When I went to bed last night, I was spooned against my husband on my first vacation in ten years. Never mind that the vacation, fishing at a Minnesota resort, is at the top of my personal list of hells.
By morning I was damp, shivering and alone under the covers. My husband and two other men I’d never seen before stood next to the bed and stared at me like I was the prize winning pig at a State Fair.
Gavin, my loving husband, leaned into my ear and whispered, “There’s been a murder, Catherine.”
If there’s one word in the English language that could take you from zero to awake in less than a second the word is murder. I was on my feet and out the door in seconds.
Now I stood sentinel – playing gatekeeper to the crime scene and oracle to the sheriff and deputy of this podunk little town.
Thankfully, my duty would end as soon as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrived. Then I could get back to my God forsaken vacation.
I turned on my heels to face the middle-aged man puffing his way up the hill toward me.
“You can call me Catherine you know, Sheriff. I’m not here in an official capacity. I’m a tourist in this town. Remember?”
His lips twisted up into a blushing, no-I-don’t-think-I-could-do-that, grin. At least he’d stopped calling me ma’am – the moniker he’d been using since my early morning verbal ice bath.
Sheriff Anderson held his baseball cap; with the local sheriff’s department logo ironed on the front like a cheap trucker’s hat, in both hands and twisted the bill in a reflexive gesture. Anderson stared at me as if he’d forgotten why he’d come to see me.
“Have you come to release me from my guard duties?” I asked.
“Ah, sorry but no.”
I doubted very much if he were sorry. While I played goalie to the fiendish gawkers who just wanted a peek at the body, he campaigned for his next run at sheriff. Every local who approached with concern, and a smidge of morbid curiosity, left with the assurance that the case was well in hand and a suspect would soon be in custody.
Apparently, (since we hadn’t yet found any evidence that would help us track down a killer) the truth had no place in Sheriff Anderson’s reelection campaign. Anderson seemed to make up the details as he went along. He doled out lies to the locals as easy as a traveling carnival barker who claimed their midway games weren’t fixed.
“I was wondering,” he said. “If you know how much longer before the BCA arrives? The resort owners are upset about us locking up their fish house.”
The fish house was situated near the beach surrounded by trees on all sides, and Mrs. Peterman had haunted the trees since early morning. Not wanting me to see her, Mrs. Peterman wove through the trees like a timber wolf hunting prey.
“Mr. and Mrs. Peterman will just have to get over it,” I said. “Even when the BCA arrives the fish house will be locked up for as long as it takes to gather all the evidence.”
Anderson screwed his hat onto his head then stuffed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans like a pouty child.
“Well, maybe I’ll just have Mrs. Peterman come talk to you about the fish house then.”
A cowardly answer, though not completely unexpected.
“You do that, Sheriff,” I said. “Was there anything else you needed?”
I hadn’t had coffee yet today, because my host for the next two weeks believes that tea is the preferred way to open your eyes in the morning. To me, it was what you drank when you had diarrhea.
The irreverent detective is back, and this time she’s on vacation. God help us all…
St. Paul, Minnesota Homicide Detective, Catherine O’Brien, and her loving husband Gavin, are vacationing on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. When a local is murdered, Catherine is tapped to help the small town Sheriff until the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrives to take over the investigation. Catherine is surprised when her partner Louise and Diggs, the forensic pathologist, whose crush on Louise is only dwarfed by his own genius, show up to assist instead of the BCA. Before long, Catherine and Louise discover this sleepy little town has a dark side hidden beneath its placid lake charms. Somewhere in the tangle of cheating and deception is a motive for murder.
Genre – Mystery
Rating – PG13
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