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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jealous

While Sheriff Clayton Nazzaro waits for Inv. Pepper Black to return from Malcolm Sinclair's book club, he waits for Beth, the waitress at the Lamont Café, to finish her shift. He wants to continue their conversation on the local hubbub about Malcolm and his group. Beth is also one of the last people to see Margie Webster alive. The sheriff wants to know if Beth remembers what Margie was wearing the morning she came in for coffee before the book club’s trip, as the clothes she was found in did not match the Margie everyone knew.

Meanwhile, Pepper has infiltrated said book club under a false persona of Hazel Brewster, an acquaintance of Margie. I’m going to include the last few sentences of where we left off with Pepper (G is for groggy) when she arrived at Malcolm’s so it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the scene. Pepper starts us out.


Malcolm seemed a bit groggy for only 6:00 PM. It was more like too much cocktail hour rather than not enough sleep—and damn him for reminding her she hadn’t thought of a name yet. Crap. She wished she had stopped for a brain jolt of hazelnut espresso at the café before she showed up.

“I'm Hazel brew … Brewster,” Pepper said. “Hazel Brewster. Hi. Sorry, I'm a bit nervous. Margie Webster told me to meet her here but I don't see her yet."

"Well, Hazel, is it?" Malcolm said, as he sipped his drink in one hand and slid his other hand in the pocket of his silk, amoeba print dinner jacket in stereotypical fashion, "that would be a neat trick wouldn't it--considering she's dead."

“Dead?” No doubt her reaction was believable as Pepper didn’t see how Malcolm could have known that yet.

“Oh yes, quite dead,” said a woman in khaki slacks with a cocktail in her hand, “You haven’t heard?”

Should she fake tears? Nah, that would be overkill. “No, I hadn’t heard. I just saw Margie last week.” Which wasn’t a lie, Pepper had seen her—she just wasn't alive at the time.

“Yes about that,” Malcolm said. He handed off his empty glass to a waiter as he passed with a tray then sat down at a patio table made of drift wood. He indicated for Pepper to take a seat. Two other women automatically did the same. “How is it that Margie said she would meet you here tonight?”

Pepper had to watch her step. The least amount of details the better. “I saw her at McCormick’s, you know the boat rental place. She was reading Hemingway. We discussed a couple authors. Margie said I should come to the book club next time you met.” Was that ambiguous enough, she wondered?

“And how do you know we were meeting tonight?” asked Malcolm. He leaned over, his chin on his hands, resting his elbows on the table. “Hum?”

Think quick Pepper and don’t blow it. Wait. She had it. “Beth at the diner heard. She told me, so here I am.”

Malcolm leaned back in his chair and lit a cigarette. He inhaled deep, held it, and let it out toward Khaki pants’ face. “So, you didn’t call her tonight to see if she was coming before you drove here?”

The two women giggled. Giggled—for pity sake—time to take the offensive. “Well had I known she was dead, I wouldn’t have bothered. It’s not like we were the best of friends. I just knew from going into McCormick’s.”

“Oh do you sail, Hazel?” said the other woman not in Khakis. “I do so love to sail.”

“Sail? Me? No, I don’t,” said Pepper. Not to smart. She’d been in farm country too long already. She lost her undercover edge. What a stupid slip up. Think Pepper, think. “Fishing. I love fishing. Relaxing you know? I get my gear there.”

“Well, Miss Brewster, you and I will have to go together sometime,” Malcolm said. He grinned and butt his cigarette out in the ashtray.

“Love to,” Pepper said. By the jealous look on Khaki and non-Khaki’s faces, the two women did not care for her consent to Malcolm’s offer. Now all Pepper had to do was get the sheriff to give her a crash course on how to fish.


Today's word – J is for Jealous - is brought to you by Ron Freeman.

If you would like to catch up, here is my 2013 A to Z Mystery Recap.  

This post is part of April's Blogging From A-Z Challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. The rest of the A-Z bloggers can be found pinned in the links section of my sidebar. Hope to see you tomorrow!


  1. Watch out Pepper! I'm afraid Malcolm already knows who you are.

  2. Interesting story. Just starting now, so thanks for the recap. Also, thank you for your support of the Letter I at my site.

  3. Re-caps are a must this month, but I certainly have something to go back to read come May!


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