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Rosstrum Publishing

Rosstrum Publishing is a division of The Border Company, LLC


8 Strawberry Bank Rd.

Suite 20

Nashua, New Hampshire

Sample pages
Chapter 1



     I lay there naked and wondered what my next move would be. I could get dressed and go jogging. Or I could see if there was anything in the refrigerator to make into breakfast. Or I could go back to sleep for an hour or two.
      Such were the decisions of a private detective between jobs. My on-again, off-again girlfriend and assistant, Margot, was “off” this week, gone to a poetry thing in New York. I missed her but figured she’d be “on” again next week and “on” was especially good if she’d been away. I looked at the clock; seven a.m. I opted for the jog and my route would go right by, and into, my favorite Dunkin’ Donuts. I actually didn’t have a favorite. I loved them all.
      I dressed and was headed out when I noticed a little piece of paper tucked under my door. I opened it and looked at the small, neat handwriting.

Mr. Lawless. . . . I read about you in the papers. I think you might be able to help me. My sister, Imogene, is dead and I think she was murdered. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, especially my husband so I can’t have you call my house. I have some money saved and would like to hire you. I almost knocked on your door, but I got scared at the last minute. I work at Brown’s Bookstore, downtown, from 11 a.m. to seven. If you can help me, please meet me there and pretend you’re buying a book. I have a down payment with me

Thank You, Maxine P. 

  .From the handwriting, I imagined a bookish, birdlike woman. The penmanship was very neat. It was hard to imagine her writing it in the hall especially if she was afraid. My curiosity was aroused, and my bankbook was anemic, so I figured I’d stop in at Brown’s and see what this was all about.

      Brown’s Bookstore was on the bottom floor of an old mill building. The three stories above had recently been converted to condos. Brown’s stayed in business by supplying textbooks to New Stratley University, used books, and new books that were almost discounted as much as the super-store versions. A small coffee shop area rounded out the establishment. It was a little pricey but served delicious exotic coffees. Margot had dragged me to a poetry reading thing there about a month ago. Beat wannabes droned on for a few hours and everyone applauded. Especially at the mention of “menstrual blood” or the “drug of one’s choice.” I clapped, too, but I almost puked up my biscotti. My mistake was telling Margot what I thought of it. We were “off” for a good week.



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