Date Published: June 2016
Publisher: Asdee Press
It’s Monday of spring break when Professor Lyssa Pennington’s backyard garden project unearths a loaded revolver. With no record of violence at their address and no related cold case, the Tompkins Falls police have no interest. But the Penningtons and a friend with the State Police believe there’s a body somewhere. Whose? Where? And who pulled the trigger?
C. T. Collier was born to solve logic puzzles, wear tweed, and drink Earl Grey tea. Her professional experience in cutthroat high tech and backstabbing higher education gave her endless opportunity to study intrigue. Add to that her longtime love of mysteries, and it’s no wonder she writes academic mysteries that draw inspiration from traditional whodunits. Her setting: entirely fictional, Tompkins College is no college and every college, and Tompkins Falls, is a blend of several Finger Lakes towns, including her hometown, Seneca Falls, NY (AKA Bedford Falls from It’s a Wonderful Life).
Bree explored the outside of the pouch with her fingers. “It feels hard, like metal.” She fully loosened the drawstring and peered inside.
Her voice deepened. “Holy cannoli.”
“What?” Lyssa asked.
“What is it?” Dick said.
“What’d they bury?” Richie’s eager voice asked.
Bree drew out a handgun, gripping the wood handle with her thumb and two fingers.
“Oh my gosh.” Lyssa’s head and heart pounded. “Put it back. We’re done with this.” She started toward Bree, but Dick shifted on his feet and tightened the circle, blocking her access.
“Revolver,” Dick said. “It’s in good shape for something that’s been buried as long as that tree’s been there. Look at the gleam on parts of the barrel. Someone shined it up before they buried it.”
“Buried is right,” Bree said with a short laugh. “It was wrapped in—what? —three layers like a mummy inside that metal box.”
Lyssa shivered and sank onto the arm of the nearest chair. “How can you joke?”
“This is an old Smith and Wesson with a wooden grip,” Dick said. “My aunt lived way out in the country and got a gun like this for protection after her husband died.”
“Can I see, Dad?”
“Ask Mrs. Pennington.”
Dick and his son looked her way.
“No.” Lyssa scowled at Dick.
“I’ve shown Richie how to handle a firearm, and we’ve shot together at the rifle range.”
“Come on, Lyssa.” Bree rose to her feet and struck a pose, one fist on her hip, the gun resting on her other palm. “You’ll be very careful, right, Richie?”
“No worries.” Richie took the gun reverently from Bree, his eyes bright with curiosity.“Son, remember it might be loaded.”
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