FREE SHIPPING
on all orders over $50.00

Mystery Collection

Author(s): Pauline Baird Jones

This collection includes three short stories, two of them connected to my novel Do Wah Diddy Die:

Do Wah Diddy Dead

If Miss Weena can put off dying to solve Miss Gracie's murder, then Luci can't play the pregnancy card to get out of playing side-kick. It's not like it will be dangerous. Miss Gracie has been dead for decades…


Do Wah Diddy Die Already

Luci Seymour is out of the murder business and in the mom/wife/B&B business. Until the morning she sees a body in the new freezer. But when she goes to call in her homicide detective husband, she sees the dead guy walk in the front door. Not dead. Not even chilly…


Deleting Dennis

Capri Hinkenlooper thought her name—and Monday mornings—were the worst things in her life, but then her fellow editor and all around slimy guy gets deleted with her letter opener. On the upside, the two homicide detectives investigating the murder are seriously cute…

Excerpt


(From "Deleting Dennis")

It was a cold day, not in hell, but in Houston, the kind of day that made her want to snuggle down in her bed and sleep until noon. It was tough being an owl in a lark world. Capri Hinkenlooper didn’t believe in morning, let alone want to face it, but she needed her seriously sad pay, so she rolled out of her rack and made the short trip to the bathroom, where the mirror reflected back her scary morning self. She poked at the bags under her eyes, wishing she could pack them and head somewhere more fun. She sighed. Time, tide and Mose Milton Ducumb waited for no man—or editor.
When she’d done all she could to repair the night’s damage, she retreated to her bedroom to dress for her lack of success. Choosing what to wear for her workplace was always a challenge, but one she was used to. When she’d been shown her cubicle in the aging building a year ago, she’d been surprised and delighted it had this really cool art deco window that basically devoured the whole outside wall. It curved at the top with some vintage scrollwork and gave her a lovely view of a cemetery where—now that she knew better—she mentally regularly buried all hope. Her boss’s office, on the other hand, was in the center of the rabbit warren of a building and completely windowless.
What a guy to take the inside room, she’d thought. Oh yeah, Mose Milton was quite the guy all right—one too cheap to heat or air condition the building. His office was the only one even remotely cool when it was hot outside and the only warm place when a cold front settled over the city like a bitter broody hen.
In what usually passed for winter, her office wasn’t too bad, but occasionally one of those really cold, cold fronts, like the present one, would make it all the way into the city, making her office at Socrates Musings first cousin to a freezer—not to mention sent the city into whine-one-one overdrive.
Socrates was pronounced the New Orleans way: Sew, like the machine, followed by a “crates” that rhymed with rats, because even though the company wasn’t in New Orleans anymore, courtesy of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was still very much in the company. In keeping with its quirky roots, Mose Milton’s publishing company produced books that often seemed more provoked than inspired. Mostly they were downright scary.
It was her job as associate editor to smooth the rough edges off the writing and make the books, if not suitable for public consumption, then at least readable by the average seventh grader. It wasn’t a happy job for someone who liked books, but it was a paycheck, even if it was one that barely paid her bills. And Houston didn’t have a lot of editing jobs. She couldn’t afford to be picky if she also wanted to eat.
Some of the books weren’t awful, but the book she was working on now, a how-to manual for hopeful dictators—well, she’d have been glad to get it up to the level of awful. The author, known only as Deep Dude, contacted her by a variety of email aliases to avoid the Feds—who don’t seem interested in him as far as she could tell. Since she’d edited his informative, How To Tell if You’re Under Surveillance, she figured she’d know. On the up side, he’d provided her with a healthy collection of client endorsements of the surveillance book and his lively Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Out to Get You. He claimed he could get them for the dictator book, too. It would have helped, though, if even one of them had gone beyond various versions of, “This shit really works, dude.”
In addition to the eclectic list Socrates produced, there was the decidedly eccentric staff to deal with. The worst of the worst was Dennis Donald Duckla, the editor in chief. Okay, so his name was awful, but at least he hadn’t been named for where he’d been conceived. Most people assumed she’d been named for a pair of women’s cropped pants, but was she bitter? Well, maybe a little, but Dennis was way more bitter than her.
Dennis’ seniority didn’t make him a decent editor—nor did playing Halo with Mose over the network for most of the day. Capri figured he must have some dirt on Mose Milton, or maybe he was just a lousy Halo player. Everyone knew Mose was a sore loser—one with a very rich mother, so he could stay in denial and in Halo land.
Mose Milton ran the company for mama, mostly running it into the ground, though he kept if from total annihilation by occasionally stumbling across books people wanted to read.
Usually he gave those books to Capri, since no-holds-barred Halo didn’t leave that much time for serious editing and Dennis didn’t like to work anyway.
Capri didn’t know how Mose Milton had gotten his hands on the ultimate guy fantasy book. Injustice League had everything, including interest from a computer gaming company and a movie producer. Mose Milton had been walking around with dollar signs in his eyes and had even mentioned getting a new microwave oven for the break room.
It was almost too much excitement to bear—which didn’t explain why Mose Milton would give the book to Dennis to edit. If he did have dirt on Mose Milton, it must be juicy—which was pretty odd. It wasn’t like Mose Milton went out of his way to hide his…downside. Mose wanted to be found out, even for things he hadn’t done. It helped keep his mama at bay. The worst thing that could happen to Mose was for her to find out he wasn’t a gay, gambling away company funds, and author of extreme erotic fiction—when he wasn’t playing Halo.
Outside the office, the wind cut through her many layers of clothes she’d donned as insulation against frostbite. She could almost hear the wind laughing at her.
In an ironic, though not surprising twist, inside was colder than outside, with her office the freezing heart of Ice Station Zebra. She’d have brought in a space heater, but the wiring couldn’t handle it, and when the setting sun hit her west-facing window, it sent the temp in the other direction. And if that weren’t bad enough, some bright soul had bolted her desk to the floor facing the huge lidless eye of a window. Shortly after twelve every Monday through Friday, she had to shed layers of clothing and don sunglasses to survive until time to go home.
Her breath puffed white into the air as she bent to stow her purse in the one drawer in her desk with a working lock. Then she lit a candle to make the air slightly more palatable. A lace edging of frost was stitched into the corners of the windowpanes she could still see. She’d started stacking submissions against the art deco wall window because she remembered hearing that paper was good insulation. It was weird to want a slush pile. Luckily it was easy to build hers.
All submissions were paper, and even the grossly unsuitable ones were logged into the office by the semi-invisible receptionist, Merleen Tortorich, a former Miss Rutabaga with big blonde hair and bigger fake boobs. Merleen was quite possibly the worst typist in the world. Her phone skills made her typing look world class. And she didn’t like face-to-face contact with people, particularly not the people who came to Socrates Musings. When Capri thought about their author list, she couldn’t blame her.
After the log in, Merleen passed submissions to Mari Beth Newman, the office manager and disgraced Junior Leaguer. Capri knew what she’d done to get kicked out, but Capri had a feeling they missed her organizational skills. The woman was a Nazi with everyone but Dennis. She was supposed to parcel submissions out to both Capri and Dennis but Capri never saw any head in Dennis’ direction, so her “insulation” was getting pretty high.
Mari Beth also took care of rejections. Her dispassionate sadism would have been a good trait if she worked for the KGB. Of course, she was kind compared to Dennis. One rejected author had gone postal and tried to shoot him. If the poor sap had read their book on effective assassination…but he hadn’t. On the upside, he’d been able to sell his true story to television and would have some money when he got out of prison in a few years.
He should have gotten more time, but the prosecutor made the mistake of putting Dennis on the stand…
Capri sank into her anti-ergonomic desk chair and started up her computer, pulling her morning mail toward her with the other hand. Without looking, she reached for her letter opener, but it wasn’t in its usual spot—or even an unusual one.
She frowned. The last time she’d seen it…Dennis had been fiddling with it. He’d oozed into her office to rub it in about the League edit. And to ask for her help. She hadn’t punched him, but it had been a near thing. She’d also told him she wasn’t helping with the edit. They both knew she’d give in eventually, but that didn’t stop her from telling him to leave or using a word she hadn’t ever used before. The jerk had taken the letter opener to make her come see him. She hated going to his office. It was as creepy as he was. She sighed. At least moving would warm her up a bit. She couldn’t feel her toes. He had the corner office, and as she approached, Capri was surprised to see the door ajar.
“Dennis?”
When he didn’t respond, she eased the door open.
“Dennis?”
The room was dim, kind of like Dennis, and a mess, which was also like him. His chair was turned away from the door, but she could see the back of his head. So he was pouting. Jerk.
“Dennis? Did you take my letter opener?”
He still didn’t answer. With an impatient sigh, Capri walked around the desk but stopped abruptly when she saw him.
He did have her letter opener.
It was embedded in his throat.

Purchase this item

Price:
$3.50


ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic):
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Date Published: 08/13/2013
Publisher: Pauline B Jones

Please Choose:

Book Format:

Add to Cart:


BUTTON_SUBSCRIBE_DESIGNER_ALT

Send Book as Gift

Store Reward Credit

0.04 Points

Add to Wishlist

Click the button bellow to add this product to your wishlist.

Add to Wishlist

More Information




Advanced Search