A serial killer at large on St. Joseph Island !
Detective Andy Blake’s life couldn’t have been better. Her love life with Grant Stacey is on track, and she is happy in her new job with the Ontario Provincial Police. But her tranquil life on beautiful St. Joseph Island is interrupted with a simple request to take over the investigation of a two year old poisoning death.
The routine case turns complicated when curiously similar unsolved deaths are discovered over a period of several years, and cyanide is a common thread. Adding to the turmoil is Dan Graves, a renaissance man if there ever was one, and a contender for Andy’s affections. She finds herself pulled in all directions before coming to grips with A Scent of Almond.
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Books by Richard Whitten Barnes
Books by Richard Whitten Barnes
When Ontario Detective Andrea Blake investigates the newly discovered corpse of a man missing for two years, she gets way more than she bargains for: serial poisonings!
The morning fog had not yet burned off from low places in the fields when Andy drove into Echo Bay. Sun glistened off Emma Cardwell’s front lawn. Her begonias drooped slightly…they too, wet with dew.
Emma opened the door to Andy’s knock, still in her dressing gown, but gave no indication of annoyance to the detective showing up again so soon, and so early in the day.
Andy made no effort to apologize. “I think we need to talk some more.”
“Let me put something on and I’ll be with you,” the older woman said.
Andy paced around the parlor, inspecting a set of Hummel figurines, then a collection of old photographs in brass frames crammed together on a bookcase shelf. She was staring at one in particular when Emma returned.
“I think I recognize you in this one. You look quite pretty.” She lifted the framed picture from the shelf. It was a group photo of perhaps a dozen people, adults and children.
“Thank you. It was a long time ago.”
“And this is your husband?” She pointed to a good looking man standing next to young Emma. The man looked familiar.
“No … yes, it was my first husband—Everett.” She looked uncomfortable, quickly adding, “I keep the picture because I have so few of my son who died of asthma as a boy.”
“Oh … I’m sorry. That must have been terrible.” She added, “Are all those children yours?”
“Just the two young ones. My daughter, Janice, lives in Winnipeg.” A smiling girl of perhaps six or seven was holding the hand of an even younger boy.
Andy’s attention returned to the husband standing slightly apart with arms folded, a confident smirk of a smile. Your marriage … did you—”
Emma cut her off. “He died.” She took the photo and replaced it on the shelf.
“Let’s sit for a bit, Mrs. Cardwell.” Andy found a needlepoint chair for herself and Emma took the sofa. “I want you to know I’m eventually going to find out every detail involving the deaths of Vincent Acardi and at least three other victims I believe are somehow connected. The circumstances dictate someone past a certain age has to be involved, at least to a degree. I guarantee I will find out. Those men I showed you all had something in common. Your niece Claudia and you fit very well into this picture.”
Andy could see Emma’s composure slip away. She avoided eye contact. Her lips compressed as if trapping some revelation from escaping.
“I know you’re holding back, Mrs. Cardwell. Just tell me!”
Emma took a breath, turned to Andy and said, “I have nothing to do with those men.”
Andy held her gaze until, once more, Emma turned away. “I’m sorry you said that, because I think you do.” She rose and went to the door. “Your first husband—Everett— had a last name?”
There was pain in Emma’s eyes. “Cole.”
“Goodbye, Mrs. Cardwell … for now.”
She marched out past the flower garden to her Jeep, the cheerful display so in contrast to the circumstance.