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Authors: Diana Killian

Dial Om for Murder

BOOK: Dial Om for Murder
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Table of Contents
 
 
PRAISE FOR
Corpse Pose
“Sure to leave readers breathless.”
—Madelyn Alt, author of
Where There’s a Witch
 
 
“Diana Killian has outdone herself . . .
Corpse Pose
has it all, from a well-written plot and sharp prose to wit and humor that had me rolling with laughter . . . Fun, fun, fun!”
—Michele Scott, author of the Wine Lover’s Mysteries
 
 
“[A] fresh, solid, and most importantly, entertaining, kick-off to her new yoga-themed series.”
—ReviewingTheEvidence.com
 
 
“A tight, well-written story.”

Gumshoe Review
 
 
“A funny and fun cozy mystery.”

Affaire de Coeur
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Diana Killian
CORPSE POSE
DIAL OM FOR MURDER
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
 
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.
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.
 
DIAL OM FOR MURDER
 
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / November 2009
 
Copyright © 2009 by Diane Browne.
 
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 : 978-1-101-14910-2
 
BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME
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.
BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logos are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

To Candace, Dorothy, Lynn, and Tanya.
With thanks and affection.
Acknowledgments
I’d like to thank my husband, Kevin Burton Smith, for his love, support, and hot dinners. I’d also like to thank my terrific editor at Berkley Prime Crime, Sandy Hard ing, for her keen eye and superhuman patience.
One
“There’s
a call for you on line four.”
A.J. Alexander, momentarily distracted from sorting through potential candidates for a receptionist position, tore her attention from the MySpace page on the laptop screen before her. It was not easy to do given the pounding beat of “Get Freaky” by Play-N-Skillz, and the video clip of eighteen-year-old Tabitha Lowe’s tattooed and undulating body. Very lithe, Miss Lowe, but did she really think a prospective employer was going to be impressed by comments like “Partying with my posse” under the Interests section? Granted the list of Things to Do in an Elevator was pretty amusing. A.J. particularly liked number five:
Crack open your purse, and while peering inside ask, “Got enough air in there?”
Even so, it seemed clear Ms. Lowe was not going to fit the corporate profile—even a corporate profile as flexible as Sacred Balance Studio’s.
“Who is it, Suze?” she asked the plastic face of the intercom, clicking out of MySpace. She had a stack of resumes to get through before this afternoon, and so far the hunt was not going well. Sacred Balance Studio was currently short one receptionist now that Suze MacDougal had been promoted to teaching beginning yoga courses.
“Nicole Manning,” Suze’s voice crackled back.
A.J. ran a hand through her chin-length chestnut bob. Conversations with Nicole didn’t tend to be quick or easy. But Nicole was one of their two local celebrity clients, and she expected to be catered to. A.J. sighed. “Okay. Put her through—and, hey, why are
you
answering the phones?”
“Charlayne called in sick again, so Lily told me to cover and said she’d have someone take my classes.”
A.J. squashed the flare of irritation at Lily’s highhanded ness. Lily Martin was A.J.’s co-manager, and she was always butting heads with A.J. It made sense for Suze to man the phones. She was the only instructor with receptionist experience, and these days the Sacred Balance phones were pretty busy. But A.J. knew Lily would have tagged Suze for that duty anyway because she disagreed with A.J.’s decision to promote Suze. That was just one of many of A.J.’s decisions that Lily disagreed with.
Suze knew it, too, and there had been a trace of resentment in her tone.
A.J. said, “ Thanks so much for jumping in, Suze. It’s such a relief to know I can always rely on you.”
And she meant every word. Sounding mollified, Suze said, “No prob. Here’s Nicole. . . .”
“Oh my
God,
” Nicole breathed before A.J. could do more than open her mouth. “A.J., I don’t know
what
I would have done if you weren’t there!”
“Hey, Nicole!” A.J. said brightly, hoping to stave off with small talk whatever crisis this was, because obviously Nicole was, as Tabitha and her posse would say, “crisied out.”
“ This is like
such
an emergency,” Nicole said. “And, I mean, I
so
hate to even ask, but you are my
last
hope, A.J.”
A.J. tried to imagine what this emergency service could possibly be. Donate a kidney? Carry letters of transit across enemy lines? Give Nicole three free months’ membership at Sacred Balance?
She said cautiously, “Well, I mean, if there’s something I can do . . .”
Nicole hadn’t stopped long enough to hear that. “If you say no, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Seriously.”
A.J. could picture the text message now:
Srsly?
“What is it you need?” she inquired.
“I left my cell phone at the studio.”

Oh
.” That was easy enough. A.J. relaxed and moved Tabitha Lowe’s resume to the don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you pile. “I can bring it to the party this afternoon.”
Nicole gave a nervous laugh. “Well,
no
! I mean, I sort of need it
now
. That’s why this is an emergency. I’m expecting a really important call. From my
producer.
” The fact that she hastened to add that bit of unnecessary detail struck A.J.
“Won’t your producer just call you at home if he can’t reach you on your cell?” A.J. wasn’t sure why she was bothering to argue, because she already knew she was going to have to run Nicole’s cell phone out to her. It was a simple enough request, and they were too short-staffed to spare anyone else, so A.J. would have to make the trip to Nicole’s luxurious ten-bedroom colonial home—and it wasn’t the end of the world. She could use a break from reading misspelled resumes and investigating indiscreet blogs at LiveJournal and MySpace.
“ They—I—I just can’t take that chance,” Nicole faltered. “Anyway, no one calls me at home. Everyone uses my cell. And that phone is
expensive
, A.J. It’s a Nokia Gold Edition. It’s worth, like, three-thousand bucks.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“No, I’m not kidding you! Will you do it? Will you bring me my phone right
now
?” Nicole couldn’t quite curb the impatience in her tone.
BOOK: Dial Om for Murder
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