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Romance novelist Elspeth Gray hates mysteries. Not just real-life ones, but the kind with smoking guns, chalk outlines, and Prof Plum in the library with the lead pipe. Luckily, her picture perfect New England home town of All Hallows doesn’t seem the most likely place to find many of those, so Elspeth should be able to get on with her latest novel without anyone finding out that the ‘Queen of Dessert Romances’ is in frequent danger of burning her own kitchen down.
Until, that is, a dead body turns up at her book signing, carefully arranged to give an observant detective plenty of not-so-subtle clues. And then a couple more follow, until All Hallows begins to look like the set of an Agatha Christie dramatisation.
Persuaded and bullied by her clue- and sleuth-mad best friend Julia (who bases her crime-solving techniques on detectives who are (a) fictional, and (b) cats), can Elspeth find the murderer, fend off the unwelcome attentions of her ex-husband and persuade her agent that she is not the stuff of which mystery novelists are made?
out. The reading itself was quick, but Charlotte is pretty good about offering people booze so they’ll stick around and shop. I had some of the champagne, it was nasty! My preferred drink is Pimm’s and diet lemon-lime soda, but no one offered me any and I was so busy taking pictures I really didn’t have time to socialize. I’m afraid I wasn’t paying much attention until Jasper and Violet made their big announcement! Engaged and still married! Typical Jasper. He thought because he was a big-shot
suspects, except there was nothing noticeably sinister about our group. Rose and Sabrina Elliott were the height of respectability in blue and dove gray, and Alex and Coco Ware were in solid black from the tips of their fingers to their toes. Crispin Wickford’s slim form was encased in gray tweed and red bowtie, and Nora Ware was adorable in a pleated dress. I wore my old black and a new straw hat with a floppy brim. I thought it made me look mysterious, and wondered if I could wear it to
turn around and scowl. Jasper and Sabrina had been engaged once, but he’d left her at the altar to marry the much younger, and richer, Nora Brecht. Jasper and Sabrina maintained an open animus that I envied, and I saw Rose turn and whisper something to Sabrina. I imagined them like the witches in Macbeth, cackling over a smoldering cauldron as they prepared their next Jasper curse. “Careful or your face will stay that way.” I smiled as I heard the voice at my elbow, and Julia smiled back.
neighborly love and a healthy respect for Old Testament signs and portents. These various beliefs were tumbled together into a thick, religious salve that I found useful for dealing with most of life’s cuts and bruises. For the deeper wounds, I combined the salve with wine. It was remarkably effective. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through
person to manage mounting the exhibit. If Brenda is occupé, perhaps–” “Kalena will direct the project,” said Stewart. “Who?” Did I hear him right? “This is no time for modesty, Kalena. Your administrative experience in Exhibits combined with your history background will be invaluable. And you do share a love for chocolate with the Maya.” Stewart winked. “More importantly you have a record of expediting difficult tasks.” “Kalena?” Richard was a ghostly beige. “You can count on