A Draw of Deathas told by Geoff Loring, reporter for the Wharton Times

I’m Geoff Loring, reporter for the Wharton Times. Don’t worry, I’m not the annoying, gruesome kind of reporter. My motto isn’t “if it bleeds, it leads,” but rather “if it bleeds, somebody please call 911 and leave me out of it.”

Here’s my most recent published story related to Helen Binney, as published in the “community events” column:

The Wharton Friends of the Library held a special meeting on Monday to discuss their lecture program in the wake of the murder of its most recent speaker. The meeting adjourned without any official action.

That’s not the whole story, of course.

I always attend the Friends of the Library meetings; they’re usually good for getting a lead on the kind of personal interest story I write. What they’re usually not good for is discussion of a murder investigation.

This one was different. It started when Gail Whyte, who’s taken over the role of annoying know-it-all since the death of Angie Decker, made a motion that Helen Binney should be banned from the library.

“We don’t ban books,” said President Terri Greene, who’s also a popular high school coach who once played professional basketball. “And we don’t ban volunteers either. We need every one we can get.”

“Not if they’re going to sully our reputation,” Gail insisted.

Gail had a point. Helen Binney had been the one responsible for convincing professional poker player, Victor Rezendes, to give a speech at the library on the day before he was killed.

“Helen had nothing to do with the ….” Terri searched for just the right word. “The incident. If anyone’s to blame for not anticipating that our local anti-gaming advocate would heckle Victor into storming off, it was me. Do you want to ban me too?”

Gail couldn’t meet Terri’s eyes, and the rest of the room was equally silent.

“Well, then, it’s settled,” Terri said. “No banning.”

“But what about the murder?” Gail insisted. “That isn’t going to reflect well on us. No one’s going to come to any of our future lectures, and we’re counting on them to raise enough money to meet our budget.”

It wasn’t my place to speak, just to observe. Otherwise, I could have told Gail she was wrong, and that people—most people, anyway, just not me—would probably flock to the next library event, hoping that something equally exciting would happen. Especially if Helen Binney had chosen the speaker.

“That’s just silly,” Terri said. “Victor’s murder had nothing to do with the library event. It didn’t even have anything to do with Helen Binney.”

That was wishful thinking, I thought at the time. Oh, it wasn’t Helen’s fault that the Purple Pig of Professional Poker had been killed early Sunday morning, even if she had been in the group of people who’d found his body. But the murder could well have had something to do with the library event. The anti-gaming heckler could have killed Victor.

I stopped myself before I could follow that train of thought. I didn’t investigate murders or any criminal cases at all. Not my job. I left that sort of thing to Helen Binney. For a frail-looking, middle-aged woman, she had an enviable track record at catching killers. Enviable by the local homicide detective, that is, not by me.

The meeting ended in a stalemate, with half the room inclined to politely ask Helen Binney to stay away and the other half automatically siding with their daughters’ coach.

I wrote up the brief summary and sent it in to my editor. Then I added a note to myself, which was also becoming part of my standard operating procedure: stay away from Helen Binney until she declares herself satisfied that Vic Rezendes’s killer is in custody.

You can read more about Helen and her friends in A Draw of Death, the third book in the “Helen Binney” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. The first two books in the series are A Dose of Death and A Denial of Death.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 11 for the chance to win a digital copy of A Draw of Death. The giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Gin Jones is a lawyer who specializes in ghost-writing for other lawyers. She prefers to write fiction, though, since she doesn’t have to worry that her sense of humor might get her thrown into jail for contempt of court. In her spare time, Gin makes quilts, grows garlic and serves on the board of directors of the XLH Network. Visit Gin at her website, ginjones.com.

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