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Elizabeth Porter was a top-of-the-lineManhattan antiques dealer until her ex-husband and his lover's flagrantly criminal scam left her reputation in tatters. Now, using a new name, Molly Doyle, she's starting over a continent away in a rundown antiques shop in cozy Carmel, California. Molly is determined to make the best of it. But the early antiques bird sometimes gets more than the worm, and one prompt arrival places her at a murder site with a corpse in her arms. After she turns up at a second seemingly ...
Elizabeth Porter was a top-of-the-lineManhattan antiques dealer until her ex-husband and his lover's flagrantly criminal scam left her reputation in tatters. Now, using a new name, Molly Doyle, she's starting over a continent away in a rundown antiques shop in cozy Carmel, California. Molly is determined to make the best of it. But the early antiques bird sometimes gets more than the worm, and one prompt arrival places her at a murder site with a corpse in her arms. After she turns up at a second seemingly unrelated death, the abrasive new police chief considers Molly the prime suspect. Now the only way to clear her name is for Molly to find her own path to a killer, which will leave her either exonerated ... or dead.
The blood-soaked sweatshirt was making Molly Doyle gag. Gingerly pulling it away from her body, she was thankful for the police windbreaker she'd been loaned. With her hair tucked up in a baseball cap, wearing jeans and sneakers, she was ignored by the invading television reporters. Slumped against the police car, fighting nausea, she looked like a rookie unable to handle her first dead body. She wanted to kick herself for not having her wits about her yesterday when she bought the desk from the dead woman. If only she hadn't been so greedy, so anxious to get to the other garage sales, she might have thought to check the damn desk. It hadn't occurred to her it might be locked.
And now, because of a stupid little key, she was a major player in a murder investigation. Eyeing the cluster of police huddled around the body in the driveway, she turned away from the patrol car and stole a glance at the growing crowd beyond the yellow tape. Mumbling ever so politely above the sounds of the surf behind them, the residents of Carmel's Scenic Road were soon joined by beach joggers and tourists drawn to the pulsing lights of the three patrol cars blocking the village's most traveled and expensive residential street. The magnificent view of Carmel Bay, and its famous white sand beach, took second place to the grisly scene before them.
Molly pulled the brim of her cap down, sucked in her breath, and pounded her fist against the car. She should have left after calling 911. The natural instinct to be a good citizen was going to kill her chance to start over. Ordered by the first cop on the scene not to leave, she knew it was the beginning of the end. The minute the cops checked her out, as she knew they would, she'd have to leave Carmel.
Reaching for the tiny crucifix she'd worn since her twelfth birthday, her lips moved rapidly, silently repeating one Hail Mary after another. Catholic Guilt told her she was praying for herself and not for the soul of the dead woman. The frequent litany quickly became hypnotic. A Zen state she once joked to Sister Agnes, her early mentor and harshest critic. Within moments her body finally began to relax. It was then it struck her. The revelation gripped her so firmly she had difficulty breathing.
"For want of a nail ... the kingdom was lost" flashed across her mind. For want, of a key, my new life here is over. What is a key, if not a little thing?
Little things. Her life was a road map of "little things."
Her father's imprisonment was over a bracelet. A small chest inspired her career. The end of her marriage began with an offhand compliment. A woman died in her arms this morning because she'd forgotten to ask about a key. Insignificant things. Little things.
Her shaking hands were finally steady enough to rummage in her bag for her cigarettes. Finding anything in the large sling tote was always an adventure. It was the one place she could safely rebel against her need for organization. Her hands felt a small pack of Kleenex. Tearing it open, she stuffed it under the sweatshirt, making a barrier between her skin and the victim's congealing blood. Finding the cigarettes and her father's old Zippo, she inhaled deeply, wondering how much longer the police would keep her here. She toyed with the urge simply to slip away. In the obvious confusion going on in the driveway, they might not miss her.
Problem was, she had given a preliminary statement to the first officer after he had examined the body. They knew her name and where to find her. After escorting her to the patrol car, he ordered her not to leave. The chief would want to speak to her. That was almost an hour ago. The thought almost made her laugh. The chief? She remembered in time that no matter how famous Carmel was, it was still a tiny village, and wouldn't have a homicide inspector.
She needed to tear off her clothes and shower, to scald away the dead woman's blood, to purge the memory of the victim's contorted face, her huge disbelieving eyes darting in panic as she struggled to say something. Choking on her blood, her words were thick and garbled. Playing the sounds repeatedly in her mind, Molly tried desperately to make them mean something. Was the woman calling for someone? A husband? A child? God? With a horrible start, Molly wondered if it was her killer's name.
Brushing ashes off the cop's windbreaker, she tried not to look at the blood on her jeans and sneakers. Instead, she focused on the driveway and watched as a small cloth barrier was placed around the body. She shivered again as her eyes fixed on the police chief and watched his hand chop the air as he barked orders. A bear of a man, he'd come lumbering in nearly a half hour ago. He was well over six feet, with unruly gray-flecked sandy hair and a ruddy complexion probably from a temper. Glad not to be on the receiving end of his obvious anger, Molly almost felt sorry for the young cops clustered around him. The arriving officer must have told him he'd moved the body.
At this point, she didn't much care. She hated cops. All of them. Especially her uncles. She knew the chief would glance at her statement, then ignore it and ask her to repeat everything all over again.
Tucking loose hair back into her cap, she forced her mind into replay. She had to sort her thoughts. Get her facts straight. He'll want to know why I was here ...Dealing in Murder. Copyright © by Elaine Flinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted September 10, 2007
I was very distracted by all the characters who smoked. If you're still a smoker, this woman writes for you. I kept thinking I didn't want to buy any merchandise from these people because all their items must stink to high heaven of cigarette smoke. And there was a restaurant that let the characters smoke in the back room as if the smoke wouldn't get circulated to the general public in the restaurant.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2004
This amateur sleuth novel has a definite edge and not only because of Elaine Flinn's cut-to-the-case style. Her protagonist, former Manhattan antique dealer Molly Doyle, is as edgy as they come. Relocated to Carmel, CA, after a close brush with the law (thanks to her unfaithful ex-hubby), Molly is trying to start her life anew, only to have a murder victim fall into her arms. Literally. The mystery that ensues turns Molly into a reluctant sleuth. The twists and turns of the plot, as well as the insights into the absorbing world of antiques, makes for one heck of a good read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2003
Dealing in Murder is an excellent debut novel by new author, Elaine Flinn. From the get-go 'the blood-soaked sweatshirt' draws you into the world of Molly Doyle as she tries to scrape a life together in beautiful Carmel, California. For the present, she lives the life of a small antiques dealer while her past shadows a world of grangeur and decandence. The plot keeps the pages turning and your mind races to the end before you have time to stop and realize you've been drawn into a mystery novel. Before you realize that the reality you've plunged yourself into is the workings of another's mind.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 14, 2003
Molly Doyle is running an antique store in Carmel, California. It isn't a high-end antiques store like she and her husband ran in NY. Unfortunately, he ran a scam back there and she just escaped prosecution. Luckily she was found innocent. But in the tight-knit world of antiques, she knows she must lay low for awhile. Her friend Max offered her a store to run and a free apartment upstairs. She arrived with the clothes on her back. She's learning to live on a shoe string. She's planning to stay long enough to earn enough money to start over with a shop in New Orleans. Molly bought a desk at a yard sale. When she goes back the next day to see if they have the key to the desk, the owner dies in her arms. The new Chief of Police, Kenneth Randall, is quite gruff and considers her a suspect. She is concerned because she knows that eventually he will find out about her past. Later Molly pries open the desk and finds some artwork hidden inside. She decides to hide it and not show it to Randall. She still isn't sure if he knows about her past. Then her apartment is broken into, but nothing appears to have been taken. Another murder occurs and this time it is a nearby business owner and friend of Molly's. She wonders if the two murders are related. Bitsy Morgan appears in her shop eager to help Molly by covering the store while Molly goes out buying. Bitsy says she is an old friend of Molly's parents and Max vouches for her. Even so, Bitsy is hard for Molly to take. She seems to be a great salesperson, but she gets on Molly's nerves. She is always trying to take over. Molly find herself getting deeper and deeper involved in the investigation related to the murders. She uncovers an art scam and ends up putting herself in danger more than once trying to uncover the players. Molly is a fantastic character and her interactions with Randall, Bitsy and Pablo, Max's boyfriend, are terrific. I like the setting of Carmel as well. This is a new series that you won't want to miss. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book and can't wait for the next one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
She is a high-end antiquities dealer working with the rich and famous until her husband tells her he¿s dumping her for Greta, the store¿s art restorer. He gives her two days to get out of the apartment, which is in his family¿s name. The worst is yet to come when Molly and her husband are arrested for art fraud. They all make bail and the husband and her lover skip the country. He leaves behind an exonerated, but financially broke Molly, unable to regain her place in the antiques world due to the scandal. A friend from Carmel offers her a job in his low-end antique store for a salary, free apartment plus commission. When she buys a desk at a garage sale, she forgets to ask the seller for the key to the drawers. She returns only to find the woman bleeding to death. The chief of police Kenneth Randall thinks Molly is a solid suspect especially when he pulls her rap sheet but Molly soon discovers that there is an art scam going on in town and convinces him to use her as bait. He needs Molly to work undercover with her specialized knowledge but he realizes he¿s putting her in danger with a killer who has taken the lives of at least three victims.<P> Elaine Flinn is a fresh, innovative and charming new voice in the mystery genre that fans of cozies and amateur sleuth tales will value as a high-end author. The protagonist goes from a lethargic dependent to an enthusiastic person as she sheds past memories and lets Carmel and a certain police chief work their magic on her and the audience.<P> Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2003
DEALING IN MURDER is a charming debut, a suspenseful antiques mystery with just the right amount of edge. Molly Doyle and her creator Elaine Flinn are definitely women to watch! --David Montgomery, Mystery InkWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.