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Authors: Jessica Fletcher

A Slaying in Savannah

BOOK: A Slaying in Savannah
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Table of Contents
 
OTHER BOOKS IN THE
MURDER, SHE WROTE
SERIES
Manhattans & Murder
Rum & Razors
Brandy & Bullets
Martinis & Mayhem
A Deadly Judgment
A Palette for Murder
The Highland Fling Murders
Murder on the
QE2
Murder in Moscow
A Little Yuletide Murder
Murder at the Powderhorn Ranch
Knock ’Em Dead
Gin & Daggers
Trick or Treachery
Blood on the Vine
Murder in a Minor Key
Provence—To Die For
You Bet Your Life
Majoring in Murder
Destination Murder
Dying to Retire
A Vote for Murder
The Maine Mutiny
Margaritas & Murder
A Question of Murder
Coffee, Tea, or Murder?
Three Strikes and You’re Dead
Panning for Murder
Murder on Parade
Obsidian
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England 
First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 
First Printing, October 2008
 
Copyright © 2008 NBC Universal Inc.
Murder, She Wrote is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. All rights reserved. 
OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Bain, Donald, 1935-
A slaying in Savannah : a Murder, she wrote mystery / by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain.
p. cm.
“Based on the Universal television series created by Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson & William Link”
eISBN : 978-0-451-22505-4
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright
owner and the above publisher of this book.
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
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 Web sites or their content.
 
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the
permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions,
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For Zachary, Jacob, Lucas, Alexander, Abigail,
Eleanor, Sylvan, and Gray
Acknowledgments
Erica Backus
,
Katie Foster
, and the other wonderfully helpful folks at the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau who sent us in the right direction while researching this book. It must be a joy to promote a place as lovely as Savannah, Georgia.
 
Captain Robert Merriman
of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. This personable, savvy thirty-year veteran of the Savannah police force graciously shared his time and knowledge with us of policing procedures utilized in Savannah not only today but historically as well. And thanks to
Mike Wilson
, who put us in touch with him.
 
Wally Campbell
, laboratory manager of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Coastal Regional Crime Lab. His love of the science practiced there is contagious and undoubtedly contributes to the lab’s place in the top tier of crime labs. Thanks for giving us a solid education in forensic science and for introducing us to
Brian Leppard
and
Rachel B. Duke
, both of the Division of Forensic Sciences.
 
Jacqueline L. Allen,
real estate consultant extraordinaire for Re/Max, whose love of her adopted city shines through and who helped us navigate the neighborhoods.
 
Robert Edwards
, general manager of the venerable Forest City Gun Club. We wish you well with your book, too.
 
Last but not least:
 
Shane Sullivan‚
whose wife,
Deborah Sullivan
, is the proprietor of “The Book” Gift Shop, nerve center for everything
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
, the John Berendt blockbuster set in Savannah, and the shop’s
Trese Newman
, who graciously gave us permission to borrow their ghost story.
Chapter One
Ah’m hoping to make contact with a Mrs. Jessica Fletcher.”
“Well, you have,” I said. “May I ask who’s calling?”
“My apologies. Ah seem to have forgotten my manners. My mother would be horrified. This is Roland Richardson the Third, attorney-at-law in Savannah, Georgia.”
“Savannah! I haven’t been there in a long time, although I’ve always enjoyed my visits.”
“Yes, it is a lovely place to call home. My family goes back many generations. You might call me a true native son.”
Judging from his pronounced Southern accent, I didn’t doubt him for a minute.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Richardson?”
“It’s what Ah can do for
you
, Mrs. Fletcher.”
My antennae went up. Was he about to try to sell me something, a parcel of land in a swamp, or a hot stock that couldn’t lose? I waited for him to elaborate, my hand poised to hit the OFF button.
“Allow me to explain. You see, I have been the attorney for one of our leading, and I might say loveliest, citizens for many years. I believe you were acquainted with her—Miss Tillie Mortelaine.”
“Tillie? My goodness, it’s been ages since we’ve spoken. I hope she’s all right.”
“It is my sad duty, Mrs. Fletcher, to inform you that Miss Tillie has passed from this earth to a heavenly place of rest and repose.”
In other words, she’s dead
.
“Oh! I’m so sorry to hear that. She was a charming lady.”
“I would certainly agree with you. And a long-lived one. Ninety-one years on this earth, and every one of them active and productive.”
“I appreciate your calling me with this news,” I said, wondering why he had. The explanation was not long in coming.
“You must be curious why I’ve made this call,” he said. “Let me be direct, Mrs. Fletcher. Miss Tillie—that was how she preferred to be addressed—left a v-e-r-y long and detailed last will and testament, in which you are prominently mentioned.”
“I am?”
“Yes, ma’am, you certainly are.”
“It’s been so many years since we’ve seen each other. May I ask why she remembered me in her will?”
“Of course you may, and it is my pleasure to enlighten you. According to Miss Tillie’s document, she worked many years ago on a literacy program with which you were very much involved.”
“That’s true. We met in Washington, D.C., at the founding meeting of the National Coalition for Literacy. I’m still involved with literacy programs.”
“A truly worthwhile undertaking. Miss Tillie cites in her will the work you and she did together to establish such a program here in Savannah.”
A flood of memories warmed me. “I loved working with her, Mr. Richardson. It was an extremely satisfying undertaking, and I was delighted to see it spread throughout Georgia and to other states in the South. She was the spark plug that got the program off the ground. And, of course, her generosity was crucial to its success.”
“Exactly so. Well, Mrs. Fletcher, Miss Tillie obviously wanted the program you and she created here in our fair city to continue on long after her passing. It is for that reason that she has left you the sum of one million dollars.”
“Left
me
?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Why would she leave
me
a million dollars?”
“I must admit it isn’t quite as simple as I may have led you to believe.”
“I’m listening.”
“You see, Miss Tillie was known in Savannah as a woman who did not easily part with her money. I suppose you could say she was parsimonious in the extreme. Although she did support many charities, her gifts more often than not included conditions.”
“Conditions!”
“Yes, ma’am, conditions.”
“And what conditions are attached to this bequest?”
He chuckled. “Excuse me while I clean my glasses,” he said. “The eyes are not what they used to be. Actually, I am in quite good health, aside from my vision and a weakness in the toes.”
“Pardon?”
“Weakness in my toes. My physician says it’s a form of peripheral neuropathy. But that’s of no concern to you.”
Although we’d never met, I pictured an elderly man in a three-piece suit and bow tie, sitting barefoot at his desk and wiggling his toes.
“Ah, yes, that is better, much better. Now, let me see what it says here. Miss Tillie has left the million dollars to you with the understanding that you will use it to further the literacy program with which the two of you were involved.”
BOOK: A Slaying in Savannah
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