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

Martin said a heartfelt and obscene word. The ignition was empty.

I looked in the passenger side. Perhaps Darius had just withdrawn the keys and tossed them on the seat to silence the little beeper that reminds you your keys are in the ignition. I do that occasionally, if I have to run back into the house for a minute or two.

“Look, Martin.” I pointed. But not at a set of keys.

Martin stuck his head in the door.

There was an open bottle of generic pain reliever, acetaminophen, on the seat.

Martin raised one eyebrow at me. “So?”

“He started acting so funny so fast, my first thought was that he’d taken a drug. And I don’t think he’s the kind of man who would ever think of doing something so dangerous.”

Martin said, “We’d better call the sheriff’s department again.”

So once again Jimmy and Levon drove the mile out of town that got them to our house, and Jimmy pulled on plastic gloves before he picked up the pill bottle. He poured its contents onto the gloved palm of his other hand. He didn’t tell us to leave, so we watched.

Martin saw it first. He pointed.

Levon bent over Jimmy’s palm.

“Damn,” he said in his deep voice.

One of the pills was a smidge smaller than the others, and not quite the same shade of white. It didn’t have the manufacturer’s initial on it as all the other pain relief tablets did. The difference was obvious when you were looking for it. But without some good reason to examine the medicine, who would think of doing so?

“We got another one,” Jimmy concluded, looking down at Levon.

“Someone else has been drugged?” I asked, trying to keep my voice casual and sort of insinuate the question.

“Yes’m,” Jimmy said, not catching the warning look Levon was trying to send him. “Lady last week left her purse in the cart in the grocery while she walked over to the frozen section to get some Ore-Ida hash browns. When she was driving home, she took a pill from a fancy case in her purse, that she used to carry her— well, some prescription medicine—with her. Instead of getting tranquil, she went nuts.”

“What did she do?” I asked, fascinated.

“Well . . .” Jimmy began, treating me to a grin that told me the story was going to be a good one.

“We need to be getting this back to SPACOLEC,” Levon said pointedly.

“Huh? Oh, right.” Jimmy, aware he’d been on the verge of indiscretion, flushed to the roots of his reddish hair. “When one of Darius’s kids shows up, we’ll tell them you’d appreciate them moving the truck. The keys were in Darius’s pants. I coulda brought ’em out here if you’d mentioned them over the phone.”