payne and misery


All that glitters is not gold for Christine Sterling.

The luster of her shiny Golden Years dream fades when Christine's newly retired husband, Jesse, becomes obsessed with a hobby requiring extra time away from her.

Christine develops a bad reputation for conjuring wild tales and being chief complainer. Then she meets someone who has true reason to complain, if anyone does.

Lila Payne's life is the mirror opposite of ideal. The plight of this seemingly abused woman gnaws at Christine, but the authorities turn a deaf ear to Christine's pleas for help on Lila's behalf. Spurred into action when her beloved dog Molly and Lila both disappear on the same night, Christine dives into a scary pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Sensing God at work in the situation Christine continues to search and pray, but even with God's help, can they save Lila and Molly before it's too late?

The Christine Sterling Mystery books will be reissued in 2016.




"Catherine Leggitt, first time author of mystery novel Payne & Misery, has done a great job of capturing her reader's interest right at the onset. This is her debut novel in the three part Christine Sterling Mysteries. The second book titled, The Dunn Deal, is soon to be released with a third, Parrish the Thought, to follow.

Leggitt is a gifted writer. Her book reminds me of an adult version of the Nancy Drew Mysteries that I was so fond of as a young girl. The main character in her series is Christine Sterling who manages to find trouble because of her natural curious nature and her tendency to jump to conclusions. Her husband Jesse, has become quite frustrated with her somewhat "nosy" personality, but Christine manages to come across a real crime taking place right under their noses. She succeeds in not only getting Jesse involved but her neighbors as well by tweaking their imaginations and keeping them posted on the events taking place. Leggitt is a master at creating many twists and turns to keep her readers riveted to the page. She also manages to make Christine a very likeable character which helps draw us into the unfolding mystery that provides just enough information to keep her audience guessing.

I very much enjoyed Payne & Misery and I especially like Leggitt's play on words in all three of her book titles in this series. She is a talented author and I look forward to reading her second book, The Dunn Deal. I'm sure Christine Sterling's keen nose for mystery will keep us all on our toes as Leggitt continues to share her mystery novels with her reading audience."

Dolores Ayotte

"In a tale of mystery and crime, reminiscent of the Alfred Hitchcock mystery Rear Window, Catherine Leggitt brings readers into the small town of Grass Valley, California. This is a town where watching neighbors through basement windows can lead to some serious drama. With a setting drawn from the author’s surroundings and emotional turmoil from personal experience, the characters and situation take on the qualities of a believable tale of Payne & Misery.

The main character, Christine Sterling, feels lost in retired life, unappreciated by her husband, and lonely but for the Bible-thumping Christian down the street. As we come to know Christine further we discover that she is in a situation typical of many retirees, however Christine is no stereotypical woman.

Her adventures range from breaking and entering to spying, and though sometimes done without finesse it's always effective in getting to the truth. Payne & Misery depicts the tribulation and torment of humanity, and the difference between those who live in it and those who choose live despite it.

An important aspect of the novel is Christine’s discovery of God’s plan for her. Since Christine has a murder mystery on her hands and she can’t make the clues appear, she is forced to wait for God to reveal them. It is a lesson on how patience for God trumps acting on human impulse.

The plot is sound and the story, as well as the characters, are endearing. Christine Sterling has just been introduced to us and her next adventure, The Dunn Deal, in April 2012 is sure to be just as inspiring!"


"I loved Catherine Leggitt's novel, Payne & Misery. The main character, Christine,has enough curioustiy to make her real, and enough wit and humor to make you laugh as she says and does things that many of us only think about. Leggitt's characterization was well thought out from Christine, to her friend Zora Jane, to the cats and dog. The plot was easy to follow, yet gave me surprises along the way. This was a "can't put down" kind of book. A great mystery with a light twist of fun. I can't wait to read Leggitt's next book in the series. I gladly give this book five stars."

Judy Vandiver

"Catherine Leggitt's first novel in the Christine Sterling mystery series is a well-written page turner that should appeal to a wide range of readers. It follows the adventures of a "Jump to Conclusions" housewife as she unravels a complex set of circumstances involving the disappearance of a neighbor woman along with Christine's own beloved pet border collie. Christine's actions often lead to dangerous situations that leave the reader in suspense. In the process Christine, with more help from God than she initially realizes, not only finds answers to the disappearances but also finds that the relationship with her recently retired husband, Jesse, is undergoing a refreshing renewal of closeness and respect.

Catherine Leggitt's characters are realistic and her descriptions of their strengths and foibles show a keen sense of observation. The author also has a delightful sense of humor that is worked into Christine's thoughts and comments.

All in all, this is a novel that should satisfy any reader seeking a good mystery story."

Robert Ours

"Go on this mysterious journey with Christine Sterling and you may find yourself sharpening your people-watching skills and learning a lot about yourself along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed this fictional account of a middle-aged woman who involves herself in an investigation that exposes her to danger and a deeper relationship with God. A wonderfully written novel by a new author."


"You remember that nosy neighbor who always knows everything about all the people who live within a country mile of her? You know, the one in the quick stop who stares with suspicion at everyone she sees? Peeks out from behind curtains? Snoops in your garage when you're not home?

This book is about her. Christine Sterling is her name. Her husband Jesse doesn't understand why she sees wolves behind every little incident. The deputies at the Sheriff's department sigh and become unavailable when she calls. Their friends down the road, Zora Jane and Ed, try to lead her away from her proclivities. But Christine knows what she knows. Her instinct is infallible.

Okay, so it's not infallible, but that family down the road? Something's wrong there, but no one will believe her. She must come up with proof.

Poor anorexic Lila disappears. Will, her husband--uh, no, boyfriend. Or something. He disappears about the same time each day, but he always comes back. His sister Helen--well, let's just say her crazy driving is a great indicator of her personality. And Molly, Christine's beloved little border collie also comes up missing.

Clues abound. Why doesn't anyone believe her? Grab the book quick and find out how things turn out for this busybody--ah, really curious lady."

Anne Baxter Campbell