Sunday, July 08, 2012

Hot Pursuit, a Menopause Murder by Eleanor Sullo

 Encore L'Amour Mystery, 314 pages, ebook & print
Cover art by Pat Evans
Purchase link for Hot Pursuit

When Dorie's grandmother leaves a cache of antiques to her and her cousin in Provence, she's bravely off in the blink of an eye to gather her inheritance and save her dying antique shop at home. She's feeling unattractive, tired and grumpy when a gorgeous Foreign légionnaire pursues her affections. Intrigued, Dorie accompanies him to an ancient family homestead he hopes to buy, where they discover the real estate woman in a pool of blood.

With the soldier taken in for questioning by the gendarmes, Dorie is distraught, but determined to help. Secret drawers in Grand-mère's old armoire, a break-in to her cousin's shop, and the cousin himself hauled in as a suspect keep her relentlessly on the case, and flustered by her new infatuation with the younger soldier. Can the Women on Fire help this time? Or must Dorie grow in self-confidence and solve the crime alone, even as she prepares to give her heart away to a man she's still not sure she can trust?

"Alors. Follow me," Claude told us. He took Meg's hand to guide her through the maze, and Gerard and I followed, trying not to trip over old golf clubs, copper pots and heavy pottery pieces.

When we arrived at the armoire, it seemed massive, like a small ship looming over us. Meg felt all the surfaces with her hands, then began opening and closing the doors and drawers in the huge bureau. Gerard excused himself, saying something in the corner intrigued him. Too scared to wander around in this particularly dark area, I stayed with Claude and Meg. I even lost sight of Gerard, but we all heard a slight bang before he returned to us.

"Sorry, I hit my foot against something very large but indescribable. I hope I didn't beak anything."

Claude chuckled. "Do not worry about it, friend. I'm sure it wasn't a pot of gold, anyhow."

"And after all that, I didn't find the breaker panel either, my friends," Gerard told us.

We all chuckled and I think only I noticed Meg reaching into every small opening she found in the armoire. I heard her intake of breath as something white flashed by in her hand. "Ah, yes. Claude, will you light a match for me to see what this card I took from the armoire might be?

We all gathered close as Claude struck a match and it flamed to brightness in the dim room. Meg held up her find to the flame and I could read it perfectly well.

"L'Immobilier," I said. "It advertises a real estate company."

The corners of the card were bent. Meg smoothed them as she turned the card over and I felt us all draw in our breath as one.

I think we all anticipated what we'd see on the front of the card. "L'Agencie Capron-Maisons et Etats," houses and estates, with an address and phone number in Beaumarie. And at the bottom of the card, "Mme. Lisette Capron," the woman who'd never need another business card in this life.

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