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


I flushed guiltily. I’d been so excited over finding the pills, I had forgotten why we’d looked in Darius’s truck in the first place.

I watched as their car turned out of our long driveway and began the short stretch into Lawrenceton, piqued that I hadn’t gotten to hear the rest of Jimmy’s story. I wondered if my friend Sally Allison, a reporter for our local paper, had heard anything.

“I have to go back to the plant for a little while,” Martin said unenthusiastically. “I have a stack of letters to sign that need to go out.” He climbed back into his car, started it, and rolled down the window as I turned toward the kitchen door. “Don’t forget,” he called, “we’ve got dinner at the Lowrys’ house tonight.” The rain picked up a little momentum.

“I have it on the calendar,” I called back, trying not to sound dismal.

If there’d been a can in front of me, I’d have kicked it on my way into the house. It didn’t seem like a good night to eat out with people I was (at best) on cordial terms with. Close friends and homemade chili sounded good; friendly acquaintances and dressing up didn’t.

Catledge and Ellen Lowry were not soul mates of mine. But they were among the leading citizens of Lawrenceton. Catledge was the mayor for a second term and Ellen was on every board and a member of every club worth joining in our small town. Keeping the town government, ergo the Lowrys, pleased was important to Martin’s business and therefore to a great many people in Lawrenceton who depended on Pan-Am Agra for a paycheck.

“They’re not that bad,” I said out loud to my silent house. Even to me, I sounded sulky. I trudged upstairs to figure out what to wear, straightening one of the pictures hung by the staircase as I went up. Gradually the house warmed and cheered me, as it nearly always did. My house is at least sixty-five years old, and it has beautiful hardwood floors, tall windows that no standard curtains will fit correctly (so every single “window treatment” has to be custom made), and a voracious appetite for electricity and gas. I love it dearly. We’d had it renovated when we married. Since we’ve been married less than three years and have no children and only one alleged pet, there’s nothing to redo yet; at least not for a basically practical person like me. I still have space on the built-in bookshelves lining the hall, and now I can afford to buy hardbacks.

I showered and shampooed, once again going through the tedious process of combing and drying my mess of hair. At least curly, wavy hair was fashionable now. It was a pleasant change to have others actually envy me my abundance, rather than peer at it with pity in their eyes.

I flipped through the garments in my closet without much interest. The cerise wool dress my mother had brought me was too fancy for the occasion, so I finally decided I’d wear a long-sleeved garnet silk blouse, a black-and-garnet patterned skirt, and my black pumps. Looking at my collection of glasses—I’m very nearsighted—I had a wild impulse to select my purple-and-white-framed ones.

Oh, hell. The Lowrys would be offended if my glasses were frivolous. I got my new black-rimmed ones with the delicate gold wire-and-bead decoration and set them out on my vanity table. This morning I’d put on my favorite workday red specs, and I viewed them in the mirror with some satisfaction. They added a spark of liveliness to my unhappy face.

“So, why’m I sulking?” I asked the mirror.

That particular question never got answered because the front doorbell rang.

What a lot of visitors I was having today, if you counted the deputies coming twice.