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Authors: Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Deadly Notions

BOOK: Deadly Notions
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Table of Contents
Everyone’s a suspect
Tori was standing behind her desk, looking out over the town square, when he showed up, the squeak of his shoes and the pace of his gait solidifying what she knew to be true—the police car parked in front of the library was not a coincidence.
Not by a long shot.
Word had gotten out about the party moms and their feelings toward the victim. Of that she was sure. But it was the
behind the crime she couldn’t figure out, particularly in light of the fact that each and every person at Sally’s party had uttered a derogatory word under their breath where Ashley Lawson was concerned.
Including her.
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / April 2011
Copyright © 2011 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-101-47765-6
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

For my friends, Lynn Cahoon and Joe Richardson.
There’s no one I’d rather stash a body with than the two of you.
As always, writing is largely a solitary endeavor. It means long conversations with myself and even longer periods of time hunched over the computer—alone.
That said, the most wonderful bursts of sunshine creep through the process in the form of my family. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the writer I am.
And then there are my readers, the people who make writing this series all the more fun. Thank you. Your emails and letters mean the world to me. Keep ’em coming!
Chapter 1
Tori Sinclair held up the next picture in the pile and looked around at the fourteen kindergarteners sitting cross-legged on the braided rug. “Who drew this face?”
A hand shot into the air. “Me!”
“Okay”—she dropped her gaze to the nametag slung around the child’s neck—“Bobby. Can you tell us what this face is feeling?”
“He’s mad as a bear with a sore backside.” The redhead rose onto his knees, swiping the back of his hand across his nose as he did.
“Mad as a bear with a sore backside?” she repeated.
Bobby nodded. “Uh-huh. Means he’s real mad. ’Cept when my daddy talks ’bout the bear, he doesn’t say
, he says
“Ah, I see.” She pointed at the picture, mentally filing away yet another southern expression to add to her evergrowing list—a list that had started the day she moved to Sweet Briar, South Carolina, and that still showed absolutely no sign of completion more than a year later. “Can you tell us how you chose to show his anger?”
The little boy jumped to his feet and came to stand beside her, his moment in the spotlight no doubt responsible for the face-splitting smile that boasted two missing front teeth. “I made his mouth go down right here like this.” He poked at the face on his drawing then lifted his finger up to the curlicues shooting out from the sides of the perfectly round head. “And see this part? That’s the smoke comin’ out of his ears.”
“Wow! He
madder than a bear, ain’t he?” Sally Davis sat up straight in her spot near the center of the circle, her large brown eyes round as saucers. “My mee-maw says Jake Junior”—the child paused and looked around at her classmates—“that’s my big brother in case you didn’t know that, gets smoke out his ears when he’s mad, too. ’Cept I ain’t seen it yet.”
“Keep lookin’, Sally. If it’s there, you’ll see it.” Bobby turned back to Tori and flashed yet another smile. “I did good, didn’t I, Miss Sinclair?”
“You did a very nice job, Bobby, thank you.” Shifting his picture to the bottom of the pile, she looked back at the rest of the class, her voice a poor disguise for the laugh that was becoming harder and harder to stifle. “And who drew this one?”
Jackson Calhoun skipped back into the room from his bathroom trip, his dark brown hair curling at the ends in an exact replica of his father. “Ooooh, that’s my picture, Miss Sinclair!”
She waved him over. “Would you like to tell us what
face is feeling, Jackson?”
“Sure I—” He stopped midway across the room and stared at his drawing, the corners of his mouth slipping downward. “Could I change one—no,
things first? Please? Pretty, pretty please? I’ll do it mighty quick. I promise.”
Waving off his teacher’s hesitation, Tori nodded and handed the little boy a pencil. Two seconds later the picture was back in her hand, this time sporting a few lines on each side of the eyes and a long rectangle draped across the center of the mouth. “Those are interesting changes, Jackson. Would you like to tell us about it?”
Jackson nodded. “My face is worried.”
Again, the child nodded. “My mamma says that’s what happens when grown-ups give small things big shadows.”
“That’s the same as being worried,” Bobby interjected.
Tori nibbled her lip. “Have you ever considered being an interpreter, Bobby?”
“What’s that?” Sally asked.
“That’s someone who translates words from one language to another,” explained Tori. “For example, if I spoke Spanish yet your class spoke only English, I would need an interpreter to explain what I’m saying so you could understand.”
“Nah, I wanna be a race-car driver.” Bobby grabbed his make-believe steering wheel and moved it back and forth, car noises emerging from between his lips. “And I’m gonna be so good I won’t never be worried like Jackson’s face.”
Jackson’s face.
She motioned toward Jackson’s picture with her head. “Okay . . . tell us.”
“Well, his eyebrows come down here and he’s got lines right here”—Jackson imitated the illustration with his own face—“and this right here? Why, that’s his finger pushed up against his mouth. Like he’s trying to figure something out to make it all better . . . but he can’t.”
“That’s very good, Jackson.”
“Mrs. Morgan helped me.”
“Hey! That’s not fair,” whined a blonde from the back of the group. “You said we had to draw these faces on our own.”
“Mrs. Morgan helped you?” she echoed as her gaze left Jackson and traveled around the children’s room of Sweet Briar Public Library. Not seeing her assistant, she looked back at the little boy. “When?”
BOOK: Deadly Notions
5.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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