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A Mystery for Ghost Hunters!
When Betsy's Aunt Maggie wants to drag her along on a ghost hunting excursion at the local abandoned tuberculosis hospital she isn't sure if she quite believes in ghosts. When she comes upon a fresh spirit in the form of a body, she starts to rethink about what really is haunting the hospital.

Betsy must solve the murder in spite of her father, who is a lieutenant on the Pecan Bayou Police Force, town citizens worried about the effect of the occult on their children, and handsome stranger from Dallas. How do you get blood out of a silk blouse? Betsy Livingston can tell you in her newspaper column, "The Happy Hinter". When she's not writing, or taking care of her young son, she's busy solving mysteries in the tiny Texas town of Pecan Bayou.

140 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Teresa Trent

39 books341 followers
NEW RELEASE March 14, 2023- IF I HAD A HAMMER

Teresa Trent is a writer and the voice of the Books to the Ceiling podcast. Her book series include the The Swinging Sixties, The Pecan Bayou and Piney Woods Mysteries.
You can also visit her blog Books to the Ceiling .


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5 stars
61 (20%)
4 stars
92 (30%)
3 stars
110 (36%)
2 stars
31 (10%)
1 star
5 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews
Profile Image for Emma Lindhagen.
Author 8 books13 followers
November 7, 2014
I'll read anything with a teapot on the cover but sadly I was disappointed by this. The story seems unstructured with too many themes running on top of one another. It also could've really benefitted from editing. However, I give props to the author for making the MC a single mom in her 30s (I think that's the age, anyway) instead of a doey-eyed 20-something like so many books with romantic themes do.
Profile Image for KyBunnies.
1,207 reviews9 followers
October 9, 2012
I love reading a good mystery and this one did not let me down. The author will take readers on a trail with ghost, murder and a little romance. This book is a short fast read. Yet, the author created a book that will keep readers interested until the end. I did not figure out the villain until it was revealed in the book. Okay no more about that I do not want to write any spoilers.

Betsy is another female that has been let down by a male. She is not the average female. She actually makes a name for herself as ‘The Happy Hinter’. Betsy was hassled into going with her aunt on a ghost hunting expedition. Betsy feels like she should do whatever her aunt ask her.

If you are looking for a book that will take you to a small town with a little romance, lots of mystery and ghost hunting then look no further. This is the book for you. This is a book for almost anyone. The romance is keep at a minimum with the mystery high. This is a page turner that will keep you wondering “Who Did It?”.

I understand this is a series. However I have not read any other books yet this was a great standalone read. I will look for other books by this author. It is a great read.

Thanks for a great read Teresa.

The bunnies and I give this book 4 carrots.
Profile Image for Karen M.
584 reviews9 followers
November 28, 2019
I'm actually giving this cozy mystery a 3-1/2 stars. I liked it enough to go on and read the next book in the series but it had short comings in this first book. I don't recall any real clue as to the identity of the killer but I have to say that's my only complaint. I like the characters and the fact it's set somewhere I've never been.

I look forward to reading the next book.
Profile Image for Karen.
Author 25 books149 followers
December 8, 2012
Okay plot but solution is out of the blue--no real clues leading up to it. I thought the characterization of her son was not well done--not a typical seven year old. Seemed like lots of disconnects.
Profile Image for Renee Simmons.
131 reviews9 followers
October 27, 2022
I really enjoyed A Dash Of Murder! Betsy was pregnant when her husband took off and never returned. And she soon discovered that he left her with a pile of unpaid bills and left her in debt. Knowing her job at the local movie theater wasn’t going to be enough to support her and her son and get the debts paid, she was able to get a job at the local newspaper with a weekly column on helpful hints for everyday living and she made a name for herself. Her Aunt Maggie’s meant the world to her and when she asked Betsy to be part of her ghost hunting group, she reluctantly agreed. The news was doing a broadcast on the ghost investigation at an old abandoned hospital. But what they discovered started a whole new investigation by her Dad and the local police department. It resulted in everyone being a suspect. Who done it? The local restaurant owner that was being suckered by her husband’s business partner, or was it the new guy in town ? It kept me guessing and it end certainly surprised me!
1,460 reviews4 followers
November 18, 2020
As a cosy mystery 'A Dash of Murder' will not let you down - but it has problems that bedevil it; not enough pace, a solution that comes out of nowhere and, despite opening the door, no real interaction between Betsy and the eligible Leo.
Betsy's husband did a moonlight flit seven years ago, just before the birth of her son. He left behind a mountain of debt that has taken Betsy years to whittle down.
In the meantime she's re-invented herself as 'The Happy Hinter' author and newspaper columnist.
Betsy joins her Aunt Maggie in a hunt for paranormal activity at the abandoned Johnson Tuberculosis Hospital - they find a body ...
One thing I did learn is that Richard Marx actually exists though - I listened to a couple of his songs and while I didn't recognise a single one they each reminded me of other artists.
Profile Image for Mayda.
2,936 reviews58 followers
April 1, 2022
This novel had a good mix of mystery, ghost hunting, and everyday life. Betsy is coerced by her aunt to go along on a ghost hunting trip to an abandoned tuberculosis hospital. But instead of a ghost, Betsy finds a real dead body. Now Betsy wants to find out how this dead man came to be killed at this particular place. She also must deal with her son, his problems being bullied a bit by a new kid in his class, her sort-of attraction to the kid’s dad, her missing ex-husband, and so much more. It’s a well written story, with likable main characters. The reveal of the murderer came as a surprise to me, but maybe more astute readers will figure it out. I couldn’t, and it made the book just that much more enjoyable by the surprise ending.
426 reviews1 follower
August 27, 2019
Never Suspected the Culprit

This was an easy and fast read. I was totally surprised by the murderer. The characters came to life and the story was fast moving. The reason I have 4 stars vs 5 was for some adult language, otherwise a good read and I hope to read the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Anne Hawn Smith.
908 reviews60 followers
December 26, 2020
This was pretty good for the genera...with a little bit of murder, ghosts, recipes, and a dash of genealogy. There are even a few recipes in the back of the book that sound good: BBQ Sauce, Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie, and Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies, and even some household tips.
222 reviews
September 17, 2022
I liked the characters, the plot moved along and the conclusion was a bit of a surprise. I didn't like the way the main character kept bringing up the desertion of her husband and what a trial it wax. Life if hard st times for everyone. Best to make the best of what you have and push forward.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Debbie.
449 reviews
November 10, 2022
A fun book

Betsy Aunt Maggie wants to visit a ghost hunting
Excursion at the local old empty hospital so she drags Maggie alone. They soon how a night to remember. It was a very quick, fun, easy read. I enjoyed it very much from beginning to the end.
Profile Image for Krystyna.
5,134 reviews35 followers
June 29, 2018
Asylum seekers

A gentle cozy mystery incorporating murder, a ghost, a lunatic asylum and an attractive man. Betsy has to find the solution. Flows well and an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,352 reviews268 followers
January 16, 2016


Dollycas’s Thoughts

Being the first book in the series the author not only has to give us a mystery but also introduce us to the characters and give us a feel for the time and place. Teresa Trent does a great job at this.

The place happens to be the abandoned Johnson Tuberculosis Hospital which would be a spooky place to me no matter what time of year it is. The idea that there may be spirits lurking enough to bring ghost hunters to investigate adds to the haunted feeling. I was nervous about any hallway Betsy ventured into and one of the surprises she did find made me drop the book for just a moment. I don’t want a spoiler here but I am not talking about a ghost or even a dead body. Something that would have made me run screaming to the nearest exit.

The characters are very engaging. I love Betsy, The Happy Hinter. She seems very down to earth and someone I could probably be friends with. Her father has his hands full with a certain person creating havoc about the ghost hunters, the Scout troop on an overnight camp out, the drama at the old hospital, a murder to solve and of course the normal Halloween hijinks. I like the way all the characters rally together and helped out however they could.

The mystery was a good one too. Plenty of the expected twists and turns. I was totally surprised by the ending.

Trent does all this in less than 150 pages which I couldn’t believe. It was a very fast read and I really enjoyed it. She has left plenty of room for the characters to grow. I am late to this party though. The 6th book in the Pecan Bayou Series, Murder for a Rainy Day was just released so I have some catching up to do.
Profile Image for Kandy.
1,043 reviews8 followers
September 15, 2016
Very enjoyable story with interesting characters. I think I'll be going back to Pecan Bayou again in the future.
Profile Image for TAMMY CUEVAS.
364 reviews21 followers
October 28, 2012
Betsy Livingston, aka "The Happy Hinter", has agreed to help her Aunt Maggie on a ghost hunt at the old TB hospital. When Betsy stumbles upon the dead body of someone from her past, she knows she has to solve the murder.

This is the type of mystery novel I could read every day. It's a nice, "cozy" mystery, in spite of a bit of murder and a little strong language. The inclusion of the character of Danny, who has Down's Syndrome, is a very nice touch. This is a series I will be following happily.

5 stars

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe' and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe', no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Profile Image for Sarah Walker.
Author 22 books7 followers
April 4, 2013
This is a nice Nancy Drew for Texans. It has action. It has scenery. It has characters who talk to each other. It has a plot and a connective outline. It has murder. And angst and romance even...a tiny bit. It has everyday life and it looks like the beginning of a series. This is a pretty good book that I finished (which I won't do if I get bored). I enjoyed it.

What it's missing is suspense and tension and a hot kiss, even a stolen one. It's missing a high action satisfying end where the reader goes 'I knew it was him!'. Even light mysteries can be spiced up with a magical worry that builds up in the reader. It's missing that spark of chemistry between the people. I say magic and chemistry because I'm not sure how to do it myself. I think it comes with experimentation and experience. You have to stretch and go to some focused classes, read some stuff outside your genre and study. What's here is nice, and it's cleanly written, but it's formula, like a harlequin in the 1960's (Cause Harlequin now is higher quality), or a Nancy Drew. Maybe reading a great Harlequin suspense and meshing the suspense and tension will help. I did enjoy the scenery and the little Hair house.
Profile Image for Kassandra Lamb.
Author 47 books230 followers
February 3, 2023
I read this book 9 years ago and have since read the entire series. I enjoyed them very much, especially the characters—just quirky enough to be interesting but still believable.
Betsy Livingston is “The Happy Hinter,” a columnist for the local newspaper, and an amateur sleuth (much to the chagrin of her police lieutenant father).

In this first short but fun installment in the series, Betsy’s Aunt Maggie drags her along on a ghost hunting tour of a local abandoned hospital. And Betsy’s sleuthing avocation is launched when she stumbles on a “fresh spirit,” i.e. a corpse.

Aunt Maggie is a hoot and I also love the portrayal of Maggie’s son, a young man with Downs’ Syndrome. The author develops the characters and the setting, a small town in Texas, with just the right amount of detail to bring them to life, but without slowing down the story.

I give A Dash of Murder, and the whole series, 4 ½ stars
Profile Image for Lori Henrich.
1,023 reviews70 followers
January 23, 2015
Betsy has had a difficult start to her married life. Before her son was born her husband went out for cough drops and never returned, leaving her with alot of questions and a mountain of debt. She had been saving household hints since she was a little girl. She used these hints to make a living. First by putting them in a book and then by writing column for the paper.

Betsy is very fond of her Aunt Maggie. When Maggie wants her to get involved with the paranormal society she started she is very reluctant to tell her aunt that she is not a believer in ghosts. On a walk through the old hospital with Maggie, Betsy finds a dead body.

Also there is mysterious new man in town whose son is picking on Betsy's son Zach.

I like the characters, but the style of writing kind of felt off to me. Since I have been kind of tired when reading this story I want to try another to see if that feeling goes away. The story was good and the characters likeable so not sure what was off.
Profile Image for Nola Arganbright.
1,589 reviews28 followers
February 1, 2015
A very good fast moving Cozy Mystery. Betsy is a single mother with a 7 year old son. Her father is with local Law Enforcement and they live in Pecan Bayou, Texas somewhere in the northeast half of the state.
The story begins at the deserted Johnson Tuberculosis Hospital where Betsy and her Aunt Maggie of the local Paranormal Investigating Group are setting up a tour of the hospital with local news coverage. Betsy and the group find a body in the empty rundown hospital and the excitement begins.
The story held my attention and it was a well written book. I enjoyed the characters and the different directions the story took. I was born and raised in the East Texas Piney Woods and was thrilled to see my home town of Longview, Texas mentioned one time.
I am looking forward to reading more of the Betsy Livingston books in the near future.
Profile Image for Jeannie and Louis Rigod.
1,976 reviews29 followers
June 24, 2013
This is a cute short quick read. A novella about a young woman, Betsy Livingston, who writes a weekly news column entitled the 'Happy Hinter.' Betsy loving her family, as she does, and so did I, agrees to join her favorite Auntie in a ghost hunting adventure for the local Access television station.

Quickly, it becomes clear that it is a good thing, Betsy's Father is Police Chief, when the first ghost of the evening adventure is found. Only...it is slightly more than a ghost.

This was a fun read. Humorous situations, enjoyable characters, and I have a couple of the future books already in my to be read files to look forward to reading. I'm very glad of that.
Author 16 books59 followers
October 22, 2012
I enjoyed this story. Betsy and her family and friends are people I like spending time with, and the author has painted the unrelenting Indian summer of Texas perfectly. The mystery is a good one, and I liked wondering if the new guy in town wasn't responsible. I also liked the way the two boys did not resolve their differences overnight, and that there was an underlying reason for the bully's actions and attitude. The recipes in the back of the book are quite a bonus. Do be warned that this is a fairly short book, but it is entertaining. I would read more by this author.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mindy.
642 reviews9 followers
April 8, 2013
I love a good murder mystery. I love that this book has a hint of romance at the fringe but never goes into full blown romance. That hint just adds to the mystery and tension. And the story keeps you pulled in until the end. And when you find out that the murder is … You didn’t think I would really tell you, now did you? Let’s just say I wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years.

I give this story 4.5 out of 5 clouds.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.
43 reviews
February 6, 2014
Betsy and her son live in Pecan Bayou, a small town where everyone knows everyone. Her husband walked out on her 7 years previously while she was pregnant, and she is still not over it. Her father is the town cop, her aunt is a ghost hunter. A body is found, her former husband's business partner. The mystery begins.

This was a light read, that sounded good on the blurb, but fell short of expectations. The story line was quite thin. The plot had potential, but failed to deliver.

I finished it purely due to a case of insomnia...
Profile Image for Lisa Godina.
96 reviews
January 25, 2013
What happens when you mix paranormal investigation and murder... you get the book A Dash of Murder. It is a delightful and easy to read story with an interesting twist. I enjoyed this book with a cup of Caramel Mocha. My neice wants to try a couple of the recipes that the author so kindly includes with the book.
Profile Image for Deb Novack.
284 reviews6 followers
April 5, 2013
This was a fun little cozy mystery/paranormal book. An amateur paranormal group is checking out the town;s old falling down hospital reputed to be haunted. When doing a walk through a dead body is discovered and the investigation ensues. If you want to discover all the details please read this book.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
56 reviews5 followers
November 6, 2013
Great little mystery. Easy characters to understand and like. Good plot twists. Nothing too complicated. Could have used a dose of romance with the dash of murder - perhaps in the next one. I would be interested in reading more in this series. A bit more editing would have refined it. Loved the hints and recipes in the back.
Profile Image for Kay (Brigidsmomma) Compton.
741 reviews29 followers
July 11, 2015
We.ll... I didn't finish it, but I really couldn't get into it and just couldn't find the energy to put into reading something that clearly held no interest to me. Maybe someone else will like it, but definitely not one i liked
Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews

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