Read A Fatal Slip Online

Authors: Melissa Glazer

A Fatal Slip

Table of Contents
Praise for
A Murderous Glaze
The first book in the Clay and Crime Mystery series
 
“Melissa Glazer’s debut novel has a delightful cast of characters and a feisty heroine you can’t help cheering for. From the first page to the last, it’s a mystery to get ‘fired’ up about.”

Deb Baker, author of the Dolls to Die For Mysteries
 
“A smart debut.”
—Mystery Scene
 
“This is one of the most fun romps into murder I’ve had in a long while. I was hooked after reading the first page. I snickered, laughed out loud, and generally had a good time reading
A Murderous Glaze.
I enjoyed the plot, loved the characters, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.”
—Armchair Interviews
 
“The book is filled with interesting characters and Carolyn is strong. Her relationship with her husband is delightfully realistic . . . The setting of the pottery studio is nicely woven into the story in a way that makes it not just a backdrop but essential to what goes on.”—
MyShelf.com
 

A Murderous Glaze
has a tidy little plot, a fiftysomething protagonist who’s a bit of a curmudgeon, and smooth writing. It all adds up to a classic cozy—and its setting made me dream of getting back to the potter’s wheel I abandoned decades ago.”
—Mystery News
 
“[A] promising new series [and] a wonderful community of characters led by a likable and pragmatic heroine . . . The author consistently builds the tension, tempered with humorous aspects, creating a charming page-turner. I look forward to more from this series.”
—The Romance Readers Connection
 
“Enjoyable . . .
A Murderous Glaze
has all the elements that make for a pleasant cozy murder mystery.”
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Melissa Glazer
A MURDEROUS GLAZE
THE CRACKED POT
A FATAL SLIP
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Kilns, cutting knives, and other craft tools can be hazardous, if used carelessly. All participants in such craft activities must assume responsibility for their own actions and safety. The information contained in this book cannot replace sound judgment and good decision making, which can help reduce risk exposure, nor does the scope of this book allow for disclosure of all the potential hazards and risks involved in such activities.
A FATAL SLIP
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / November 2008
 
Copyright © 2008 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without
permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the
author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-440-60838-4
BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME and the BERKLEY PRIME CRIME design are trademarks of Penguin
Group (USA) Inc.

http://us.penguingroup.com

For TM.
You know why, even though the world might not!
Chapter 1
I honestly believed that the chance to buy the building that housed my paint-your-own pottery shop, Fire at Will, was the best thing that could ever happen to me. Perched along the bank of Whispering Brook in Maple Ridge, Vermont, it was where I loved spending my days, teaching techniques in clay and how to decorate and embellish it to whoever passed through my doorway. The opportunity to own the building itself was a dream come true for me. Or so I thought. It turned out to be more of a nightmare that nearly cost me my husband, and if we’re being completely honest here, my life.
 
It all started with an offer I couldn’t refuse. No, it wasn’t from the Mafia or any of their counterparts, not that we had much of an organized crime presence in Maple Ridge. I lived and worked in the quaint little town near the Green Mountains, had been married there for nearly thirty years to the same man, raising two fine sons along the way. They were the only family I knew, and we were nothing like the Corleones of
The Godfather
fame.
It really was just a good deal.
“We can do this,” my husband, Bill, said as he paced around my pottery shop after hours one evening. My dear spouse was in his midfifties and was just starting to put on a little weight. He wasn’t pudgy exactly, but there was certainly more to snuggle up next to on cold nights. The most striking thing about Bill was that he had the most beautiful silver hair I’d ever seen. Mine was turning a dull shade of gray, while his was becoming absolutely radiant.
As he paced, Bill said, “With my pension and what I’m bringing in from making furniture on the side, we won’t have any problem with the payments if you come up short now and then.”
“You’re supposed to be retired, remember?” I shouldn’t have had to remind him, but that was just like my husband. He’d worked as an engineer for thirty-two years, but after he’d retired, Bill had discovered that he loved making furniture—Shaker style, to be exact—and there was a real demand for it in our corner of Vermont. He’d been making pieces for Olive Haslett, owner of Shaker Styles, for years, but Bill had recently begun to branch out on his own, taking a commission here and there along with his regular work for the shop. I was happy enough with the extra money, but what really pleased me was that it gave Bill something to do while I was at Fire at Will. During his years working as an engineer, we’d dreamed about traveling in our retirement, but we’d soon discovered that we hated hotel rooms and that interstate driving gave us both a headache. Fire at Will was a way of life for me, a chance to run my own business. I was pretty good at it, too.
He grinned at me, then confirmed what I’d just been thinking. “I’m happy when I’m busy; you know that. What’s holding you back? You love this place.”
“I’m not denying it,” I said. “But neither one of us is getting any younger.”
He said sarcastically, “Well, that’s a relief. Nobody else in the world has figured out how to do that, either. Carolyn, what’s really the problem? You want to do this, don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” I finally admitted. “I just don’t think it’s fair to commit both of us to something that’s going to have such an impact on our lives. When I started this business, we agreed that we would walk away from it anytime it got to be too much. That won’t be so easy if I own the building.”
He shrugged. “I’ve got nowhere else I’d rather be, do you?”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it. What if we decide we want to try our hand at traveling again?”
“Are you telling me you want to hit the road again?”
I shook my head. “Not like you mean. But what about a week or two at a time and not the cross-country trip we tried before? Where are we going to find the money for things like that if I’ve got everything tied up in Fire at Will?”
He took my hands in his, a rare romantic gesture from my normally gruff husband. “I’m happy where we are. I don’t need to see the world. Where do you think you’re going to find some place as beautiful as Maple Ridge?”
I glanced out at the stream near my shop. Our town had created its own version of San Antonio’s River Walk a long time before anyone in Texas had even thought of it. We had a series of shops lined up neatly along Whispering Brook, Fire at Will being one of them. A small cobblestone lane ran out front between the water and the buildings. It was indeed lovely.
“You’re right, there’s nowhere else I want to be either,” I said. I took a deep breath, then asked, “Do you really think we should do this?”
“You’re not going to get a better price, I guarantee it. Even if we change our minds later, we can sell the place for a handsome profit. I’m amazed they’re letting it go for what they’re asking.”
“Then you don’t think we should even try to haggle?”
He looked at me as if I’d slapped him. No doubt I’d offended his image of himself as the ultimate Yankee trader. “Of course we should do a little dickering. But even if they don’t come down a penny, we’ll still be getting a good deal. I say we jump on it.”
I nodded. “I agree.” The investment group that owned my building—along with several other businesses along the River Walk—had decided to unload some of their assets and were giving us, the store owners, the opportunity to buy our places first. I knew Kendra Williams had already signed the papers for her antique shop next door, Hattie’s Attic, and word was Rose Nygren, proprietress of Rose Colored Glasses, was going to follow suit. That left my own Fire at Will and In the Grounds, our coffee shop, as the only hold-outs. “I’ll call the management group first thing in the morning.”

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