Comic Sans Murder (Dangerous Type Series #3)

Comic Sans Murder (Dangerous Type Series #3)

by Paige Shelton

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Clare Henry’s snowy Star City, Utah, oasis turns deadly in the third Dangerous Type Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Bookman Dead Style and To Helvetica and Back.
The visit of quirky world-famous horror author Nathan Grimes to Star City is especially thrilling for Clare Henry and her grandfather Chester. As the owners of The Rescued Word, a charming boutique shop in town, Clare and Chester specialize in restoring old typewriters and repairing beloved books. They’ve invited Nathan to their shop to use their equipment for his next book.
But all plans to work on the book take a step in the wrong direction when a tourist discovers an abandoned ski boot on the slopes—and the only sign of the owner is the dismembered foot he left inside! Nathan’s writer’s curiosity for all things horror is further piqued after the body of Clare’s high school friend Lloyd Gavin is discovered sans one foot. When all toes point to a class reunion gone wrong, Nathan can’t help but join Clare and her best friend, police officer Jodie Wentworth, as they hurry to track down the killer before more former classmates become Most Likely to Be Killed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425277270
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/05/2017
Series: Dangerous Type Series , #3
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 142,904
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Paige Shelton is the New York Times bestselling author of Bookman Dead Style and To Helvetica and Back in the Dangerous Type Mystery series. She also pens the Farmers’ Market Mysteries, including Bushel Full of Murder and Merry Market Murder, and the Country Cooking School Mysteries, including If Onions Could Spring Leeks and If Catfish Had Nine Lives. Paige Shelton has lived in a bunch of places but currently resides in Arizona with her husband.

Read an Excerpt


Larry Gerald might not have thought it too odd to find an abandoned ski boot on the Star City slopes, but it's what he found inside it that was most unexpected.

He spied the gray boot resting atop the still-solid snow base at the edge of a copse of pine trees, their branches currently green and not powdered with the white stuff. It was his first day on a snowboard, which might have contributed to his piqued curiosity about the boot. He'd taken a lesson but had spent more time on his behind than upright on the board. He welcomed an excuse for a moment's rest as he came to an awkward stop next to the boot and sat back onto the snow.

"Ouch," he said, realizing that even sitting was going to cause some pain for a little while. He was out of the way for a minute or two, he thought as he looked toward the run. Most of the boarders were at least ten years his junior and moved down the mountain or through the half pipe as if their snowboards were extensions of their legs, not something foreign buckled onto them.

He shook his head at himself and his inability to accept that even he, onetime star athlete, was destined to lose a little of his innate athletic ability once he reached thirty, never mind thirty-five. Besides, he'd been a swimmer, not a skier. Different muscles.

He smiled then, because none of that mattered. He was having a great time in Star City, Utah, taking a well-deserved vacation and enjoying the sights, the sounds, and the greatest snow on earth, according to the Utah tourism Web site he'd perused before booking the trip. He didn't have much to compare it to, but the snow did seem pretty great and Star City was spectacular. Even now he could look out and see the valley that held charming shops and even more snow-covered slopes alive with happy skiers and snowboarders. Life was good.

For the most part. Law school had been rough, the divorce rougher. Still plenty of time to make a good go of it, though.

He reached over for the boot, thinking that he could tuck it under one arm and drop it off at lost and found. He'd been so off-balance on the board that carrying a boot the rest of the way down couldn't possibly make the experience any worse.

Ski boots are naturally heavy, but there was something different about this one, something weirdly balanced, maybe. With the boot in his thick-gloved grip, he peered inside.

And then he screamed and tossed the boot away, sending it flying a short distance through the air, landing only a few feet from him on its side.

Though the inside of the boot had been filled mostly with what Larry would describe as "gore," he knew he'd seen the foot, ankle, and sock that had originally gone into the boot. When it had been attached to the rest of a body.

His breathing and heart rate sped up immediately, and though he'd never hyperventilated or had a panic attack, he knew that something like that was about to happen.

He noticed a snowboarder making her way toward him. She'd either heard his scream or noticed the flying ski boot and drops of blood that now fell across a small patch of the whitest snow ever, making it not so much the greatest snow anymore.

"Hey," she said as she took off her helmet and goggles, pieces of her curly blond hair escaping its ponytail. "You okay?"

"I know you," Larry said, oddly zoning in on the fact that he'd seen the girl before.

"You might have come into my great-grandfather's shop, The Rescued Word. I work there sometimes. I'm Marion."

He nodded and wished he could just keep his attention on her and that wonderful shop rather than what he'd seen a few moments before.

"Are you hurt?" she asked again. "The blood . . ."

"It's not my foot," Larry said.

"What?" Marion asked, but realization came over her features quickly. "Oh. In the boot. There's a foot?"


"Well, that . . . that just sucks."


She didn't look into the boot, but she swooned for a beat or two. Larry tried to get up to help her, but his legs were spaghetti. Fortunately, she recovered quickly.

"I'm okay, and I can get help," she said, holding her hand up to stop him. He fell back onto his sore behind again.

Marion pulled out her phone and looked at the screen for a moment before she tapped it. She brought her eyebrows together as she inspected Larry. He was trying to look like he was okay, but he wasn't, not even close.

"Aunt Clare. Hey, will you call Jodie and tell her there's a problem up on Thor? Yeah, the half-pipe run. No, I'm not hurt. I'm up here with a man, though. Yeah, he found something that the police need to see. Okay, well, I'm not going to look in it, but I think it's a ski boot with a foot still inside. Only the foot."

Larry didn't bother to add "ankle and sock too," but the words rattled through his shaken and muddled thoughts.

"Right," Marion said. She ended the call and smiled stiffly at Larry. "The police will be here quickly. You sure you're going to be okay?"

Larry nodded, thinking that maybe law school and even the divorce hadn't been all that bad after all.


"Yep, that's what it was," Jodie said as she sucked on her straw. She'd hit bottom two pulls ago, but she wasn't one to let any drops of pineapple shake go to waste.

I shook my head, having lost interest in my own hot fudge sundae. But Jodie was a cop; she was used to these sorts of things.

"Where was the rest of the body?" I asked.

"That's the million-dollar question."

"No clues at all?"

"None. Not much evidence either. It wasn't as . . . messy as you might think. Frozen for the most part. It was beginning to thaw."

"Oh, Jodie. I don't want to think about that." I pushed up my glasses.

"I understand. Let's just say there are no clues yet. We're hoping something turns up soon."

"Could the person still be alive?"

"It's a possibility, but we don't think it's likely. As of about thirty minutes ago, no one missing a foot has checked into any hospital in the western United States. Even someone trying to hide that they were hurt would be hard-pressed to try to take care of that sort of wound on their own. Most people would seek help even if they were guilty of something and afraid of getting caught."

We sat across from each other in a booth composed of a Formica table and pink vinyl bench seats, inside the diner across the street from The Rescued Word.

Shortly after I'd called Jodie to send out the troops for my niece, Marion, and the man on the Thor snowboard run, Marion actually came into the shop to tell the tale of the afternoon's brief but jarring adventure.

She hadn't been too shaken up, but she'd been bothered in a semifrantic sort of way. It had taken two hot chocolates and one of Chester's stories to get her back to her normal bubbly self. Chester, my grandfather and Marion's great-grandfather, was the original owner of The Rescued Word. He frequently made up stories, some of his most famous being about the carved wooden doors over the middle shelves of the shop, a building that used to house the Star City Silver Mining Company. All of his stories were wild fabrications, but today he worked extra hard to direct Marion's thoughts away from spooky ski boots by inserting whiskey-addled fairies and magic silver from the old mines. I think she was more perplexed than entertained, but before long she was smiling and questioning the plot's logic. Of course, her father, my brother, Jimmy, a single parent, would probably want her to seek therapy just to make sure she was really okay. Jodie had said that Marion hadn't seen much but had made the call to Clare based solely on what Mr. Gerald had said. Jodie also said that Marion would be fine; she was young and would move on soon enough-unless she was the one to have separated the foot from the body, Jodie had added with a sly grin.

"What about a skiing accident? Maybe the body got flung to a place you guys couldn't spot right off," I said.

"We're looking. That's another possibility, but, again, it's unlikely. There are just too many weird things that would have had to happen for it to be something like that. Of course, weird things do happen, so we'll see."

"Foul play, you think?"

"Probably. But it sure is a strange one."

"I'd say."

"So, other than the boot, how's Marion doing?" Jodie said.

I thought a moment. "Oh, you mean the competition?"

"Yeah, sure. I'm worried about her."

"We all are, but she's moving past it."

Marion had been a part of the Olympic snowboard qualifying series of events this year. The Grand Prix had been held on our own Star City slopes. She'd aced the first two events, but then a heavy and sudden wave of self-doubt got in her head, and she couldn't finish, thus knocking her out of any chance to be invited to the team this time around. She was so young, still only sixteen, so she'd have another shot. But it had most definitely been a rough time for her. I'd tried to comfort her. Chester had tried to explain that it was not a big deal, that her life would be long and she'd have lots more chances, and Jimmy had continually wondered how he'd failed his daughter.

"Good. She'll do great the next time around," Jodie said.

"I think so too. That is, if her family doesn't get in her head too much. We're trying to figure out the right balance. But she's still hitting the slopes every day, and her coach says she's still improving, that she hasn't reached her peak. Maybe something deep inside her knew she wasn't ready yet. Hard to understand subconscious motivations."

"She's amazing."

"I agree."

Jodie gave up on the shake, moving the cup to the other side of her clean plate. We'd both ordered cheeseburgers and fries, but most of my food was still in front of me.

"How's it going with the visiting celebrity?" Jodie asked.

"Nathan is working hard and driving poor Adal crazy."

Nathan Grimes, worldwide famous horror author, had made The Rescued Word his temporary place of business. He'd enjoyed time in Star City before, working on a couple of his most popular and bestselling novels: Jump and Spark. All of his titles were one word. I hadn't had the chance to ask him how that had happened, but he'd been working with Adal for only a little over a week, and only part-time, as they planned and prepped to print a book of Grimes's poetry on the replica Gutenberg press that Chester had built in our workshop. It stood amid old typewriters, typewriter parts, tools, and typeface boxes. Nathan had heard about the press when he was in the middle of Spark, and he hadn't been able to shake the idea of self-publishing his poetry. I didn't know how well the book would sell, but anyone who'd read his horror novels was sure to be surprised by his romantic way with words.

Adal was my apprentice. He'd come from Germany with the hope that I would teach him everything I knew about rescuing words: fixing typewriters, operating an old Gutenberg printing press, repairing books, even where to find the best paper products throughout the world. He and many of his family members, the male ones, had shown up in January for the Star City Film Festival. They'd stopped in the shop, and before I could even understand most of their names, Chester had offered the apprenticeship position to Adal. It had turned into one of Chester's best decisions ever. Someday Adal would take his skills back to Germany, but he was ours for a while. His full name was Adalwulf, but he'd told us to call him Adal. Later we wondered whether he made the request to avoid being called Wulf instead.

Adal had been a part of The Rescued Word family during the Grand Prix in February, and had become a surprising source of comfort for Marion. He was a stranger from another land who brought a perspective that she somehow tuned in to. He'd helped us all, but mostly Marion. It was time for Marion's job at the shop to take a backseat to her dreams. She could still work on personalizing stationery on her computer at home and at the shop when she wanted to, but Chester had made it clear that she got to choose the best way to accomplish her goals. He'd quit complaining when she couldn't be found or was late because she was on the slopes. It would have been only Chester and me at the shop if Adal hadn't come along, and we all preferred the idea of an apprentice over a new employee.

"I'm sure Adal is doing fine with the famous author," Jodie said. "How's he doing as an apprentice?"

"He's a pro, but why do you ask?" I said, though I suspected I knew the answer.

Jodie shrugged. "He's taking Latin from Anorkory. You know that, don't you?"

I laughed about his lessons with our resident Latin teacher. "I do know that. German, French, Spanish, and English just weren't enough for him."

"He's very into languages."

"He's very into you," I said as I picked up my mug of hot chocolate. I took a sip and then looked at her over the top of the cup.

"It's hard to take your disapproval seriously when you have whipped cream on the tip of your nose," Jodie said.

I wiped off the cream.

"Better?" I said.

"A little, but I still don't understand your disapproval."

"Well. It isn't disapproval so much. It's concern."

"I'm listening." She took a drink of her water.

As casual as she seemed, I knew she was paying attention. I took advantage of the moment. "You and Mutt broke up only a couple of weeks ago, and I'm not really sure you broke up all the way."

"Oh, we broke up all the way. No worries there," Jodie said bitterly.

"Well, you haven't told me what happened. That's weird. You tell me everything."

"I do not tell you everything. You don't tell me everything either."

"Actually, I do," I said, a tinge of hurt in my voice. "What won't you tell me?"

Customer Reviews

Comic Sans Murder 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
BeckyMcF More than 1 year ago
One of the things I enjoy most about Agatha Christie is that the solution may or may not be surprising and it always makes sense. I play bridge for fun, so I liked that part of the setting. Hercule Poirot and his 3 sleuthing partners in this murder mystery work well together. If you have never read an Agatha Christie book, it does not matter if you read them out of order. The ones I have read have all been stand-alones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great reading ,as always i enjoy this author!!!!!
AWilcox777 More than 1 year ago
I love this series! I love these characters! There is such great dynamic between them all, even without the mystery. Paige's ability to keep it all rolling - the side stories, the murder(s), the mystery - is perfection! I loved how this story brought back Clare and Jodie's high school days and things from the past. Some people change; and some people never change. I really look forward to more adventures in Star City. Maybe something more about Clare and her family, if her parents come back to town for a bit. Thanks for another great read Paige!
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts A gruesome discovery on the slopes, a visit to Star City by horror author Nathan Grimes, and the arrival of a unique gift from an old high school classmate have Clare and Jodie very busy in this Dangerous Type Mystery. The staff as the Rescued Word is joined by Nathan Grimes. He is using the shop’s Gutenberg press to publish a book of poetry, taking self-publishing to its limits by placing the type in the press himself. Clare, Chester, Marion, and Adal are all excited about this project. Clare’s relationship with Seth is going strong and I love the way the are will each other. We also meet some of Clare’s high school classmates and a few tourists as well. In each story, we get to know the main characters better and the new characters bring the drama to the Utah town. The relationships Clare has with every single character feel real and true. She is a wonderful protagonist, friendly and likable. This time the main mystery has to do with a mini-reunion of men who attended high school in Star City. A connection between them is clear with the exception of Clare’s ex and police deputy Creighton. He just seems so out of place in the group. After the first man is found dead Jodie and Clare pull out all the stops to find the killer. There is also a minor mystery when one of the characters goes missing. I really enjoy the typewriter theme. Learning about the Hooven typewriters was very interesting. I am surprised there is enough business to keep The Rescued Word a viable business in this electronic age but with customers like Nathan Grimes, it seems to stay open. This is one of my favorite series. I just love these characters and the situations they find themselves in. The writing is crisp and very well plotted. I have fun following the clues and figuring out the killer. I was a couple of steps ahead of Clare this time but I enjoyed every minute of this story.
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
I always know what I’m in for with a Paige Shelton book. A good time. But with COMIC SANS MURDER, I had a wonderful time! I’ve loved this series since the first book, TO HELVETICA AND BACK. I took to the characters right away, and it’s been so fun watching them develop and grow. A new character, Nathan Grimes is introduced in this book, and I sure hope we’ll be seeing more of him. The blub on the back of the book describes him as “quirky”. Oh my, he is that, a whole lot of fun, and more! COMIC SANS MURDER was an excellent mystery. Three fingers on my right hand are testimonial to that, because I bit them off while reading this tale. I was so engrossed in this story from the finding of the boot with the foot in it, to the exciting reveal, I only came up for air while reading to, well, breathe. Seriously, there was never a dull part. Fans of author Paige Shelton will not be disappointed in COMIC SANS MURDER. Never read this author? What are you waiting for?!
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
A thoroughly enchanting installment in the Dangerous Type Mystery Series by author Paige Shelton, Comic Sans Murder brings a high school reunion to Star City, and with it the murder of one of our heroine's (Clare Henry) old friends. Lloyd Gavin's dismembered foot (really, this is a cozy and it's not as gruesome as it sounds so don't worry!!!) is found on a ski slope, and it's soon discovered that he was one of a handful of Clare's former classmates who'd been invited back to town for a secret meeting. In addition, famed horror author Nathan Grimes has taken up residence at The Rescued Word, but a mystery soon surrounds his disappearance in the early morning hours. Quick-paced and quite the page-turner, Comic Sans Murder keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, and definitely leaves an opening for a fourth installment. Highly recommended! A+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
COMIC SANS MURDER by Paige Shelton, the third book in her Dangerous Type Mystery series starts out with a bang. The opening scene grabs your attention, putting your senses on high alert and then Ms. Shelton delivers a thrilling read! She expertly melds together a famous horror author, valuable antique typewriters, a reclusive wealthy business man, and a ski-boot clad foot missing its body. This eclectic combination is set against the backdrop of Star City, Utah during ski season. The author sets a well-developed stage to capture the full flavors of each scene bringing the reader into the story to experience it fully as the twisty-turvey plot unfolds. The protagonist, Clare Henry, is extremely likeable. She’s a sweet, caring person that I’d like to spend time with… well, except when she’s investigating a murder. Her relationship with geologist, Seth, is adorable. I greatly enjoyed the geology puns they throw around, bringing a chuckle or two to the read. Clare and her grandfather, Chester, own The Rescued Word, a charming shop that would draw me in and make me want to linger. I enjoyed learning about the Hooven typewriters, a brand I have never heard about. What makes them so special is that these are the first electric typewriters designed and was the birth of the first computers. As with the previous two books, COMIC SANS MURDER has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series to see what adventures Clare finds herself in next! I received an advance copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
-Sar_Ah More than 1 year ago
Cheesecake, typewriters, and mystery...what more could you ask for? I loved this book! I was captivated all the way through and had a hard time putting it down when real life beckoned. I adore all of the descriptions of what makes each of the typewriters unique as well as all the different fonts. Reading this book is as good as running away to Star City myself and getting to enjoy the snow, food, but the mystery is what keeps you hooked. Clare is as always witty and clever. She is a great lead and Author Paige Shelton has given her the best characters to work through the mystery with. Wonderfully done! If you’re looking for other recommendations, I also love reading Paige Shelton’s Scottish Bookshop Mystery Series.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Comic Sans Murder is the third book in the A Dangerous Type Mystery series. Another enjoyable visit to Star City, UT and all the snowy activities they have. Clare’s niece, Marion, while out snowboarding notices a skier off to the side of the run and stop to see if needs help. He appears not to be hurt too badly but is shaken up by the fact that he has found a ski boot with a foot still in it. Meanwhile, a young man is attempting to deliver three Hoovens, an early typewriter/computer, which are very valuable. He says that Lloyd Gavin had hired him to deliver them to Clare. Clare remembers Gavin form junior high but has not heard anything from since then. Soon there is a body found that is later to identified Gavin. Also going on at The Rescued Word, Clare is having to deal with famous horror author Nathan Grimes. Grimes wants to self-publish a book of his poetry. That is he wants to set the type and print the book himself. This is a bit of a bother for Clare and her grandfather, but he is so nice that they agree to let proceed. As, Jodie, a member of Star City Police and Clare’s best friend, starts her investigation of why Gavin might be in Star City it is learned that there was to be an informal reunion of Gavin, Donte Seton, Creighton, police officer, and brother of Jodie. Nathan wants to help Clare in her investigation and soon after beginning goes missing. Sharon Senot, wife of Donte and owner of Starry Nights Books suggests having a séance, which fails to communicate with Gavin. Brenda, who was Gavin’s personal assistant is in town to provide help with the police investigation but seems to not be sharing something. Jodie and Clare feel sure that in some way Grimes disappearance might somehow be related, so they set their sights on locating Grimes, hopefully alive, and will be able to provide information that will lead to the killer before any more bodies are found. Once again Shelton provides the reader with a well-plotted story with a wonderful and believable cast of characters. I will be watching for the next book in this enjoyable series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But im not dead