Title The Fog Ladies: Family Matters
Author Susan McCormick
Genre Cozy Mystery
Publisher The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Till death do us part, with kitchen shears. What drives a family man to kill his wife? This question haunts Sarah James, a medical resident who meets the unhappy family at a resort near Big Sur. She witnesses how ugly a marriage can be. But murder?
Sarah and the spunky Fog Ladies—elderly neighbors from her San Francisco apartment building—set out to discover the truth. Their probing finds the threat is perilously close to home, endangering another troubled family struggling to survive.
“She hacked him up? With a machete?” said Olivia Honeycut.
“Oh, dear. Oh, dear,” said Alma Gordon.
“Sin is not confined to men,” said Harriet Flynn. “Eve was the one to take the bite, after all.”
“Statistics show this is extremely rare,” said Frances Noonan.
“What a woman,” said Enid Carmichael.
“But not a lady,” said Olivia Honeycut in her low voice.
“I haven’t told you the best part,” said Andy.
“Don’t tell me they had just visited Big Sur,” said Sarah.
“Nope, it’s better than that. Guess who her lawyer was,” said Andy. They all looked at him, but Frances Noonan understood first.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” she said. “It can’t be.”
“But it is,” said Andy.
“What? What? Tell us,” said Olivia Honeycut.
“No, no, it’s not possible,” said Alma Gordon.
“I’m with Mrs. Honeycut,” said Sarah. “Tell us, those of us who are slow.”
“It’s Spencer Tremaine, isn’t it?” said Enid Carmichael with a flourish, cookie pieces flying around as she waved her hand.
Yep, none other,” said Andy.
The ladies all broke out talking at once. Mrs. Gordon looked miserable, but Mrs. Noonan was absolutely delighted.
“Does this really mean something?” asked Sarah. “That they had the same lawyer? The same famous lawyer?”
“He certainly didn’t mention this case to Julia when he was tooting his horn. I just saw the man,” said Mrs. Noonan. “And these cases are pretty similar.”
“Million-dollar life insurance policies. Sharp instruments of death,” said Mrs. Carmichael.
“Oh, dear. Oh, dear,” said Mrs. Gordon.
“But there’s more,” said Andy. “She’s right here.”
“Who’s here?” said Sarah.
“The woman, Serena Evans.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, you’ve got to be kidding. Don’t we have enough of our own murderers in this state? We have to import others?” said Mrs. Flynn.
“Her kids are here. She has twin ten-year-old girls and her brother is raising them. He lives in Modesto and she got transferred to Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla to be closer to them. They would have been six when this happened,” Andy said.
“Oh, what a shame. More children. Such heartache for them, losing two parents at once,” said Mrs. Gordon.
“And such horrific circumstances,” said Mrs. Noonan. “One parent killing another.”
“It happens all the time, unfortunately,” Andy said. “Domestic violence turns out to be very common. I had no idea, but I turned up thousands of cases across the nation in the past five years. The thing that’s different about these cases is the money.”
“A million dollars!” said Mrs. Carmichael.
“Right,” said Andy. “Serena Evans told the police that there had been an uptick in crime in their neighborhood, and that she thought she was being followed. The police agreed there had been an increase in crime, and they said she used that as a pretext for her murder plot.”
“I bet there are more cases we don’t know about, where the man got away with it, killed his wife and got the insurance and no one was the wiser,” said Mrs. Honeycut.
“Ladies, ladies, you’re forgetting something,” said Mrs. Noonan. “Paul did not kill Andrea. His case is not like the rest of these. He didn’t do it.”
“No!” Sarah agreed, too loudly. “I met him. He’s not a murderer!”
No one else spoke. The silence continued awkwardly and Sarah tried to think of something more to say. As she scanned the faces of the Fog Ladies, she could see they thought Paul was guilty, as guilty as Joseph Stalk in Philadelphia or the businessman in San Antonio who shot his wife.
Finally, Mrs. Gordon said gently, “Too bad he has no alibi.”
“Yoga!” Mrs. Carmichael snorted.
“And even that was a lie,” said Mrs. Flynn.
“But none of you know him. How can you condemn someone you don’t even know?” Sarah said.
“Do any of us know anybody?” said Mrs. Honeycut.
“Speaking of getting to know people, any chance of meeting this Serena Evans, this man-hacker-upper?” asked Mrs. Carmichael.
“Enid!” said Mrs. Gordon, her cookie stopped in midair.
“Associating with the devil,” said Mrs. Flynn.
“She says she didn’t do it,” said Andy.