When Lark agreed to run a writers' workshop, she didn't bargain for murder.
Lark Dodge has been dragooned into helping Bianca Fiedler, heir of Hollywood stars turned organic farmer, run a workshop for science writers, a.k.a. journalists. When one of the farm managers is found dead and covered with ice cubes in a bin used to store broccoli, it would be prudent to cancel the workshop, but Bianca insists it’s too late, and Bianca tends to get her way. While it seems likely that one of the farm’s quirky inhabitants must be guilty, Lark and her husband Jay find themselves trapped in a hunt for the killer.
Excerpt “Somebody must’ve turned on the ice machine.” Marianne strode to the ice house door. I followed.
The door was latched but not locked. She yanked the door open, switched a light on, and clucked. “Look at that. Knee-deep in ice. Bianca will have a fit.”
I entered behind her, stepping into a puddle. There was a fug in the air, as in cold unlit spaces. Mold. Rotting plants. Something else. “A fit? Why?”
“We don’t need ice until we cut the broccoli. It has to be iced before it’s trucked out. But we won’t start the harvest until the end of the week.”
The room was divided roughly in half, with a storage area, then empty, to the left and an icemaker with a catch-basin … the size and depth of a large hot tub on the right. The tub was heaped with fresh ice. A scatter of cubes so new they hadn’t begun to melt strewed the wet floor… It was colder inside the building than outdoors…
I walked over to the hill of glistening ice cubes. “Smells like my refrigerator.”
“Yeah.” Marianne wandered into the storage space and looked around. “Wait till Bianca sees the electric bill. I’d better shut it off.” She moved back toward the entrance.
I was looking at the ice. “Maybe somebody wanted to store something…” Abruptly my heart slammed into distress mode. I picked up one of the shovels and began scraping ice off onto the floor.
“No, oh, no.” I’d don’t remember which of us said that.
We stood for a frozen moment staring at my excavation. The toe of a filthy sneaker showed through the ice. I had found Hugo Groth.