Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse

BOOK: Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse
5.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Books by Peggy Webb








Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation

ELVIS and the Blue Christmas Corpse

Peggy Webb


All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.

Table of Contents

Books by Peggy Webb
Title Page
Elvis’ Opinion # 1 on Love, Revenge, and Santa Paws
Chapter 1
Jazz Funerals, Santa’s Elf, and Fa La La La Farewell
Chapter 2
Santa’s Court, Jingle Bell Nail Art, and the Tall Elf
Chapter 3
Unexpected Christmas Show, Final Curtain, and Ruldoph the Red-Nosed Deer-ly Departed
Chapter 4
Home Cooking, Unwanted Safety Tips, and Murder
Chapter 5
Bad News, Big Surprise, and Deck the Mall with Christmas Corpses
Chapter 6
Yellow Tape, Santa Haters, and Cancelled Christmas
Chapter 7
Frosty the Stolen Snowman, Mrs. Claus, and the unHoly Cow
Chapter 8
Gentle Murder, Graceland Send-offs, and Fatal Attractions
Chapter 9
Up on the Rooftop, Mooreville Mayhem, and Santa Barbecue
Chapter 10
White Lies, Baseball Bats, and Big Trouble
Chapter 11
Lethal Games, Angry Neighbors, and Annie Get Your Gun
Chapter 12
Caught Red-handed, Something Foul’s Afoot, and Flitter
Chapter 13
Faded Beauty, Bogus Pageants, and the Shrimp Queen
Chapter 14
Cookie Caper, Chocolate Trouble, and Raising Caine
Chapter 15
Cops, Jazz Funerals, and Dashing Through the Pearly Gates
Chapter 16
Bogus Massage, Free Cuts, and Suspecting Caine
Chapter 17
Bravery, Bedlam, and Beauty
Chapter 18
Christmas Ornaments, Hair Mistake, and Salem Witches
Chapter 19
Killing Miss Sweet Potato, Lethal Spaghetti Sauce, and Armageddon
Chapter 20
Raising the Dead, Jilted Lovers, and Whodunnit
Lovie’s Luscious Eats
Holiday Sweet Treats and More
Copyright Page

Elvis’ Opinion # 1 on Love, Revenge, and Santa Paws

ith the Mayan misadventure behind us, you’d think my human family (the Valentines) would be settling down to enjoy a cup of Christmas cheer and a good ham bone, preferably dug up from the back yard by yours truly and seasoned with a bit of Mississippi red clay.

But everybody in Mooreville is “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” (Not my song, but, hey, I’m a generous, humble dog who appreciates the efforts of other singers—though they pale compared to mine.) The Wildwood Baptist choir (the church of choice for the Valentines) is gearing up for the Christmas cantata, otherwise known as amateur hour. With all that off-key caterwauling, I keep expecting the local choir director to come looking for advice from an expert. That would be yours truly, world-famous King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in a basset hound suit. But, like everybody else in this little northeast corner of the state, they dismiss me as just another handsome face and go on about their silly business. Which means they don’t know G flat from a tasty stick of Pup-Peroni.

Fortunately, I have a human mom who appreciates my many talents—Callie Valentine Jones, owner of the best little beauty shop in town and caretaker to half of Mooreville. Currently that includes my human daddy, Jack Jones, who got caught in a jaguar trap in the jungle and is now happily ensconced in Callie’s bed. But not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. Callie’s taking care of him while he recovers from leg surgery.

Listen, I’m a generous-hearted but portly dog. I want my human daddy to get well quick, but not so fast he has to leave. Callie’s got me on a strict diet, but Jack pays that no more mind than he does when she tells him no (as in
no hanky panky).
Which she does with some regularity. While he’s here, I get all the forbidden fat-laden snacks I please, plus a goodly number of T-bone steaks. Jack knows who’s in his corner and who’s not. I’m doing all I can to make sure my human parents get together again. For good, this time.

And speaking of broken relationships, Callie’s cousin Lovie still hasn’t forgiven Rocky Malone. She claims he left her to become a kidnapped Moon Goddess in a Mayan jungle while he stayed at his dig and searched for old bones. (He’s an archeologist, and I’ll have to say that a man who loves bones as much as he does gets my vote.) Currently she’s out doing the “Jingle Bell Rock” (another song I could have turned to gold, but left in the hands of lesser singers) with another man who’s not fit to stir the soup in her pot. (She’s the owner of Lovie’s Luscious Eats, the best little catering business in the South.)

Then, of course, there’s Ruby Nell, Callie’s mama, who has finally patched up her feud with Charlie (Callie’s uncle and godfather to the entire Valentine family). Ruby Nell has also sent her not-so-true love traveling on a gravel road. That would be Thomas Whitenton, her sometime dance partner and who knows what all. Never one to be “Running Scared,” Ruby Nell is up to her neck with Fayrene in plans for a Christmas open house at the séance room on the back of Gas, Grits, and Guts.

Fayrene finally got the séance room built. Thank the lord and hallelujah, she and her husband Jarvetis Johnson are once again Mooreville’s answer to Lucy and Desi. And the mystical addition to our one and only convenience store didn’t have to be over Jarvetis’ dead body!

So far, the only hitch in Ruby Nell and Fayrene’s plan is that Bobby Huckabee’s psychic eye is on the blink and they’re looking for somebody else who can talk to the dead.

Who needs somebody to talk to the dead when they have a basset hound who used to be the King? Give me a white beard, a little red four-legged suit, and a microphone, and I’ll bring down the house. “Santa Paws Is Back in Town!”

Chapter 1

Jazz Funerals, Santa’s Elf, and Fa La La La Farewell

he last thing I expected to be doing was dressing for a Christmas party with my almost-lover Champ while my almost-ex Jack sprawls on my bed dishing out love advice. I’m bent over putting on some cute backless Bernardos with rhinestones on the toe when he pipes up with, “Cal, if you plan on snaring a husband, you need to show more cleavage.”

“You’re a fine one to be giving love advice, Jack. And for your information, I don’t

“You snared me.”

I’m going to royally ignore that remark. Champ (Luke Champion) is a good man who stays at home to run a nice, safe veterinary clinic instead of gallivanting all over the world getting shot at. I’m not going to let a deep-cover assassin with a Harley Screaming Eagle spoil my evening. Even if Jack did get his leg smashed all to pieces while he was rescuing cousin Lovie.

I just sashay right past the bed where he’s taking up his half and mine, too, and start putting on my lipstick. Pretty in pink, which enhances my olive complexion and gives my full lips a kissably soft appearance. Beauty is my business, and I don’t skimp when it comes to myself. In addition to expert styling skills, it’s my beauty example that has people flocking from all over three counties to make appointments at Hair.Net.

Well, that plus the addition of my new manicurist, Darlene. She’s brought Atlanta nail art to Mooreville. Rhinestones on your toes, and all. She did my toenails for tonight. Pink to match my lipstick. I believe in coordinating colors.

Some people clash. Like Mama. Which I won’t even get into at this time.

“Cal, before you go, would you plump up my pillows? I just don’t feel like lifting my head.”

“If you’re that weak, how’d you manage to get out of the guest bed and into mine?”

Jack gives me a mournful look then gazes at his crutches like a man with wheelchairs in his future.

He’s probably faking it, but I’m too tenderhearted to go around ignoring pain and suffering. What if it’s real? I know,
I know.
The doctor said Jack is going to be one hundred percent okay, but I worry.

Besides, Elvis is giving me a few dirty looks. Not the real King but my dog, who politely plopped his ample self onto the bed while I was primping and is now lying there with his head on Jack’s chest. He and Jack are two of a kind. Sneaky. They probably planned this pity party.

I spritz on some Jungle Gardenia (for Champ, although it’s Jack’s favorite perfume) then march toward the bed in a no-nonsense fashion that lets him know I’m all business.While I’m bent over fluffing up his pillows, he’s getting a good gander at the body part he said I should bare more of for Champ. Champ, my foot. Jack was only thinking of himself. Which ought to make me mad enough to scream but instead makes me nostalgic.

I try to blame my mood on Elvis. The real singer, not my dog. When I was downstairs making Jack some hot tea, I put “Blue Christmas” on the CD player, and now I wish I hadn’t. The way that man sings can break your heart. No wonder he’s still the most popular entertainer on earth, and him dead nearly forty years.

“There.” I straighten back up. “Is that better?”

“Just a little more on the left. Please.”

I’m bent over Jack—again and for the forty millionth time—when Mama prisses in.

Around Mooreville, it’s an insult to your neighbor to keep your door locked when you’re home. But it’s an equal insult not to ring the bell. Of course, Mama thinks rules don’t apply to her.

“I just love a cozy family scene.” She swishes into the room trailing a red and green caftan decorated with sequined snowflakes, one of her many Christmas getups. She’s topped it off with a dangling pair of purple sequined earrings shaped like feathers. Mama went native in the jungle and hasn’t stopped since.

She leans over and kisses Jack on the cheek, then proceeds to fluff up pillows that don’t need it one iota.

“Mama, I just did that.”

Naturally, she ignores me and keeps fussing over Jack. “Feather pillows pack down quicker than Elvis can run when you say

“Thanks, Ruby Nell.” My almost-ex flashes his most winning smile, which I won’t let myself even think about, and she acts like a teenager smitten over a rock star.

“Mama, don’t you believe in the doorbell?”

BOOK: Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse
5.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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