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Murder Between the Pages by Linda Hope Lee

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  • The Nina Foster Mystery Series, Book 1

    It's a sad day for librarian Nina Foster when she discovers her good friend, bookstore owner Wildeen Bergman, dead on her office floor. Worse yet, another friend, romance writer Zelma Duke, becomes the police's prime suspect. Nina knows Wildeen had something on Zelma. Was it enough to warrant murder? Handsome Stephen Kraslow, owner of the local newspaper, joins forces with Nina to find out the truth. The quest takes them on a dangerous journey of twists and turns before they reach the final outcome.

    Rating: Sensual
    Page Count: 264
    Word Count: 62602
    978-1-5092-2367-1 Paperback
    978-1-5092-2368-8 Digital  

    Excerpt

    Chapter One

     

    “The estate looks elegant and the food tastes superb, but the book is trash,” Larry Hardisty announced.

    “Not so loud, Larry.” Standing next to him at the buffet table, Nina Foster pressed a finger to her lips. “You might hurt Zelma’s feelings. You know how sensitive some authors are about their work.” She nodded across the lawn to where Zelma Duke chatted with a group of fans. The author of My Restless Heart, Zelma was the honored guest at tonight’s party.

    Larry helped himself to a cracker topped with smoked salmon. “Sorry, madam librarian, but I doubt Zelma gives a hoot what I think.” He ate the appetizer and then adjusted his black-framed eyeglasses. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll browse the Bottses’ famed art collection and catch up with you later.”

    “All right. We’ll sit together for Zelma’s reading.”

    Larry twisted his lips into a grimace. “A reading? Yikes. I don’t know if I can survive all that purple prose.” He turned and headed toward the two-story home.

    Nina sighed and slowly shook her head. Larry was her assistant at the Seaview Library in Richmond, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Although they got along well, at times like tonight, his highbrow attitude grated.

    He was right about the elegant estate, though. Perched atop a cliff overlooking Puget Sound and built in the early 1900s by a timber baron, the home’s stone structure, mullioned windows, and stout chimneys spoke of old money and societal position.

    New money owned the property now. A few years ago, Elizabeth and Burgess Botts, who operated a chain of import shops, claimed the home and its forested environs, dubbing it “Bottswood.”

    Moving away from the buffet table, Nina plucked a glass of bubbling champagne from a passing waiter’s tray. Tonight’s June evening was perfect for Zelma’s party. The temperature hovered in the low seventies, and the sun lingered in a cloudless sky like an old friend who didn’t want to say good-bye.

    Sipping her drink, she strolled to the table stacked with copies of My Restless Heart. The book cover featured a bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums tied with a scarlet ribbon. She wasn’t sure what the flowers had to do with the story, but they certainly caught the eye. Zelma had proudly told her this hardcover book was her “break-out” book, designed to appeal to a larger audience than her previous romance paperbacks.

    Dorothy Quinn joined Nina. In her sixties, Dorothy was a member of Literary Lights, a book discussion group that met at the library.

    “I suppose you’re buying multiple copies of, uh, what is this book’s title?” Dorothy peered through her glasses at the books.

    Nina nodded. “My Restless Heart.” Our head office bought several for every branch. But you could always buy your own here and have it autographed.”

    Dorothy sniffed. “I think I’ll pass. This book isn’t suitable for our group. We came to see Bottswood. The estate is quite grand, isn’t it?” She waved a hand at the surroundings.

    “Yes. I especially love the view of the sound.”

    Dorothy leaned to look over Nina’s shoulder. “Oh, there’s Myrtle Davis. I need to speak to her. Nice seeing you tonight, Nina.” She fluttered her fingers and hurried off.

    Continuing her stroll, Nina spotted Wildeen Bergman, owner of Bergman Books, and her employee, Hamlet Green. Wildeen’s thigh-length yellow sweater and forest green tights, and Hamlet’s black turtleneck and faded jeans set them apart from the more conservatively dressed guests. Wildeen’s presence tonight surprised Nina. She, Wildeen, and Zelma had been friends since their days together at Pacific Northwest University, but Zelma’s recent writing success had driven a wedge between her and Wildeen.

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Murder Between the Pages

Murder Between the Pages

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