Read Dream a Little Scream Online

Authors: Mary Kennedy

Dream a Little Scream

BOOK: Dream a Little Scream
2.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Praise for

Nightmares Can Be Murder

“A dream come true for cozy readers everywhere.”

—Lorna Barrett,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Booktown Mysteries

“A wry and clever debut. Huge fun.”

—Carolyn Hart, national bestselling author of the Death on Demand Mysteries

“A fun series that goes where no sleuth has gone before. Once you pick this book up, you won't look at dreams in the same way. Or mysteries.”

—Carolyn Haines, award-winning author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries

“Kennedy, who previously penned the Talk Radio Mystery series, introduces a fresh premise to the cozy genre. Balancing a murder plot with humorous characters and a genteel Southern setting, this is a terrific start to a new series.”

Library Journal

“Readers may start analyzing their own dreams after reading Kennedy's latest tale . . . Kennedy pens a lively mystery, made unique by the Dream Club getting together to see if they can solve a murder before one of their own members is targeted.”

—RT Book Reviews

“Entertaining . . . well written . . . The author of the Talk Radio Mystery series continues to craft mysteries with sharp humor and witty dialogue. She succeeds in educating readers who will spend their days analyzing what the subconscious has been telling them at night.”

Kings River Life Magazine

“This is a clever premise, and I found the club members' dreams and the group interpretations thought provoking . . . The mystery was well designed . . . populated with characters who are sure to delight.”


Titles by Mary Kennedy

Talk Radio Mysteries




Dream Club Mysteries



An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014


A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2015 Mary Kennedy.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME design are trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

For more information, visit

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-62412-8


Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / August 2015

Cover illustration by Bill Brunning.

Cover design by Lesley Worrell.

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.


To Lorraine Bartlett and my fellow Cozy Chicks


A big thank-you to my editor, Michelle Vega, for her endless patience and expert editorial guidance. The wonderful staff at Berkley Prime Crime deserves a special shout-out for their marketing expertise and drop-dead-gorgeous covers.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my creative and energetic agent, Holly Root, who makes all things possible.

A special thanks to my husband, Alan, plot genius and computer guru, who smooths over technical (and creative) glitches for me.

Thank you to my pal, Bill Parrilli, who is my go-to guy for eccentric Florida characters, motorcycles, and the secret of making a perfectly dry martini.

And of course, thank you to my readers for enjoying my books and sending me words of encouragement.


Praise for Mary Kennedy

Titles by Mary Kennedy

Title Page




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Dream Symbol Guide


“Do you suppose she'll pose for pictures with us? Or give me a few quotes for my book club newsletter?” Lucinda Macavy flashed a shy smile at Sybil Powers, her eyes bright with excitement. “It's not every day a celebrity chef like Sonia Scott comes to town,” she added breathlessly. “It would be such an honor to meet her.”

Lucinda, a thin woman wearing an expensive but unflattering clay-colored shift, leaned forward to inspect the goodies Ali had arranged on the coffee table. With a quick, birdlike movement, she added a napoleon, a lemon bar, and a blueberry scone to her bone china plate and then sat back, waiting for the group to respond.

It was a hot summer evening in Savannah and Ali had jacked up the AC before the members of the Dream Club arrived for their weekly meeting. Sybil looked flushed in one of her tropical caftans and was gulping down vast quantities of sweet tea served in mason jars. Persia Walker appeared
thoughtful, fingering her chunky handmade necklace from Nepal.

My sister Ali, as always, looked cool, blond, and slender in white skinny jeans and and a pale yellow beaded top. As the proprietor of Oldies But Goodies, a Savannah candy shop, she dresses casually but always looks put together. The Dream Club meets weekly in her apartment above the shop, and she serves sweet tea, coffee, and a delicious array of pastries. She calls the Dream Club members her “beta tasters,” and she adds the most popular items to the café menu downstairs.

When I arrived in Savannah a few months ago, the vintage candy shop, just a couple of blocks off the Historic District, was struggling. We've made a few changes since then, invested in some marketing, added a café menu, and things are looking up. We've gone from operating in the red to the black, and Ali likes to tease me that my MBA finally came in handy. I like to tell her that my advice as a high-powered business consultant has rubbed off on her.

We make a good team. Yin and yang. Ali is headstrong and impulsive, with a wild creative bent, and I'm more conservative, always looking out for the bottom line. My quick visit down south to help my sister took an unexpected turn: I fell in love with Savannah and decided to make it my home.

“Oh, for heaven's sake, Lucinda. She won't be bothered giving you quotes for a little newsletter,” Dorien said sharply. “She's a celebrity and I bet all she cares about are articles in major newspapers,” she went on, “so you'd just be wasting your time. You know the food critic Neal Garson will want to do a big piece on Sonia. She thanked him on the acknowledgment page of her new book. I've heard the two of them are like this.” She held up her index finger intertwined with her middle finger and gave a knowing look like an actress in a soap opera.

“I think they dated back in high school,” Minerva Harper said thoughtfully. Minerva and her sister Rose are octogenarians who seem to know everyone who has ever lived in, died in, or visited Savannah in the past seventy-five years.

“See what I mean,” Dorien said triumphantly. “If anyone chats with Sonia about her cooking empire it will be Neal Garson, not you.”

“I suppose you're right,” Lucinda said diffidently. “Still . . . I'd certainly like to have a few moments with her.”

“Buy her latest cookbook, and you'll get ten seconds with her and an autograph.” Dorien snorted.

Ali raised her eyebrows and exchanged a look with me. I lifted my shoulders in a little shrug. We both know Dorien can be abrasive and has a way of dampening everyone's enthusiasm with her cutting remarks. The club members tolerate her rudeness and chalk it up to the fact that the woman has no idea she's being offensive. Plus she's fallen on hard times since her catering company took a nosedive. Dorien is a competent cook, but a few months ago she delivered a catered dinner to a dance instructor who later was found poisoned. Even though Dorien had no part in his death, it certainly had put a damper on her business.

“Maybe we should start the meeting,” I said, glancing at my watch. We were due to head over to the television taping at eight sharp. Sonia Scott, a nationally known chef, was going to do a live broadcast at a local television studio, and our reporter friend, Sara, had managed to snare tickets for everyone.

“Good idea,” Sybil said, fanning herself with a folded-up copy of
Southern Living.
Usually the thick stucco walls of the building keep the apartment cool, but this had been a brutally hot day, and now, even with the AC maxed out, the apartment seemed uncomfortably warm.

“We have a new member with us tonight,” Ali announced. “Etta Mae Beasley.” She nodded to a slight woman with hawkish features and piercing dark eyes. “Please tell us a little about yourself.”

Etta Mae licked her lips nervously and rested her hands on her knees. I noticed her hands looked rough and chapped as if the woman had spent a great deal of time farming or gardening.

“I moved here from Brunswick, Georgia,” she said slowly. “I've always been interested in dreams, so I'm really happy to be part of this group.” She hesitated for a moment. “I know everyone seems excited over the arrival of Sonia Scott, but I have a sort of”—she paused delicately—“history with her, so I'm afraid I don't share your enthusiasm.”

There was an awkward silence and Ali said quickly, “I'm so sorry to hear that, Etta Mae.” She glanced at me, probably hoping I'd chime in. “I hope you'll join us at the taping anyway.”

“Oh, I'll be there,” Etta Mae said in a stronger voice. “I wouldn't miss it for the world.” Her gaze traveled to a thick book with a glossy cover lying on an end table. “Is that what I think it is? Sonia's latest cookbook?” Her eyes widened in surprise as Dorien reached over and handed it to her. “How did you get it, if you don't mind my asking? The Southern Lights bookstore told me it wouldn't be available until tomorrow.”

“One of my customers picked up a copy at Hilton Head yesterday,” Ali said quickly. “The release day is tomorrow, but she saw them unpacking a box of Sonia's books at a local bookstore and managed to buy one. You can borrow it, if you like.”

“I'd like that very much,” Etta Mae said, her face hardening. “I bet this book is full of surprises.”
It seemed
like an odd thing to say. Another uncomfortable pause while Etta Mae shoved the book into a large quilted tote bag and didn't say another word. I had no idea what Etta Mae's “history” was with Sonia Scott, but it was obvious she wasn't a fan.

“Who's up first tonight?” Ali sat down and Scout gave a little meow and jumped into her lap. Barney and Scout are Ali's beloved cats, and no one is a stranger to them. Ali's question was just a formality; everyone knew the members take turns.

“I believe it's my turn,” Rose Harper said in her quivery voice. She and her sister Minerva were dressed in nearly identical floral dresses, and their wispy white hair framed their faces like halos.

“Go ahead, Rose,” Ali said encouragingly, just as we heard footsteps on the stairs leading up from the shop. Ali tensed and rushed to the landing but then laughed and touched her hand to her chest. “It's okay. We have another new member, Edward Giles.” She greeted a thin man in his sixties with an angular face as he reached the top of the stairs. “Welcome, Edward. Please have a seat anywhere you like.”

He glanced apologetically around the room and sat down on a leather hammock near the coffee table. “Sorry to be late; I was held up at the university.”

“Edward is a professor in the botany department,” Ali said warmly. “He knows all about herbalism and is an expert on nineteenth-century Savannah.”

“But I'm here tonight to learn about dreams,” he said, flushing a little. I wondered if he felt silly admitting his interest in dreams, or if he felt overwhelmed by the all-female Dream Club.

Ali quickly introduced the members by first names. “We're
running a bit late, Edward, so if you don't mind, we'll let Rose tell us about her dream.”

Rose stared at the new guest. “Edward Giles,” she said musingly. “Your mother was a Sudderth, I believe.”

The professor's eyebrows flew up. “Why yes, her name was Hilda Sudderth. But how in the world—”

“My sister knows everything about genealogy,” Minerva said complacently. “We're probably related.”

“We are.” Rose nodded her head vigorously. “Your maternal great-grandmother was married briefly to Thomas Newton of Charleston, who later had five children by Emily Cavendish.” She stopped and thought for a moment. “We're third cousins, twice removed, I believe. I'll look it up tonight to be sure.”

“That's astonishing,” Edward said, leaning forward. “We could use you at the university library in our reference department. We have a lot of people who need help researching their ancestry.”

“Oh, I'm retired,” Rose said, “I just research the family history of my friends and relatives for fun. That's one of my passions in life,” she added, “along with this club, of course.”

“Rose . . .” Ali said, urging her on.

“Oh yes, my dream,” Rose said. “I think this is an easy one. It's the House Dream.” She looked around the circle and paused dramatically. “Some of you are probably familiar with it. It's supposed to be a classic.”

“I've had that dream several times,” Persia Walker said. She turned to Etta Mae and explained, “It's a very symbolic dream. You're walking through a beautiful house and it represents all your dreams and aspirations. Each room is more lovely than the next.” Etta Mae nodded but didn't reply.

“I've hopped into that dream a few times,” Sybil offered. “It's fascinating.”

“You hopped in?” Edward looked perplexed. “How is that possible?”

“Sybil is a dream-hopper,” Ali explained. “She has a very special talent. She can drop into other people's dreams and follow them just as if she were watching a movie. It's a unique ability; the rest of us don't have it.”

Minerva gently nudged her sister. “Tell them about your dream, Rose,” she said, pointedly glancing at her watch.

“I was in a beautiful house somewhere down south. I know it was in the South because I saw Spanish moss hanging from the trees in the backyard. I was standing in the kitchen looking out at a lovely garden. Everything was perfect, pristine. The kitchen was stark white and modern, like something out of
Architectural Digest
. Very high-end: white cabinets, white subway tiles along the backsplash, a big farmhouse sink, white marble countertops.”

“Would anyone use marble on kitchen countertops?” Dorien asked. “Marble stains so easily, you know. Soapstone or granite are much more practical.”

“Anything is possible in a dream,” Rose said mildly. “There were copper pots hanging from the ceiling. They were gleaming; it was hard to believe they'd ever been used. The countertops were bare except for some lovely glass canisters. I think they must have been antiques. They were made of cut glass with silver lids. All of them were filled with spices and seeds and herbs. I opened one and it contained vanilla beans. The one next to it had cinnamon sticks, and a third one was stocked with tiny seeds I didn't recognize. They may have been sesame seeds, but they were larger, like nuts.”

“How did you feel when you were wandering through the kitchen?” I asked. Rose always has very detailed dreams, and I wanted to hurry her along. I'm new to dream interpretation, but I know the emotional content of a dream is the key to
analyzing it. Since Ali started the Dream Club a few months ago, the members have become surprisingly astute in uncovering the symbolic elements in a dream.

“First I felt very happy and carefree. Then I felt a sense of dread come over me, a premonition that something awful was about to take place,” Rose said, her voice faltering. “I looked outside and the sky had turned gray, threatening. The beautiful kitchen, the lovely décor”—she shook her head as if to focus her thoughts—“everything was suddenly shrouded in shadows. I sensed that something sinister was about to happen. I felt an evil presence in the kitchen.”

BOOK: Dream a Little Scream
2.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Promise of the Rose by Brenda Joyce
Sand and Sin by Dani Jace
The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech
Nanny 911 by Julie Miller
Visions Of Paradise by Tianna Xander
Wildflower Wedding by LuAnn McLane
Finding My Own Way by Peggy Dymond Leavey