Saturday, May 30, 2015

Any Port in a Storm (Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series Book 4) by Elaine Orr


Barnes & Noble

Someone is breaking into the houses Jolie appraises. When she realizes a new face in town is leading high school kids into trouble in those houses, Jolie's mad and lets him know it. Hayden offers to help her mind her own business, and a lot of people at the Talk Like a Pirate Day fundraiser for the food pantry hear her give him what for.

A hurricane's on the way to disrupt Talk Like a Pirate Day. When a corpse turns up under the pirate ship the next day, Jolie's looking like a suspect.

Soon she has less work. Who wants a possible murder suspect appraising their house? Scoobie's pirate limericks can't solve a crime, so Jolie and her sometimes buddy local reporter George Winters look for the murderer and try to figure out who's trying to frame Jolie. They need to stay ahead of whoever's mad at her and off the radar of the local police who tell Jolie -- for the hundredth time -- to butt out. All this and Jolie has to deal with Aunt Madge's blossoming love life. And what about her own?

For a cozy mystery with a dose of humor and a touch of romance, join Jolie and friends in Ocean Alley.


In this excerpt for Any Port in a Storm. Jolie is about to learn that a helpful receptionist is not who she thinks she is.

"I'm so rude. I didn't tell you my name. It's Ruth. I've been with Mr. Hardin for almost ten years." She handed me a glass with ice and what looked like pinkish water. "I put some of that new flavoring in it." She gave me a big smile and returned to her desk.
I had really wanted plain water, but it was a pleasant taste, strawberry, I thought. I glanced at my phone again. The Grossos were ten minutes late. They lived very close to the office, so I was mildly irritated. And very sleepy.
It was another two or three minutes before I realized that I was more than tired. My eyes were out of focus. "I think, I think I better…" I stood and then quickly sat back down.
Ruth got up and walked toward me. Her friendly smile was replaced by a very menacing look. Or maybe two looks. It was hard to tell.
"You don't know who I am, do you?" she said, in a strident tone.
It took a great deal of effort to say, "No."
"Thanks to you, I don’t have any idea where my brother Joe is."
Crud. Joe Pedone's sister. "Are you, are you Mary Something?" I asked.
"Oh yes. Mary Jo. Joe Pedone's twin sister. And you and I are going to have a long talk." She walked back to her desk and fiddled with the phone for a moment.
It was very hard to think. I couldn't imagine that she would hurt me. Unless she was as screwy as her brother, who was not a nice man at all. I thought about Ramona. She knew what building I was in, but she had no idea of the suite. Not that it was a big building, but I wish someone knew where I was.
"Up you go." Mary Jo put her hand under my arm and helped me stand. "We're going into Mr. Hardin's office." She guided me to a chair that had a soft seat and upholstered arms, and picked up a roll of duct tape from the nearby desk and started to wrap it around my wrists, securing them to the arms of the chair.
This is not good. I just could not get my brain and limbs to cooperate. What did she give me?
"You're going to hear me out, and then you're going to tell the police that you were very, very wrong about my brother." She pulled a chair toward me and sat facing me.
Mary Jo's face was contorted in anger. "My Joe is a good man. He sent my mother a check every month. A good check. Now she has to live on Social Security and whatever I can give her, and it's not much. And I'm stuck working in this stupid office, watching the lawyers win tons of money for their clients. Do I get any kind of bonus when they win a big case? Not hardly."
She went on and on. My eyes had closed and then there was a loud whack and my head jerked back. She slapped me!
"You stay awake and listen to me!"
Her face was inches from mine, and I could see the spittle at the corners of her mouth. "What do you…what do you want?" The slap had made my neck hurt again.
"You are going to listen to me!" She was practically screeching now.
I realized she had probably picked five-thirty because the lawyers would have left, and maybe everyone else on this floor. My head wobbled, but I tried to look at her. I didn't want another slap.
"…and you're going to tell my mother you were wrong about Joe. Broke her heart, you did." She kept going. "I said listen to me!"
I was vaguely aware that her arm was raised, and I steeled myself for another slap.
"Ow! Let go of me!" Mary Jo yelled.
Someone had come into the room and shoved Mary Jo hard enough that she fell to her knees. And then Ramona was on Mary Jo's back and shoved her face into the carpet. And someone was screaming. I was pretty sure it wasn't me.
I heard a police siren, and then it stopped abruptly. Someone much bigger than Ramona and I ran into the office and he started shouting, too. If only these people would shut up.
Ramona was trying to unwrap the duct tape. "Jolie, Jolie! What did she give you?"
Really, I didn't feel that bad. It would be a lot better if I could lie down for a bit.

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