“Amelia, you are not wearing that skirt to school,” my mom said. “Your cheeks are hanging out.”
“Mom, that’s gross!” My new hot pink bubble skirt was cute.
“Not as gross as that skirt,” my mom said.
I sighed. Mothers just don’t get it.
My name is Amelia Marcus. I’m twelve and I go to the Barrington School for Boys and Girls in St. Louis. My mom’s a mystery shopper and knows where to find cute clothes.
But this morning she went all preachy about my skirt. “You know it doesn’t meet the dress code. Go change. Now. We have to leave for school.”
“Don’t have to change.” I tugged on the hem and suddenly the length was okay. That was the first time I saw Mom smile since everything turned weird.
Grandma told me Mom used to roll up her skirts at the waist like I do when she was young. Grandma Jane made her fix them before she left home.
But about our house: Dr. Ted, my mom’s new husband, is a veterinarian in Maplewood, Mo. They bought a house that’s like an antique and I have my own room. Purple, my fav. Our house used to be owned by Dr. Chris, Ted’s vet partner. When Ted tore down the rickety backyard gazebo, there was a dead woman under it. Mom kept me inside so I wouldn’t see her. But I did see poor Dr. Chris. The dead woman turned out to be Dr. Chris’ sister, who everyone thought went to California. Dr. Chris was arrested for murder.
Then Barrington School got weird, too. Zoe, she’s like the head mean girl, put up a Bitches of Barrington page on Facebook, four pictures of me and my friends in doghouse frames. When we left school, the other kids howled at us like dogs.
Mom figured out something was wrong. I didn’t want to talk about it, but she took me to a coffeehouse with Wi-Fi. I almost never get cappuccino. I showed her the Bitches of Barrington FB page on my laptop. It was dark in the coffeehouse and I cried, but nobody saw me except Mom. She was so mad, she drove us right back to school. The other three girls’ parents were there and they marched in to see Miss Apple, the head of school.
I sat in the waiting room with other BOBs. We call ourselves that because our parents don’t like us to say the B-word. On the BOB page, I was “Clumsy Bitch.” Zoe took my photo when I dropped spaghetti on my white blouse. My best friend Emma was “fugly,” a word Mom won’t let me use. Bailey was the “fat bitch.” That’s just mean. Her father is a big deal lawyer and he was mad, too. Palmer was the “rich bitch.”
We BOB girls didn’t expect Miss Apple to do anything. Zoe and her friends are her pets and their parents donate major money. We were right.
The ’rents told us what happened later. Miss Apple said there was no proof the BOB photos were taken at school by Barrington students. Even though everybody knew who did it. Well, she didn’t say that, but the whole school knows who did it.
Mrs. Apple said the lawyers made Facebook take down the page and if we could prove Barrington students did the BOB page, they’d be expelled.
Bailey’s father wanted to sue, but that’s how lawyers talk. Emma and I texted each other and decided we would prove who did it cause we’re good with computers.
Did we succeed? Did Mom figure out who killed the lady under the gazebo at our new house?
Read “Fixing to Die” to find out.
Mystery shopper Josie Marcus has been happily married to veterinarian Ted Scottsmeyer for months. But her newly wedded bliss is about to be cut short.
Josie and Ted have finally tied the knot, and they’re ready for the next step: buying a house. Ted’s business partner, Christine, has one she’s willing to sell, but it needs a lot of love. Luckily, the newlyweds are up for the challenge.
But when they tear down a rickety gazebo in the backyard, they find the body of Christine’s sister, a free spirit who supposedly took off six months before. The police arrest Christine for murder, leaving Ted to work overtime at the office to cover for his partner. With no time to work on the house or be with her husband, Josie will have to find the real killer quickly, before both her house and marriage are beyond repair.
Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of “Fixing to Die” to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends November 22; US entries only per publisher’s request.
Meet the author
Mizzou grad Elaine Viets (BJ ‘72) writes two bestselling mystery series for Obsidian, a division of Penguin USA. “Murder Is a Piece of Cake” is the eighth book in her Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series. Set in Elaine’s hometown of St. Louis, the series features mystery shopper and single mom Josie Marcus. Fresh Fiction says, “Without a doubt, the combination of love, humor, and wedded bliss truly distinguish ‘Murder Is a Piece of Cake’ as one of Viets’ very best.”
The New York Times Review of Books praises her “quick-witted mysteries.” Elaine’s bestselling Dead-End Job series is a satiric look at a serious subject – the minimum-wage world. Her character, Helen Hawthorne, works a different low-paying job each book. Her current hardcover, “Final Sail,” looks at life aboard a 143-foot yacht. “Board Stiff,” Elaine Viets’ new hardcover mystery set in the cut-throat world of Florida tourism. will be published in May.
Elaine won the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards. She just signed a contract for two more Dead-End Job mysteries and two Josie Marcus Mystery shopper novels.