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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘A Dead Red Oleander’ By R.P. (Rebecca) Dahlke

With Marshall Balthrop now sleeping downstairs on the couch, not to mention his new security system attached to TV cameras around our houses, I’d slept just fine.



Of course, Jim would follow us and we’d have to run the gauntlet of curious patrons, most of whom used Roxanne’s as Modesto’s clearing house for gossip.


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Check out those all important “First Lines”, … Would they make you want to read on?


Icon image for Teaser Tuesdays postsTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by

MizB of ‘Should Be Reading

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.

2. Open to a random page.

3. Share two “teaser” sentences, from somewhere on that page.

4. Be careful not to share “spoiler” sentences, that give away too much about the book.

5. Remember to share the title and author too.

6. Head on over to ‘should be reading’ and leave a link to your post, so that others can share it.

It would be great if you then decided to leave a comment for Jenn, as we all like to receive them and are interested in sharing your thoughts.





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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Sandra,

      Rebecca Dahlke has certainly found the winning combination of mystery, romance and humour, in this series of books featuring Lalla Bains.

      Lalla is just always in the wrong place at the wrong time and is constantly getting herself into trouble. The problem is that she always seems to be able to solve the crime before her long suffering fiance, who also happens to be the Sherriff …

      Thanks for stopping by, it is always good to speak with you.

    • Hi Beth,

      You couldn’t even make up the scenario which has led us to a US Marshall sleeping on Lalla Bain’s couch !!!

      The gossip is something which Lalla is more than used to, she always seems to be in the local limelight, but not always for the right reasons !!

      Thanks for visiting today, I appreciate the comments.

    • Hi Laurel Rain,

      The cover is quite curious if you don’t know the story of Billy the goat and a fact about the Oleander plant, which I had no idea about !!

      That’s just made it even more intriguing, hasn’t it?

      This book is even better than the previous two in the series, although I wasn’t too sure when I first started it, as I thought perhaps there was just a little too much humour … This would never have been a book that I would have considered reading a few months ago, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your comments today, I always appreciate them.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      This is a great read so far and Lalla has been no less in the thick of things than I would have expected.

      The teaser lines really don’t do justice to the preceeding events and I don’t think that the situation is going to get much better any time soon.

      I am wondering if we are going to see a wedding, or if we are going to have to wait for the next installment.

      I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and comment.

    • Hi Jessica,

      First of all, thanks for stopping by and checking out Fiction Books today.

      I love to chat with new people and your comments will always be appreciated here.

      Actually, now that you mention it, I also assumed that this sounded like life in a small town … so I checked it out … I was most surprised to discover that ‘Modesto’ is in fact, the 18th largest City in the state of California, with a population of over 200,000.


      I know that the crop dusting aspect of the story is correct in reality, as the author’s family owned a crop dusting ranch near Modesto, where she was raised.

      I didn’t realise that gossip would abound so freely in such a large conurbation, it isn’t something that I could envisage happening here in the UK, unless we were talking about a very small rural community.

      Anyway, regardless of all that, I am thoroughly enjoying the book so far and it is a welcome third book in the Lalla Bains series.

    • Hi Maryellen,

      This is definitely a mystery with a medium sized portion of humour, if you start to read between the lines of some of the cleverly written dialogue. This is the first time that we have been introduced to any of Lalla’s ‘Texas relatives’, and they certainly do add a whole new dimension to the plot of this, the third book in the series.

      There is supposed to be a bit of romance hidden away in the book’s pages somewhere, although I think that Lalla’s long suffering fiance and soon to be third husband, just might disagree with that. Every time he tries to get ‘cozy and up close’ with Lalla, she ends up by getting herself in more trouble, usually worse than the the time before … which isn’t good when you are the Sherriff !!

      I am really enjoying this story so far, so I thank you for stopping by and leaving you comments, which are always appreciated.

  • Awesome teaser, I read the synopsis of it and it reminds me of a scooby doo gang kind of mystery where it blends in with humor. I have to say I love that cover, it definitely makes you do a double take and makes me wonder how goats and oleander flowers will play into it … I’m guessing something toxic. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    • Hi Ann,

      I guess that if you are comparing the story with a Scooby Doo type scenario, then I have to say that Lalla’s ‘Texas Relatives’, who have arrived for the impending wedding, must almost compare with the ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ LOL!!

      Seriously, this is a great mystery, with just the right amount of humour to make it entertaining and leave you smiling.

      I had no idea that oleander plants were toxic at all, let alone to the point where death was a distinct possibility. It is not a plant that is very common here in the UK, as our climate isn’t typically conducive to good growing conditions for it, so I would have no reason to have checked it out before.

      The goat is just mentioned from time to time, as and when it is time to take him for a walk !!, so I am waiting to see whether he plays any kind of pivotal role in the whole scenario!!

      A great read so far … I wonder if we will actually get a wedding?

      Thanks for stopping by, your comments are valued and much appreciated.

    • Hi Naida,

      I have almost finished the book now and I have to admit that I have chuckled out loud at some of the things which Lalla Bains and her whacky relatives have been up to.

      This is certainly going to be a book that I shall always remember with a smile … and I am sure that the goat is going to be fine !!

      Thanks for stopping by, I always love to read your comments.

Written by Yvonne