BLOOD SPEAKS: Taut and compelling detective story, with a clandestine twist. Dry humor. Sweet, romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.
Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, Brooklyn gal PI, waited a long time for the solitaire on her finger. When her sometimes boss, a shadowy figure and director of a secret government organization, offers a one-week bridal shopping vacay in Maryland she jumps at it.
Joined by bridesmaids, Sandra Daube and Bertha Dagney, Ronnie sets off for the village of Heritage Cove on Arrowhead Lake, Maryland. Their joyous stay at the rustic yet luxury Heritage Cove Inn is shattered by a murder with tendrils and a clandestine motive stretching back to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
It doesn’t take long for Ronnie and her gal-pals to become targets of the killer. It goes without saying, Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes leaves Texas to protect his bride-to-be. He’s joined by Sandra’s employer, conservative political activist Ben Cohen. No obstacle can keep Gabby Hayes look-alike Hoot Dagney from the side of Bertha, his new bride.
The inn’s wake-up call jostled me out of a dream where Dawson kissed me at the altar. The insistent ringing was not at all welcome. I wanted to linger in the dream, remaining in Dawson’s arms.
With eyes shut tight, I clutched the bedclothes to my chest. The phone continued harping at me. Reluctantly, I kicked the bedding away and swung my feet off the bed. I sat there a moment, opened my eyes and allowed them to focus, then grabbed the receiver.
Realizing it was an automated call, I hung up and stomped all the way to the bathroom fussing under my breath. “The least they could do was have a cheerful, live human make the wake up calls.” Okay, that demand was silly. I was beginning to sound like Mrs. Mitchell.
It didn’t take long for my stomach to start talking to me about breakfast. I threw on my robe, marched into the living room/dinette, and knocked on both of my roommates’ doors. They gave me the expected grumbles and assurances they were getting up.
We quickly showered and dressed, wanting to get to breakfast early enough so we could make it to the Commemoration Ceremony. We’d all decided to wear jeans and flannel shirts. Sandra and Bertha slipped into leather work boots sewn so tightly they were waterproof. I laced up my Gore-Tex hiking boots. We threw on outerwear and were good to go.
As I pulled the door closed, my stomach rumbled. “I’m so hungry I could…”
“I know…eat a bear.” Bertha laughed. “Dawson told me he always finished that sentence for you. I thought I’d do it for him in his absence.”
“That’s cute.” Sandra sighed, and a dreamy countenance overtook the exotic brunette’s almond shaped eyes.
“What won’t be cute is me if I don’t get some food.” I trotted ahead, then abruptly came to a stop. If my years in law enforcement didn’t persuade me the reddish-brown drops on the sidewalk were blood, the man’s snow boots protruding at an awkward angle from behind an evergreen shrub did. I turned back to my companions. “Someone’s hurt. Call 911.”
I hurried around the shrub with Sandra right behind me. Bertha made the call.
Coagulated blood clung to the edges of the cap covering the man’s head. Not good. Although his face was buried in the snow, because of his size, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I gently turned his head to the side so I could make sure his air passages were clear, but it was obvious there was no need. I checked for a pulse anyway and shook my head.
“George Delman,” Sandra said.
“I called for help.” Bertha caught up to us and looked down at the body. “Oh, my. Oh, no.”
“I’ll go to the front desk and let them know.” Sandra hurried away.
“How could this happen?” Bertha covered her mouth with her hand.
I could think of two individuals who didn’t care much for him: Congressman Marvin Mitchell and Loretta Lawrence. Maybe there were others. We really knew very little about this man, except he had poor social skills. If that was reason enough to murder, I’d have been six-feet under long ago.