Ill Gotten PanesI love my grandfather. Not only was he my number one hero as I grew up, but after I lost my job as an accountant with Washington Heritage Financial (I had nothing to do with that scandal. I’m not even clear on what junk bonds are) and after my fiancé called off our future, my Grandy invited me to move in with him in his big ol’ house in Wenwood, NY. How could I not love him?

Okay, so he does have this… habit. The doctor told him to watch his sugar intake. He’s just turned eighty, healthy and energetic, but his blood sugar gets a little high. So what do I do? I make sure there’s no temptation for him in the house, plus, I bring home lots of fresh fruit to snack on. What does he do? Hides butterscotch candies in the double-boiler, devil dogs in the linen closet, and heaven knows where he’s stashed the caramels but I find the wrappers in the darndest places.

Or, more to the point, the kitten finds the wrappers and chases them all over the house, all hours of the day. Her name is Friday, and the vet figures she’s not more than ten weeks old, so she’s still all kitten. Would you believe I found her in a box in a parking lot only a couple weeks after I arrived in Wenwood? It’s such a small town, and long past its prime (though the new marina promises to breathe some new life into the area, here’s hoping) that you wouldn’t expect anyone to treat an animal so poorly. Yet there she was, abandoned in a beer carton.

But really, I shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, the same week I found the kitten, the police had found the owner of the hardware store, dead. As if that’s not bad enough, they thought for a while it was Grandy who had done him in. Thank heavens we got that sorted out. But it just goes to show you: small towns, big troubles.

Thankfully, nothing as horrible has happened since. I’m mostly having a quiet summer here, spending my days working on some stained glass pieces or taking walks along the riverfront — provided I haven’t lost too much sleep trying to block out Grandy’s wall-rattling snoring or the kittens’ nocturnal antics. I help out Grandy at the Dine-In Theater he owns, doing payroll and even waiting some tables when he’s short on staff, and at least twice a week I meet a couple friends for coffee in Grace’s Luncheonette (which, incidentally, hasn’t changed a bit since I was a kid).

My life is nowhere near the same as it was when I was living in the city. I really thought that would bother me. Turns out, I’ve come to love my quiet life in Wenwood. New pet, new friends –there might even be a new guy. But one thing at a time, I figure. Right now, I plan on enjoying my summer as best I can — plant some vegetables, explore new patterns in stained glass, and who knows? Maybe I’ll even get lost in a good book.

You can read more about Georgia in Ill-Gotten Panes, the first book in the new “Stained Glass” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. Book is available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on July 4, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of ILL-GOTTEN PANES. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Jennifer McAndrews’s love of mystery began mumble-mumble years ago in middle school, and despite the occasional foray into romance fiction, she is happiest when weaving puzzles on the page and leaving a trail of clues for the reader to follow. Visit her online at to learn about her other publications and upcoming projects.

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