Read Room for Murder (Book 4 in the Lighthouse Inn Mysteries) Online

Authors: Tim Myers

Tags: #alex winston, #blue ridge mountains, #cozy, #fiction, #hatteras west inn, #inn, #lighthouse, #mystery, #north carolina, #tim myers, #traditional

Room for Murder (Book 4 in the Lighthouse Inn Mysteries)

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Room for Murder

By Tim Myers

Book 4 in the Lighthouse Inn

Praise for the Lighthouse
Mystery series by Tim Myers


Entertaining ... authentic
... fun ... a wonderful regional mystery that will have readers
rebooking for future stays at the Hatteras West Inn and



Myers cultivates the North
Carolina scenery with aplomb and shows a flair for

Fort Lauderdale


Tim Myers proves that he is
no one-book wonder... A shrewdly crafted puzzle.”

Midwest Book


Colorful... picturesque ...
light and entertaining.”

The Best Reviews

Praise for the Candlemaking Mystery series by
Tim Myers


Excellent storytelling that
makes for a good reading experience…(Myers) is a talented writer
who deserves to hit the bestseller lists.”

---The Best


A sure winner.”

---Carolyn Hart, author of the Death on
Demand series


An interesting mystery, a
large cast of characters, and an engaging amateur sleuth make this
series a winner.”

---The Romance Reader’s Connection (four


The Lighthouse Inn Mysteries by Tim Myers

Innkeeping With Murder

Reservations For Murder

Murder Checks Inn

Room For Murder

Booked For Murder


The Candlemaking Mysteries by Tim Myers

At Wick’s End

Snuffed Out

Death Waxed Over

A Flicker Of Doubt


The Soapmaking Mysteries by Tim Myers

Dead Men Don’t Lye

A Pour Way To Dye

A Mold For Murder


The Cardmaking Mysteries by Tim Myers written
as Elizabeth Bright

Invitation To Murder

Deadly Greetings

Murder And Salutations


Room for Murder

by Tim Myers.

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2003 Tim Myers

All rights reserved.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.

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.

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. 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


For Patty and Emily, My Reasons Why.

Chapter 1

I can’t believe you’re
actually letting these blowhards take over the Grand Unveiling like
this,” Mor Pendleton said as he and Alex Winston watched the
activities on the temporary outdoor stage from the wings of the
newly rebuilt Dual Keepers’ Quarters of the Hatteras West Inn. A
long shadow fell from the nearby lighthouse, hiding them from the
view of most of the crowd. Mor was not only the town handyman who
helped keep Hatteras West in good repair, he also happened to be
Alex’s best friend in the world.

Alex said, “What can I say, I’m shameless. I
can use every bit of free publicity I can get for the inn, and I
figured having both mayoral candidates come out for the festivities
might get us some good press.” Alex owned and operated the Hatteras
West Inn, a hostelry featuring a duplicate of the Cape Hatteras
Lighthouse and Keepers’ Quarters tucked away in the foothills of
the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Things were definitely looking up, Alex
thought, as he surveyed the new construction. With the completion
of the building, Hatteras West finally felt whole again; the
absence of the main building had been like a missing tooth for the
lighthouse and the smaller Main Keeper’s Quarters. Better yet,
maybe now they could actually operate at a profit again.

Elise Danton, the Hatteras West Inn’s
housekeeper who was indispensable in running the place, came up
behind them and said, “Mor, Emma’s been looking all over for you.
She says it’s important.”

The big man shrugged. “She must not be
looking that hard. I’ve been right here all afternoon.” Emma
Sturbridge and Mor Pendleton had survived more than a few rough
patches in their rocky relationship, and Alex often wondered where
the two would finally end up when the smoke cleared.

Elise smiled softly. “I’ll just go tell her
where to find you then.”

Mor said abruptly, “No need for that. I’ll
track her down myself. I’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s on
her mind.” There was something about the big man’s smile that made
Alex pause. Something was definitely in the air today.

After Mor was gone, Elise moved up beside
Alex and said, “This is so wonderful. We’ve finally got the inn
back the way it should be.”

Alex said, “Just in time, too. We used up
the last of the money from the emerald sale, but it was worth it,
wasn’t it? It turned out better than I’d even hoped.” One of Alex’s
guests at the inn had discovered a vein of emeralds somewhere on
the Winston property, only to take the secret of its location to
the grave with her. However, there had been enough quality emeralds
found in her possession to pay for rebuilding the Dual Keepers’
Quarters, finally restoring the property to its original

The audience suddenly broke loose with
applause. It took Alex a second to realize they were clapping for
Tracy Shook, one of the two candidates vying for Grady Hatch’s job
as mayor of Elkton Falls. Tracy, a petite blonde around Alex’s age,
was nearly hidden by the podium onstage. Alex had grown up with
Tracy and her ex-husband, Conner Shook. Though Tracy and Conner had
shared the same last name throughout their lives, the two came from
opposite branches of the Shook family tree, so far separated that
they were less blood-kin than many of the folks who lived in Elkton
Falls. Tracy, now running for mayor, had hyphenated her line of
Shooks onto her married name, but she’d dropped her husband’s Shook
the day their divorce was finalized. In Alex’s opinion, Tracy was
what the Elkton Falls government needed: someone with fresh ideas
and a new approach to shake things up. Conner, predictably enough,
was acting as her competitor’s campaign manager.

As Tracy’s opponent, Oxford Hitchcock, took
the stage for his own speech, Alex asked, “Elise, is everything
ready inside?”

They were having a reception in the lobby of
the new building after the speeches were finished, and he wanted to
make sure everything was just right.

The punch is chilling, the
finger foods are on their trays, and I’ve got three college kids
decked out in their finest to serve our guests. I heard the chamber
group warming up a few minutes ago, and they sounded

Alex said, “I’m still not sure about
classical music at Hatteras West. It’s a little highbrow for Elkton
Falls, don’t you think?”

She patted his arm. “Alex, don’t worry,
everyone will love it.”

I still say we should have
gone with a bluegrass band.”

Elise said, “The next time we have a
building dedication, we’ll do just that.”

Alex sighed. “To be honest with you, I never
want to have to go through this again.”

That makes two of us. But
don’t worry so much, our troubles are over.”

On the stage, Oxford was wrapping up his
comments, praising apple pie and motherhood, and the crowd roared
again. Oxford was a popular man around Elkton Falls, serving on the
Town Council for twelve years as well as handling the treasurer’s
duties. He was a stout, heavyset man with a full mane of silver
hair and a voice that echoed through the hills. As he spoke, Oxford
locked both thumbs under his “signature” suspenders.

Oxford Hitchcock was in sharp contrast to
Tracy Shook in just about every way: he bellowed, while she always
spoke softly, and though Oxford could put away more food than any
man, woman, or child at one of his political barbeque events, Tracy
never seemed to do more than nibble around the edges of her plate.
Oxford was massive and barrel-chested, while she was a slender
woman with the biggest blue eyes Alex had ever seen.

Tracy and Alex had been friends since
elementary school and had stayed close. Tracy and her ex-husband
Conner, on the other hand, had grown to dislike each other more and
more over the years following their divorce. Conner was running
Oxford’s mayoral campaign, and the general consensus at Buck’s
Grill was that the only reason he worked with such enthusiasm was
to rob Tracy of her chance for victory.

Longtime Mayor Grady Hatch took the stage as
Oxford walked off, and for the first time that day, the applause
was across the board, genuine and heartfelt. Grady had been running
Elkton Falls since Alex had been a kid. The mayor’s face was
flushed, and there was a rasp in his voice as he talked to the
crowd. “Well now, I’m sure you’all are tired of the sound of my
voice after all these years, so I’ll make this brief.” There was a
burst of laughter from the audience, since Grady was notorious for
his clipped comments in public.

Even more so than usual,”
Grady added with a smile. He was clearly enjoying his last days in
office, with most of the petty squabbles of his political life left
behind. Grady had stunned Elkton Falls when he’d announced that he
wouldn’t be seeking reelection. Folks were just starting to realize
they’d been taking him for granted all along, but no one could talk
him into changing his mind. For weeks, Grady had told anyone who
would listen that the second he left office, he was going to buy a
motor home and see the world. The only thing Grady had promised to
participate in after leaving office was the “Save the Bridge” fund,
a committee Alex had grudgingly agreed to serve on himself, since
he believed so strongly in its cause. Elkton Falls sported one of
the last covered bridges still standing in North Carolina, and
Grady had made it his personal cause in life to see the bridge
restored with private money when Raleigh had turned down his
request for preservation funding.

Grady told the crowd, “Save your applause
for someone who really deserves it. We’re here to celebrate the
dedication of this fine structure,” he said, gesturing to the new
building, “and the man who made it happen. Alex, come on up here
and say a few words.”

Alex shook his head numbly. He absolutely
hated speaking in public.

Elise gave him a nudge. “Go on, Alex.”

I can’t,” he said. Why had
Grady done this to him? Alex would rather take a beating than talk
in front of all those people.

She nudged him and said, “You can do it,
Alex. Don’t look at the crowd.

Focus on me,” she added as
the applause started to fade.

Alex took in a deep gulp of air and walked
toward the stage like a man on his way to his doom.

As he approached the microphone, he walked
past the mayor and whispered, “Grady, I’ll get you for this.”

The mayor chuckled. “You’ll have to stand in
line, my boy. There are a lot of folks with bigger grudges than
yours waiting to take a shot at me.”

Alex walked up to the microphone as panic
swept through him. Everyone was staring at him! He fought the urge
to bolt from the platform as his frantic gaze found Elise. Taking a
deliberately deep breath, Alex kept his gaze on her as he said,
“Thanks for coming, everybody. Now let’s all go inside and enjoy
the refreshments and music.”

It was by far the shortest speech of the
day, and the crowd showed their appreciation with enthusiastic
applause. As they filed past the stage to tour the newly completed
building, Grady grabbed Alex’s shoulder.

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