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When Constance Young, the undisputed star of morning television, is found dead at the bottom of her swimming pool, her colleague Eliza Blake is shocked. Determined to discover who wanted Constance out of the way—and why—she enlists the aid of three coworkers: Annabelle Murphy, who can switch from producing to sleuthing at a moment's notice; cameraman extraordinaire B.J. D'Elia to add brains, brawn, and a much-needed male perspective to the team; and Dr. Margo Gonzalez, on-air psychiatrist, who understands the ...
When Constance Young, the undisputed star of morning television, is found dead at the bottom of her swimming pool, her colleague Eliza Blake is shocked. Determined to discover who wanted Constance out of the way—and why—she enlists the aid of three coworkers: Annabelle Murphy, who can switch from producing to sleuthing at a moment's notice; cameraman extraordinaire B.J. D'Elia to add brains, brawn, and a much-needed male perspective to the team; and Dr. Margo Gonzalez, on-air psychiatrist, who understands the complex puzzles of the human mind. Calling themselves the "Sunrise Suspense Society," they set out to get to the bottom of the heinous murder, in a case that will test their ingenuity and their courage to the very limits.
The only sure thing is that Constance Young made a lot of enemies—and now one of them is Eliza's enemy as well. And the closer she and the Society get to unmasking the murderer, the less chance they have of making it through each night alive . . .
The morning rush was on.
Breakfast eaten. Teeth brushed. Hair clipped. Shoes tied. Sweater buttoned.
As she hustled Janie out to the garage, Eliza picked up her daughter's backpack. "Anything in here I should see?" Eliza asked.
Janie's blank expression prompted Eliza to unzip the nylon bag. She pulled out a yellow sheet of paper.
"Oh, yeah. You need to fill that out, Mommy," said Janie. "It's for the picnic."
Eliza scanned the notice. The first-grade family picnic was coming up in a few weeks to celebrate the end of the school year.
"This sounds like fun, sweetheart," said Eliza as she grabbed a pen from the kitchen counter. "Should we ask Kay Kay and Poppy if they want to come?"
Janie shook her head, a solemn expression on her face. "No, Mommy. Mrs. Ansley says no grandparents or friends. It's only for parents and children."
Thanks, Mrs. Ansley, thought Eliza. Thanks a lot. "I'm sure if I asked Mrs. Ansley, she'd let us bring Kay Kay and Poppy and even Mrs. Garcia," said Eliza.
Janie shook her head. "Uh-uh. Mrs. Ansley says there's not enough room, and she can't make any 'ceptions."
"Exceptions," Eliza corrected.
"Exceptions," repeated Janie. "Mrs. Ansley says, 'No exceptions.'"
Eliza didn't want to hear any more about what Mrs.Ansley had to say. She took the pen and signed her name to the form, filling in the appropriate information.
One child. One adult.
There were just two in the Blake family eligible to attend the first-grade picnic.
Eliza hurried back to the house after dropping Janie off. She poured a second cup of coffee and positioned herself in front of the kitchen television set just in time. Constance Young was looking straight out of the screen, tears welling in her luminous blue eyes.
"The years I've spent with all of you have meant more than I can possibly express. Each morning we've faced the world together. We've learned new things together, explored possibilities together, had some laughs together, and faced too many harsh realities together."
Listening to the words coming from the television, Eliza found herself admiring Constance's beautifully cut green jacket and the lighting that accented her glowing skin and her ever-blonder hair. Eliza wondered if she should talk to the director about making some adjustments to the lighting on her own Evening Headlines set. She was definitely going to talk with Doris about upping the makeup magic to camouflage the darkness that inevitably developed beneath her eyes. In the last tapes Eliza had reviewed, there was no denying she'd appeared tired.
When Eliza went from hosting KEY to America to anchoring The KEY Evening Headlines, she had been thrilled at the professional achievement and the privilege of becoming one of the select few to whom the national audience turned to deliver the news of the day. But the mother in her had also looked forward to a more civilized schedule. She wouldn't have to get up at 4:00 a.m. anymore. She could have breakfast with Janie and take her to school in the morning before leaving for work. Other mothers might sigh at the daily grind of transporting their kids to and from school, but Eliza—though she could well afford a driver—savored the normalcy of those car rides with her first-grader. As it turned out, the reality of the nightly anchor job was just as much study and homework and travel as she'd done in her previous position, and though Janie and she could share scrambled eggs in the morning, they never had dinner together during the week. Eliza considered it a good day when she was home in time to tuck her daughter into bed at night.
Constance Young had replaced Eliza on KEY to America. And now Constance was leaving the highly rated morning program as well, but not for the evening broadcast or even another job at KEY News. Constance was going over to the competition. Next month she would be greeting morning viewers from another network. Today was her last appearance on KEY to America, and Eliza wanted to hear every word of the farewell address.
"The news hasn't always been happy or predictable. Far from it. Sometimes the things we've confronted together have been almost impossible to wrap our minds around. But I've always felt that no matter how worrisome the event or how painful the news, gathering together each morning and sharing the issues and problems of the day has somehow lightened the load a bit. There has been reassurance in knowing that there are millions of us, all hearing the same thing at the same time, all digesting the same information. And because knowledge is power, we go out better prepared to face the day, better equipped to take care of our children and parents, abler to be better spouses and friends, more likely to be solid citizens."
Pausing to dab a tear from the corner of her eye, Constance smiled bravely before continuing.
"There are so many people I should thank. There just isn't enough time to name them all. But I do have to express my gratitude to Harry. He has been the best colleague anyone could ask for as we've sat at this desk together every morning, and I'll miss him more than I can say."
The director cut to a two-shot of Constance and Harry Granger sitting beside each other. Constance leaned over and gave her cohost a kiss on the cheek.
"And I wish the very best of luck to my successor, Lauren Adams, who has already been part of our KEY News family as our lifestyle correspondent. I know Lauren will do a wonderful job as host."
Constance stared earnestly from the television.
"The KEY to America family is just that—a family. It includes all the people you see on the screen each morning, countless people you don't see as they work so hard behind the scenes to get us on the air, and all of you, the viewers. Without you there would be no KEY to America. Because of you, KEY to America will go on and thrive. My departure is really only a tiny blip on the radar screen."
Eliza smiled as she put her coffee cup down on the counter. If she hadn't known Constance Young and witnessed what had been going on over the last year, she would actually have believed that the popular morning-show personality meant every word.
Excerpted from When Day Breaks by Mary Clark Copyright © 2007 by Mary Clark. Excerpted by permission.
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