When Trudy's first full house at the Lady Slipper is a strange entourage of foreign visitors, a blizzard traps them all and a murderer is on the loose, things have only started to get bizarre. She doens' know this is jsut the beginning of an even more horrific adventure for her.
Bed and Breakfast Murders
Tea and Murder
The second book in the Bread and Breakfast Series
It was a full summer with many guests, many of whom said they would book again next year. Trudy Moncha looked forward to the more quiet time of the winter season they expected. Perhaps around the Christmas and New Years Holidays they would see a swell in the number of bookings they could expect. She knew that The Pink Lady Slipper’s name was getting around and some of the earlier marred character of the place was being quieted. There had been no more incidents since Linda’s trial and subsequent incarceration.
Giving up her career as a rodeo clown after the bull, Cyclone, nearly cost her her life was easier than facing the inheritance of The Pink Lady Slipper. The enormous remodeling project that was nothing but one bad happening after another from the moment she’d arrived at Orenda would have pushed her out many times if she hadn’t been so committed to finding her mother’s
murderer. Zero Cemetery Lane, the odd address of The Pink Lady Slipper, grew more and more like an omen in her mind as skeletons, bodies, rings with fingers still attached, exploding glass front cabinets and strange color crayon drawings resembling hieroglyphics appeared on freshly painted walls.
Coming to terms with her mother’s murder had not been easy. What was harder still was the knowledge that her younger sister was responsible for her mother’s death. Why, she was sure she would never be able to fathom. Linda’s mind had become so twisted with jealousy and greed that she followed Faith Yachne into radical and monstrous actions. Murder is never sane, but in Linda Karel’s case it was macabre and beyond Trudy’s rational mind to comprehend. Killing the dreadful two timing John Wanita was one thing, he deserved some sort of comeuppance—as did Pastor Yachne for his brutalizing and mind control games—but murder? She wasn’t sure she could reconcile her feelings on that either. It was a good thing that The Pink Lady Slipper had become a tourist Mecca that pulled her mind from the bizarre happenings of the last year into the world of stagecoach rides and families looking to drive back into a more settled and peaceful existence. Alexandra Eldride had not only become her best friend, her carpenter skills and imagination were a major part of the success of The Pink Lady Slipper. The stagecoach rides they couldn’t carry out for the winter, because of the possible hazard to the guests, had nearly derailed her plans, but Alexandra had come up with the idea of a sleigh ride, an ice skating party on Lake Harmony with dinner under the stars as an alternative. It took a little rearranging and a new trail blazed through the woods and kept clear for the horses, but it was doable and had been a great hit with the first winter family trip.
Yes, life had turned around and Trudy was sure her mother would have been very happy to finally see The Pink Lady Slipper as a profitable venture. Ruby must be happy too since the wailing of her “girls” seems to have dissipated. She could still hear the voices of the women in her imagination when she visited the room, but it seemed to give her a grounding, a centered place to her life. When she and Alexandra had discovered the room she had been determined to keep it exactly as they had found it, exactly as Ruby had left it—she was glad she did.
Trudy shook herself out of her revelry. “Woman, your guests will be here before you get your cleaning done if you aren’t careful,” she said aloud. She loaded the dumbwaiter with dusting supplies, window cleaner, the freshly dry cleaned velvet bed spread and drapes and sent the dumbwaiter up to the second floor. As soon as the bed and breakfast became a money making enterprise they had hired two women to do the cleaning, but she couldn’t bear to let anyone clean Ruby’s Room, as she’d named it. That was Trudy’s domain and no matter how busy she was, she always made the time to get to it. She hurried up the stairs to pull the dumbwaiter the rest of the way up.
Xavier had made some contributions to the final ease and smoothness of running The Pink Lady Slipper—his ideas complimented Alexandra’s, and Trudy thought perhaps she could possibly begin to become involved with a man like Xavier—yet, her insides told her either it was too soon since Jake had died, or perhaps all was not right with that match. It need not concern her at this moment. His help and companionship was enough for now, she decided.
Trudy grabbed the edge of the table to steady herself as she stared in disbelief. She hadn’t imagined it. The Amazon Woman—the words stung her as they struck home. She also realized then she never even knew her name. A guest had died at the Lady Slipper and she never even knew who the woman was.
Forms, shadows, gathered around the body in the periphery of her vision, she couldn’t pull herself away from the gold handled knife standing there so regal in the woman’s back.
One of the shadow men leaned down to pull the knife from her back.
“No! Don’t touch.” Alexandra said as she dashed to the phone. Her face drained of color as though some one had pulled the drain plug. She shook the phone and pushed frantically at the disconnect button. Trudy knew in an instant the phone was as dead as the woman on the floor in the kitchen doorway.