Murder Walks the Plank (Death on Demand Series #15)by Carolyn G. Hart
Annie Darling's murder mystery cruise in the waters off her not-always-idyllic isle of Broward's Rock is going swimmingly until one of the revelers plunges overboard. And despite hubby Max's courageous rescue attempt, faux murder turns all too quickly into real-life death. As the body count rises over the next few days, the popular proprietress of the Death
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Annie Darling's murder mystery cruise in the waters off her not-always-idyllic isle of Broward's Rock is going swimmingly until one of the revelers plunges overboard. And despite hubby Max's courageous rescue attempt, faux murder turns all too quickly into real-life death. As the body count rises over the next few days, the popular proprietress of the Death on Demand bookstore begins to suspect that all the victims were murdered most foully, and that they are all connected in some unknown way. But what intrepid crime solver Annie does not realize is that the killer she seeks is more ingeniously efficient than most and the puzzle she wishes to unravel is, in reality, a time bomb packed with an explosive mix of arson, assault, kidnapping, robbery ... and homicide, naturally.
One false step and Annie, Max, and their canny cohorts will be blown off Broward's Rock for good.
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Murder Walks the Plank
A Death on Demand Mystery
As the ferry pulled away from the dock, a silver-haired man climbed out of his recently waxed red Mustang convertible and made his way slowly to the railing. He was natty in a blue-and-white striped silk blazer, pink linen shirt, and white sea island cotton slacks. He'd always dressed with a dramatic flair. Most men wouldn't dare. He'd always been willing to dare.
Bob Smith rested his arms on the white railing. Smiling, he looked across green water speckled with whitecaps at a dark smudge in the east, an island basking beneath the early morning sun. The warm moist air was rich with the heady scent of salt water. Gulls squalled overhead. He was aware of an eagerness that he'd not felt in years, an impatience for moments to pass so something wonderful might happen. He wanted to reach the island with an intensity and urgency that delighted him. And to think Meg had lived there for many years and he'd never known until he happened across her picture in that fancy magazine about rich folks' houses. He'd picked up the heavy slick magazine that day at the doctor's office, something to look at while he waited. Maybe he'd known even then that the news would not be good. But when he walked out of the doctor's office, it seemed like an omen that he'd found out he was dying and discovered Meg's whereabouts on the same day. An omen.
The ferry rocked a little beneath his feet. He caught the railing, enjoyed the movement. He had always liked to be on the go. The minute he found out where Meg lived, he made up his mind to see her. He didn't give a damn if it was wise or foolish. Maybe he was past caring. She'd loved him once. All he wanted to do was say good-bye.
No, it was time to be honest, honest the way Meg had always been. He didn't give a damn about saying good-bye. That wasn't what he wanted. He wanted to see her, glory in her loveliness, hear her laughter. He'd never forgotten her.
Had she forgotten him?
Pamela Potts was tempted to call and say she couldn't come. It wasn't that she didn't like Mrs. Heath. Oh yes, of course, Meg. Mrs. Heath insisted that Pamela call her Meg. Pamela didn't feel comfortable using her first name. After all, Mrs. Heath -- Meg -- was famous. Oh well, perhaps not famous, but certainly anyone who read People magazine knew her name, a cover girl model who'd been linked to so many leading men, even those much younger than she. She was still a beauty though she must be near sixty, dark hair with only the faintest hint of silver, huge dark eyes, chiseled features classic as any Grecian sculpture. Even when she rested, thin and pensive, on a chaise longue, her presence dominated the room. When she laughed, well, there was something wicked about her laughter. It made Pamela think ... Pamela felt her cheeks flame. Really, Mrs. Heath -- Meg -- shouldn't tell anyone about some things. And she knew she embarrassed Pamela. Last time she'd thrown back her head, her long black hair swinging, and gurgled with pleasure. Catching her breath, she'd patted Pamela's hand. "Sweetie, you are simply too good. That's why I can tell you everything. Oh, it's been a grand life, Pamela."
A grand life ...
Pamela pushed away the quick thought that no one would ever term her own life grand. She'd stayed home with her invalid mother for many years. She hadn't finished college, so there weren't many jobs open to her. She didn't have the skills demanded in the computerized world. She'd managed to stay afloat because the house -- a little two-bedroom frame -- was paid for and she had inherited several CDs from her mother. She was very careful about money. She had to be because there was barely enough for food and taxes and medical expenses. It was frightening the way interest rates had dropped. There was less and less money and not a dime for extras. But that was all right. She volunteered all over the island and she was active at church, helping out when there was illness or death. She visited Mrs. Heath -- Meg -- on behalf of the church.
Everyone knew they could count on Pamela. So, she'd go to the Heath house this morning. Perhaps she could direct Mrs. Heath's thoughts more to the eternal.
♦Wayne Reed buzzed his secretary. He looked like what he was, a successful lawyer in a maroon and gray office. Despite his boyish good looks, he was turning forty this year. He was proud of his office, the heavy velvet drapes, the Persian rug, the cherry wood desk. "No calls. I'm out of the office." Nice to be protected. If only it were that easy to handle other problems. There was Stuart, who was close to being out of control. Maybe he should let him go live with Lori, but dammit, she'd walked out, left them both. Now she wanted Stuart to come and join her. Well, wanting wasn't getting. Maybe it was time she learned that. At least she wasn't asking for money. Money. He'd made a killing in that property deal. Clever, damn clever. The money he'd made had saved him from bankruptcy, built a fine house. Lori hadn't cared enough about the house -- or him -- to stay.
The phone rang. He glanced at the Caller ID and picked up the line despite his instructions to his secretary. He never ignored a call from Meg Heath. Too bad she was in poor health ...Murder Walks the Plank
A Death on Demand Mystery. Copyright © by Carolyn Hart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Meet the Author
An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the author of twenty previous Death on Demand novels. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. She is also the creator of the Henrie O series, featuring a retired reporter, and the Bailey Ruth series, starring an impetuous, redheaded ghost. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City.
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