The second page-turning instalment in the acclaimed mystery series featuring striking, sarcastic antique dealer Molly Doyle, set in picturesque Carmel, California.
Molly Doyle crossed a continent to escape trouble, but it's becoming increasingly dangerous to be in the antique business in her small adopted corner of California. The murder of a friend and fellow antiques dealer has shaken Molly to the core. And matters aren't helped any by the arrival of her deceitful, long-estranged sister-who sticks around only long enough to dump Molly's twelve-year-old niece before vanishing to parts unknown. Actually, young Emma is a bright spot in these dark days, since she's clever, endearing, and shows a natural aptitude for antiques work.
But the very unnatural death of yet another dealer-a rather shady one this time with possible ties to Molly's family-has the intrepid Ms. Doyle acting as sleuth once again.before a killer decides she's the next item to be taken out of circulation permanently.
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About the Author
Elaine Flinn was an antiques dealer in the San Francisco Bay area for many years. Dealing in Murder is her first novel. Trading treasures for her love of mystery, she lives on the Monterey Peninsula and is at work on the next book in the series.
Read an Excerpt
Tagged for Murder
The woman's screams could be heard all over the exhibit hall. Short, staccato bursts, like an annoying car alarm, silenced those still wandering the aisles of the Carmel Antiques Show.
It was Sunday, the last day of the show, near closing time. Savvy bargain hunters hoping to haggle with the weary dealers lingered in the aisles. They knew one less item to pack was worth discounting a few bucks.
Molly Doyle nearly dropped the pair of Anglo-Irish cut-glass candlesticks when she heard the screams. Molly and a woman offering a hundred dollars less for the candlesticks ran into the aisle. "Hang onto these. I'll see what happened," Molly said as she shoved the candlesticks into the woman's hands.
Running up the aisle, she saw the screaming woman standing in front of Trudy Collins's space. Her heart stopped when she saw Trudy facedown on the Louis IV repro desk she used for sales. Quickly at her side, Molly touched her shoulder and called out, "Trudy! What's wrong?" Not getting a response, she gently jostled her shoulder. "Trudy?" Her hands turned clammy, and she turned to the screaming woman, who was now hyperventilating. "Get some help! I think she's -- oh, God! I don't know -- just get some help!"
When the woman didn't move, and a small crowd began to gather, Molly searched the faces and was relieved to see the young man who was there to help her pack up after the show. "Robbie! Call 911 and find Randall! He's probably in the cafeteria with Lucero!"
Molly tried once again to rouse Trudy. Gently lifting her off the desk, she nearly fainted when she saw Trudy's face, the cheeks and mouth badly cut and seeping blood.
"Oh, my God!"
Ignoring the startled gasps from the aisle, Molly grabbed Trudy's wrist to check for a pulse. Her hands began to shake when she realized Trudy was dead.
Trying to stay calm, she gently picked up Trudy's dangling arms and was about to place them on the desk when she saw what had caused the cuts on her face. Broken shards of porcelain, as sharp as glass, lay on the desk. When Trudy's head fell forward, she'd apparently fallen on a group of Sèvres porcelain figurines. Scattered among them were what appeared to be oversized sales tags, with magazine cutouts of baroque furniture, porcelain figurines, marble statues, and exotic jewelry. A hole had been punched in the corner of each tag, with a red string attached. More bizarre, a red circle was drawn around each photo, with a red slash across the price.
Carmel's chief of police, Kenneth Randall, had little problem making his way through the crowd gathered in the aisle. Well over six feet, his presence was usually felt before it was noticed. On his heels was Dan Lucero, the district attorney for Monterey County. Returning from a fund-raising banquet for handicapped children, they'd promised to stop by the show to say hello to Molly.
Lucero took one look at Trudy Collins and shook his head. "I'll move these people out of the way."
Randall, at Trudy's side, didn't need to examine her. He'd seen enough in his long career to know she was dead. Nodding to Lucero, he said, "Step back, folks. We need room for the paramedics." Turning to Molly, he asked, "What happened?"
"I don't know. I heard screams, looked in the aisle, and saw that woman in the red leather jacket screaming her head off." Clutching his arm, Molly was near tears. "Poor Trudy! I can't believe this!"
"Okay, okay, I know. This isn't good. Did you touch anything?"
"Her face is so ... "
"Yeah, looks bad. You didn't answer me, did you touch anything?"
"No. Well, I mean, I just lifted her off the table. I tried to get a pulse."
Randall turned his back to the crowd of onlookers and gave Molly a hard look. "Why the hell did you touch her?"
Stunned by his shortness, Molly said, "I had to do something! I didn't know if she was choking, or having a heart attack, or -- or -- "
"Okay, simmer down. Just don't go touching dead people anymore. Who helped you?"
Gritting her teeth, Molly said, "No one. I didn't know she was already dead."
Gesturing to Lucero and the security guard now at his side, Randall said, "I want everyone in the cafeteria. Tell them we'll only keep them for a short time. Tell them it's standard procedure, so nobody gets antsy."
"Oh, Lord! What happened? Trudy?"
Molly and Randall turned to see a shaken elderly woman.
Randall headed her off. "Hold up, Bitsy. Don't come in here." Turning her away, he gently said, "You can't help her now. She's gone."
"Gone?" Looking at Molly, a puzzled frown filled Bitsy Morgan's face. "But we just spoke ... just a little while ago. We were going to have drinks with Oliver after she packed up."
Wrapping an arm around her, Molly said, "Oh, Bitsy, I'm so sorry."
"It was her heart, wasn't it?" Bitsy sighed. "She had a bum ticker. I told her time and time again to cut down on the booze!"
Trembling, and angry with Randall for being short with her, Molly said to Bitsy, "I know what a shock this is, but it's best if we get out of the way."
"Here, let me take her." Molly turned around to see Oliver Townsend. The dapper gentleman was dressed in tweed, his paisley ascot slightly askew. He embraced Bitsy, who was sobbing now. "There, there, my dear." Looking over her head, he said to Molly, "I'll take her down to your space. We'll wait there."
Just ahead of the paramedics, Lucero said, "Everyone is in the cafeteria and we've sealed the exits."
"That's probably not necessary," Randall replied. "Looks like a heart attack. But, okay, it's best to be cautious." Turning to the paramedics, he said, "A friend of hers said she had a bad heart. Do your thing, then tell the coroner I'll get with him tomorrow."Tagged for Murder. Copyright © by Elaine Flinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Molly Doyle is an antique dealer who owns a store in California. When one of her friends is murdered, Molly is determined to find out why. But, out of the blue, her sister shows up with her twelve-year-old daughter, Emma. Then the sister disappears, leaving Emma behind. Then another murder occurs. ............................................ **** This is a very well written book. It involves so many characters at one time that I found it hard to keep track of them all. I found the antiques and other rarities a treat to read about. This mystery kept me intrigued the entire time. I find myself looking forward to the author's next release. ****
Her husband ruined her sterling reputation by selling fake antiquities before leaving for parts unknown with his young bimbo leaving Molly Doyle financially ruined, She now runs her friend¿s antique shop in Carmel, California. She is recovering financially and making new friends when her sister Carrie whom she has not seen in fifteen years arrives with her twelve year old daughter Emma. Carrie is job hunting and asks Molly to watch Emma. Not long afterward, a letter given to Molly from Emma informs her that Carier is leaving the country and wants Molly to raise Emma.---- While Molly reels from her sibling¿s callousness, she learns that her friend Trudy Collins did not die from a heart attack; instead was murdered by someone who knew she was allergic to aspirin and hid a tablet in her soda at an antiques gala. While going through her pal¿s belongings, Molly realizes Trudy was selling fakes and Carrie was part of the operation. The more she digs, the more Molly comprehends her sister broke several laws and leaving the country was the only way to avoid arrest. Molly¿s snooping frightens the killer so much that he or she tries to murder her and her niece on a fog shrouded road.---- Molly is a likable and intelligent heroine who falls in love with Emma from the moment they first meet and takes her home with her without a second thought. She accepts that her sister is a felon and the best thing Carrie can do is stay away from her family. Emma steals the hearts of readers as a precocious child (they always seem that way in fiction) who has more common sense than most of the adults she knows. Elaine Flinn provides a beguiling amateur sleuth tale that readers will love.---- Harriet Klausner