Read Shot Through Velvet Online

Authors: Ellen Byerrum

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #General

Shot Through Velvet

BOOK: Shot Through Velvet
12.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Table of Contents
Praise for the Crime of Fashion Mysteries, the Series That Inspired Two Lifetime Movies
“Devilishly funny. . . . Lacey is intelligent, insightful, and spunky . . . thoroughly likable.”

The Sun
(Bremerton, WA)
“Laced with wicked wit.”
“Byerrum spins a mystery out of (very luxurious) whole cloth with the best of them.”
—Chick Lit Books
“Fun and witty . . . with a great female sleuth.”
—Fresh Fiction
“[A] very entertaining series.”

The Romance Readers Connection
Armed and Glamorous
“Whether readers are fashion divas or hopelessly fashion challenged, there’s a lot to like about being
Armed and Glamorous
“Fans will relish
Armed and Glamorous
, a cozy starring a fashionable trench coat, essential killer heels, and designer whipping pearls.”

Midwest Book Review
Grave Apparel
“A truly intriguing mystery.”
—Armchair Interviews
“A fine whodunit . . . a humorous cozy.”
—The Best Reviews
“Fun and enjoyable. . . . Lacey’s a likable, sassy and savvy heroine, and the Washington, D.C., setting is a plus.”
—The Romance Readers Connection
Raiders of the Lost Corset
“A hilarious crime caper. . . . Readers will find themselves laughing out loud. . . . Ellen Byerrum has a hit series on her hands with her latest tale.”
—The Best Reviews
“I love this series. Lacey is such a wonderful character. . . . The plot has many twists and turns to keep you turning the pages to discover the truth. I highly recommend this book and series.”
—Spinetingler Magazine
“Wow. A simplistic word but one that describes this book perfectly. I loved it! I could not put it down! . . . Lacey is a scream, and she’s not nearly as wild and funny as some of her friends. . . . I loved everything about the book from the characters to the plot to the fast-paced and witty writing.”
—Roundtable Reviews
“Lacey is back, and in fine form. . . . This is probably the most complex, most serious case that Lacey has taken on, but with her upbeat attitude and fine-tuned fashion sense, there’s no one better suited to the task. Traveling with Lacey is both entertaining and dicey, but you’ll be glad you made the trip.”
—The Romance Readers Connection
Hostile Makeover
Also a Lifetime Movie
“Byerrum pulls another superlative Crime of Fashion out of her vintage cloche.”
—Chick Lit Books
“The read is as smooth as fine-grade cashmere.”

Publishers Weekly
“Totally delightful . . . a fun and witty read.”
—Fresh Fiction
Designer Knockoff
“Byerrum intersperses the book with witty excerpts from Lacey’s ‘Fashion Bites’ columns, such as ‘When Bad Clothes Happen to Good People’ and ‘Thank Heavens It’s Not Code Taupe’ . . . quirky . . . interesting plot twists.”

The Sun
(Bremerton, WA)
“Clever wordplay, snappy patter, and intriguing clues make this politics-meets-high-fashion whodunit a cut above the ordinary.”—
Romantic Times
“A very talented writer with an offbeat sense of humor.”
—The Best Reviews
Killer Hair
Also a Lifetime movie
“[A] rippling debut. Peppered with girlfriends you’d love to have, smoldering romance you can’t resist, and Beltway insider insights you’ve got to read,
Killer Hair
adds a crazy twist to the concept of ‘capital murder.’ ” —Sarah Strohmeyer, Agatha Award-winning author of
Penny Pinchers Club
and the Bubbles Yablonsky novels
“Ellen Byerrum tailors her debut mystery with a sharp murder plot, entertaining fashion commentary, and gutsy characters.”
—Nancy J. Cohen, author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries
“A load of stylish fun.”
—Scripps Howard News Service
“Lacey slays and sashays thru Washington politics, scandal, and Fourth Estate slime, while uncovering whodunit, and dunit, and dunit again.”
—Chloe Green, author of the Dallas
O’Connor Fashion Mysteries

Killer Hair
is a shear delight.”
—Elaine Viets, national bestselling author of
An Uplifting Murder
Other Crime of Fashion Mysteries by Ellen Byerrum
Killer Hair
Designer Knockoff
Hostile Makeover
Raiders of the Lost Corset
Grave Apparel
Armed and Glamorous
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 M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632,
New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
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, February 2011
eISBN : 978-1-101-47714-4
Copyright © Ellen Byerrum, 2011
All rights reserved
OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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.
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.

When writing a book, you can’t get far without inspiration and information and a host of people who are willing to help—whether it’s with the writing or just keeping up your spirits. A lot of people kept me going during the road to publication of
Shot Through Velvet
, and I offer them my wholehearted appreciation.
I’d also like to explain that while there is no little town of Black Martin, Virginia—nor is there any velvet factory called (or exactly like) Dominion Velvet—there are several parts of that state that have been deeply affected by the demise of the textile industries. My friend Regina Cline alerted me to the last velvet factory in Virginia, and also inspired my interest in visiting beautiful Lake Anna, for which I am deeply grateful. Paul S. Majeika of A. Wimpfheimer & Bro., Inc. opened my eyes to the plight of the velvet industry in Virginia and across the country. He was generous with his time and experience, and he gave me a fascinating tour of a well-managed velvet factory, for which I am very grateful. Any errors and omissions in the history and practice of making velvet are, of course, my own, as are the imagined details, characters, and situations in my fictional Dominion Velvet. Corrine Geller, public relations manager with the Virginia State Police, also answered my questions in the midst of her busy schedule.
Many thanks to my fabulous agent, Paige Wheeler, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty on my behalf. And I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of my terrific editor at NAL, Sandy Harding.
As always, I wouldn’t be here without the support of my husband, Bob Williams, as well as his keen eye, critical insights, and back rubs. Honey, there just aren’t enough words.
Chapter 1
The body was blue.
Not merely wearing blue, he
blue—and not the blue pallor of death. He was sapphire from head to toe, a deep shade of mood indigo.
Oh, that’s taking the matchy-match thing
too far,
thought Lacey Smithsonian, fashion reporter for
The Eye Street Observer. No, Lacey,
she told herself.
This is not
What Not to Wear.
This is how not to be caught
The corpse was lashed to the bottom of a giant spool of velvet, fastened with strips of the same velvet, as blue as his skin. He rose dripping from a vat of blue dye, splashing inky blue liquid on the factory’s cement floor. Everywhere Lacey looked there was a serene shade of blue made obscene by death.
The dead man’s head was swollen, his hair matted blue-black, his lips and tongue a royal blue, his protruding eyeballs a lighter shade, perhaps cerulean. A human gargoyle in death, he was a sight both horrible and fascinating.
A song played unbidden in Lacey’s mind.
He wore bluuuue VELLLL-vet . . . Lacey, stop! NOW!
How long would his blue skin last?
Lacey wondered. Through all eternity? Or just through decomposition?
With Valentine’s Day less than two weeks away, maybe he should have been dyed red instead of blue. Then again, maybe not
Although the man had been completely submerged in the tint, the spool of velvet was only half dyed, the un-submerged part still cream-colored. It was a sodden mess hanging from a long heavy chain attached to the overhead machinery of the dye house.
Lacey had been touring Dominion Velvet, the last velvet factory in Virginia, on its final full day of operations, for a special report for her newspaper on the vanishing U.S. textile industry. She was planning to write a fashion-related feature article, one with more substance than style. Her agenda for the day was not supposed to include murder. Murder was never on Lacey’s game plan, and yet here it was. Again.
This time death wore blue velvet.
Lacey spared a sigh for the velvet, the deceased, and the factory workers. And herself. She wondered how the man’s demise would affect her feature story. There were days Lacey detested being a fashion scribe. Today might be one of them.
I can’t believe this is happening.
Standing next to Lacey and also witnessing the royal blue debacle was Dominion Velvet’s newly hired security consultant, Vic Donovan, her boyfriend. He was supposed to start working up a security plan the next day and have new guards and a new security system on-site within a week. He was there to get a look around, but he was getting far more than he’d anticipated.
BOOK: Shot Through Velvet
12.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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