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Life has dealt part-time mystery novelist Darcy MacDonald a lousy hand. The men she knows are either missing, dead, drunk or demented.
Lying next to the corpse of her boyfriend, the head of Bloodhound Investigations, definitely qualifies as lousy since he’s the man who also issues her paychecks.
The doctor says her boss had a massive heart attack during an orgasm, and it wasn’t Darcy’s fault. But she can’t help feeling guilty, since his orgasms were her responsibility. Or so she believed, until his grieving widow shows up, along with a mysterious, punk rocker chick who weeps inconsolably at the funeral and claims he was murdered.
Darcy MacDonald stared at the ceiling and thought about murder. There were lots of ways to kill someone. Poison, a bullet, the well-placed blow of any heavy object.
Her right hip ached, and she had a crick in her neck. She couldn’t shift onto her back or she’d fall off the couch, since Fergus took up most of it. It might be comfortable enough to have sex on, but there wasn’t enough room for two people to lie side by side. She ruffled Fergus’s silky, dark brown hair.
“Hey, wake up.”
When he didn’t make a move, she eased off the sofa, smoothing down her skirt as she glanced around for her panties.
“You can sleep later, Fergus. Right now you have an appointment. Something about a missing person.” Darcy tucked her breasts back in her bra and hooked the front clasp together. “You don’t want a client to catch you with your pants down. Bad for business.”
She scooped her white, cotton blouse off the floor. It was a wrinkled mess. Next time she’d buy polyester, something more suitable for a quickie at the office.
Fergus lay on his stomach, facing away from her; arms bent at the elbows and tucked in at his sides. A dragonfly tattoo adorned the lower half of his back. She could see the tail peeking out from underneath his unbuttoned shirt. There was something missing, but her mind couldn’t quite register what.
Then it hit her. The dragonfly wasn’t moving the way it usually did whenever Fergus slept.
In fact, it wasn’t moving at all. It was perfectly still, with no rise and fall.
Somewhere outside the high-pitched cry of a seagull split the air, twice. A cool gust of air rattled the dusty Venetian blinds and carried the smell of rain through the open window.
Darcy shivered. “Fergus?”
Tugging gently on his left shoulder, she leaned over to look at him. A string of drool hung from his sagging mouth, and his eyes were open, staring at nothing.
She jumped back.
Two sharp knocks hit the door, and a muffled voice, thick with boredom and a Russian accent, said, “Mr. Fergus? Yourthree o’clockis here.”
She bounded across the room and wrenched the door open.
Vaughn, the receptionist, eyed her up and down with open disapproval. “You want our clients to see you half dressed? You can’t put some clothes on?”
Hauling Vaughn into the room by the arm, Darcy shut the door. Her mouth worked, but her throat was too dry for words to come.
Vaughn’s eyes narrowed. “What?”
She pointed to Fergus. “He’s … there’s something wrong. He’s—”
“Half naked. Is not good, in a place of business—”
“He’s not breathing.” Panic bubbled up, and Darcy lurched for the phone on Fergus’s desk, knocking the handset out of its cradle in one frantic swipe.
“Not breathing? Why not?”
Vaughn’s ridiculous question seemed to come from the other end of a long, dark tunnel, and Darcy couldn’t answer. It took all her concentration to dial 9-1-1.
Everything shifted into slow motion, including the phone ringing in Darcy’s ear. One ring. A long pause. A longer ring, an even longer pause. Oh, shit, hurry up.
Vaughn moved to the couch to examine Fergus more closely. Finally Darcy heard a female voice at the other end of the line.
“Nine one one emergency—”
“My boss, he’s not breathing. I need an ambulance, now. Bloodhound Investigations.” She repeated the address twice.
“I’ll dispatch an ambulance right away, ma’am. Stay on the line, please.”
“He is dead,” Vaughn pronounced sadly. “Poor Mr. Fergus.”
Nancy Lauzon’s Blog Tour Stop #1: What is a Dead Man?
My latest mystery novel was inspired by my youngest daughter’s disastrous dating history. The ‘dead men’ in the novel are composites of every boyfriend and/or bad date my daughter ever had. Believe me, I had lots of material to choose from. In fact, I didn’t have room for all the ‘dead men’, since I didn’t want to go over my word count.
This book raises several questions: Who exactly are dead men, metaphorically speaking? How did they become dead? Are there more dead men than live men? And where do you find live men?
But the book is also about a young woman compelled to solve the mysteries around her, like her favourite amateur sleuth, Nancy Drew. She doesn’t go about it in exactly the same way.
Sure, a dead man is a male corpse, but let’s think outside the box for a moment. A dead man could also be a dead beat, or a wooden, callous, dull, boring dud. A dead man could be cold, frigid, sterile, unemployed, unresponsive or useless.
The dead men in my novel A Few Dead Men might be dead, or they might be any of the above things. I can’t tell you which, you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself. All I can tell you is, all of the men in this book are either really dead and/or metaphorically dead.
VISIT THE NEXT STOPS ON THE BLOG TOUR TO FIND OUT MORE:
Nancy is interviewed by Annie Acorn, the prolific and internationally known author, whose readership recognizes her mainly for her cozy mysteries and richly woven stories with a warm southern flair.
Nancy is a guest blogger at Limebird Writers, a wonderful team from the UKand USAwhose motto is ‘Let Your Creativity Fly’. She’ll be blogging my theories regarding the next question: How did the Dead Men become dead?
Coming soon to: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapters/Indigo/Kobo
About Nancy Lauzon
Nancy Lauzon worked nine years on a hospital ward as a cardiac nurse before the night shifts turned her into a zombie. She got a day job in health promotion and began to write health-related articles for magazines and newsletters.
Life threw out a few curve balls, and to relieve the stress, she began to write fiction part-time. Five years later she sold two different manuscripts to two separate small-press publishers, using a pseudonym. She retired from nursing in 2003 and began to write full-time.
She is now the author of four Chick Dick Mystery novels, inspired by her early love of Nancy Drew Mysteries.