My name is Theodore Abernathy. You have no idea what’s it’s like to be a tiny female with crazy curly hair and a man’s name. Everyone calls me Theo. Tony, my husband, is the sheriff of Park County, Tennessee. It’s the smallest county, by population, and has no other law enforcement agency. What that really means is he is on call, continuously. For the most part our neighbors are well behaved, ordinary, small town citizens like those living in any normal place. Of course, we have some “unique” citizens but still there seem to be periods of time when everyone goes totally wack-a-doodle and we both get dragged into chaos. People will tell me things they don’t want to “bother” the sheriff with. Like they’re not bothering me?
This morning it snowed. Living in the mountains snow is not unexpected, but this is early. Halloween has not arrived yet. So, my husband left early to deal with the predictable accidents and other problems and I hurried to get our four children ready for the day. Thankfully school was not canceled. The twin girls and I stopped at Katti Marmot’s home to check on the mother-to-be and see the new nursery. It is Pink! Even with my art background and years of working with myriad quilting fabrics, I’ve never see so many shades of pink in such a small space. I hope Katti has a girl.
Grocery shopping with the twins is always a riot. The girls sit in the cart and I pile the grocery items around them while they try to peel off the labels. Of course, today I managed to get a cart with a wonky wheel. While was fighting with the cart, it bumped into a Halloween treat display and sent candy and popcorn balls skidding across the floor. It attracted quite an impressive sized, and easily amused, crowd. I was distracted by the mess I created and as I was picking up the various items, I felt a breath of warm air on my neck. When I turned, I saw no one near me but a note had been left on my groceries. A warning. I needed to let the others in our informal network designed to help people escaping from abusive relationships know one of our “guests” was in danger.
I was making the call when I noticed another shopper, a woman I have seen around town but don’t know walk past me. She had a knife embedded in her back. Even weirder, she seemed unaware of the problem but I immediately called for the paramedics. The call not only got her medical assistance but also one of Tony’s deputies. Soon, Tony was there as well. I finally managed to get back to my quilt shop and went to work drafting a new pattern. There is a deadline I need to meet.
A bit later I was distracted from work and mom duties when Tony called to let me know he had no idea when he’d be home. He was headed into the mountains with the doctor and one of his deputies, all riding mules. They were searching for a man who had reportedly jumped from an airplane. With a fishing pole. Without a parachute.
I knew then our peaceful life was done for a while and there was sure to be more chaos and crime. I was right.
You can read more about Theo’s world in Murder by Gravity, the 6th book in the “Quilted” mystery series, published by Five Star. The first book in the series is Murder by Serpents.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on January 28 for the chance to win a copy of MURDER BY GRAVITY. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
Meet the author
Barbara Graham began making up stories in the third grade instead of learning to multiply and divide. A native Texan, she later lived in Denver, New Orleans and East Tennessee. Inspiration for Silersville (home of her imaginary friends) comes from her Tennessee period. An unrepentant quilting addict, she lives in Wyoming with her long suffering husband and two dogs. Her motto is “Every book needs a dead body and every bed needs a quilt”.
You can visit Barbara at her website