Interior designer Rowena Summerfield is ready to add her festive flair to the reception for her Florida town’s first marathon, even if a local Scrooge turns down her request for a donation. But when he’s found dead under the wreckage of the race’s reviewing stand, it’s clear someone’s reindeer game has turned deadly.
Former homicide investigator Ro is once again recruited to help her former partner, Herc Morgan, find the killer. All of their suspects could be on Santa’s naughty list. And given that the victim dumped coal on every life he touched, any one of them could have decided to frost him.
Ro and Herc are eager to wrap up the case so they can get back to their yuletide fun. Herc’s agonizing over picking the perfect gift for his new girlfriend. Ro’s boyfriend, Chuck, hints that he has a very special ornament in mind. While Ro sorts through clues to discover the murderer, she must also sort through her loyalty to her late husband and her growing love for this new man in her life. Will the twinkle of the tree lights in her living room be outdone on Christmas Day by the sparkle of a rock on her finger? Maybe, but only if a killer doesn’t murder their merriment first.
Wrenched at the Reindeer Run
A Florida Holiday Murder Mystery
Nailed It Home Reno Mysteries Book 7
By Barbara Barrett
To my surprise, Ellen Garvey also fancied herself a bit of a stand-up comedian. Her jokes went a long way toward regaining the earlier tone of the evening. “A funny thing happened on my way to this mic,” she’d begun. She attempted to convince the crowd they’d just witnessed a skit featuring two of the event’s volunteers, only they’d neglected to inform their crack security guy, who thought it was real and broke it up before they could finish.
I wondered how Henson would’ve reacted to being blamed for the abrupt end of the so-called drama. At least she referred to him as a “crack security guy.”
The race was to begin at seven in the morning. Short night, but I felt I should show up at least for part of it to show my support. Chuck would’ve gone with me, but he wanted to check the restaurant and wine bar to make sure the cleaning crew had put everything back in order, and after that, he planned to stop by Shane’s.
The run was to take place in Busse Park, a large plot of land donated to the City several years ago by an entrepreneur who’d made his fortune in early internet marketing and leveraged it into a monumental online magazine empire before selling it a few years ago and retiring to Fiji. He’d run high school races in the park as a boy and purportedly didn’t want to see it sold off to developers once he left town. I didn’t come here often, but it was a great place to sneak off to when I needed to think by myself.
I barely got inside the front entrance when I was stopped by a patrol car. “Sorry, ma’am. You can’t go any farther.” She was a younger officer who didn’t recognize me.
“I came to watch the race. Isn’t there any visitor parking?”
“The race has been canceled,” she said tersely. “At least for today.”
“Canceled? What happened?”
She bit a lip, wanting to say more but held back by orders.
“It’s okay to tell me. I’m Rowena Summerfield, formerly Lieutenant Summerfield. I was a homicide detective for the city.”
“Oh, Lieutenant Summerfield. I’ve heard about you. You still work with the force from time to time, right?”
“Are you here for the accident?”
I wanted to act like I was, but I didn’t want to get this young woman in trouble. She seemed new and a bit overwhelmed by the situation. “Accident? No, I just came to support the marathon. I was a volunteer at last night’s Rendezvous.”
“I’m not supposed to let anyone in that isn’t here on official police business, but I can at least tell you. The viewing stand collapsed. They think there was someone under it.”
The viewing stand? Wasn’t that the structure Terry Seiser claimed he’d been working on? “That’s horrible. Do they know who it was?”
She shook her head. “I just got here a little while ago. All I know is that it wasn’t a runner.”
My phone rang. She allowed me to pull off to the side to answer it.
“Did I interrupt your beauty sleep?” Herc asked, his typical way of greeting me when he called early in the morning. He knew better because I’m still an early riser, a habit that carried over from my days on the force.
“There are so many possible replies to that question, but I think I’ve exhausted them over the years. What’s up?”
“Funny you should ask. Actually, not funny. That guy that disrupted things last night, Seiser?”
“Yes?” I replied, my fingers tingling, knowing what was to come.
“He was in an accident here at the marathon. The whole viewing stand collapsed on top of him. They just pulled out the body.”
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