The Chick and the Dead (Pepper Martin Series #2)

The Chick and the Dead (Pepper Martin Series #2)

by Casey Daniels

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Overview

Ever since the former rich girl-turned-Cleveland cemetery tour guide banged her head on a headstone, she sees dead people. Worse still, she hears them—and they won't shut up! Now it's Didi Bowman, a poodle-skirted relic from the Great Beyond, who's bending Pepper's ear, complaining that her famous author sister, Merilee, has done her wrong. Trouble is, if Pepper proves it, she'll break the hearts of millions of Merilee's fans. And if she doesn't, Didi's ghost may never go away.

Pepper needs peace and quiet (and rent money), so the cash-strapped ex-heiress agrees to take a job as Merilee's secretary and dig around the family tree. But when she unearths more than she bargained for—like an illegitimate daughter, a bunch of illicit love affairs, and a possible murder—suddenly a very poisoned pen is all set to write Pepper out of the story permanently.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060821470
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/27/2007
Series: Pepper Martin Series , #2
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 905,776
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 4.18(h) x 0.89(d)

About the Author

Casey Daniels once applied for a job as a tour guide in a cemetery. She didn't get the job, but she did get the idea for the Pepper Martin mystery series. Casey learned to love mysteries early thanks to her father, a Cleveland Police detective who enjoyed Sherlock Holmes stories and spent his days off searching for stolen cars—with Casey along for the ride. Later, she read her way through every mystery on the library shelves. Casey has a degree in English and a background in journalism and teaching. She is the author of two previous Pepper Martin mysteries, Don of the Dead and The Chick and the Dead, and lives in Northeast Ohio.

Read an Excerpt

The Chick and the Dead

A Pepper Martin Mystery
By Casey Daniels

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Casey Daniels
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060821470

Chapter One

It all started with Gus Scarpetti.

More specifically, it all started when I was leading a tour at the cemetery where I work and smacked my head on the marble step of the mausoleum where Gus Scarpetti's mortal remains were resting, but not in peace.

High heels. Uneven ground. Gravity.

Not a good combination.

If I didn't know it when I woke up in the emergency room with doctors peering at me and asking me if I knew my name and what day of the week it was, I sure did after that. Because after that . . .

Well, after that, I started seeing dead people.

Did I say people? Let me correct myself. After that, I started seeing a dead person. Singular. As in one gone-but-not-forgotten Mafia don—the aforementioned Gus Scarpetti.

Luckily, the whole ghostly experience didn't last more than a few weeks. I did some investigating and, thanks to me, Gus's unfinished business here on earth got finished. After thirty years of his restless spirit looking for someone who could help, his murder had been solved. By me. Gus had finally gone to the Great Beyond. Or the white light. Or wherever it was that ghosts went after they served out their time here.

And like any logicalperson, I figured that was—as they say—that.

Except apparently it wasn't.

Because just minutes after I said my final goodbyes to Gus, I walked into my office at Garden View Cemetery and came face-to-face with a blond wearing a cardigan sweater and a poodle skirt.Saddle shoes or no saddle shoes, I knew we were not talking twenty-first century.

The awareness stung like a shot of Botox, and for a couple of long seconds, all I could do was stand there and listen to my blood rush in my ears and my heart slam against my ribs.

That, and stare.

At the woman perched on the edge of my desk, her legs crossed and one foot—and the saddle shoe on it—swinging. At her bobbed, wavy hair. And the pink chiffon scarf tied around her neck. At her pink cardigan, the one with the loopy D written in rhinestones over her heart.

She was a ghost. I knew it as sure as I knew my own name was Pepper Martin, and realizing it made me feel, well . . . I'll leave out the part about being pissed, exasperated, and leery, and just settle with saying I was not a happy camper.

I backed away, but my office isn't very big and there wasn't far to go. The doorknob poked my butt.

"No. No. No. No way can I see you." I held one hand out in front of me, emphasizing my point. "No way can you be here. You're not Gus."

She snapped her gum and blew a big, pink bubble. "Don't have a cow! Of course I'm not Gus. Do I look like Gus?" The woman sat up and pulled back her shoulders, the better to emphasize a bustline that was nearly as ample as mine. "No way Gus has a chassis this classy," she said. "Gus is the one who sent me."

"But Gus is dead." Okay, it was an understatement, but I thought I should mention it, just in case she didn't know. I looked toward the far wall. If I had a window—which I didn't—I would have been able to see across Garden View—which I couldn't—toward the mausoleum that was as flamboyant as Gus was himself. "I solved Gus's murder. This is the rest-in-peace part. For him and for me. No more ghosts."

"You think?" She grinned. "I've got news for you. That's not how it works."

I didn't have to ask, I knew the it in question was my ability to see and talk to the dead. As far as I knew—at least until right then and there—that dead meant Gus and only Gus.

Which meant that with Gus gone, I was officially out of the private-investigation-for-the- dearly-departed business.

Or at least I should have been.

Struggling to make some sense of it all, I ran a hand through my carrot-colored hair. "No way this is happening," I told the woman. "I hit my head on Gus's mausoleum. Not on yours. I don't even know who you are. I shouldn't be able to see you."

"But you can, right?" Her smile was perky. Have I mentioned that I hate perky? She hopped off my desk. "Thanks to that accident of yours, you have what's officially known as the Gift."

"Oh no!" I sidled along the wall until I was standing on the opposite side of the desk from where the woman stood. "Whatever this Gift thing is, I don't want it. Take it back. No Gift. Not for me. I just want my life back. My regular, old life."

"Really?" She fluffed her skirt and adjusted the knot on the gauzy scarf around her neck. "That's not what Gus says."

"In case you haven't noticed, Gus is a mobster. One of the bad guys. That means he's not exactly the most honest person in the world. Whatever world he happens to be in. And besides, when did you have time to talk to him?" I thought back to what had just happened out near Gus's mausoleum. One second he was there, the next . . . poof! "He just went to the big spaghetti dinner in the sky."

She shrugged like it was no big deal. "Time doesn't work the same here as it does there. Gus, he told me all about you. He said he was pretty sure you'd moan and groan about how much you hated working for him but that deep down, you're really grateful that he showed up. After all, before he did, I hear your life was dullsville."

"He told you that?" So, Gus was over on the Other Side talking behind my back. You think he'd give me a little more credit. After all, I was the only one . . .



Continues...

Excerpted from The Chick and the Dead by Casey Daniels Copyright © 2007 by Casey Daniels. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Kerrelyn Sparks

“A smashing great read! Spice up your life with a Pepper Martin mystery!”

Linda O. Johnstone

“[A] charming, imaginative mystery that transcends the boundaries of time, death and predictability, peppered with some delightful romantic twists.

Emilie Richards

“There’s not a ghost of a chance you’ll be able to put this book down. Write faster, Casey Daniels.”

MaryJanice Davidson

“[F]abulous! One of the funniest books I’ve read this year. Or last year, come to think of it.”

Laura Bradley

“Carrie of Sex in the City going Six Feet Under with The Sopranos. Hip, original, out-of-this world fun!”

Shirley Damsgaard

“The fast paced dialogue and plenty of twists keep the reader turning the pages…I can’t wait to read more!”

Roberta Isleib

“A delightful read!”

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