These minor small-town annoyances become more serious – and deadly – when the Skirt Man is killed in a tragic house fire during a benefit ballet performance starring Meredith Bly. Meredith’s father, State Trooper Sebastian Bly, and her uncle, Fire Marshal Billy Nightingale, are called in to investigate what some say is a case of spontaneous human combustion. Charred wood and chair remnants at the fire scene lead Sebastian and Billy to uncover clues that reveal hidden conflicts and a shocking discovery that will change the lives of everyone in Killdeer.
Bringing back the brave and imaginative family team from Tabula Rasa, author and fire investigator Shelly Reuben fans the flames of small-town passion and breathes life into an unusual local hero.
|Publisher:||Bernard Street Books|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
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About the Author
Shelly Reuben is the author of Tabula Rasa, Origin & Cause, Spent Matches, the Edgar-nominated Julian Solo, and Weeping. She is a licensed private detective and a certified fire investigator who has been investigating fires and arson for more than twenty years. She lives in New York.
Read an Excerpt
The Skirt Man
By Reuben, Shelly
HarcourtCopyright © 2006 Reuben, Shelly
All right reserved.
In retrospect, it is amazing how many lives he touched.
Of course, "Skirt Man" wasn't his real name. His real name was Morgan Mason. But nobody ever called him that. And you can't blame them. What else would you call an old farmer who stuttered and drove his tractor into town a few times a week with his dog yapping along at his side wearing a skirt?
Not the dog.
My husband and I live on Willow Keep Road, which is less than two miles from the Skirt Man's farm. Small towns being what they are, though, Morgan Mason did his shopping in Killdeer, I did mine in Fawn Creek, and our twain had never met.
Not, at least, until . . .
Oh, so many things seemed to happen at once.
There was my job at the newspaper and my boss trying to retire. There was the benefit to raise funds for the town hall and our daughter, Merry, coming home to dance. There were those adorable Dillenbeck boys deciding to run the Skirt Man for mayor and then both of them falling in love with Merry at once. There was Creedmore Snowdon's campaign to turn Killdeer into Disneyland. And there was poor Rose Gimbel secretly playing Robin Hood; Lillian Roadigger's incomprehensible mood swings; Lewis Furth trying to start a range war; and that horrible Domingo Nogales Ramirez doing what he did to the old Hobby HillsHorse Farm.
And, of course, there was the murder.
The journalist in me wants to start at the beginning of all these events and proceed logically to the end. But the involved citizen in me who knew, liked, loved, or loathed so many of the participants can't figure out where the beginning is.
So, I'll just close my eyes, take a deep breath, try to pin the tail somewhere on this donkey, and hope that I don't stab myself in the eye.
Copyright 2006 by Shelly Reuben
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A unique character in a small town draws attention. He is an old farmer. He has a loyal dog, drives a tractor, stutters, and wears a skirt. Why? No one knows. The Skirt Man has a few enemies, but more people love him, even though they don’t know why. When he is found burned to death in his house, State Trooper Sebastian Bly, his wife Annie, and her brother, fire investigator Billy Nightingale track down clues, learn about local feuds and foibles, and discover what a remarkable man he really was. You will love The Skirt Man, and you will love this book.
The Skirt Man is a must read for all mystery lovers. The Bly family is back, investigating a suspicious fire that killed the Skirt Man. The fire scene had people believing that the cause of the fire was spontaneous human combustion . This page turner of a mystery will make you laugh, cry and keep you guessing till the very end.
The awesome threesome - Annie, Sebastian, and Billy guide us through unraveling a murder that takes place in Killdeer, New York. This story is captivating! Shelly Reuben takes us into the secret lives of her characters while masterfully guiding us through the complexities of fire and arson investigation and ultimately the mystery of love. This is a delightful story that touches the heart!
Shelly Reuben has spun yet another yarn that is much more than the sum of its parts: part mystery, part suspense, and part fire protocol. The Skirt Man transcends all of these genres and through her complex characterization and plot, it becomes an exploration of how vanity, greed, duty, curiosity and above all, love motivate humans. The unraveling of the Skirt Man's story keeps us hanging by a thread as Annie Bly and her cohorts discover who is responsible for the fire that in a truly biblical sense leads to enlightenment, revelation, and rebirth. Annie states, 'But I do believe in the miracle of love,' which is indeed no understatement given the fact that each and every page is suffused with love whether it be Annie's love for her job and family or Moe and Sonny's love for Merry or other dyads that appear throughout the story. Suffice it to say that in The Skirt Man, love is all around and a mysterious fire is the vehicle through which it ignites.