Silver Scream (Bed-and-Breakfast Series #18)by Mary Daheim
While witches fly and ghosts go by on a Halloween weekend, a Hollywood cast and crew descend upon Hillside Manor. Judith McMonigle Flynn′s worst nightmare is realised when yet another guest, mega-producer Bruno Zepf, drowns in the kitchen sink. When is a murder not a murder, but an accident that could cost Judith her beloved B&B? The
While witches fly and ghosts go by on a Halloween weekend, a Hollywood cast and crew descend upon Hillside Manor. Judith McMonigle Flynn′s worst nightmare is realised when yet another guest, mega-producer Bruno Zepf, drowns in the kitchen sink. When is a murder not a murder, but an accident that could cost Judith her beloved B&B? The police are baffled, so Judith and cousin Renie try to find a killer - any killer will do - to fend off a five-star lawsuit.
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Judith McMonigle Flynn twitched in the kitchen chair, jumped up, paced the floor, and leaned her head against the cupboard by the sink. Desperately, she tried reason, argument, and, finally, bad grammar in an attempt to fend off Ingrid Heffelman from the state bed-and-breakfast association.
"I don't want none of those crazy people at Hillside Manor," she shouted into the phone. "I mean, any of them. They're Hollywood types, and they're nuts."
"Just because they make movies doesn't mean they're crazy." Ingrid huffed. "Look, I know this is a big favor. But you had only two other reservations for the last weekend of October besides the producer, Bruno Zepf. I can put those nonmovie people up somewhere else to make room for the additions to Mr. Zepf's original guest list."
Since Bruno Zepf had made his reservation two weeks earlier, Judith knew she was on shaky ground. Like many Hollywood big shots, Zepf was as superstitious as he was successful. Ten years earlier, his career as an independent producer had been launched at a film festival in the Midwest. At the time Zepf couldn't afford a hotel; he'd had to stay in a bed-and-breakfast. The movie had won the top prize, launching his Hollywood career. Ever since, he had stayed at B&Bs before premiering a new production. But other members of his company wanted to stay in the same B&B, hoping that Bruno's good luck would rub off on them. Magnanimously -- egotistically -- the Great Man had allowed at least a half-dozen associates to join him at Hillside Manor.
"Please, Ingrid," Judith pleaded, moving away from the cupboard, "I'm stuck with Mr. Zepf, but I've had my fill of so-called beautiful people, from opera singers to gossip columnists to TV media types. I've had gangsters and psychos and -- "
"I know," Ingrid interrupted, her tone suddenly cold. "That's one of the reasons you're going to accept this deal. You've managed to have some very big problems at Hillside Manor, and while they don't seem to have hurt your business, they give the rest of the B&Bs a black eye. Look what happened a year or so ago -- your establishment was included in a sightseeing tour of murder sites, and you ended up on TV with a dead body."
"The body wasn't at Hillside Manor," Judith retorted as the cupboard door swung open all by itself. She took her frustration out on the innocent piece of wood, slamming it shut. "And it certainly wasn't my fault. Besides, I got the tour group to take Hillside Manor off the sightseeing itinerary, didn't I?"
"You still looked like an idiot in that television interview about your so-called sleuthing," Ingrid countered. "It was embarrassing for innkeepers all over the state. You owe me -- and the rest of the good people who run B&Bs around here."
"That was the editing," Judith protested. "I didn't ask to be on TV. In fact, I begged them not to do the piece. I hardly consider myself a sleuth. I run a B&B, period. I can't help it if all sorts of weird people come here. Look, now you're the one who's setting me up. Who will you blame if something happens while these movie nutcases are staying at Hillside Manor?"
There was no response. The line was dead. Ingrid had hung up on her.
"Damn," Judith breathed. "Ingrid's a mule."
"She always was," Gertrude Grover responded. "Fast, too. She wore her skirts way too short in high school. No wonder she got into trouble."
Judith stared at her mother. "This is a different Ingrid. She runs the state B&B association. She's my age, not yours."
Gertrude's small eyes narrowed. "You just think she is. Ingrid Sack's been dyeing her hair for years. Had a face-lift, too. More than once, I heard."
"Mother," Judith said patiently, "Ingrid Sack -- I believe her married name was Grissom -- has been dead for ten years."
Now it was Gertrude's turn to stare. "No kidding? I wonder how she looked in her casket. All tarted up, I bet. Funny I didn't hear about it at the time."
There was no point in telling Gertrude that she'd undoubtedly read Ingrid's obituary in the newspaper. Read it with glee, as the old lady always did when she discovered she'd outlived yet another contemporary. Judith was used to her mother's patchy memory.
"I'm stuck," Judith announced, flipping the pages of the American art calendar she'd been given by her cousin Renie. August's Black Hollyhock, Blue Larkspur by Georgia O'Keeffe was a sumptuous sight compared with the stark, deliberately mundane realism of Louis Charles Moeller's Sculptor's Studio, which heralded October. Vibrant natural beauty versus taxing, gritty work. Maybe the painting was an omen. "Come Halloween, we're going to be invaded by Hollywood."
Gertrude pulled a rumpled Kleenex from the pocket of her baggy orange cardigan. "Hollywood?" she echoed before gustily blowing her nose. "You mean like the Gish sisters and Tom Mix and Mary Pickford?"
"Uh ... like that," Judith agreed, sitting down at the kitchen table across from her mother. "A famous producer is premiering his new movie here in town because it was filmed in the area. He's bringing his entourage -- at least some of it -- to Hillside Manor."
"Entourage?" Gertrude looked puzzled. "I thought you didn't allow pets."
"I don't," Judith replied. "I meant his associates. Speaking of pets," she said sharply to Sweetums as the cat leaped onto the kitchen table, "beat it. You don't prowl the furniture."
Sweetums was batting at the lid of the sheep-shaped cookie jar. The cat didn't take kindly to Judith's efforts to pick him up and set him down ...Silver Scream. Copyright © by Mary Daheim. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Mary Richardson Daheim is a Seattle native with a communications degree from the University of Washington. Realizing at an early age that getting published in books with real covers might elude her for years, she worked on daily newspapers and in public relations to help avoid her creditors. She lives in her hometown in a century-old house not unlike Hillside Manor, except for the body count. Daheim is also the author of the Alpine mystery series, the mother of three daughters, and has three grandchildren.
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Judith McMonigle Flynn grew up in Hillside Manor and when her husband died, she moved back home and turned it into a bed and breakfast inn. For over a decade, she put her blood, sweat and tears into the place and in spite of the few murders that took place there, she made it a success. She now has more business than she knows what to do with. Over the Halloween weekend, she had to turn down some guests because Hollywood producer Bruno Zepf and his entourage are staying there. He is previewing his latest movie and he always stays at a B&B because it brings him luck. Unfortunately, his good Karma runs out this time and Judith finds him drowned in her kitchen sink with the cupboard door above it open. Afraid that she will be sued for negligence because she knew the cupboard door needed to be repaired, she frantically tries to prove that Bruno was murdered. SILVER SCREAM is a delightful and charming cozy starring a heroine and a support cast that readers will find utterly delightful. The readers really become involved in this mystery, trying to figure out along with the heroine, exactly what happened. The solution is very believable, and even though the author gives a few hints, there is no way that anyone could guess who is responsible for Bruno¿s death. Mary Daheim¿s latest mystery is fantastic. Harriet Klausner