Tuesdays are usually ordinary days. At least, they have been mostly unremarkable since the whole question of who killed the owner of the hardware store was settled. Once I helped get my grandfather cleared of suspicion and the real murderer was waiting behind bars for his court date, things settled down. And as an unexpected bonus, in the course of it all I’d made some friends.
One of them–my new bestie Carrie–was the owner / manager / head salesperson (or, as my grandfather would say “chief cook and bottle washer”) of Aggie’s Antiques and Gifts. She had been kind enough to offer to sell some of my projects on consignment. See, I may be between “regular” jobs as an accountant (Please. I know. Could I have chosen a more conservative career path?) and I may have had to give up a lot of my possessions when I moved in with my grandfather in the little town of Wenwood, NY. But one of the things I refused to surrender was all the supplies and equipment that allowed me to indulge in my love of stained glass. I’d taken my first classes in glass crafting as a way to reduce stress and promptly became devoted to the art. The color, the precision, the patina all combined to make something beautiful. Let a little light shine through and there was a potential for magnificence.
That is, if you’re designing a church window or something equally large and impressive. Which I wasn’t. I’d only been making small pieces to show and sell in Carrie’s shop. Except for that Tuesday. . .the one that was out of the ordinary and launched me on yet another new adventure.
On this particular Tuesday Carrie picked me up early in the morning. I made sure to give my fluffy white kitten Friday an extra dozen scratches under her chin before I ran out the door while my grandfather shouted out a reminder that we needed more moist cat food. (He claims Friday is a nuisance, but I can see straight through his bluster to the soft heart beneath.)
As I settled into the passenger seat, Carrie drove us deeper into the residential area of Wenwood, onto streets lined with huge trees that had stood for more than a century and homes that had sat in their shade for nearly as long. Along the way I peppered her with request for reassurances that the endeavor I was facing was a good idea. And like I said, she’s my best friend. Plus it was her idea in the first place. Of course she was in favor.
Carrie’s idea? Long-time resident Trudy Villiers was converting her large Victorian home into a B&B in anticipation of future tourist revenue. She had hired Carrie to help with decorating. Carrie, in turn, convinced Trudy that a custom-made stained glass window over the front door would add that certain something special. Naturally, that’s where I came in. And that, I thought, was enough to mark this Tuesday as out of the ordinary. After all, it’s not every day a person embarks on a new venture.
I was so wrong.
I was still stuck on why Trudy kept pausing in the middle of our discussions of her windows to gaze at me and repeat my name like she thought she’d read it in a news headline when finally the ringing of Carrie’s phone put an end to that. An office building that Carrie was half owner of and her ex-husband worked in had mysteriously gone up in flames. So much for consulting with Trudy Villiers. We were back in the car and on our way to that office building faster than you can say “bed and breakfast”, rushing to the scene–where the police and the Fire Marshall divulged their belief that the fire was the result of foul play.
That blew ordinary out of the water.
Yeah. I may have thought poking into crime was a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I may have decided that uneventful days bordered on blissful, but this is my BFF we’re talking about. Someone is messing with her world. You can be darn sure I’m going to figure out who.
You can read more about Georgia in Death Under Glass, the second book in the “Stained-Glass” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Ill Gotten Panes.
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About the author
At 5 years old Jennifer McAndrews’s greatest achievement was becoming the person responsible for choosing which kindergarten table was the first to be dismissed at the end of the day. Drunk on power, she entered into private school, where nuns promptly turned her into a nervous, twitching, Dickensian waif and (unwittingly) taught her the value of fabrication over truth and the importance of only dreaming of murdering the neighbors rather than actually carrying out the deed. Thus, the author of mysteries Deadly Farce, Ill-Gotten Panes, and Death Under Glass was born. For a slightly more mundane biography, visit www.jennifermcandrews.com