Book Excerpt From "Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Fool and His Honey"

“Yessir, we’ll sing along with you all the way into town,” Jimmy was saying earnestly, as Martin parked beside the squad car. My husband emerged from the Mercedes looking, as he generally did, immaculate, prosperous, and handsome.

“Hey, Mr. Bartell!” Darius called happily, as Jimmy was shutting the car door. “I brought your wood!”

Martin stood on the covered sidewalk between our house and the garage and saw the pieces of oak scattered around the backyard, which we’d finally, expensively, had rolled and reseeded to make it smooth and grassy. Quite a few divots had been ripped out of the turf by Darius’s impromptu log toss.

“Thanks a lot, Darius,” Martin said.

I came out after the squad car had departed, all three of the occupants singing away. I mentally filed away a decision to write a letter to Sheriff Padgett Lanier to commend Levon and Jimmy’s restraint and good sense.

Martin was shedding his suit coat and pulling on his own heavy gloves from the toolshed built into the back of the garage. He got the wheelbarrow, too.

Besides my heavy red cardigan, I was still wearing my work clothes, a long sleeveless denim dress over a red T-shirt, but Martin was setting such a good example that my inappropriate clothes were no excuse to be idle. I found my own gloves and helped out. As we worked, we speculated on this bizarre event and whether Darius, though clearly not in his right mind, had actually broken a law by dancing naked in our yard.

“How was the library this morning?” Martin asked, after we’d stacked the last piece of wood. I stood back, feeling sweat bead on my forehead from the exertion though the air was bracingly chilly, and smiled at him. He knew I was happier now that I’d resumed part-time work at the Lawrenceton library.

“Sam decided patrons with overdue books would be more likely to return the books if they were called personally, rather than sent a postcard. This comes from him reading some study in a magazine, of course. So guess who got to make at least fifty phone calls this morning? Thank God for answering machines. I decided it wasn’t cheating to leave a message on the machine.” I watched Martin pull off his heavy gloves. “What about you?”

“I had my annual physical, followed by a morning-long meeting about implementing the new EPA regulations.” My husband Martin, who has a pirate gene stuck somewhere in his DNA, frequently gets frustrated with his job as vice president of manufacturing for Pan-Am Agra, an agricultural products company. He has not always done something so legitimate and safe.

“Sorry, honey.” I patted his shoulder sympathetically. We strolled back to return the things to our toolshed. Darius’s pickup and small trailer were still parked blocking my car in, halfway on the gravel and halfway on the grass; when I’d okayed that, I’d only expected him to be there for a little while. The ground had been nice and dry, but as I turned to go back into the house, big drops of rain began to patter down. We simultaneously thought of the truck making troughs in the softened dirt, and hurried back to check the cab of the truck.