Big trouble comes to the Big Apple for Darby Farr’s fifth mystery, Deal Killer, a suspenseful tale of greed and danger, set in glittering New York penthouses populated by Russian oligarchs, scheming lawyers, an inquisitive nanny and Darby’s heartthrob, investigative journalist Miles Porter. Praised by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, here’s a sneak peak from the novel — a day in the life of Darby and Miles, as they have a date, “Darby-style.” As you can well imagine, murder’s never far from the menu!
“Okay, let’s get back to basics,” said Darby to Miles, as she took a refreshing gulp of her Jaipur lager. They were at a bustling Indian restaurant not far from Central Park Place, enjoying an aromatic prawn and cashew curry and chicken Balti.
“What do you mean by “basics”? You mean, who had a motive?”
“Yes, but I was thinking of starting with the murder weapon itself. It’s the only piece of evidence we have – the antique sword.”
“Saber, really…” Miles broke off a piece of a papadum and dabbed it into the curry sauce.
“Okay, saber. Who could have stolen it? Remember Vera said there was no evidence of a break in, so either they left their apartment unlocked, or someone used a key.”
“Or it was one of them. After all, Detective Benedetti said it was a woman.”
“True, but even if those two weren’t ensconced in their apartment all afternoon, I doubt they’d have the physical strength to kill Rodin. That’s got to be a pretty forceful thrust to penetrate the chest cavity, puncture some lungs, right?”
Miles looked down at his dinner.
“Sorry if I’m ruining your appetite! Think about it though — who could have gotten into that apartment easily and with a key?”
“The superintendent.” He took a swig of beer.
“Yes. And he could have sold the sword to an antique shop.”
“I wonder if Benedetti checked any shops nearby? He wouldn’t be very good at his job if he hadn’t.”
“Who else had easy access?”
“Well, Natalia was in there a fair amount, but I doubt she’s got a key. Cleaning lady?”
“That’s Yvette, remember?”
“Who else gets keys to properties?”
Just then Darby flashed on her lawsuit with the Davenports, how a key she’d had to the house didn’t work, because the entire door unit had been changed. A nagging voice said: why had it been changed? She tabled that question for now and turned to Miles.
“Real estate agents have keys, and I bet you that Rona was the listing broker for this apartment when Vera bought it.” She grabbed her smartphone and checked the list Todd Stockton had sent her. “Yes!”
“So Rona keeps the keys from when she lists the property, then sneaks in and steals the saber, uses it to kill Alec Rodin because, four years later, she’s still angry over losing all that money. The fact that it’s an antique weapon makes it look like it’s some sort of Russian crime of passion.”
“What should we do? Should we try to talk to Rona?”
“Why not?” Miles glanced at his watch. “It’s only nine-thirty, early by New York standards. Let’s settle up here and go see what she says.”
Meet the author
Vicki Doudera writes The Darby Farr Mysteries, page-turners grounded in a reality she knows all too well: the world of luxury real estate. A top producing broker for a firm on the coast of Maine and former Realtor of the Year, Vicki’s last novel, Final Settlement, was chosen a Top Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. (Her debut, A House to Die For, received the same honor.)
Vicki’s short story “A Neighbor’s Story” was chosen for inclusion in the forthcoming MWA anthology ICE COLD: Tales of Suspense from the Cold War, release date April of 2014. Her latest Darby Farr Mystery, DEAL KILLER, debuts in April as well. The author of several non-fiction guides to her home state, including the best selling Moving to Maine, Vicki lives in coastal Maine. When not writing, she enjoys hiking, biking, and sailing with her husband and kids.
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