Who Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite by @quirkymysteries is a Stress Busting Festival pick #mystery
Title: Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite (A Macavity & Me Mystery)
Author: Charlotte Stuart
Genre: amateur sleuth; humorous mystery
A heated argument on a boat in an urban marina followed by a loud splash—
A midnight swim—
A cantankerous cat—
A dead goldfish—
And a missing woman.
Bryn Baczek defends an obnoxious liveaboard neighbor she believes to be innocent of murder. She ends up being threatened by the victim’s abusive boyfriend and betrayed by a close friend. 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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What’s your favorite way to combat stress?
If my neck muscles feel tense and my focus is fading, I go for a walk in the woods. Trees and trails never fail to put me in a more relaxed frame of mind. Some chocolate, a cup of tea and a good book also help.
Why is your featured book a stress busting read?
There is truth in the cliché that “humor is the best medicine.” When you think you can hear mimes or the sun is too loud, I invite you to sidestep your stress by reading about a quirky liveaboard and her cantankerous cat in the award winning Macavity & Me mysteries.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs May 1 – May 31
Drawing will be held on June 1.
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. She has won a number of awards, including: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Distinguished Favorites NYC Big Book Award, Global Ebook Award; and a Firebird Book Award for Humor. Currently, Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite is a finalist in the Chanticleer International Mystery & Mayhem contest. Charlotte has a PhD in communications and is the president of the Puget Sound Sisters in Crime. www.charlottestuart.com
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