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Authors: Joan Boswell

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Not twice in one day. This was too much. Rage, pure rage spurted through Hollis's arteries.

“I came back for some papers. Now you're going to drive me somewhere safe.”

Oh, no. Had he found the documents that Mary had hidden? Veronica would have died in vain if that had happened. And he wasn't going to have her drive him somewhere and then allow her to drive away. No. He planned to polish her off like poor Veronica. Not a chance. She'd drive out of here and then deal with the situation.

She drove to Yonge Street. “Hard to turn north. I'll go south.”

Her calm voice contrasted with her interior shaking, which had reached earthquake proportions.

“Cherry Beach. There's a boat waiting for me,” he said.

Sure, and it had been there for Veronica too.

Where were the police cars when you needed them? South past the intersection at Bloor and through the lights at Wellesley and at Dundas.

She saw her opportunity.

The lights at the intersection of King and Yonge were out, and a police officer directed traffic while the hydro crew worked to repair the traffic light. She'd take care not to hit the police officer, but she'd disobey his signal and slowly crash into whatever came the other way. She undid her safety belt but held it in position, hoping she wouldn't be trapped if the air bag blew up.

Wonder of wonders, the King streetcar entered the intersection and she braked enough to make the impact noisy but non-life threatening. The front of the streetcar hit the passenger side of the van. The air bags blew up.

“Jesus,” Cartwright shouted.

She scrambled out of the car.

A shot whistled past her ear, close enough that she felt the rush of air.

She doubled over and ran toward the officer. “Barney Cartwright is the van. He has a gun. He's dangerous,” she shouted as she made for the crowd on the curb. The officer called for backup and ordered Cartwright out of the van.

A hydro worker rushed to Hollis, who stood on the curb.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Hollis reached up and was relieved not to find sticky blood. Her knees wobbled and her breath came in gasps.

“I'm fine.”

Cartwright didn't fire again. Instead he raised his arms in a gesture of surrender and waited.

Sirens shrieked and police descended on the intersection. Traffic backed up. A curious crowd collected.

Cartwright disappeared into a police car and the officers found her. After arranging to have her van towed to the Mazda dealership, the police drove her home.

In the car she had time to regulate her breathing, to achieve a degree of calmness. And to wonder why Brownelly had co-operated with Cartwright. Why had he agreed to lure her to the garage?


Hollis opened her door and found a crowd in the living room. Detectives Simpson and Gilchrist, Mary, Crystal, Jay, and the two dogs filled the space.

Hollis walked in, collapsed in a chair and, despite her resolve to remain calm, burst into tears.

“What happened? What's wrong?” several voices asked?

“Barney Cartwright kidnapped her. She crashed the van to save herself and allow the police to capture Cartwright. He's now in custody,” Rhona said.

Hollis took deep, ragged breaths until she regained her composure. Rhona walked over and patted Hollis's shoulder. “Your quick thinking and courage not only saved you and led to Cartwright's capture, they probably saved other people's lives.” She smiled. “I would like to recommend you for an official commendation.”

Hollis couldn't believe what she was hearing but it was good news and she thanked Rhona before turning to Mary and Crystal. “You're safe. Did you get to the papers before Cartwright got to them?”

Mary held out her hand to Hollis, who stood up. Mary reached for her other hand. “Thanks to you, I did. The police opened the envelope. Veronica wrote down information about the Black Hawks and the money laundering that Cartwright revealed when he was drunk.” She shook her head. “I suspect Veronica planned to blackmail him. She must have told him that she had the information or he wouldn't have come after her. Poor Veronica. To think she could play games with a man like Cartwright.”

A knock on the door diverted them from thoughts of Cartwright and Veronica. Hollis freed her hands from Mary's grasp and answered.

Without an invitation Calum Brownelly stepped into the room.

The crowd stared. Rhona stepped forward, a partial smile on her face. Then as quickly as it had come it was gone. But not before Hollis had seen it. Rhona Simpson
Brownelly but wasn't supposed to let others know that she did. What did this mean?

“Daddy. Why are you here?” Jay said and ran to her father, who held her tight.

Hollis stood tall. He had a nerve coming here after what he'd done. If she hadn't thought quickly, she'd be dead.

“Why did you lure me into the car with that thug?” she asked.

Rhona stepped forward as if to intervene but Hollis held up a hand to stop her or anyone else. She wanted answers.

“I am
sorry. I can't tell you
sorry,” he said, his raspy voice even more gravelly than before. “I did call the police as soon as I hung up.”

“He did,” Gilchrist said.

Hollis examined him. His eyes, his lips, his shoulders, everything drooped. He presented the perfect image of contrition.

“Truly. I am,” he said, staring at her over Jay's head.

“You belong to his gang. How did he get you to do it?” she asked?

Brownelly glanced at the assembled crowd. No doubt he hadn't expected to tell his story to the multitude. “You're right. I've known Barney Cartwright for years. He thinks of me as a …” he hesitated.

“As what?”

“Not a friend, a trusted colleague.”

“A colleague! He's a murderer, a villain. What does that make you?”

“I'm sorry.”

Hollis waited. There had to be more to the story.

“The phone call happened because he met me when I was on my way to see you and Jay.” Here he hugged his daughter close. “As I came up the drive, Barney appeared. He stopped me and said he had something to do in the building, but in ten minutes he wanted me to phone you and say I was at the liquor store and had to talk to you.”

“Did you ask him why he wanted you to do this?”

“I did and I asked why he didn't simply go in and see you. He said you'd call the police, but he'd be able to talk to you in the liquor store parking lot. I said I couldn't understand why it was necessary.” His arms tightened around his daughter. “He threatened to hurt Jay if I asked any more questions or didn't persuade you. He added that nothing would happen but he had to talk to you.”

Hollis knew her face must reflect her increasing incredulity. “You believed him? What a cock and bull story.”

Brownelly made a rueful face. “I know, but for reasons I can't reveal, I had to play along and pray that when I called the police, they'd find you before he did any harm. If I hadn't made up my mind before I arrived, having Barney make me do that and threaten my daughter would have convinced me.”

Hollis leaned forward. “Convinced you of what?”

“That what you said was true. I need to make a home for Jay. I've resigned from my job. I'm taking Jay to Calgary. I have skills I can use and we'll be a family.”

Jay reached up and flung her arms around her father's neck. “Dad. Really? Really? Dad I'll be the best daughter ever.” She let go and whirled around the room. Her face reflected a joy Hollis had rarely seen. Her cheeks flushed, her eyes sparkled and her smile spread from ear to ear.

Hollis put the pieces together. Rhona knew Brownelly. That must mean that he was
a criminal, but Norman had worried about her safety because she knew Brownelly. The Black Hawks intended to kill Norman because he'd testified against them. Norman thought Brownelly belonged to the Black Hawks, but that couldn't be true, because of Rhona's reaction. The only possible conclusion was that Brownelly had worked as an undercover officer.

“That's wonderful news,” Hollis said.

In fact, every person in the room smiled.

A knock at the door. Hollis, still smiling, opened it and found Willem.

“I just got your message. I was worrying about you and here I am.” He looked past her at the crowd in the living room. “What's happening?”

Hollis pulled him inside. “I have so much to tell you. The murderers have been arrested. Jay's father is here, and he's moving to Calgary with her.”

Brownelly addressed the group. “We'll going out to celebrate. It's on me. Let's head for the Old Spaghetti Factory.”

Willem pulled Hollis close. He looked at the assembled crowd. “Maybe very soon Hollis and I will have some news for all of us to celebrate,” he said and kissed her.


Copyright © Joan Boswell, 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise (except for brief passages for purposes of review) without the prior permission of Dundurn Press. Permission to photocopy should be requested from Access Copyright.

Editor: Allister Thompson

Design: Jesse Hooper

Epub Design: Carmen Giraudy

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Boswell, Joan

Cut to the bone [electronic resource] : a Hollis Grant mystery / Joan Boswell.

Electronic monograph.
Issued also in print format.

ISBN 978-1-4597-0208-0

I. Title.

We acknowledge the support of the
Canada Council for the Arts
and the
Ontario Arts Council
for our publishing program. We also acknowledge the financial support of the
Government of Canada
through the
Canada Book Fund
Livres Canada Books
, and the
Government of Ontario
through the
Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit
and the
Ontario Media Development Corporation

Care has been taken to trace the ownership of copyright material used in this book. The author and the publisher welcome any information enabling them to rectify any references or credits in subsequent editions.

J. Kirk Howard, President

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More Hollis Grant Mysteries

Cut to the Chase



Danson Lafleur's been on a crusade to investigate deported criminals who return undetected to Canada, and now he's missing. Can he be the unidentified man in the morgue? Danson's desperate sister pleads with artist and amateur sleuth Hollis Grant to search for her brother, since the police don't appear to be taking his disappearance seriously. Leads seem to connect Danson and Gregory, his mystery flat-mate, to drugs. But who is Gregory, and what is his connection to the Russian mob? As Hollis investigates, she clashes with homicide detective Rhona Simpson, a woman annoyed by amateur sleuths in general and Hollis Grant in particular. Rhona, adjusting to a new, attractive, enigmatic partner, wants Hollis off the case. Toronto in November is as cold as Danson's trail. Will Hollis connect the dots before the body count rises?

Cut to the Quick



Hollis Grant is in Toronto, hoping for a quiet summer of study. She hopes to spend some time taking a course in painting from her best friend's husband, Curt Hartman. But the murder of her friend's stepson ends those plans as the friend teeters on the edge of hysteria. She needs support and begs Hollis to move in. Hollis discovers that all is not as it seems. Was the stepson the real target or is it his father, famous artist and Hollis's instructor, Curt Hartman? It appears that both father and son have led clandestine lives. Would someone kill them because of their secrets? Hollis poses those questions to Rhona Simpson, the Toronto homicide detective. It soon becomes clear that the crime is the work of a cold-blooded murderer who intends to strike again. Terror mounts at the Hartmans'. Arson, a bomb, a sabotaged sailboat — the killer is closing in. Who will be the next victim?

Cut Off His Tale



The starter's gun explodes, and Hollis Grant excitedly begins her very first marathon, only to stumble almost immediately over the body of the Reverend Paul Robertson, her soon-to-be ex-husband. When the crush passes and the medics arrive, it becomes clear that he has not collapsed from the rigours of the race but has been brutally stabbed. Hollis's challenge is to find out who would hate the Reverend enough to stick a knife in his back. Could it be a parishioner at his church who dislikes his activist stance toward gay marriage? Or one troubled soul among the many who have sought his psychological counselling and then found themselves laid bare in the Reverend's latest book? As Hollis and Detective Rhona Simpson probe the secretive life of Paul Robertson, they discover multiple motives. As the murderer comes after Hollis herself, the solution to his murder takes on the urgency of life and death.

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BOOK: Cut to the Bone
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