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Authors: Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Sew Deadly

BOOK: Sew Deadly
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

 

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

 

Sewing Tips

Sewing Pattern

/body>

Needled

Feeling the room begin to spin, Tori closed her eyes tightly.

“Why would the investigator be asking questions about me?”

“You’re new in town.”

“So?”

“This is the first murder Sweet Briar’s ever had.”

Tori swallowed back the bile that threatened to gag her where she sat.

“And therefore
I
must be a
murderer
? Is that what he thinks?” She knew her voice sounded shrill, near hysterical even, but she couldn’t stop. This had to be some sort of joke, didn’t it?

“That’s what a lot of people are going to think, Victoria.”

Swiveling back toward the window, Tori stared out at the pockets of people standing around—virtually everyone either pointing or staring at her. They weren’t curious about the new librarian. They didn’t care about the changes she would bring to the library. And they couldn’t care less whether she was from Chicago or Beijing. They were there for one reason and one reason only. To catch a glimpse of Tiffany Ann’s murderer.

“But
you
don’t think that . . . right, Leona?”

An awkward silence filled her ear as she waited, desperately, for the answer she needed to hear.

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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South Africa

 

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

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 websites or their content.

 

SEW DEADLY

 

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

 

PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / August 2009

 

Copyright © 2009 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

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. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

 

eISBN : 978-1-101-10885-7

 

BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

http://us.penguingroup.com

For my daughters,
who light my world each and every day.
I love you.

Acknowledgments

In many ways, writing is a one-person show. You sit in front of a computer screen day in and day out, crafting a world and its people entirely from your imagination. And while I love every moment of the process, I’m keenly aware of the people in my real world—the ones who love and support me long after the last word has been typed.

A huge thank-you goes out to my best friend and writing buddy, Heather Webber. Your constant support through all aspects of my life means more than you can ever know.

A teary-eyed thank-you to my agent, Jacky Sach, for handing me the ball and telling me to run. And to my editor, Emily Rapoport, for making one of my fondest childhood dreams a reality.

A huge thank-you goes to my assistant (and friend), Beth Thaemert. You took a load off my shoulders that allowed me to focus on the best part—the storytelling.

A special thank-you to the group of online sewing enthusiasts who took the time to answer some of my zany questions. Your sewing tips and funny stories helped the Sweet Briar Sewing Circle come to life!

And last but certainly not least . . . my heartfelt thanks and love to Jim. For walking beside me on some of my darkest days and loving me through to the other side.

Chapter 1

She wasn’t entirely sure whether it was the pull of the mahogany sewing box in the window or a much-needed respite from the endless barrage of curious glances, but either way, Elkin Antiques and Collectibles seemed as good a place as any for a momentary escape.

Switching the paper sack of lightbulbs to her left hand, Tori Sinclair pushed the glass door open, her presence greeted by a wall-mounted bell and a cocked eyebrow from the sixty-something woman behind the counter.

“Yessss?”

“Oh, I’m sorry are-are you not open?” Tori glanced back at the door, the inward facing Closed sign in direct conflict with the irritation hovering above the clerk’s shoulders like vapors off scorching hot pavement.


Of course
, I’m open.” The woman stood statue-still as her gaze played across Tori’s pale yellow sundress and white strappy sandals, lingered on her light brown shoulder-length hair and heart-shaped face. “Can I help you with something?”

“I—uh, wanted to take a closer look at the sewing box in your window.” She pointed at the simple rectangular container that had piqued her curiosity from the sidewalk. “If I’m not mistaken, it’s from the late 1800s, isn’t it?”

The woman’s mouth gaped open a hairbreadth. “Why yes, it is.”

Tori closed the distance between the entryway and the display in a few small strides, looking over her shoulder as she stopped beside the box. “It was built by a company in Kansas that specialized in furniture but occasionally dabbled in keepsake pieces, yes?”

The woman nodded, the gap between her lips ever widening.

“I thought so.” Tori ran a gentle finger across the backside of the box before coming to rest on the carved scene that adorned its lid. “My great-grandmother had one just like this. It used to sit on a hope chest in her bedroom, and it was where she kept her favorite needles and buttons and ribbons. She’d gotten it as a gift from her parents.”

Slowly, gently, she traced the outline of the horse and buggy. “Only
her
box had a snowflake carved onto the lid.” She closed her eyes, focused on the feel of the design. “It’s funny, but I can still remember how her box felt under my fingertips.”

“What happened to it?”

Tori turned to face the woman who’d left her countertop fortress in favor of blatant curiosity. “It was lost in a fire shortly after she passed away.”

A soft clucking sound broke through the white noise of memories in Tori’s mind, forcing her back to the here and now—and the unmistakable compassion that had chased aloofness from the shopkeeper’s eyes.

“Oh, dear, I’m so sorry.”

Tori shrugged softly. “It’s okay. Seeing this one is kind of nice, even a little comforting.”

“I’m glad.” The woman reached out, tentatively squeezed Tori’s forearm with a finely wrinkled hand. “Memories are a wonderful way to link us with the past.”

“I agree.” Pulling her hand from the top of the wooden box, she extended it toward the woman. “I’m Tori Sinclair and I—”

“Tor—you mean,
Victoria
Sinclair
?
The new librarian?”

Startled, Tori nodded.

“Hmmmm. You’ve certainly been the talk of Sweet Briar these past few days.” The woman stepped backward as her words slipped away in favor of a second, and more thorough, inspection of her lone customer.

Tori shifted from foot to foot in response, the fingers of her left hand inching the top of the paper sack more tightly into her grasp. “Then I guess that would explain the looks I’ve been getting all afternoon.”

“People around here aren’t used to seeing new faces, Victoria.”

That made sense in a small town like Sweet Briar, yet some of the looks she’d been getting were—

“It’s been
good
talk, right?”

BOOK: Sew Deadly
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