Title: Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite (A Macavity & Me Mystery #2)
Author: Charlotte Stuart
Genre: Mystery; amateur female sleuth
A heated argument on a nearby boat followed by a loud splash . . .
Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite is a mystery set in an urban boating community in Seattle. Bryn Baczek lives on a sailboat in a small marina with her cat, Macavity, and a series of short-lived goldfish. When a neighbor she doesn’t like becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation, she reluctantly seeks evidence to prove him innocent. She ends up being threatened by the victim’s abusive boyfriend, betrayed by a close friend, and can’t resist using subterfuge to enter a secured building to search the victim’s office. Although Bryn shares what she learns with a charming detective whose manicured mustache she finds off-putting, she is one step ahead of the police in identifying the murderer . . . a step that puts her in a dangerous face-to-face confrontation.
A Midnight Swim
I got involved because I drank too much coffee the night before. I’d stayed up late Friday night working on a project and woke up after just a few hours because I had to go to the bathroom. The brass porthole next to the toilet on my 40-foot sailboat was open, and as I stepped inside the cramped space, I heard angry voices. Two people screaming at each other from the aft deck of the Knotty Lady, less than thirty feet away.
“Why do you have to be so . . .” a male voice blasted, like an angry tuba. It was Arthur, the owner of the boat. He must have turned away as he spoke because I lost the actual words at the end of his accusation. But his tone was menacing, a dormant volcano about to erupt.
I craned my neck to look out the small opening, banging my head against the stick I use to prop open the porthole. In the dark all I could make out was the outline of the awning on the boat in the next slip and some shadows on the glassy night water.
“You are a twisted SOB,” a woman’s voice retorted with enough venom to make me cringe. I tried to remember if I’d seen anyone with Arthur lately, and a vision of a well-dressed woman in inappropriate shoes for walking a wood plank dock came to mind. I couldn’t picture her face. All I remembered were the spikey red high heels, the kind of shoes that squeeze the joy of walking out of your feet and beg for attention from horny males and shoe-obsessed females.
“Be reasonable—” I heard his attempt to calm things down as clearly as if I’d been standing next to him. Somehow, after such an angry exchange, I didn’t think asking her to be reasonable was going to work. Especially not with that condescending tone.
“REASONABLE?!” she screamed, her voice hitting the bat range. “Reasonable?!” she repeated in case anyone within a two-mile radius hadn’t already heard her.
Sounds of movement and a few muffled grunts followed. Then silence settled like a summer fog over the marina, interrupted only by the slap of rigging on sailboat masts.
Was the argument over? Were they making up, like some couples do after a heated exchange? Or had the woman left Arthur standing there alone on the aft deck, his plea for reason swallowed up by the night? It was possible they’d taken their argument inside the boat, denying me the satisfaction of hearing what happened next, like turning off the TV before the finale of an emotionally charged drama.
I don’t like nosy neighbors, and I certainly don’t want to be one, but given the heat of the exchange and the sudden end of the argument, it seemed like I had an obligation to find out if everything was all right. What if their fight had become physical? What if the grunting sound had been someone punching out the other? Maybe I should have yelled something out of the porthole to let them know there was a witness. It seemed a little late for that now. Another option was to call the police. But if I did, what would I say—that there had been a fight but it was over?
A little voice at the back of my head was warning me not to overreact. And although the voice sounded suspiciously like my mother’s, it probably wasn’t bad advice. I needed more information before calling the police.
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Literary Gold reviewer said: “It kept me guessing all the way to the very end. Just when I thought I had it figured out, I was proven wrong.” If you want an upbeat mystery with lots of plot twists and a cantankerous, lovable cat, this is your must-read.
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In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart has a passion for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. She has three mystery series, all featuring female protagonists. Recently she won the Speak Up Talk Radio Firebird Book Award for humor. Charlotte has a PhD in communications and is the president of the Puget Sound Sisters in Crime. www.charlottestuart.com
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