The Suspect: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff

One of the Crimson Hats is found dead on a street near the cemetery.Run over by a car. Looks like murder. Small-town police only have one suspect.

The Reverend Ember Cole is young and lovely and trying hard to bring a measure of religious study to the Methodist congregation in Magnolia Bluff.

She’s serious about her work.

She’s dedicated.

But she only has two people in town to whom she can talk regularly.

Harry Thugood who owns the Real Good Wood-Fired Coffee Shop.

And God.

She’s in trouble.

She knows it.

The socially elite of the Crimson Hat Society want to run her out of town?


You’ll have to ask the Hats.

But Ember isn’t going.

She knows she has a fight on her hand.

In Death Wears A Crimson Hat, Book 1 in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, written by CW Hawes, one of the Hats is found dead on a street near the cemetery.

Run over by a car.

Hit and Run.

Looks like murder.

Small-town police only have one suspect.

They are looking no further than the lady preacher.

She has a motive.


CW Hawes, the author of Death Wears a Crimson Hat.

The Reverend Ember Cole sat behind her desk in the church office. The receptionist had gone home for the day. Ember was supposed to be working on her sermon, but her mind kept drifting back to Louisa Middlebrook’s crushed body.

Finally, she shook her head and pushed her chair away from the desk. “I’m not going to get any work done here. I might as well go home.”

She stood, grabbed her hat, and left the church by the back door, making sure to lock it. The parsonage was next door, a mere couple dozen steps away. She unlocked the back door, and stepped in.

“Wilbur, I’m home!” Ember called out.

From somewhere, the gray tabby appeared, rubbing himself against a kitchen cupboard.

Ember hung her hat on a peg by the door, then reached down and picked up her fur baby.

“Were you a good boy while I was gone?”

Wilbur purred, let Ember scratch his neck for all of twenty seconds, and then wiggled his interest to be back on the floor.

She set him down, and, at the same time, the doorbell rang. The cat took off to hide under the couch.

Walking to the front of the house, Ember muttered, “Who could that be?” When she got to the door, she opened it, and found herself face to face with Reece Sovern. He’d opened the screen door.

“Evening, Reverend.”

“What can I do for you, Mr. Sovern?”

He held up a sheet of paper. “This here’s a warrant for us to search your house, garage, and to take your car for a detailed examination.”

“What on earth for?”

“It’s come to my attention, that there’s some animosity between you and the members of the Crimson Hat Society. Which to my mind gives you a motive in the death of Louisa Middlebrook, and Judge Jones concurs and issued the warrant.”

Sovern handed her the paper, and motioned for his men to go to work.

“We’ll try not to make a mess,” the investigator said. “We’re looking for specific items. Now if you’ll just stand aside, we’ll get to work and be out of your hair ASAP.”

“What about my car? When will I get that back?”

“If it’s clean? Probably Monday.”

Ember shook her head. She couldn’t believe this was happening. She stuffed the warrant into a suit coat pocket and pulled her phone out of another and told it to call Harry.


Ember sat in Harry’s BMW and the two of them watched the tow truck haul away her car.

“I don’t know how I’m going to survive this, Harry.”

“Look, Em, you didn’t do it. Sovern is a good bureaucrat. He’s just doing his job. My guess is that Mary Lou, either directly or through the grapevine, put a bug in his ear. And quite honestly, he’d be a fool not to follow up on it.”

“I know. But I think I’m finished here. As a pastor that is.”

“Oh, ye, of little faith. Shouldn’t you be running the rosary or something?”

“I’m not Catholic. But I did say a nice, short and sweet, Protestant prayer.”

“There you go. Have faith, my friend.”

“Are you a believer, Harry? I don’t think you’ve ever said.”

“Depends on what day you ask me.”

“That sounds just like you. But thanks for reminding me where my strength lies.”

“You need a thicker skin my friend. Too many Mary Lous are out there who want you for breakfast.”

“You’re right. So what do I do while waiting for divine intervention?”

“What you always do. After all, you didn’t kill Louisa.”

“Okay. Thanks. That’s what I’ll do. Greater is He that is within me, than he that is in the world.”

“There you go. Feel better?”

Ember nodded.

Reece Sovern knocked at Harry’s car window. Harry pressed a button and the window slid down.

“Good evening, Mr. Thurgood.”

Harry nodded his response.

“We’re through, Reverend.”

“Did you find what you are looking for?” Ember asked.

“Can’t officially say, and we still have your car to go over, but no we didn’t. Of course, you didn’t hear that from me.” He turned to go away, and then turned back to the car. “I’ll give you a call when you can pick up your car.”

Please click HERE to find Death Wears A Crimson Hat on Amazon.

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