I had so much fun talking cozy mysteries with all of you on my live chat this morning! Here’s the replay…with a couple technical difficulties cut out. Hey, that’s what tech support is for, right? 🤓 Hopefully, those that joined our cozy mystery chat had as good of a time as I did. I think I’m thinking about making it a regular, weekly thing moving forward. Anyone interested? 🤷♀️
Watch the video to listen to the new pages and then see your assignments below. I also talk about the potential for a new collaborative cozy mystery project in the video, so check it out.
🚨Warning🚨: there are spoilers below if you keep reading before hearing the new pages!
What did you think? One thing is for sure, this cozy mystery spin-off is really heading toward its climax!
Your assignments this week include:
1) Why did Richard break up with Toni?
2) Which one of our four suspects (Toni, Richard, Hank, and Brady) do you think the killer should be?
It’s time to put on your cozy mystery thinking caps and get me your wonderful ideas on where we go from here. Please submit your ideas by end of day Sunday and I’ll put things out for vote early next week. 🤔📝
Music from https://www.bensound.com
A Brunch with Death – Part 10
“I’m glad you asked,” the Professor replied with a hint of a smile. “I believe we are quite close to revealing the killer. I should have the final documentation needed to make an arrest tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I intend to head home and write a special script for you. If you’re willing I could use your help with a special performance at the Merry Windsor in the morning. Are you game?”
“Am I game? I was born for this.” I gestured with my hands. “Rest assured that you will get my very best work.”
“I have no doubt about that.” The Professor turned to Juliet. “How do you feel about being involved in this? Are you willing to put on a little show with Lance?”
“Yes, of course. Anything you need, but I’m confused. Why us and what’s the script?”
The Professor took a long sip of water. “It’s best if I don’t elaborate at this point, not only for your protection, but because as I said, there are a few loose ends that must be tied up before we can proceed. What I can tell you is that the killer will be present for your performance tomorrow morning. Assuming that I can massage the script in the right direction, I’m confident that there will be a confession.” The Professor stood. “I must excuse myself. Shall we reconvene here around nine to go over the script and your critical roles?”
“Sure.” Juliet wrapped up some extra scones for him to take with him.
I finished my wine.
“Well, the plot thickens,” I said, after she’d walked to him to the door.
“Yeah. What do you think the script could say?”
“Darling, who knows? Frankly, I don’t care. I’m thrilled that we’ll be a part of it.” I glanced at the clock. “On that note, it’s getting late and we both need our beauty sleep if we’re to perform bright and early.”
Juliet gathered our dishes. “Agreed. I’m exhausted. I’ll clean up and head home. See you here in the morning?”
“Can I help you with the dishes?”
Her jaw hung open and then she cracked up. “You doing dishes? Now that I would like to see.”
I pretended to be injured. “That’s the thanks I get.”
Juliet swatted my shoulder. “Go home, Lance. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Darkness had fallen over the plaza. Golden yellow street lamps illuminated the sidewalk. I was glad for my cashmere scarf and coat. Had it really only been a few hours earlier that our ill-fated happy hour had begun?
I walked toward the scene of the crime with my hands tucked into my pockets. Thankfully there wasn’t anything I needed to finish at the theater. I simply needed to grab my car keys and lock up for the night.
Police vehicles were still parked in front of the Merry Windsor and an officer stood guard on the porch, directing guests inside. There was no sign of Richard, Toni, Hank, or Brady. I wondered if the Professor had sent them all home for the night as well.
As I turned to make my way up the Shakespeare stairs, I heard the sound of voices near the entrance to Lithia Park.
Speak of the devil.
Richard and Toni stood blocking the park entrance. Not that it mattered. The park certainly wasn’t getting much use at this time of night.
What was interesting was their tone.
“Richard, please, don’t do this to me, dearest. You know that I absolutely adore you! You’re the love of my life. I will do anything to save our engagement and future happiness.” Toni dropped to her knees. “Look! Look at me. I’m down on my knees begging and pleading. You have to believe me. I will absolutely die if you leave me. You can’t just cast me out. You told me that you loved me. You told me that you wanted to marry me. Remember what that means, Richard. Marriage means in good times and bad times. This is a bad time. That’s all.”
Her shrill voice was nearly piercing. I had to resist rubbing my finger in my ear.
Richard stood unmoved.
He didn’t speak.
I had never seen Richard Lord at a loss for words.
“Say something!” Toni demanded. She stood up. “Listen, Richard, just tell me. Tell me what I need to do. I’ll do anything to keep you.”
Richard held out his hand. “Give me the ring, Toni.”
“What?” She screeched. “The ring! You want the ring back?”
He kept his hand out. “Give it to me now.”
She gave it one last go. I had to give her credit for trying.
“Please, Richard. Not the ring. Not the ring too.”
“Toni, hand it over.”
She yanked the ring from her finger, slapped it in his open palm, and thrust her finger in his face. “You’re making a huge mistake Richard Lord. The biggest mistake of your life.” With that she turned and stormed toward the Calle.
Richard clasped his hand around the ring.
For the first time ever, I felt sorry for the dreaded Mr. Lord. Against my better judgement, I approached him.
“Richard, is that you?”
He startled and stuffed the ring into his plaid pants pockets. “Lance, I didn’t see you.”
“Oh, heading up to the office.” I pointed behind me to the stairs. “Is that Toni crossing the street?” I played dumb.
He didn’t turn in her direction. “Yep.”
“Richard, forgive me for the intrusion, but is everything okay?”
He hung his head. “Toni and I broke up.”
I gasped. “No, say it isn’t so. What happened? You two seemed like such a match.”
Richard cleared his throat. “I learned something about her tonight. Something not good.”