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Groomed for Murder

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When a guest drops dead at the altar on her friend and mentor's wedding day, Izzy McHale, the owner of Trendy Tails Pet Boutique, ... Lire la suite
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Description

When a guest drops dead at the altar on her friend and mentor's wedding day, Izzy McHale, the owner of Trendy Tails Pet Boutique, along with her friends and pets, must catch a clever killer before even more fur flies. Original.

Praise for Paws for Murder

“Annie Knox has created a warm, funny, flawed, but completely endearing sleuth in Izzy McHale, and I’m already panting for the next book in the series.” —Miranda James, New York Times bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks mysteries

“Five paws up! Annie Knox dazzles with four-legged friends, fashion, and foul play. Paws for Murder is tailor-made for the pet and mystery lover.”—Melissa Bourbon, author of A Killing Notion

Auteur
Annie Knox doesn’t commit—or solve—murders in her real life, but her passion for animals is one hundred percent true. She’s also a devotee of eighties music, Asian horror films, and reality TV. While Annie is a native Buckeye and has called a half dozen states home, she and her husband now live a stone’s throw from the courthouse square in a north Texas town in their very own crumbling historic house.

Texte du rabat

Izzy McHale wants her new Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in Merryville, Minnesota, to be the height of canine couture and feline fashions. But in a week of wedding bells, someone is about to hold their peace...

forever. Love is in the air, and Izzy is hard at work coordinating two special weddings at Trendy Tails. First, Izzy's friend and mentor, Ingrid, will be tying the knot with her old flame. And a week later, Izzy will host "pupptials” for two lovable dogs.

But even with the hullabaloo, the Trendy Tails crew is intrigued by Daniel, an enigmatic writer boarding above the shop who's caught the attention of Izzy's zany aunt Dolly, who gossips like most people breathe.

Unfortunately, it's Daniel who stops breathing when he drops dead at the altar on Ingrid's wedding day. Then Dolly is found at the scene with the murder weapon, and it's up to Izzy, her Trendy Tails pals, and her scrappy pets, Packer and Jinx, to find a killer before the two affianced doggies bark down the aisle....



Échantillon de lecture
CHAPTER

“What do you think of the meatball?” Ingrid Whitfield handed Harvey Nyquist a tiny paper plate bearing a single bite-sized meatball, speared with a toothpick and resting in a small pool of creamy brown gravy.

Harvey shoved his well-used handkerchief into his pocket and reached up from his seat on my sofa, careful not to shift my dog, Packer, who was snoring loudly in his lap. As he grasped the plate in his liver-spotted hand, I detected a faint tremor, and he grabbed at the toothpick with the sort of lunging movement of a person whose fine motor skills are deteriorating.

He chewed the meatball thoughtfully. “Good,” he said. Packer snorted softly and raised his head, his doggy dreams distracted by the rich scent of meat.

“Good? Don’t you think the nutmeg’s a little strong?”

“Maybe.”

Ingrid heaved a long-suffering sigh. “Well, do you want them as is, or do you want less nutmeg?”

“Ya, sure.” He rubbed the end of the toothpick in the leftover gravy and sucked it off, his eyes closed and a contented smile gracing his face. Packer whined and licked his chops. Harvey held out the plate for him to clean, and Packer looked up at Harvey like he was the king of dogs. My little four-legged traitor.

“‘Ya, sure’? What kind of answer is that? Pain-in-the-ass old coot,” Ingrid muttered, but there was no heat to her complaint, and she gave Harvey’s shoulder a flirtatious little shove before she returned to my galley kitchen. No doubt about it, brusque and brash old Ingrid had a soft spot, and its name was Harvey Nyquist.

When the couple had first arrived in Merryville, I couldn’t figure out why Ingrid was so smitten with Harvey. They’d been high school sweethearts, torn apart by his family’s decision to send him to military school, and before Ingrid had flown off to join him in Boca Raton, I’d seen pictures of the lithe, handsome man he had been. Ingrid had rhapsodized about the love notes he would write to her and the numerous times he had serenaded her in front of God and everyone.

But Harvey Nyquist sixty-some years after the serenading stopped? The man didn’t say boo, he had some sort of chronic sinus problem that produced earsplitting sneezes on a regular basis, and he looked like someone had stuffed a madras sack with sunburned potatoes.

When I met Harvey, I decided Ingrid’s determination to live happily ever after with him was driven by nothing more than the memory of a love long ago.

But during the week since their arrival, I’d watched Harvey as he watched Ingrid bustling about my apartment, rearranging my knickknacks, finding hidden deposits of dust to clean away, and cursing about the little details of their upcoming nuptials. He looked at her as though she were his last mooring to this earth, all the light in his face reflected from her vitality. He didn’t just love Ingrid. He needed her. And having someone need you is a powerful aphrodisiac.

“Well?” I asked, pointing at the meatball-filled tinfoil take-out box on my counter.

“I guess they’ll do,” Ingrid groused.

Ollie Forde, who’d made literally hundreds of thousands of Norwegian meatballs for the residents of Merryville over the years, would be delighted to learn that his spherical masterpieces would “do.”

“That’s good,” I said, struggling to hide my frustration. “The wedding is tomorrow, after all, and we should probably finalize the details today.”

As if to punctuate my pronouncement, Harvey whooped and sneezed. I heard Packer whimper from the bluster of it all, and Jinx—perched on the pass-through between my kitchen and dining nook—swished her tail in annoyance.

In truth, we should have finalized the details the day Ingrid and Harvey rolled into town, with absolutely no advance notice, and declared they were going to get married in Merryville within the week.

Ingrid had decided at the last minute that she wanted to get married in her hometown of Merryville instead of at the Cherub Chapel of Bliss on the Las Vegas Strip. More specifically, she and Harvey were getting married in my store, Trendy Tails, the space Ingrid had called home. Trendy Tails occupied the first floor of 801 Maple, a house Ingrid had owned for decades. The second floor had been Ingrid’s apartment, and I still lived in the third-floor apartment. Ingrid and Harvey’s announcement had turned the entire house on its head.

The wedding plans got off to a rocky start when Ingrid had discovered that the tenant I’d found for her apartment was still in residence, so she and Harvey would have to bunk with me. “There goes the nooky,” she’d complained.

They’d only gone downhill from there. Soon she was chafing under the froufrou influence of my mom and Aunt Dolly. If Ingrid had had her way, she would have dressed in her best plaid shirt, signed the paperwork, and been married in ten minutes. But Mom and Aunt Dolly had managed to find her a feminine skirt suit with a peplum to give Ingrid some curves, had ordered a huge bouquet of lilacs, and had even stitched a deep purple lace-edged pillow to one of Packer’s harnesses so he could serve as a canine ring-bearer. “It’s just me and Harvey,” she’d muttered, “not the damn royal wedding.”

Yesterday, we’d hit a new snag. Ingrid, who was usually perfectly happy with a bowl of canned soup and some soda crackers, suddenly became hypercritical about all the food options we had (which were scarce, given our short timeline). “Not as good as mine,” she’d griped about every single dish we proffered. For someone who claimed not to want a fussy wedding, she had become quite a demanding bride.

Now she looked at me with narrowed eyes. “You know I love you, Isabel McHale, but I don’t appreciate the sarcasm. Ollie Forde makes a good meatball, but you have to admit the man can be a little heavy-handed with the nutmeg. We’ll have the wedding tomorrow with or without meatballs, but I’m not paying through the nose for a plate of crapola.”

I narrowed my eyes right back. “You know I love you, Ingrid Whitfield, but you’ve become an irascible old biddy.”

Ingrid’s frown melted away, and she threw back her head in laughter. “‘Become’? I’ve been an irascible old biddy since the day my mother birthed me. That’s precisely why you love me.”

I snickered. “True enough. But you know what they say about too much of a good thing.”

“Well, if it wasn’t for that interloper on the second floor . . .”

“Hey. No fair. You asked me to rent out the apartment, and when Daniel asked for an extra couple of weeks, I had no idea his stay would interfere with your wedding. You weren’t due back for another month. A little notice would have helped,” I added pointedly.

Ingrid plucked another meatball from the small tray. “So what’s up with this Daniel Colona guy?” she asked before popping the morsel in her mouth.

“Honestly? I don’t really know. He pretty much keeps to himself. He comes down to the shop pretty regularly to buy Rena’s treats for his Weimaraner, Daisy May, but he doesn’t talk about himself much at all.”

“You said he’s a writer?”

From the other room, Harvey sneezed again. I waited until he was done trumpeting into his hankie before answering.

“That’s what he said when he called about the apartment, but he’s never given so much as a hint about what he’s writing.”

“I can’t believe the crew around here hasn’t figured out all his deepest secrets by now. You and your friends are pretty nibby.”

“Oh, believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. We’ve had some long conversations about Mr. Colona over dinners, drinks, card games—you name it. I think he’s a novelist, maybe a J. D. Salinger kind of guy, and he’s hiding out while some sort of sex scandal blows over.”

“Really? Why do you say that?”

“I don’t know. He’s got these dark, haunted eyes and long black hair. He could play Heathcliff in a remake of Wuthering Heights if he grew just a few more inches. He’s got to have a troubled past and a broken love story.”

“You get all that from his hair? I think you’re being overly romantic.”

“That’s what Rena says.” My best friend and business partner had been teasing me mercilessly about having a crush on my tenant . . . which I definitely did not. I had a couple of light crushes going, but neither of them were on Daniel Colona.

A week after Harvey and Ingrid’s wedding, Trendy Tails was playing host to a doggy wedding . . . pupptials, if you will. The dogs in question were Hetty Tucker’s retired greyhound, Romeo, and Louise Collins’s pudgy beagle, Pearl. Hetty and Louise had always been close, so they hadn’t been difficult to work with. But their sons . . .

Neither Hetty nor Louise could drive, so each depended on her son to get her to our planning sessions. Sean Tucker and Jack Collins were night and day. Sean was intellectual, reserved, a true romantic. In a past life he might have written lots of poetry about sheep or painted women frolicking through the woods in diaphanous gowns. Jack Collins was a cop. A man’s man. In a past life, he was a cop. At our meetings, the two men danced around each other like alley cats with their backs up, hissing and spitting at each other at every opportunity. They were different, sure, but I’m not sure where the animosity came from. I honestly didn’t know what to do with either one of them. But I definitely thought they were both pretty cute.

“Anyway,” I continued, “Rena thinks he’s a retired crime boss who’s writing a tell-all book. She says that once you get past his polished shoes and perfectly pressed dress shirts, he looks a little rough around the edges, like maybe he’s broken a few knees in his time. Meanwhile, Lucy and Xander both think he’s an investigative journalist doing an exposé on . . . well, they don’t exactly know what he plans to expose. And of course Sean and Dru, the practical members of our little gang, think we’re all crazy and we ought to let the man have his privacy.”

“Sean and Dru are probably right.” Ingrid leaned forward and called into the living room. “Don’t you think so, Harvey?”

“Ya, sure.”

Ingrid chuckled. “It’s nice to be right all the time,” she said.

“I know we shouldn’t be such busybodies, but honestly, our speculation is perfectly tame compared to Aunt Dolly. She’s come up with far more harebrained theories than the rest of us. She’s completely obsessed with the man.”

“Your aunt Dolly is a nut job,” Ingrid huffed.

I shrugged. “Yeah, well, she’s our nut job. She fancies herself quite the sleuth after the hubbub last Halloween.”

Last fall, my friends and I found ourselves in the middle of a murder investigation, trying to keep Rena from being hauled to the hoosegow. Ever since we’d sussed out the killer, Aunt Dolly had taken to watching and taking notes on true crime shows. She’d even suggested she might try to get her private investigator’s license.

“She’s dragging me right behind her, straight to the loony bin,” Ingrid complained. “All this stuff with the wedding: favors and veils and nonsense.”

I gave Ingrid a sidelong glance. “Come on. I know you’re not a girly girl, but you must be enjoying all the attention just a little.”

Ingrid grinned at me around a gravy-stained toothpick. “Maybe just a little,” she said with a wink.

Lord, help me, I thought. Between Ingrid blowing hot and cold, Dolly blowing plain old crazy, and Harvey endlessly blowing his nose, this wedding might be the death of me.

* * *

That afternoon, I set to work making favors for the wedding, listening to Rena humming out of tune while she worked on cookies for Ingrid and Harvey’s reception. I sucked in a big lungful of vanilla-and-sugar-scented air.

At the tinkling of the bell above our doorway, I looked up to find Aunt Dolly using her rear end to bump open Trendy Tails’ door. She managed to maneuver herself into the shop with her arms filled with boxes of white tissue wedding decorations. Thankfully, I’d already ordered decorations for Pearl and Romeo’s doggy wedding. We could give the decorations a dress rehearsal, using them to perk up Trendy Tails for Ingrid and Harvey.

“How’s the blushing bride today?” Dolly asked, her voice brimming with high spirits and good cheer.

I set down the last little packet of Jordan almonds, bundled neatly in a circle of white tulle, and raised a finger to my lips. “She’s upstairs,” I mouthed.

“Gotcha,” Dolly mouthed back.

I stretched my back and answered her in a voice that wouldn’t carry up to my apartment on the third floor, where Ingrid Whitfield had gone to sulk. “Take your pick,” I said. “Irritable, grumpy, annoyed, occasionally hostile. She’s spent a lot of time storming up and down the stairs muttering that she and Harvey should have just gone to Vegas like they originally planned. At one point she bellowed at Harvey that they should call off all this ‘stuff and nonsense’ and just keep on living in sin.”

Rena sauntered out of the kitchen to join us during my explanation. “We’ve been having a great time,” she deadpanned. “Maybe we should get Ingrid on that show about bridezillas. I bet she’d be their first postmenopausal bride.”

Dolly snorted a laugh as she carefully lowered her load onto the giant red worktable in what used to be the dining room of the gingerbread Victorian house. She shoved aside the tangle of ribbons and fabric swatches that littered the table, the detritus of my early morning efforts to create “cat’s pajamas.” The unfinished results hung on a wooden cat-shaped form I’d had specially made by a carpenter in Bemidji. Eventually, I would try the jammies on Jinx, but she was too feisty to serve as a model during development.

“I guess we shouldn’t be surprised,” Dolly whispered. “Ingrid’s always been a pill, and a bride must be an awkward hat for her to wear.”

Dolly made a good point. Our octogenarian friend would pick corduroy over cashmere any day of the week.

Still, I thought Ingrid’s irritability went deeper than that. She seemed uncharacteristically vulnerable. I had a sneaking suspicion why.

Ingrid had spent most of her adult life running the Merryville Gift Haus in the space now occupied by my store, Trendy Tails. She’d supported me in starting up the business right before she left for Boca, but it must still have been difficult to come back and see no trace of her own well-loved shop left. What’s more, the second-floor apartment in which Ingrid had lived for over four decades was now occupied by a stranger, a renter she’d never even met. It’s hard to deal with the fact that life in your hometown could continue on without you.

“Well,” Rena said, “one way or the other it will be over tomorrow.”

“That sounds ominous,” Dolly said with a shiver.

Rena laughed. “You haven’t seen ominous until you’ve seen the thundercloud that gathered over Ingrid when she found out Jane Porter was bringing a plus one to the wedding.”

“Oh, she’s just being ridiculous. I mean, it’s not like Jane’s marrying Knute Hammer,” Dolly huffed. “They just gad about town together.”

Rena started pulling rolls of crepe-paper and tissue-paper wedding bells from the box Dolly had brought. “Why would she care about Jane’s love life, even if Jane was going to tie the knot with Knute?”

Dolly hummed thoughtfully. “I think the whole reason Ingrid invited Jane was that she had a vision of Jane curled in a puddle of misery while she walked down the aisle with Harvey. Jane having a date takes some of the fun out of it.”

“Geesh,” I muttered, fanning out a honeycomb bell and slipping the plastic clips in place to hold it open. “Ingrid’s always been brusque, but I’ve never known her to be mean-spirited. Other than a few sour grapes over a canasta hand, what does she have against Jane anyway?”

“You don’t know?” Dolly gasped.

Rena’s eyes lit from within as she leaned in for a good dish. “No, we don’t. . . . Spill it.”

Dolly hummed nervously, studying the ceiling as though she could pinpoint Ingrid’s precise location there. “Well,” she finally whispered, “Jane and Arnold Whitfield dated in high school, when Harvey and Ingrid were together. Everyone thought Jane and Arnold would get married and Harvey and Ingrid would live their own happily ever after. But then Jane moved to Chicago to do some TV work, commercial bits, and such. Harvey got sent to military school, and things just sort of happened the way they happened. . . . Next thing you know, Arnold and Ingrid were engaged.

“Then back, oh, thirty-some years ago now, when Arnold was still alive, Ingrid spent a few months up in Duluth looking after her sister who’d broken a hip. When she got back, she and Arnold had a big blowup, and he ended up spending a month or so with his brother in St. Paul. When he came home, he brought Ingrid a fancy new dishwasher. I don’t think either one of them ever told a soul about that fight, but we all knew. And we all knew its cause: Jane and Arnold had, uh . . . well . . .”

Rena squealed. “Oh no, they didn’t! Arnold Whitfield and Jane Porter had a fling?”

“Hush,” Dolly urged, glancing up at the ceiling again.

“Man,” I whispered, “Jane picked the wrong woman to betray, didn’t she?”

“You bet she did,” Dolly continued. “Ingrid seemed to forgive Arnold, but she never forgave Jane. What’s more, without so much as a word she made sure everyone in Merryville remembered that Jane’s morals were a little loose. I know Ingrid never hung her head in shame over the affair, but this . . . Well, this was her big chance to beat out Jane in the love game once and for all.”

I slipped a ribbon through the grommets on the tops of three of the honeycomb tissue bells, making a little cluster to hang from the chandelier in the front room. “Wow. I never would have guessed. I can’t imagine Ingrid putting up with a tomcatting husband. I guess everyone has secrets.”

Dolly finished nestling the bundles of Jordan almonds in a lace-lined basket. “That they do, my dear. That they do. Don’t you ever forget it.”

CHAPTER

Everyone who was anyone turned out for Ingrid and Harvey’s wedding. My sisters and parents were there, graciously standing near the back to allow other guests a better view. I counted every member of the Methodist Ladies’ Auxiliary. The Merryville Gazette had even sent a reporter to cover the event for what passed as our society page. I admit, I was delighted to see Ama Olmstead taking photos of the array of goodies laid out on the cherry red folk art table that dominated Rena’s barkery, while her husband, Steve, stood back and patiently held her bags—so many bags it looked like she was ready to go on the lam. Not only was she chronicling the nuptials, but she was providing Trendy Tails with a little free publicity. I admired the way they worked, tiny Danish Ama having merely to give her strapping Norwegian husband a glance before he handed her a lens or some other sort of camera paraphernalia.

Ken West emerged from the kitchen, a tray of his savory hors d’oeuvres in his hands. Ken had come to Merryville from Madison to open a high-end seafood restaurant, the Blue Atlantic, but when it went out of business, he stuck around doing catering jobs. He’d recently secured backing—thanks to a little blackmail—from Hal Olson to open a new restaurant, this one with a more realistic steak-and-chops menu. He’d recently begun the process of revamping the building that once housed the Grateful Grape—just across the back alley from me—into his new concern, Red, White & Bleu. The conceit was to pair just the right wine with locally sourced beef, pork, venison, and fish. I’d even heard a rumor that he was bringing in a sommelier from his days in Madison to help with the pairings.

I admit I was a little disappointed about Ken opening Red, White & Bleu. As smug and unpleasant as I found Ken to be, he really did a nice job with catering, and I imagined that the restaurant would take up too much of his time for him to continue with these little jobs.

A small mob of no-nonsense Merryville men—all over fifty—crowded around Ken to grab his mini-chicken-potpies and beef skewers, along with a few of Ollie Forde’s Norwegian meatballs. I noticed the widowed contingent of the Methodist Ladies’ Auxiliary staring at the men with predatory eyes, looking for a weak one to cull from the herd.

Even the much-maligned Jane Porter had shown up, hanging on the arm of Knute Hammer. Knute Hammer was the minister at the Hope of Christ Lutheran Church. Though he was slight of frame, he towered over the gently rounded, petite Jane Porter—a birch tree giving shelter to a plump squirrel. All things considered, it was hard to imagine that Arnold, the man who’d loved strapping, forthright Ingrid, would find much of interest in Jane’s Cupid’s-bow mouth and coy, lash-batting gaze.

Still, the past was what it was, and according to Dolly, Ingrid’s bitterness had never mellowed. I just hoped the two women wouldn’t come to blows during the reception.

It really was a true Merryville event. The only person glaringly missing was Hal Olson, Merryville’s most outspoken mayoral candidate. I was a little surprised, because Hal always had a new deal in the works, something that needed the shaking of hands and the slapping of backs, and with the election coming up in just a month, glad-handing the denizens of Merryville was all the more important. Missing an opportunity to hobnob like this seemed out of character.

His wife, Pris, was in attendance, though. She stood right in the thick of the action, but most of the guests carefully avoided her eyes. Half the town was terrified of Pris’s tongue, as sharp and precise as a surgeon’s scalpel. Pris didn’t seem to be bothered by the absence of her husband or her lack of conversational partners. Still, everyone with eyes could see the Hal-shaped hole at Pris’s side and could guess that there must be tension between the two. I, however, knew the depths of their marital discord. This was not an isolated incident but part of a long trend of Pris and Hal avoiding each other whenever possible. A few months earlier, in a rare moment of camaraderie, Pris had confessed her desire to ditch Hal and the financial bonds that kept them tethered.

Don’t get me wrong. Pris and I were not friends. In fact, Pris and I were archrivals in the Merryville pet care industry, though our businesses seemed to drive us into each other’s paths more than they kept us apart. In such a small town, you couldn’t do much without collaborating with people you barely tolerated. Take, for instance, the upcoming doggy wedding between Pearl Collins and Romeo Tucker. While I was dressing the duo and providing the site for the wedding, and my friend and partner, Rena, was catering the event for the animal guests, Prissy’s Pretty Pets was helping with decor and with grooming the pups before their walk down the aisle.

Trying to be a gracious hostess, I sidled up to Pris. “How’s it going?”

Pris flashed her beauty-queen smile. “Izzy! Don’t you have just the worst feeling of déjà vu?”

“What do you mean?” Pris’s smile rarely boded well for me.

“Well, it was only, what, six months ago that we were standing right here in Trendy Tails, the room packed with guests, Ken West in the kitchen providing delicious nibbles just like today. And look how that turned out.”

That night had ended with a dead body.

I chuckled uncomfortably. “I think that was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing.”

Pris just smiled.

“The room looks lovely,” she said.

“Thanks.” Given the short notice, we’d done a fine job with the decorations. I’d spent the morning clearing away all the merchandise on the floor and draping the glass case beneath the cash register with a swag of deep purple velvet. White tissue paper and tulle twined around the handrail of the staircase leading down from the second floor. We’d scattered the room with milk glass bowls of mixed nuts and the all-important wedding mints: little pastel pillows that melted on your tongue. While many of the guests would stand, we’d placed a handful of chairs at the front of the room for Ingrid’s contemporaries and their shaky knees. All in all, Aunt Dolly, Rena, and I had transformed Trendy Tails into a chapel of love that rivaled any in Vegas. All we were missing was the Elvis.

“What’s up with those two?” Pris asked. “They look like they’re ready to take it outside.”

She lifted her glass of punch in the direction of the chairs. Hetty Tucker and Louise Collins were sitting side by side, chattering and giggling like a couple of teenagers. They were flanked by their sons, Sean and Jack, who were glaring at each other over their mothers’ snowy permanent waves.

“You got me,” I muttered. “They’ve been like that for weeks. Every time we meet to talk about Romeo and Pearl’s pupptials, I feel like I need to send them to separate corners.”

“Well, in my experience, men only get their dander up like that over one thing: women. I’d lay odds that those boys are in a tiff over some female’s affection.”

Pris had probably been the subject of many male rivalries, so she would know. Sean was newly single, and we’d been renewing a friendship from our high school days . . . a friendship I secretly hoped might blossom into something more. But Sean hadn’t shown any signs of reciprocating my affection, and I hadn’t heard of Jack having a girlfriend since high school. Maybe it was a woman. Or maybe they’d had a run-in on the grade school softball field and had never let it go. Who could tell? After my fiancé of many years had left me high and dry, I’d given up trying to figure out the male mind.

I saw Rena waving at me from across the room. I made my excuses to Pris, and wound my way through the guests toward the kitchen door.

“Are we ready?” I asked.

“I think so,” Rena replied with a weary sigh. “Dolly just texted down that Ingrid was dressed and ready to go, Harvey’s been standing by that makeshift altar for the last thirty minutes, and I caught the reverend checking his watch.”

“Great. I’ll get everyone in order, and you can send Dolly a text telling her to send Ingrid down the front stairs, and then she can hurry down the back stairs and not miss a thing.”

I grabbed my hand-tied bouquet of lilacs off the red country table, made my way to the altar—an arch of lavender and white balloons—and beckoned to Reverend Wilson. As he took his place between Harvey and me, a wave of whispers rippled out through the room, leaving silence in their wake. Someone coughed, the sound like a shot in the quiet room.

Somewhere behind me, Rena pushed PLAY on an MP3 player, and the sweet notes of Pachelbel’s Canon in D filled the air.

After a few moments of tense anticipation—during which I harbored the fleeting fear that Ingrid had escaped down the back stairs and fled into the twilight—her taupe pumps appeared between the balusters of the staircase. Everyone sighed softly as the bride made her way down the last of the stairs. She wore a periwinkle suit with a flirty little peplum and carried a cascading bouquet of frothy lilacs. A blusher-length veil covered her face, a gift from Dolly, who had worn the same veil when she married. The outfit was out of character for Ingrid, but I could tell by the tilt of her chin and the faint smile playing across her rose-painted lips that she felt beautiful.

I scooched out of...

Informations sur le produit

Titre: Groomed for Murder
Auteur:
Code EAN: 9780451241122
ISBN: 978-0-451-24112-2
Format: Couverture cartonnée
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Romans et récits
nombre de pages: 320
Poids: 159g
Taille: H170mm x B104mm x T25mm
Année: 2014

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