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1 Dead Body + 3 Suspects = Gracie Lee's First Mystery!
I, Gracie Lee Harris, do hereby declareI had nothing to do with the murder of my two-timing, con man husband. But I do know three women who could have killed Dennis: his devoted mother who gave him her life savings--which he squandered; his disillusioned daughter who gave him her college fund--again, squandered; and his pregnant almost-fiancée, whom he'd left with empty promises and unpaid bills. With the help of some new ...
1 Dead Body + 3 Suspects = Gracie Lee's First Mystery!
I, Gracie Lee Harris, do hereby declareI had nothing to do with the murder of my two-timing, con man husband. But I do know three women who could have killed Dennis: his devoted mother who gave him her life savings--which he squandered; his disillusioned daughter who gave him her college fund--again, squandered; and his pregnant almost-fiancée, whom he'd left with empty promises and unpaid bills. With the help of some new friends at church--and the Lord--I'll find the killer...hopefully without becoming the next victim!
First, I want to go on record as saying that I, Gracie Lee Harris, did not kill my husband, Dennis Peete. When he died I still thought he was my loving husband, and I had no desire to kill him. That mostly came later. Now if you put me under oath in a court of law and asked me to swear I'd never thought about killing his mother, that would be another story. I've thought about that plenty, but nobody's going to come get me on that one.
To the best of my knowledge I've never killed anybody...yet. Even when my first husband, the charming Mr. Harris, dragged me through a divorce I didn't want, and left me with a two-year-old son, I didn't commit murder. I even kept his name so that it would be less confusing for Ben. When it comes to murder, everybody has fantasies, I suspect. But I usually aim mine in other directions. And lately there's been so much going on in real life, who has time for fantasies?
Even so, I'm usually pretty good in a crisis. Everybody has strong points and that's one of mine. So it took a long time for the big, disastrous things in my life to boot me over the edge this time. Maybe it was just taking a chance on love, or life -- or whatever -- that tilted the balance. If so, that's too bad, because I'm not likely to stop taking chances.
The chances I took earlier in life usually worked out well. The ones I've taken in my relationship with Dennis Peete have been bad news. People who take chances around Dennis don't always fare so well.
Goodness knows I haven't, even before he died. I took a chance on marrying him, and then later another chance nine months ago and sold my condo in Missouri, quit my job and picked up stakes to move out here to California with him, even though he advised against it.
So far, my time here in beautiful downtown Rancho Conejo (and yes, if you speak Spanish, the town is named Rabbit Ranch) has been one big chance after another. Many of those chances have involved the roller-coaster ride of living with my mother-in-law, which I thought would work out just fine even though Dennis thought otherwise.
At the time I thought some of his arguments against our shared living arrangement were almost sweet. Part of the reason he didn't want me out here was that he was pouring all his -- and my -- money into his franchise business, and living with his mother to save on rent. Silly me. I decided if he was willing to take that chance, I was too. Now I wonder. Who knows? If it weren't for my taking chances, maybe Dennis would still be alive. * * *
No, I can't fault myself for taking chances. The first big chance I took threw me straight back into the arms of Jesus, clinging to the little bits of sanity that still exist in my disordered life. Without taking chances, my life wouldn't be worth much.
The biggest chance lately came while I was wander-ing through the college bookstore at Pacific Oaks Christian College, picking up books and putting them back during the first week of this semester. By the end of January when my second semester of grad school started, Dennis had been out of work and in a coma at Conejo Care for four months. Money was tight and I was dither-ing about how many of these hideously expensive textbooks I could actually afford.
For about the hundredth time, I was wishing Dennis had shared a little more information about business while he still had the chance. The $30k from the sale of my condo could have gone a long way toward this new education I'd committed to before his car accident. I'd done my best trying to find it in his investments, but so far was having precious little luck.
So there I am, walking up and down the psychology and education stacks in the campus bookstore when the dam finally bursts. Like I said before, I'm good in a crisis. I do not lose it in public. This time, however, was different. Juggling a pile of outrageously expensive books, taking one off the stack I carried only to be faced with putting another one back, finally put me in tears. Add that to the fact that what I could afford in the way of school supplies made a pile I should have had a cart for, but kept dropping instead, and you can see the lovely picture I presented.
Then somebody came up behind me and a voice said, "You look like you could use some help."
It was a nice voice, so I didn't immediately turn, snarling, and bite her head off, which was my first impulse. "Oh, no. Does it show that badly?" I asked. My voice sounded wavery even to me as I turned around. The tears really started in earnest then, and I was afraid I was going to do one of those awful heaving sob things, like toddlers do when they're too tired.
"Well, I was talking about the books," the stranger said, holding out a handled basket. "But yeah, now that you mention it..."
Two minutes later the bookstore's assistant manager, Linnette Parks, was my new best friend. "She has the decaf. I've got the real thing," she directed the teenaged waitress at the Coffee Corner, the shop adjoining the bookstore, who came to the table bearing two foaming lattes.
"Now let me get this straight," she said, handing me a napkin out of the tabletop dispenser. I was still a bit of a mess. "You're living with your mother-in-law. Alone."
"Since Dennis's accident. About five months ago."
"From what you've said so far, she sounds like a harridan."
I shrugged. "Maybe that's a little harsh. Without Dennis to referee, our life together has been kind of grim at times. He could manage his mother -- Edna thinks he walks on water. I'm just the horrible woman who stole him away and made him stay in Missouri for years longer than he should have, according to her."
"And before the accident, he was traveling a lot?"
"From the day I moved out here. And before I could even harp on that properly like a normal wife, he had a terrible accident that put him in the hospital, and then into one of those places euphemistically called 'long-term care."
Linnette looked at me over her latte. "What are the prospects of him recovering?"
Excerpted from Love The Sinner by Lynn Bulock Copyright © 2005 by Lynn Bulock. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted September 10, 2012
Posted January 6, 2008
Fun read! Yes, it¿s improbable that Gracie and her husband¿s pregnant ¿fiancee¿ would show up at the same small woman¿s group but God does work in mysterious ways. And, yes, it¿s unlikely that friendship would develop so quickly among the women in the group but it does happen. What should be even more unlikely is that Dennis, Gracie¿s husband, would be such a scoundrel, preying off woman after woman, but the evening news tells us that it happens! Despite the deaths and the miserable people in this book, it was enjoyable. I think I¿ll look for the next in the series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2009
This was a fun book. It's not your normal Christian happy family novel. There isn't really a happy, let's tie up all the ends, everyone hugs ending. And Dennis commits huge sins that he never repents for. Which is fine with me, to me that is more realistic than him getting a deathbed conversion. I really could not stand her mother in law or her step daughter. I know mothers are usually blind to their children's faults but Edna was just unbearable. I also found it interesting at how the ex-wives got along well with each other. Of course they had something in common, but it was interesting at how there wasn't any animosity. Although I did find it rather unbelievable that both Gracie and Heather would turn up in the same small group at church. I mean unless God planned it that way on purpose, the odds of a wife and her husband's mistress that were miles apart showing up together, is not strong. I thought Gracie had a good relationship with her son as opposed to Dennis' relationship with his daughter. I enjoyed reading about Gracie learning to use instant messaging to talk to Ben. It's cool when parents try to relate with their kids and I like reading about adults who do attempt to learn how to use the computer as opposed to those who just write it off as only something for the younger generation. Reading this book also shows how AIM could save your life! Good fun read, lucky for me I have the next book in the series on my bookshelf.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2011
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