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Writing History & Mysteries

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

10 - A Book to Die For

(Fictitious) home of Malcolm Sinclair.

Welcome to WeWriWa! I'm back with an excerpt of a finished mystery.

The setup:

Margie is found dead, beheaded, along a hedgerow in a farmer's field. Her death has something to do with the odd book club run by Malcolm Sinclair at his estate on the lake. Inv. Pepper Black is retracing Margie's steps and stops at the girl's job, McCormick's Boat Rental, the last place Margie was seen before she went to the book club. The owner said Margie seemed upset she couldn't find her book.

Now the snippet:

Steve extended the book to Pepper--Complete Poems, Ernest Hemingway. She opened the ragged cover and turned to the copyright page. The 1983 date justified the wear. She riffled the pages with her thumb until she arrived at a page with the corner turned over. There were markings in the margins. She read to herself the short verse called, Chapter Heading.

  For we have thought the longer thoughts
    And gone the shorter way.
And we have danced to devils’ tunes,
    Shivering home to pray;
To serve one master in the night,
    Another in the day.

Oh Margie, why didn’t you talk to someone? Whatever had been going on in her life she must have begun to realize she wasn’t herself—it was just a little too late.


If you've liked my posts of The Milk Carton Murders, you should like this tale too. It was written to predate MCM and includes Sheriff Nazzaro and Pepper Black as well as other characters, from MCM.

Check out the other Weekend Writing Warriors---where a sampling of a variety of great writers is only a click away!


  1. Poor Margie! Hopefully Pepper can find her killer.

  2. It's finished! And where might we obtain a copy of this story?? :-)

    1. I have to do the edit first and get it to my betas. :) Milk Carton Murders is much longer so I'll be editing that while I'm off for knee surgery.

  3. Welcome back, Cindy!

    Looking forward to more super snippets.

  4. Very intriguing! I wonder why that page was marked. You left me wanting to read more. :)

  5. I really have to read the whole book. I'm hooked

  6. Heart breaking. You had to bring this on to a sunny Sunday! But that's what life is all about. Take the good with the bad. Your writing combines both, my friend.

    1. Sorry, Charmaine. :) Hazzards of writing murder mysteries.

  7. Lots of sadness in this snippet, which helped make it so good. :)

  8. So sad. Beautiful scene - but sad. Tweeted.

  9. Sad, but intriguing. Want to learn more.

  10. A sad but interesting wrinkle. You make these crime stories come so vividly to life!

  11. I'd say it was a lot too late rather than just a little! The poem adds an excellent element of menace and mystery.

  12. I can't say that I knew Hemingway wrote poetry. Learn something every day, right?

    BTW, Effing forgot to link my blog post to my WeWriWa (watch out, cat, or you’ll be replaced by Twiggles the dog!) but here it is.

  13. Poor Margie. The poem is an excellent addition to the excerpt.

  14. Welcome back! I'm curious to know why that passage in the book was marked.

  15. All the questions asked when the person can't answer... "Why didn't you say something' is a big one, and yet, you know they must have had their reasons.


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Available in paperback and eBook formats

Available in paperback and eBook formats

Now Available At:

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Carried by over 20 college/university libraries across the county, according to daily updates by worldcat.org, including Columbia University, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M, and Yale University Law Library.


APRIL 2nd,11-1 PM
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APRIL 16th, 2 PM
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APRIL 19th, 7 PM
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May 17th, 6 PM Warsaw Public Library - Warsaw, NY

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More to announce as they are confirmed.

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