Upscale clothing, jewelry, and crafts boutiques blend into historic 19th century brick buildings that are characteristic of the Old Port district of Portland, Maine. In my mystery novel, Fatal Whispers, ghostwriter Megan Scott and crime reporter Michael Elliott briefly visit the trendy shops along Exchange Street before diverting their attention to the investigation of three mysterious deaths in this New England town.
If you haven’t read Fatal Whispers yet, you’re in for a triple whodunit challenge! Join my sleuths as they search for clues to explain the sudden deaths of a homeless woman, a priest, and a millionaire’s young wife.
Here’s an excerpt from Megan’s point of view as she speaks with Michael about the recent death of a homeless woman that has baffled medical experts:
Monday morning, Michael’s article on Gladys appeared in the Herald. I sat down with a cup of fresh-perked coffee and read the first paragraph:
‘Gladys Lindstrom was laid to rest in St. Andrew’s cemetery on the weekend. Patrons who paused on the street to donate their spare change to one of Portland’s most recognizable senior citizens will remember her as glad rags Gladys—a nickname she used when thanking her benefactors.’
Accompanying the article was the same photograph of Gladys that Michael had shown me but enlarged for print. A gray-haired woman was stretched out on the pavement with her eyes shut. She wore layers of frayed brown skirts over dark stockings. A red handkerchief was wrapped around her head. Her joined hands held a wispy bunch of wildflowers—the same ones I’d noticed growing in the alley where her body had been found. Flanking her side was a handbag; its contents, though indiscernible, had fallen out. In the background were the rear doors of shops and several garbage bins…
I studied the photo. “There’s something odd about the way Gladys is holding the flowers, don’t you think? It almost looks staged.”
He nodded. “As if she knew she was about to die.”
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