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Authors: Elizabeth Spann Craig

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Death Pays a Visit (A Myrtle Clover Mystery Book 7)

BOOK: Death Pays a Visit (A Myrtle Clover Mystery Book 7)
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

About the Author:

Other Works by the Author:

Where to Connect With Elizabeth:

 

Death Pays a Visit

 

A Myrtle Clover Mystery

 

 

Elizabeth Spann Craig

Kindle Edition

 

Death Pays a Visit - Copyright 2014 by Elizabeth Spann Craig

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This book is a work of fiction. With the exception of recognized historical figures, the characters in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

Formatting by RikHall.com

Cover Design by Karri Klawiter

Editing by Judy Beatty

Dedication

 

In fond memory of Mary Ligon Spann.

Acknowledgments

 

Thanks most of all to my family; especially Coleman, Riley, and Elizabeth Ruth. Many thanks to my mother, Beth Spann, and to Amanda Arrieta for beta reading, and to Judy Beatty for editing. A special thanks to Karri Klawiter for the cover design. Thanks to Rik Hall for formatting the book for its digital and print releases. I wish I could thank Mary L. Spann (Amma) in person for the help she provided via observations in her own retirement home newsletter. And thanks as always to the writing community for its support and encouragement.

Chapter One

“Hello, Myrtle,” said Miles calmly opening his front door.

Miles wore his customary plaid pajamas, slippers, and navy-blue bathrobe. His silver hair was neatly combed. Myrtle patted her own poof of gray hair and found that it appeared to be standing on end like Einstein’s. She impatiently smoothed it down.

“Hi, Miles,” said Myrtle. It was three forty-five in the morning, but somehow Miles didn’t seem at all surprised to see her there. But then, Miles frequently seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to Myrtle’s nocturnal visits.

Myrtle, dressed in her oldest and most comfortable robe and slippers and bearing a can, walked into Miles’s tidy kitchen. It was a bachelor’s kitchen with sensible pull-down shades in the windows, a sturdy wooden table and chairs that seated four, and appliances meant to cut his cooking time considerably. He had set out a carafe of coffee, cream, sugar, and two coffee cups. There was also a small platter of what appeared to be homemade cookies on the table, alongside two plates. Myrtle looked suspiciously at the cookies, not wanting to believe them homemade since her own efforts at cookies had recently gone very poorly. But they appeared to be genuine.

“Sure of yourself, weren’t you?” asked Myrtle. “Confident that I was visiting tonight?”

Miles shrugged. “I hoped you were coming to help me pass the time. I haven’t slept much this week. I didn’t get around to watching the last episode of
Tomorrow’s Promise
and thought we could have a snack and watch it if you came over.”

Myrtle squinted at the cookies again. “Not getting domesticated, are you?”

Miles considered this thoughtfully. “I’m baking. I believe I must be bored.”

“I can’t say I didn’t warn you,” said Myrtle rather smugly. “I’ve lived in Bradley, North Carolina, my entire life and it just doesn’t get more exciting than the church bake sale or the craft fair in the fall. Have you joined all the Organizations for the Aged?” She poured herself a generous cup of coffee and stared into the mug. The coffee appeared very, very dark and she’d unfortunately not left much room for cream. She made up for the lack of cream by putting in several tablespoons of sugar and cautiously stirring the brew so that it wouldn’t slosh.

Miles looked annoyed. “I’m not particularly aged, Myrtle. Sixty is the new….”

“Right, right. I’ve heard all that poppycock. Sixty is the new forty or something. Well, you’re over sixty. And you sure don’t feel forty, do you?” said Myrtle. She spilled some coffee onto her robe and stared down at the small puddle in irritation.

Miles pushed a pile of napkins in her direction with a sigh. “What Organizations for the Aged are you referring to? Maybe there’s one that I’ve missed.”

Myrtle held up her fingers, enumerating them. “The historical society. Friends of the Library. The Bradley Museum board. Garden club. Our book club.”

“Done, done, done, done, done,” said Miles morosely.

“Played bingo in the church rec hall? You can win stamps,” said Myrtle succinctly.

“No thanks.” Miles made a face. “I don’t seem to be lucky at bingo. Or, when I think I’ve won, I’ll find out they were playing a special variation where you only win if you get the outside corners or something. Sometimes I only end up with the free space marked out.

“So no bingo. Although you really should play. It’s a silly game, but there are those prizes, you know. I haven’t had to buy stamps for years. Let’s see. Sometimes the community theater has good musicals,” said Myrtle. “I think they’re playing
Oklahoma
next. I’ll go see it with you.”

“But there are never any male actors at the community theater,” said Miles. His voice was starting to get plaintive. “It’s distracting to watch Tilly Cranston play the male leads.”

“I think of it as Shakespearean theater in reverse,” said Myrtle. “It helps.”

Miles reached for a cookie, shaking his head. “Tilly Cranston as Curly in
Oklahoma
. It’s just all wrong.”

“You know what the problem is? You’re retiring from a big city. You should never have moved from Atlanta to a tiny town like Bradley. You’ve done it all backwards,” said Myrtle with sweeping movements meant to show the disastrous mess Miles was making of his life, sloshing more coffee on her bathrobe in the process. “In fact, you likely shouldn’t have retired at all. You’re in full possession of your faculties. You could still be selling insurance.”

Miles gave her a baleful look. “I was an engineer, Myrtle, not an insurance salesman. For heaven’s sake.”

“Whatever. You retired early, you made the tremendous error of moving to a small town, and now you’ve done it all. Everything that Bradley has to offer. You’ll be waving at cars from your front porch now, cheating at solitaire. You’ve already started baking cookies, Miles. It’s a slippery slope.” Myrtle gave him a knowing look over her coffee cup.

“Have you got any better suggestions?”

“Murder,” said Myrtle simply.

Miles said, “I’m assuming you’re meaning that we’ll solve another murder together instead of taking the next natural step of committing it. I don’t think I’m
that
bored yet. But as far as I’m aware, there hasn’t been any murder recently. Unless you know something that I don’t.”

“Oh, give it time. This little town is rife with murder. Besides, when the cat’s away, the mice will play. And the cat is on a walker,” said Myrtle.

Myrtle’s son, Red, was the police chief of the town of Bradley, North Carolina, population one thousand five hundred. He was usually on top of Myrtle, trying to keep her out of trouble. But now Myrtle was enjoying being unsupervised while Red was recovering from knee replacement surgery.

“How is Red doing?” asked Miles. “I made extra cookies so that I could take Red and Elaine some tomorrow.” He glanced at the clock and corrected himself. “Today, I mean.”

“He’s doing fine from a
physical
standpoint. The surgeon said that the knee replacement went really well and that Red will eventually feel better than new. But Red hates not being able to take care of himself or drive or do his job. Elaine has had to rearrange furniture so that Red can get around on his walker. And remove the throw rugs so he won’t trip. He’s keeping his leg raised when he’s seated and has ice on his knee a lot. Red is fairly incapacitated.” Myrtle didn’t sound remotely displeased at this.

“Remind me again who is policing the town when he’s out?” asked Miles.

“The county sent a deputy to help him out since Bradley is between deputies right now. Someone named Darrell Smith,” said Myrtle. She broke a cookie in half and cautiously tasted it. It was surprisingly very good.

“What’s he like?” asked Miles.

Myrtle said, “He’s not exactly mentally agile. But he’s perfect for the kind of police issues facing the department right now…missing dogs, neighbor complaints, noise ordinance stuff. Red is taking a couple of weeks off, although it could turn into several weeks if he doesn’t do his physical therapy exercises. He’s out of my hair, at least. Bradley was getting
so
safe and quiet that he spent even more time than usual focusing on me. Thank heavens for that bum knee!”

Miles grinned and shook his head. “Motherly love.”

“Motherly love is easier to scrounge up when there’s a bit of distance between mother and child,” said Myrtle with a shrug. Red lived directly across the street.

Miles bobbed his head in the direction of Myrtle’s house. “I saw the gnomes were out. What infraction caused their eruption in your yard this time?”

Myrtle had extensive gnome collection. What had started out as a small, fanciful yard accent had blossomed into a tremendous army of gnomes when she’d made the pleasing discovery that the sight of the gnomes was very upsetting to her son. Whenever Red stepped out of line, Myrtle was there to lug out the ceramic men, all in a variety of precious poses, to fill her front yard.

“He suggested that he could take over ‘worrying about my bills’ for me. The nerve! He’s just nosy, that’s all. Curious over my expenses. I told him I had plenty of time to handle my financial affairs, but perhaps he’d like it if
I
gave
him
a hand. And then the gnomes made an appearance.”

They thoughtfully considered this as they munched on their cookies.

“Want to watch the soap?” asked Myrtle.

“Have you already seen it?” asked Miles.

“I watched it yesterday afternoon. But there was a whole storyline where one character came back from the dead…you know how it is on
Tomorrow’s Promise
. So they brought the character back, but he’s a different actor than before—and younger. Most distracting. I think I need to watch the episode again just to absorb it,” said Myrtle, feeling annoyed.

“Are you sure it’s supposed to be the same character, or is it his twin? That soap is wild about twins…evil twins, good twins. Twins all over the place,” said Miles.

“And weddings … and twins at weddings … twins interrupting weddings to kidnap brides or otherwise completely disrupt weddings. They must run out of ideas when they’re coming up with the scripts.” Myrtle walked into Miles’s living room and plopped on his sofa in front of the TV.

“But we’re still hooked,” said Miles morosely.

“Like a fish gobbling up a worm,” agreed Myrtle.

Miles picked up the remote and clicked on the TV, absently smoothing down his navy bathrobe. Myrtle felt a slight chill in the air and pulled down an afghan from the back of the sofa, snuggling into it as she curled up on the sofa.

And then there was an insistent knock at Miles’s front door.

Myrtle and Miles stared at each other.

“Did anyone know you were here?” asked Miles, putting the remote down on a table and quickly standing up.

“No. I mean, sometimes Red spots me through a window, but he’s incapacitated, as we were saying,” said Myrtle, throwing off the afghan. “Go ahead and answer the door—I’ll cover you.” She grabbed her cane and brandished it in the air.

Miles rolled his eyes. “I’m sure that won’t be necessary.” He walked quickly to the door and peered out a side window. He turned around to Myrtle, eyebrows raised. “It’s Wanda.”

BOOK: Death Pays a Visit (A Myrtle Clover Mystery Book 7)
5.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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