The Trouble With Paradise (A Madeline Dawkins Mystery Book 4) by Cynthia Hamilton

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The Trouble With Paradise (A Madeline Dawkins Mystery Book 4) by Cynthia Hamilton


#mystery #suspense #MadelineDawkins

Hosted by Itsy Bitsy Book Bits

Genre – Mystery/Suspense

Page Count – 320 pages

Cover Designer – Six Penny Graphics

Publishing Company – Cynthia Hamilton Books

Goodreads –

Life in beautiful Santa Barbara County will never be the same for two grieving widows. One is convinced her late-husband’s death was no suicide. The other is serving a lengthy sentence for the bizarre tractor death of her wealthy late-husband, twenty-plus years her senior.

During Madeline’s four-month convalescence, Steven Ridley—her infamous jailbird ex-husband—manages to get paroled in order to implement his groundbreaking retraining concept in all California prisons. He has the audacity to enlist Mike’s help to determine whether inmate Lindsay Bartholomew had been set up to take the fall for someone else’s depraved actions.

On Madeline’s first day back in the office, Santa Barbara D.A. Conrad Adams makes a personal appeal to MDPI on behalf of Amanda Sheckle, hoping Madeline and Mike can prove whether her husband took his own life, or if someone killed him and made it look like suicide.

Never ones to shy away from longshots or lost causes, the duo dives into both cases. They soon realize that though dead men tell no lies, they do take secrets to their graves.


Though I was always an ardent reader, I was convinced I couldn’t string sentences together if my life depended on it. Fortunately for me, when I was looking for something creative I could do from bed—if my mystery illness progressed to that point—I decided to try my hand at it. No pressure, no expectations. I didn’t tell anyone what I was up to. I just wanted to see if I could string sentences together and tell an interesting story.

I remembered a quote by Hemingway, “Write about what you know.” With this mandate, I chose a topic I knew well, the time spent living with my husband in the French Quarter of New Orleans. I typed out my first two paragraphs on my forty-third birthday. I finished that book on my next birthday, and started my second the same day.

As my still-nameless illness progressed, I continued running the family business and continued to write. Nine years after my symptoms began, I finally received a correct diagnosis: Lyme disease, and more specifically, late-stage Lyme, because it had been allowed to progress untreated for so long.

Though the pain was almost unendurable, I clung to my writing like a life preserver. It allowed me to crawl up inside my head, out of my body, giving me brief respites from the vast array of pains.

Though I would never wish this disease on anyone, I can honestly say I am grateful for the path my life took, for it gave me the gift of writing. I now have nine published books, all of which have special significance for me. I write general fiction, mysteries and some nonfiction.

Once Upon a Lyme: The Tale of Two Journeys, is the detailed account of the path my mystery illness led me down as I sought help from over two-dozen doctors, and the gift of writing that was the unexpected upside of being so hopeless ill.

Finding Ruth was inspired by a previously unseen photograph of my mother when she was nineteen. I found it as I was going through her things prior to her move into a skilled nursing hospital. That gorgeous photograph of her looking so happy and full of promise made me realize how little I knew about her life before I came along. Because Alzheimer’s has taken away all her memories, I painstakingly reconstructed her life from public records, thousands of photographs, and what my brother, sister and I could remember. The message in the tribute to my mom is Ask while you have the chance.

As of this writing, I have just completed the fourth book in the Madeline Dawkins mystery series. I’m still in love with writing and I still squeal with joy to think that I’ve written eleven books and self-published nine of them. If there is a message in this, it’s Never discount what you are capable of achieving.


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