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Alan Cook, Mystery and walking writer
When her granddaughter's boyfriend gets accused of sexual harassment during his first teaching job, retired math professor Lillian Morgan springs to his defense.
In the second book of the Lillian Morgan series (Thirteen Diamonds was the first) Lillian, a retired professor, is jolted out of her serene life in a North Carolina retirement community when Mark, her granddaughter’s boyfriend, is accused of sexual harassment. Since he has just started teaching at a small college the charge could end his career almost before it begins. Lillian finds that the school has a harassment policy from hell, but almost immediately the accusing student, Elise, is murdered and Mark becomes the chief suspect. Ignoring her fingers-crossed promise to her son not to do any more detective work, Lillian springs into action and finds that in fact there are several other possible suspects.
My cell-phone rang while I was deep into a game at the Silver Acres Chess Club. I swore silently and mumbled an apology to my opponent, Wesley, who was trying to fork my king and rook with his knight. This was not the time for interruptions, but since only a few people knew my cell-phone number and they had been warned not to use it short of a dire emergency, on threat of disinheritance, I figured I’d better find out who was calling.
I located the phone in my purse and said hello.
“Lillian, it’s Mark.”
The voice of my granddaughter’s happy-go-lucky boyfriend sounded so strained that I was immediately concerned. Anyone who saves my life, as Mark had, earns the right to have my cell-phone number and also my full attention, day or night.
“Is something wrong?” I asked, gripping the plastic phone tightly and hoping I could make the problem go away with a wave of my hand.
Mark made a few more sounds, but didn’t produce any intelligible sentences. This must be serious, indeed, since he had never been at a loss for words as long as I had known him. I looked at my watch. Four o’clock. “Can you meet me here for an early dinner?” I asked.
“I’ll be in the front lobby in an hour.”
I said goodbye and disconnected.
“Is there a problem?” Wesley asked. He had started exercising since his wife had died, several months ago, and he had lost some weight. He didn’t look too bad for an old guy.
“I’m not sure,” I said, “but I’m going to have to cancel dinner.”
“I heard. That’s okay. I’ll eat with Tess.”
If Wesley meant to make me jealous, he failed. Tess, my best friend at the Silver Acres Retirement Community, had no interest in Wesley, except for conversation and tax advice.
“Let’s finish the game,” I said, turning my attention to the board. But my concentration didn’t return. Wesley not only succeeded in grabbing my rook, he soon launched an onslaught against my king. I resigned, not very gracefully. I am a bad loser. I excused myself and went back to my apartment.