Title: Stuck (The Penningtons Investigate Book 2)
Author: C. T. Collier
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published: March 18, 2017
Paperback: 308 pages
~ Synopsis ~
Meet the Penningtons: Lyssa, Ph.D. Economics, and her husband “the handsome Brit” Kyle, Ph.D. Computer Science. When their clever minds ask questions, clever killers can’t hide.
Murder never entered the picture until Fritz Van Derzee decided, at long last, to clear his name. Who stuck a jeweled stiletto into his desktop after stabbing him to death? Fritz’s daughter, Emma, recruits her former professor Lyssa Pennington to find the killer.
But where’s the ten million Fritz was falsely accused of embezzling? Tompkins College President, Justin Cushman, hires his old friend Kyle Pennington to trace the missing money.
While Lyssa uses charm and tenacity on the long list of suspects, Kyle reconstructs the college’s old homegrown finance system. As they converge on the killer, Lyssa and Kyle may be the next two casualties.
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~ Excerpt ~
Justin’s assistant claimed the president was in a meeting but added, “You sound out of breath, Lyssa. Is it urgent?”
“I’m running to a murder scene. Yes, it’s urgent.”
Justin came on the line, and she told him what little she knew.
“For God’s sake, be careful.”
That spooked her. But he was right. A man was dead. Was the killer still in the neighborhood watching the aftermath? Hanging around would be too risky, wouldn’t it? People in these neighborhoods watched what happened all day. And night. Someone must have seen something. Heard something.
She pressed forward the next two blocks and paused at the end of the Van Derzee’s brick walk. Where were the police? Emma had said she’d called them. Surely they hadn’t come and removed the body already? And why leave the door open?
Though the front door was open a crack, there was no sign of activity, no sound.
She took deep steadying breaths as she climbed the front steps and toed open the door.
From the front entry, she heard sobbing. “Emma?” she called in her loudest teacher voice.
“In here,” Emma squeaked from somewhere down the central hallway. One door stood open.
Lyssa peered in. Emma sat on the floor on the far side of the room between two windows, her back against the wall, knees drawn up, blotting her tears with a ragged tissue. She didn’t appear to be injured in any way, just huddled in shock.
Lyssa’s gaze shifted to the freestanding desk, angled to give whoever sat there a view out the bay window. Her breath hissed through her teeth at the sight of a man’s form, crumpled on its side, motionless, between the chair and the desk. His hair, white-blond, was the same shade as Emma’s. Over his chest, a stain darkened the blue polo shirt. One step closer, a coppery smell closed her throat and made her cough.
She avoided the man’s feet as she approached the desk, her attention drawn to a thin knife with a jeweled handle sticking up from the desk’s burnished wood. The murder weapon? Dark red stained the length of the blade and the wood below.
The weapon lured her. Her hand reached forward without her permission, until she almost touched the ornamentation. In her body she sensed the rage and triumph of the person who’d rammed it straight down into the dense wood.
~ About the Author ~
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 is 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).
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