You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet: A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery (The Study Club Mysteries Book 1)

BOOK: You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet: A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery (The Study Club Mysteries Book 1)
12.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery




Juliette Harper


You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet

By Juliette Harper

Copyright © 2015, Juliette Harper.


Skye House Publishing


Copyright © 2015, Juliette Harper.

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.




“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”


Groucho Marx




To our beta reader Brenda Trimble, and beta reader / proofreader Sandra Jackson — you kept us honest. The more we made you laugh, the more we knew we were on the right track with this story. Thank you both! To Jennifer Radcliff — cover designer, pager, and hand holder. Words are not enough. Without these three people, our family and friends, and the original members of the Daedalion Study Club from Junction, Texas, this new series would never have come to glorious, whimsical life!



Table of Contents


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

Sneak Peek: You Can’t Put a Corpse in a Parade


Chapter 1


Sugar Watson took a long drag on her Camel and critically appraised the height of Clara Wyler’s black bouffant. “You want me to go a little higher, honey?” she asked, punctuating the question with a well-developed smoker’s cough. “If I rat it up real good, I can get you another 2 or 3 inches on top.”

Clara squinted at herself in the mirror. “I think I’m good, Sugar,” she said. “What with Wanda Jean finding Hilton dead in the living room, I don’t want to look insincere at Study Club.”

Sugar leaned in conspiratorially. “I know we don’t ever throw anybody out of the Study Club, but my Lord, what in the world are we gonna do if she really did kill him?”

Clara glanced around to confirm that all the other women in Sugar’s Style and Spray were safely tucked under the dryers. “Well, she called me herself to assure me that she didn’t do it,” Clara said. “She owned up to wanting to, but she didn’t do it.”

“Well, hell,” Sugar said, “we’ve all thought about killing our husbands. That’s just part of being married. But nobody’s ever walked in my house and found Slim laying there with an Old Hickory carving knife sticking out of his chest. What did Wanda Jean say about finding him?”

“She told me the first thing she thought about was how hard it was gonna be to get the blood out of that new shag carpet they put in last month,” Clara said. “You know they went with the deep pile.”

“I know,” Sugar said. “I looked at it too when T.J. put the ad in the paper, but my vacuum cleaner just won’t suck up dirt good enough for that. Is it a light carpet?”

“I didn’t think to ask her,” Clara said, unclipping the plastic cape around her neck and handing it to Sugar. “Anyway, she said she just stood there thinking about how you can’t get blood out of shag carpet. Then it dawned on her maybe she ought to check him for a pulse.”

“I hope it wasn’t a light carpet,” Sugar said, rearranging cans of Aqua Net on the counter. “Those boys from the ambulance service never think to wipe their feet before they go in to get a body. You should have seen the mess they made when Blake Trinkle died. They just ruined Maybelline’s carpet. She spent as much getting it cleaned as she did on the funeral.”

“That’s so inconsiderate,” Clara agreed. “People just don’t think. Now you’re not gonna be late this afternoon, are you?”

“Of course not,” Sugar said. “Flowers knows not to book me on the third Thursday at three. Study Club day is sacred.”

“Good, I have to go by the bakery and . . .”

The look on Sugar’s face stopped Clara mid-sentence. “Good Lord, Sugar,” she said. “You look like you swallowed one of your Camels.”

“I think we’re gonna be one short for Club,” Sugar croaked. “Look.”

Clara glanced out the front window in time to see Sheriff Lester Harper helping a handcuffed Wanda Jean Milton out of the backseat of his car. “What is that man thinking!” she exclaimed. “Parading her in front of God and everybody on the courthouse square!”

“Well, Clara,” Sugar said, “he is the law.”

“Horsefeathers,” Clara snorted, heading out the front door. The minute she hit the sidewalk, she bellowed, “Lester! What in the hell are you doing?”

Sheriff Lester Harper turned toward her and his face fell. “Now, Clara,” he began.

“Don’t you ‘now Clara’ me,” she declared, ignoring the cars that skidded to a stop as she charged across the street. “I don’t care if you do think Wanda Jean killed her husband. Murder’s not a good enough reason to embarrass a woman in public.”

"I had to bring her in for questioning, Clara," the Sheriff said, puffing out his chest a little. "It's my official duty."

"It's your official stupidity," Clara shot back. "Now you take those handcuffs off her this instant."

Lester glanced around and noticed the small groups of curious townspeople starting to gather on the square. The last thing he wanted was for Clara Wyler to chew him out in front of witnesses. By the time the story made it to the other end of Main Street, his already considerable discomfort would grow to full-blown humiliation. Without saying a word, he unlocked the cuffs and slipped them back in the leather holder on his belt.

“She’s still under arrest and I still have to question her," he said, shooting Clara a sullen look. "You have a problem with that?"

"Right now I have a problem with your attitude, Lester Harper,” Clara snapped. “Quit that pouting. If you don't want everybody on Main Street talking, put a smile on your face. And to answer your question, yes, I do have a problem with you asking Wanda Jean any questions. Where's her lawyer?"

"She didn't ask for one," the Sheriff said. He couched the reply in amiable tones, but he couldn't keep a red flush from creeping up out of the neck of his shirt.

ask her if she wanted one?" Clara demanded. When the Sheriff's face only grew redder, Clara regarded him with a gleam of triumph. "I didn't think so." She turned toward Wanda Jean, who had remained silent during the entire exchange. "Are you alright, honey?"

Wanda Jean's lower lip trembled. “Oh, Clara! I’m so glad to see you! I tried to tell Lester I didn't kill Hilton. I just came home from the grocery store and found him bleeding on my new carpet with my best Old Hickory carving knife sticking out of his chest. It was right between the ‘l’ and the ‘t’ in his name where it’s embroidered on the short pocket.”

“Bless your heart,” Clara said, patting her on the arm. “That’s just awful about Hilton. Is the carpet ruined, honey?”

“Thank you, Clara,” Wanda Jean said, tears rolling down her face. “It’s beige. I don’t know if the blood will ever come out.”

“There, there,” Clara said soothingly. “We can try hydrogen peroxide.” She turned back to Lester. “Can’t you see this woman is beside herself with grief? She told you what happened. She’s got a husband to bury and a carpet to clean. She doesn’t have time to be messing with your fool questions.”

“Well, first off,” Lester said, “she can’t clean the carpet until we figure out what happened. Second, like I already told you, she’s under arrest, so I have to question her.”

“You’re not gonna do any such thing unless her lawyer is present. And if that blood has already set and we can’t get it out, the county is paying for that carpet,” Clara fumed.

"Clara," Wanda Jean said in an urgent whisper, "I can’t afford a lawyer."

“We’ll just see about that,” Clara said, glaring openly at Lester. “We’re all gonna walk over to D.T. Armstrong’s office and hire him for you, and I dare Mr. Local Law Dog here to try to stop us.”

Lester Harper pushed his hat high on his forehead, lifting it just enough to scratch his scalp. He looked down at this boots and breathed a heavy sigh. "Clara, do you always have to be so damned difficult?”

“Only when people force me to, Lester,” Clara said, sounding mightily put upon. “You brought this on yourself.”

"Fine, fine," he said in a voice heavy with resignation. “Have it your way."

The trio crossed the street to the law offices of D.T. Armstrong, Esquire. Clara threw open the door and marched past the secretary, who merely looked up from her typewriter long enough to say, "Morning, Clara. Your hair looks good today."

“Morning, Marvel Ann and thank you,” Clara called over her shoulder as she stormed down the hall with Wanda Jean and Lester Harper trailing in her wake.

The door of D.T.'s office was open when the small procession entered. The lawyer glanced over his half-glasses, taking in Clara’s irritated scowl and Lester's mix of consternation and embarrassment.

"Lord, Clara," D.T. said, putting down his pen. "Now what?”

Clara was already rummaging around in her over-sized, hand-tooled leather saddle purse looking for her wallet. She fished out a dollar bill and handed it to Wanda Jean. "Hire him," she ordered.

Wanda Jean took the crumpled bill and held it out to Armstrong. "Would you represent me, D.T.?”

“I’m guessing this is about Hilton?" he asked, allowing the bill to hang there quivering in Wanda Jean's grasp.

“Lester thinks I killed Hilton,” she said weakly. “He arrested me on suspicion of murder.”

“Well, murder’s more interesting than anything else I’m doing right now,” D.T. said. He took the bill from her and looked at the Sheriff. "You can leave now, Lester. I need to confer with my client."

"Damn it, D.T., quit encouraging them,” Lester said. "I just want to ask her some questions."

"Which you can do after I've talked to her," D.T. answered. "Go on up to the front. Marvel Ann went to the doughnut shop this morning. Ask her to put on some fresh coffee. Take a load off. We won’t be long.”

Harper's face brightened at the mention of free food, but he worked to mask his eagerness. "Well," he drawled theatrically, "I guess it won't hurt to give you all a few minutes."

BOOK: You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet: A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery (The Study Club Mysteries Book 1)
12.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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