novels. Just like the books I’m currently writing, in these earlier novels I tried to weave together strong female protagonists dealing with real-life issues, plenty of plot twists, and humor. I stashed some away, and I’m now making autographed copies available for $4 each (plus postage). You can also order them as e-books through Belgrave House at Cynthia's e-books. Here are the titles with brief descriptions. For more information, please email me at Cynthiab1@optonline.net. Happy reading!

Contemporary Women's Fiction

TEMPTATION

Funny, feisty Rachel Swann struggles to balance the roles of single mom, support system to two quirky sisters, ambivalent girlfriend to a divorced father of two spoiled teen-agers, and floundering free-lance writer. After drinking a little too much champagne at an art opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she makes three wishes in front of a weird statue – not realizing she’s just made a pact with the devil. Rachel’s life and the lives of her sisters suddenly become even more complicated, teaching her the true meaning of the saying, “be careful what you wish for.”

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ONCE MORE WITH FEELING

While planning her fifteenth wedding anniversary party, Laura Briggs turns on a TV talk show and hears her husband confessing his “secret life” to millions of viewers. After deciding that chapter of her life is over, Laura wrestles with rebuilding a new one for her and her son. An impulsive trip to Alaska brings a new man into her life who makes her wonder if maybe, just maybe, it’s worth taking another risk with her heart.

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CLOSE TO HOME

With great trepidation, Jessica MacAllister leaves behind Life in the Big City for a peaceful suburban existence with her husband David and her three-year-old son Sammy. While she’s wondering if she just made the biggest mistake of her life, a local real estate agent is murdered. His younger brother Terry arrives in town to try to solve the murder, involving Jessica not only in the murder investigation, but also in the promise of a life beyond the shopping malls and parking lots.

SUMMER HOUSE

When Ben Gilbert experiences what looks like a heart attack, he and his wife Pat invite their four adult children and their families for a two-week reunion at their rambling Victorian on Shelter Island. The past is explored, resentments explode, and love is reconfirmed as the Gilberts try, to co-exist peacefully under one roof: successful TV personality Julie; Michael, the Golden Boy; self-destructive Katy, and computer whiz Wes.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION (AGES 10-14)
THE PRATT TWINS SERIES

#1 THE BANANA SPLIT AFFAIR

Identical twins Christine and Susan Pratt may look the same, but they couldn't be more different. Susan is a straight-A student, a talented artist, and very shy. Chris is outgoing, fashionable, and popular with boys. But Susan wishes she could be as easygoing as Chris, and Chris would love to do as well in school as Susan.

In short, they're each convinced the other has a better life. So one Sunday afternoon, they decide to switch places for two weeks -- just to get a taste of how each other lives. Susan doesn't think they'll fool their friends, but Chris is so sure they'll pull it off that she places a bet with her twin. The stakes? A banana split.

Two weeks doesn't seem like very long. But during that time, both girls find out some things about each other -- and about themselves -- that they aren't likely to forget.

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#2 THE HOT FUDGE SUNDAY AFFAIR

Chris is selected to be honorary Queen during her hometown's Centennial Week. Then she realizes she was picked because of a research project she never could have written without the help of her identical twin, Susan. So the two girls come up with a slightly dangerous idea for sharing the honor. During Centennial Week, they'll take turns being Christine so they both get a taste of what it's like to be a local celebrity. And the end of the week, after they've fooled the whole town, they'll celebrate with hot fudge sundaes.

But you can't fool everyone all the time. And the mayor's spoiled daughter Felicia, who wanted to be Queen herself, is out to make as much trouble as possible. Add to this the fact that the twins fall for two different boys and you've got a week that neither girl is likely to forget -- especially when they discover the surprise awaiting them on Hot Fudge Sunday!

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#3 STRAWBERRY SUMMER

Susan and Chris are thrilled to land summer jobs as counselors at Camp Pinewood. But they soon discover that the summer won't be as carefree as they'd expected. Alan Reed, the handsome son of the camp's owners, tells the girls that someone has been sabotaging Camp Pinewood for the past few summers. And it seems the sabotage will continue this year, too.

Worse, it's forcing the Reeds to consider selling the camp. Parents don't want to send their children to a place where mysterious things happen. Susan and Chris would hate to see the Reeds lose Camp Pinewood. So they decide to find out who's responsible. Being identical twins helps, since one girl can sleuth while the other takes over the campers she’s in charge of. And once they've solved the Reeds' mystery, they'll be able to get on with the real business of summer, like eating strawberries.

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#4 THE PUMPKIN PRINCIPLE

The Pratt twins love Halloween, and Chris is determined to make this one extra special – like going to the Halloween dance with someone new. There's a new student at school who takes a special interest in Chris, who asks her to the dance. But then she sees him deep in conversation with Susan. The twins can't figure out what he's up to when he asks Chris out for Friday night and on the very same afternoon invites Susan to go to a movie Saturday night!

Whatever he's up to, the Pratt twins are not about to let anyone treat them this way. So they plan a little surprise for him, all in fun. But there's an even bigger surprise awaiting them at the Halloween dance!

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#5 MARSHMALLOW MASQUERADE

It's time for the Homecoming dance, but the Pratt twins have something else in mind. Susan figures that Chris, as the braver of the two twins, could dress up as a boy -- and infiltrate the "enemy camp." Not only would she do a great service for girls the world over by finding out what boys talk about and what they're really like, but she can find out exactly what the gorgeous Scott Stevens thinks of her.

So Chris becomes "Charlie" Pratt, a “cousin” who'll be going to school while Chris is supposedly out with the flu. But little did she realize that being a boy would be such an adventure -- and that the Marshmallow Masquerade could turn out to be a whole lot trickier than she thought.

#6 THE CANDY CANE CAPER

Christmas is coming, but Susan and Christine Pratt aren't much in a celebrating mood. There's still no snow, and now their parents want to spend their winter break in Mexico on a second honeymoon. But when the family decides the twins should stay with their grandparents in beautiful, snowy Vermont, they get into the holiday spirit right away.

Susan and Christine quickly discover that someone has been embezzling funds from a children's hospital that could close for good if something isn't done fast. The girls get the idea to set up a bazaar to raise money, and they get the whole town of Ridgewood involved. Everyone pitches in to make this the best Christmas ever for some sick kids.

With the help of a new friend, the twins set out to investigate the reason for the hospital's uncertain future, but the hospital's suspicious administrator is determined to stop them. As in their other adventures, the girls decide to put their "double" identities to good use!

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#7 THE PINK LEMONADE CHARADE

The Pratt twins travel with their schoolmates to Washington, D.C. over spring break. The girls are especially eager to meet the Russian dancers for whom their school will host a party. In return, the Americans will watch the ballet company rehearse and perform.

Chris, the more outgoing twin, meets Natasha, the prima ballerina of the troupe, at the airport and later at one of the city's museums. At their second meeting, Natasha gives Chris a book, inside of which she has hidden a note asking Chris, her first American friend, to help her defect!

Chris enlists Susan's aid, and they try to help Natasha escape despite the danger. Mr. Pirov, the chaperone, is ruthless and could well belong to Russian's notorious secret police, the KGB. Unafraid, the twins conceive a plot centered on dresses the color of pink lemonade, and the kind of sister substitution for which they are already famous.

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#8 THE DOUBLE-DIP DISGUISE

After high school graduation, Chris and Susan visit their grandparents on picture-perfect Seagull Island off the coast of North Carolina. The girls love being in such a romantic spot for the summer, but both must find jobs to earn money for college in the fall.

Each finds a great job. Chris goes to work for the small town's only ice-cream parlor, where she and her twin are such hits that the shop names a double-dip cone after them. Susan takes care of the children of the town's most prestigious family, the Hollingsworths. They live in the spooky Victorian house the twins saw when they first sailed into Seagull Island.

Susan loves the children, but she thinks their cold Aunt Marion is hiding something. Marion tells her a wing of the house is strictly forbidden to her and the children. So when the family gives its big benefit ball, Susan convinces Chris they must pull their famous sister substitution routine, so Chris can baby-sit, while Susan explores the forbidden wing . . .

#9 THE POPCORN PROJECT

The Pratt twins visit Los Angeles for the first time in order to help their aunt who has hurt her ankle. One of the first people they meet is Donald Franklin, an executive for a movie company, Silver Screen Studios. When he learns the girls are noted for their sleuthing, he asks them to help him with his daughter, Jennifer. She's working as a tour guide at Silver Screen, but recently, she hasn't been herself.

The twins' investigation takes them behind the scenes of the glamorous Hollywood studio. To save Jennifer, the twins must confront a dangerous, desperate man who will do anything to prevent his secret from coming out . . .

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#10 APPLE PIE ADVENTURE

The Pratt twins move to New York – the Big Apple – where Chris begins college and Susan enrolls in art school. At an exhibition at Susan's school, the twins meet formidable Barbara Mason, a woman who runs a prestigious art gallery in Soho, a neighborhood in New York that’s famous for its art galleries. Susan and Chris suspect that she's dealing in stolen antiquities and begin investigating.

And they resort to their favorite trick, disguise. Raiding New York's second-hand clothing stores, they create Christina von Whittington, a wealthy New York socialite Chris impersonates to amusing perfection. And when the trail takes them aboard a luxury liner, set to sail for South America, Susan creates her own character to save Chris from being shipped to Peru!

 

#11 THE JELLY BEAN SCHEME

Chris and Susan love the Big Apple. But they're excited beyond belief when the town history they wrote two years ago is being considered for a National History prize, and they get to fly down to New Orleans for the contest.

Soon after they arrive, Chris and Susan learn all about the magic hidden in the city's mysterious, romantic past. In fact, Caroline Waverly, a fellow historian, is researching the exotic world of voodoo for her history project, and the twins are instantly fascinated by the idea.

When Caroline doesn't appear for her presentation, the twins suspect the worst. They set out to find her -- ignoring the dire warnings of another student to keep far away from the unknown dangers of New Orleans and black magic . . .

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#12 THE LOLLIPOP PLOT

Chris and Susan love going to college in the Big Apple, but also they’re excited about going home. It's the first big Homecoming Weekend at their old high school, and they can't wait to see their friends.

But the festivities have only just begun when the dynamic duo comes face-to-face with a new adventure. It seems that Mayor Harris is against a land development deal that somebody wants very much. So much, in fact, that he -- or she - sent the mayor a threatening note.

It's the perfect mystery for Chris and Susan, who are determined to find out who wrote the note and why. Unfortunately, they don't expect their sleuthing to involve the mayor's snobbish daughter -- or an eccentric old man who lives in a house that looks decidedly haunted. Nor do they expect to get into any real danger . . .

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#13 THE COCONUT CONNECTION

After hectic fall semesters in big-city colleges, Chris and Susan are looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home. But their parents have a big surprise in store: the entire family is going away for the holidays – to Hawaii!

By the time their plane lands in Oahu, the twins are more than ready to enjoy every second of their trip. Susan meets a gorgeous boat owner named Dennis, and Chris meets Steven, the nephew of the powerful Charles Collier – whose coconut plantation on his own private island brings in millions.

But when the photographs she takes of Collier’s Hilihana Island are stolen, Chris realizes there’s something beyond the plantation’s lush beauty – something dangerous. With her twin’s help, she decided to discover what that is, even if that means intruding on sacred land and unleashing an ancient curse . . .

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OTHER YOUNG ADULT NOVELS

A SUMMER IN PARIS

The chance to spend a whole summer in Paris is the trip of a lifetime for Nina Shaw, who loves everything French. From cooking to irregular verbs, she can’t get enough. For as long as she can remember, she has dreamed of going to Paris, and this summer, if she can convince her reluctant parents, she will, taking with her a secret that she has been keeping for years . . .

Meanwhile, Kristy Connor feels she just doesn’t measure up to her little sister, who already has a successful acting career, or her older sister, who’s a real beauty. She figures she might as well go to Paris, since her parents don’t pay much attention to her anyway. Maybe some Paris glamour will rub off on her . . .

By contrast, Jennifer Johnson has absolutely no interest in anything remotely connected with Paris. She wants to spend her last summer before college hanging out with her boyfriend. But her parents think travel will broaden her interests, so she has no choice but to spend eight boring weeks with a dull old couple – unless she can open her eyes and her heart . . .

None of them could have anticipated the exciting adventure they’re about to embark upon, one they’ll always remember!

 

GOING SOLO

The prestigious and highly-competitive summer program at the Wildwood Performing Arts Center in upstate New York offers the opportunity of a lifetime for a few lucky and extremely talented young musicians. Going Solo is the story of three teen-age girls who spend the summer practicing, performing . . . and doing some serious growing up.

Tiffany Forrester is the glamorous fashion model type who only thinks about boys, clothes, and getting a tan. In fact, the only reason she gets accepted to the program is because her father pulls some strings. He wants her far away from Evan, the college boy she loves. But Tiffany had other plans . . .

Megan Davis is shy – as well as a very gifted flutist who had her heart set on getting accepted to Wildwood. To her, the summer adventure is a ticket out of Buffalo and her drab life. It’s a chance to begin her career as a famous, sophisticated member of a glittering city orchestra. She just has to do well while she’s there . . .

Allegra Ferrante has a famous conductor for a father and an opera star for a mother – so there was no way she wasn’t going to be accepted to Wildwood. But in addition to being a talented violinist, Allegra has a secret: she really wants to be a rock and roll singer – something her parents would absolutely forbid . . .

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ALASKA ADVENTURE

Five students embark on a six-week research trip to Alaska, living in a log cabin as they study the environment with a well-known scientist. But the summer turns deadly when one of them, Laurel Adams, discovers that poachers are killing Alaskan brown bears. But even more explosive than her discovering – and her investigation – are the dynamics among the group, six very different personalities who are thrown together in the wild.

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MOLLY AND THE GREAT AMERICAN FAMILY

Molly loves her four sisters and parents, but there's no doubt they are different from everyone else's family. And she’s not sure that’s such a good thing. Even in the best of times, they’re a little peculiar.

When her mother goes to Japan for three months (and her father is the original absentminded professor), Molly has to take charge more than usual. Unfortunately, everything imaginable seems to go wrong. Although Molly tries to help everyone, she’s also in the middle of making a movie about her family’s strange life. But she faces a greater challenge: proving to her archenemy, Candy Carlisle, that her odd family is as normal as apple pie . . .

 

FREEDOM TO DREAM

Fifteen-year-old Katy Morris is fed up with her life. In fact, she’s brooding about all the chores she has to do despite the fact that she’s busy with the dress rehearsal for a play about the colonial period. She’s so lost in thought that she doesn’t see the boy on the bicycle until it’s too late . . .

When Katy wakes up, she discovers that she’s gone back in time two hundred years to colonial Philadelphia. The streets have cobblestones, people eat fried squirrel, and Ben Franklin is alive and well. Yet in the end, not only does Katy’s strange journey teach her about the past, it also teaches about her own life in modern times.

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STARSTRUCK

Lisa Wade has just turned sixteen and is beginning to wonder if anything exciting will ever happen to her. Then she submits a drawing to a local radio station’s contest, competing for a date with a fabulous, famous rock star, Flash Robinson. When she wins, her whole world turns upside down. The cool people start inviting her to parties – and the captain of the basketball team, who she’s had a crush on her entire life, asks her out. But then something happens that forces her to face some hard decisions – and she learns that excitement is only one part of growing up.