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Authors: Jessica Fletcher

A Vote for Murder

BOOK: A Vote for Murder
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Table of Contents
 
 
FAVOR FOR A FRIEND?
“Do you have any idea what this is about?” I asked him in a low voice.
“About last night, Mrs. Fletcher.”
“What about last night?”
He checked to make sure no one was listening, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “The senator is really under the gun, Mrs. Fletcher. I know he asked you for a favor last night to help Mrs. Nebel through the ordeal of this week and what happened at the house with Nikki Farlow.”
Teller accompanied me to the front entrance of the Dirksen Building at First and C Streets where a black town car was waiting, its engine running. Teller opened the back door for me. When I was settled with my seat belt on, he leaned in and said, “I assure you the senator is deeply grateful for this, Mrs. Fletcher. Deeply grateful.”
With that, he shut the door, and the driver, a large man with a shaved head who hadn’t yet acknowledged my presence, pulled away from the curb.
The air in the car was frigid. I shivered and rubbed my arms to warm them up. But I wasn’t sure if the chill that ran through me was from the cold, or from the eerie feeling I had that I was unwittingly being thrown into a potentially risky situation. . . .
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
The Maine Mutiny
Margaritas & Murder
SIGNET
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
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Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
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Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
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Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin
Group (USA) Inc. Previously published in a New American Library edition.
First Signet Printing, September 2005
Copyright © 2004 Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. Murder, She Wrote is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpt from
Margaritas & Murder
copyright © 2005 Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. Murder, She Wrote is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
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, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
eISBN : 978-1-101-01071-6

http://us.penguingroup.com

For Sylvan James Paley—welcome to the world.
Chapter One
“The White House?”
“Yes. A reception there.”
I was enjoying breakfast at Mara’s Waterfront Luncheonette with my friends Dr. Seth Hazlitt, and Cabot Cove’s sheriff, Mort Metzger. It was a gloomy early August day, thick gray clouds hovering low over the dock, the humidity having risen overnight to an uncomfortable level.
“When are you leaving?” Seth asked after taking the last bite of his blueberry pancakes, Mara’s signature breakfast dish at her popular eatery.
“Day after tomorrow,” I said.
“I don’t envy you, Mrs. F,” said Mort.
“Why?”
“August in Washington, D.C.? Maureen and I were there about this time last year. Never been so hot in my life.”
I laughed and sipped my tea. “I’m sure the air-conditioning will be working just fine,” I said.
“Ayuh,” Seth said. “I don’t expect they let the president sweat a whole lot. Or U.S. senators, for that matter.”
Warren Nebel, Maine’s junior senator, had arranged for my trip to Washington. He’d invited me to join three other writers in our nation’s capital to help celebrate a national literacy program at the Library of Congress. I’d eagerly accepted, of course. And when Senator Nebel included a reception at the White House on our first evening there, my heart raced a little with anticipation.
I don’t believe that anyone, no matter how sophisticated, worldly, well connected, or wealthy, doesn’t feel at least a twinge of excitement when invited to the White House to meet the president of the United States. I am certainly no exception. It wouldn’t be my first time at the People’s House, although it had been a few years since my last visit. Adding to the excitement were the writers with whom I’d be spending the week, distinguished authors all, some of whom I’d been reading and enjoying for years, and I looked forward to actually shaking hands and chatting with them. Writers, with some notable exceptions, tend to be solitary creatures, not especially comfortable in social situations. I suppose it has a lot to do with the private nature of how we work, sitting alone for months at a time, sometimes years, working on a book, with only spasmodic human interaction. Those who break out and become public personalities often end up so enamored of the experience that writing goes by the boards. I’ve always tried to balance my life between the necessary hibernation to get a book done, and joining the rest of the world when between writing projects. That was my situation when I received the invitation from Senator Nebel—a book recently completed and off to the publisher, and free time on my hands. Perfect timing.
Our little breakfast confab ended suddenly when both Seth and Mort received calls on their cell phones, prompting them to leave in a hurry, Seth to the hospital for an emergency admission, Mort to the scene of an auto accident on the highway outside of town. Seth tried to grab the bill from the table, but I was quicker: “Please,” I said. “It’s my treat. Go on now. Emergencies can’t wait.”
I wasn’t alone at the table very long because Mara, the luncheonette’s gregarious proprietor, joined me.
“Hear you’re going to Washington to give the president some good advice,” she said, blowing away a wisp of hair from her forehead. She’d come from the kitchen; a sheen of perspiration covered her face.
“I’m sure he doesn’t need any advice from me,” I said.
“Not so sure about that,” she said. “Going alone?”
“To Washington? Yes.”
“Thought you might be taking Doc Hazlitt with you.”
“I’d love to have him accompany me, but—”
“Shame you won’t have a companion to share it with you, Jess.”
“Oh, I really won’t be alone. I . . .”
Mara’s cocked head and narrowed eyes said she expected more from me. Besides being a wonderful cook and hostess at her establishment, she’s Cabot Cove’s primary conduit of gossipy information. She not only knows everyone in town; she seems to be privy to their most private thoughts and activities.
“I’ll be meeting George,” I said casually, making a point of picking up the bill and scrutinizing it.
“George?”
“Yes,” I said, pulling cash from my purse. “George Sutherland.”
“That Scotland Yard fella you met in London years ago?”
“That’s right,” I replied, standing and brushing crumbs from my skirt. “He’ll be there attending an international conference on terrorism. Just a coincidence. Breakfast was great, Mara. Bye-bye.”
BOOK: A Vote for Murder
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