I was telling my grandmother, Miss Amelia, only this morning, that it seems kind of unlucky, the way we keep turning up dead bodies. I don’t even know the count—now that the second book in The Nut House Series is out—Snoop to Nuts. I hear Elizabeth Lee’s already working on the third in the series. Meemaw agreed with me, that woman sure has a big imagination. We both took a deep sigh, thinking we couldn’t see any way to stick a pin in that imagination and calm her down.
You probably know by now that I’m Lindy Blanchard and that I live on the family’s pecan farm in Riverville, Texas. I guess you could say my whole life is invested in pecans since my college years were spent in agriculture and bioengineering classes at Texas A&M. What I want more than anything is to come up with a pecan varietal that is resistant to drought and scab and a host of other viruses and problems. That’s mostly what I spend ordinary days doing—working out in my barns and in my test field.
And then there are days like today. First thing this morning I got a call from Deputy Hunter Austen, my erstwhile boyfriend, that he found a dead body over in the cemetery. Now usually there’d be no problem with one turning up there—that’s where you’d expect them, but Austen said this was a bunch of bones without a grave to their name. Or maybe he said without a name or a grave. I wasn’t listening that close because he had me at “bunch of bones.”
I asked Meemaw if she wanted to go with me and that’s how we got to saying how unlucky we felt. She had a whole lot of pecan pies to get in the oven. The library was giving a kind of book social that afternoon and no party in Riverville was complete without at least ten of Meemaw’s pies. And maybe some chocolate-covered pecans to wash the pies down with. Meemaw said to be sure and call her when I got to the cemetery and I said I would.
I was almost looking forward to seeing Hunter. We’d gotten kind of close lately. I was even beginning to entertain thoughts of marrying the guy, if I could get him to ask me.
Since it was still early in the day and I hadn’t had any breakfast yet, I stopped by Cecil Darling’s The Squirrel Restaurant.
Cecil’s an Englishman and he thinks most of us Texans are an uncouth, uncultured, unsophisticated bunch of folks. He does a lot of laughing at how we eat: ordering a ham sandwich when he’s offering us perfectly good English dishes like his black pudding with coddled eggs, or the spotted dick.
I didn’t let him talk me into any of that bangers and mash stuff he pushed at breakfast. I drew a noisy and judgmental sniff when I asked for a fried egg and whole-wheat toast. The sweet tea was good, it always is. Not even Cecil can destroy the taste of the national drink of Texas.
Let’s see now—I want to get this right since Dru asked me to tell you about a day in my life. I think I stopped to talk to a few folks on my way out—they’d already heard about the bones. I told them all I was headed over to the cemetery right then and they oohed and awed at me and then Ethelred Tomroy wanted to know how come I seem to be around whenever there’s a dead body found in town. I ignored Ethelred, though she’s Meemaw’s friend. She’s also a gossip and a nag and a troublemaker. All three of those things give me license to pretend she’s not in front of me—which I did. I walked on over to the cemetery.
I can tell you right now, I should have stayed home with my trees. Hunter was standing there, hat zipping around and around in his hands. Old Miss Merrithew was yelling at him and shaking both fists in the air. He and the other deputy, there with him, just dug up her doggie burying ground, right there at the back of the cemetery. And all because one boy brought part of a leg bone home to show his folks.
I hung around a while to see how Hunter was going to get out of this one. He did like he always did, promised her a nice chain fence around her dead dog yard and made her happy.
So that’s how I spent at least half of my Wednesday, here in Riverville, Texas.
You can read more about Lindy in Snoop to Nuts, the second book in the “Nut House” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is A Tough Nut to Kill.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on January 12 for the chance to win a copy of SNOOP TO NUTS. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
About the author
Elizabeth Lee, (pseudonym for Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli) lives far back in the woods where nobody can find her unless they call first and she decides to answer. Mostly her life is about deer and fox and bear and raccoons—oh my! Part of her life is about a bunch of kids—she thinks the number’s up to nineteen as of now—that’s original kids and then grandkids. She writes murder mysteries because it’s a great way to let off steam. Get mad at a clerk in McDonald’s? Ooops, do her in in the next book. You’d never know she’s sweet as sugar most of the time. Just watch your back if you get invited to visit. Even her husband, Tony, is nervous—with all those books on poisons and guns and forensics sitting on their bookshelves.