A Day in the Life of Liz Talbot, PI, by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry Book Club

ONE

The dead are not abundantly sympathetic to their own. My best friend, Colleen, passed through the veil and into the great mystery eighteen years ago next month. She shed no tears over Shelby Scott Poinsett Gerhardt.

The photos of Shelby sprawled lifeless as a rag doll in the brick courtyard of her Tradd Street home would haunt me. I passed them to Nate, who was seated on my right in Fraser Rutledge’s office. Fraser was the senior partner at Rutledge and Radcliffe, a prestigious Charleston law firm.

“She’ll be much happier now.” Colleen’s tone rang casual to my ear. She should be ashamed of herself.

Colleen read my mind, literally.

“What?” Her jade green eyes telegraphed impatience. “Shelby was taken before her time. She’ll be back with a mission soon enough. I hear tell helping others is what this woman lived for. Leaving this life is not the tragedy you mortals think it is. It’s true what they say. She’s in a better place.”

I closed my eyes in an effort to shut her out. She was a distraction in her blue polka dot sundress, a wide-brimmed hat atop her long red curls, perched as she was on the corner of Fraser Alston Rutledge III’s heirloom desk. Of course only Nate and I could see or hear her.

Nate cleared his throat, muttered something.

I made out the words “control” and “ghost.”

I gave my head a little shake. As if. Nate was still coming to terms with Colleen. Right up until we’d said our “I Dos” in December, he’d been blissfully unaware of her presence in our lives. It was early May, and he still had a ways to go.

“Am I somehow failing to hold your interest?” Fraser elongated each syllable, his honeyed drawl spiked with irritation.

My eyes popped open. I felt at a disadvantage. We sat on the other side of his desk in his elegantly appointed Broad Street law office. Everything about the man and his surroundings, from the oil painting of him with two Brittany spaniels hanging on the cypress-paneled wall, to the black and white striped bowtie he wore with his grey seersucker suit, testified that his bona fides were in order, his Charleston heritage long and storied.

Fraser studied me.

“Quite to the contrary.” Nate’s easy tone sought to diffuse Fraser’s pique. “We’ll hold our questions for when you’ve finished outlining the case against your client. We’re eager to help, if we can.”

“Please continue,” I said.

“You appear somewhat distracted.” Fraser looked from me to Nate. “We cannot afford to piss away any more time. Our former investigator twiddled his Johnson for four months, billed us a sultan’s ransom, and found not one solitary shred of information we can use. Jury selection begins in two weeks.”

I looked past Colleen directly into Fraser’s eyes. They were tiger eyes, gold and speckled with brown. “You were telling us about your client.”

“Clint Gerhardt.” Eli Radcliffe didn’t quite spit the name out of his mouth, but he managed to convey his disapproval of Clint Gerhardt and all his ancestors. Eli, Fraser’s partner, sat to my left in one of four deep leather visitor chairs. “Naturally, we want to be as prepared as possible.”

“He doesn’t believe Clint Gerhardt is innocent.” Sometimes Colleen could read other minds besides mine. “He’s mad as blazes at his partner.”

You think? I threw the sarcasm-laced thought in her direction. Apparently, the message was also inscribed on my face.

Fraser caught my expression. He drew back, his visage washed in incredulity.

Let him interpret that look however he pleased. I was exhausted from listening to him talk. Why was Eli so mad at Fraser?

“Eli.” I rolled my voice in sugar sprinkles. “I’d love to hear your take on the case. Is there an avenue you think we should pursue first?”

From the corner of my eye, I caught Fraser’s raised eyebrow. “By all means, Eli. Enlighten them.”

Eli inhaled deeply, averted his soft brown eyes.

I scrutinized his profile. Flawless skin, the color of milk chocolate truffles, high cheekbones, and a strong chin made for a noble countenance. They were a study in similarities and contrasts, these three Southern men. All were well-educated, well-groomed, and fit. All spoke the native language of our people, understood the context words carried here. All had lovely drawls. Nate was the blue-eyed, blond-haired, laid-back prototype; Fraser the wealthy, eccentric, Old Charleston model; and Eli the self-made, cautious, black man.

Eli said, “It doesn’t matter what I think. Our client is innocent until proven guilty. We need to mount a vigorous defense, with a credible theory of the crime that does not include Clint Gerhardt throwing his wife out the second floor french doors of their home. Confidentially, Mrs. Gerhardt was prone to taking in strays. Most people, certainly the police, think Mr. Gerhardt is one she should’ve left at the pound.”

The Shelby Poinsett case took me to every corner of Charleston before it was over with. Let’s grab a chair, and I’ll tell you what happened. . .

Copyright © 2016 by Susan M. Boyer — This excerpt is reprinted by permission from Henery Press. All rights reserved.


Lowcountry Book Club is the fifth book in the Liz Talbot mystery series, published by Henery Press, July 2016.

Somebody pushed Shelby Poinsett Gerhardt out her second-floor library window and it wasn’t her husband. At least that what Charleston’s most prestigious law firm wants Liz Talbot to prove. Liz must run the spectrum of Southern society, from the local homeless shelter where Shelby volunteered to the one-hundred-year-old book club where Charleston’s genteel ladies are dying to join, to bring a killer to justice.

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About the author
Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA TODAY bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations, including the Macavity.

Lowcountry Boneyard, the third Liz Talbot mystery, was a Spring 2015 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. It was also a finalist for The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Award in the Beach Music Mystery category and a finalist for the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award in the Mainstream Mystery/Suspense category. Visit Susan at susanmboyerbooks.com.

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of one of the books from the “Liz Talbot” series (Lowcountry Boil, Lowcountry Bombshell, Lowcountry Boneyard, Lowcountry Bordello or Lowcountry Book Club) – winner’s choice.

All comments are welcomed.

55 responses to “A Day in the Life of Liz Talbot, PI, by Susan M. Boyer

  1. I would Love to win a Liz Talbot series book they all look great Thanks for the chance and the giveaway iamabho (at) gmail . com

  2. elainehroberson

    This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  3. Marilyn Watson

    Sounds great and thank you for the review and contest. I haven’t read Liz Talbot yet but I would love to she has been on my list for a while.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  4. Linda Herold

    I would be happy to win any of these books! Thank you very much for offering this!! lindaherold999@gmail.com

    • susanmboyer

      Good morning, Linda! Thank you so much for stopping by and entering! Have a great day! 🙂

  5. Gail Arnold

    How have I missed this series? I’d love to win the first one and get started on them!

  6. I love this series! Not quite ready for the latest so if I’m the lucky winner (thanks to whoever is responsible for giving folks outside the US a chance) I’d like Lowcountry Bordello (which I got my library to order; they’re also behind on your series).

    • susanmboyer

      Good morning, Elaine! I’m so happy that you enjoy the series! I hope your library gets caught up soon! Have a great day!

      • I figured I’d ask them to buy book 4 before I asked for book 5. They don’t usually order paperbacks until they’re already out (as opposed to hard covers which they order when the publication date is announced). Maybe they’ll realize on their own to purchase it. I think I may have mentioned that another one was coming out soon when I filled out the “suggestion to purchase” form.

    • susanmboyer

      Elaine, please let them know that all my titles are simultaneously released in hardcover. 🙂

  7. Time to play catch up. I’d love Lowcountry Boneyard!

    • susanmboyer

      Oooooh! Gram, if you read eBooks, check out the one week only 99 cents promo on all platforms–and the Audible is only $1.99 with it. Then if you win you can ask for Lowcountry Bordello. 🙂 Have a great day!

  8. Mari Hinton

    Thanks for the review.

  9. I enjoy this series. As always, thank you for the chance to win

    • susanmboyer

      Hey Daniele! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the series! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great day!

  10. Southern eccentricity and a mystery! What more can a person ask for?

  11. Susan Slovinsky

    Love a good southern mystery 🙂

  12. Doward Wilson

    My favorite city, so this is a Must Read book & series. Thanks for the great post & the chance to win.

    • susanmboyer

      Hey Doward!! I love Charleston and the entire lowcountry so much. 🙂 I’m so happy to write one of your Must Reads! Thanks for entering! Have a great day! 🙂

  13. Barbara Hackel

    I have always admired the covers on this series-and as of yet haven’t read one…I want to, and even more so after today’s excerpt! I have purchased the first three and am going to start on them right away! Thanks Dru for today’s feature and giving me the push I needed! 🙂 Thanks Susan for your generous offer for today’s winner. ❤

    • susanmboyer

      Hey Barbara! Thank you so much for reading! I so hope you enjoy the first three books. (Thank you Dru!!) 🙂 Have a great day!

  14. Not sure how I have missed this series but it’s definitely one to start reading – what a fun read, I’m sure!

    • susanmboyer

      Hey Linda! Yes, let’s introduce you to Liz Talbot! Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

  15. Wonderful feature and great series which I would love. Thanks.

    • susanmboyer

      Hey Anne! I’m so happy you enjoyed the opening to Lowcountry Book Club! Have a great day!

  16. I love this series–Great characters, beautiful setting, intriguing mysteries. Thanks for the chance to win one of these books!

    • susanmboyer

      Linda, thank you so much for reading and for your very kind words! Have a great day!

  17. nancylynnjarvis

    Your opening line is one of the most intriguing I’ve ever read,

  18. Great blog thanks for the review,
    Penney penney AT sbcglobal.net

  19. Oh, this sounds like a treat!

  20. This book looks like another great book by Susan M. Boyer. Thanks for posting it on your blog. robeader53@yahoo.com

  21. Absolutely love this series. This newest addition looks fabulous! Thanks for the update…. can’t wait to read!

  22. carlrscott

    This looks like such a fun series, I’d love to win one, thanks for the chance.

  23. I haven’t read this series yet. But I love reading about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, so I’m looking forward to reading this series.

  24. donnadurnell2013

    Oh, I’ve got to start this series. Thanks for the introduction.

  25. I would love this series! Thanks for the chance to win.

  26. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment, Susan!

  27. Stephanie Marlowe

    So excited to start the new book!! I love the adventures of Liz!

  28. Valerie Rogers

    Love this series, reading Lowcountry Book Club right now!

  29. This author has really caught my attention lately. If I was to win, I would love to receive the very 1st in the series so I can start at the beginning. Thank you for the chance!

  30. Peggy Hyndman

    I just finished reading Lowcountry Book Club and loved it. Thank you for this chance.

  31. I discovered this author when she won the Agatha for best first novel! Looking forward to this installment. Thanks for the chance to win!

  32. I love this series. Would love to have a hard copy of any one of them.

  33. Lynne Moody

    Absolutely sounds like awesome read 👏👏 Thank you for a chance to win !