About the Book
The Cypress Arete Society is one of the town’s oldest and most exclusive clubs. When assistant librarian Trudell Becket is invited to speak to the group about the library, its modernization, and her efforts to bring printed books to the reading public, her friend Flossie invites herself along. Flossie has been on the book club’s waiting list for five years, and she’s determined to find out why she’s never received an invitation to join.
But not long after Tru and Flossie arrive for the meeting, they’re shocked to find the club’s president, Rebecca White, dead in the kitchen. Rebecca was a former TV actress and local celebrity, but was not known for being patient or pleasant. She’d been particularly unkind to the book club’s host for the evening, who also happens to be the mother of Detective Jace Bailey, Tru’s boyfriend. And Rebecca had made it clear that she didn’t think Flossie was book club material.
With her boyfriend and one of her best friends wrapped up in a murder, Tru has to work fast to figure out who cut Rebecca’s story short before the killer takes another victim out of circulation....
Librarians are keepers of knowledge, caretakers of truth, and sowers of wisdom. Many of us rush out to share the world with our communities with the enthusiasm of a child who has suddenly mastered a new skill. We want people to know, to know…well, everything.
This is our mission. This is our passion.
We are the bringers.
We are the beacons cutting through the darkest of nights.
I should be thrilled to be able to provide this service to a local book club that calling itself the Arete Society. So why did I have this sudden desire to turn around, march back to my car, and drive home as fast as my old Camry would take me?
I’d been asked to give a presentation. I’d been tasked to share my knowledge of books and my experiences working at the library with a group of ladies who love books as much as I do. I lived for moments like this.
“Trudell Becket, what’s got you dragging your feet like this?” Flossie Finnegan-Baker turned her wheelchair toward me. “I do believe a cornucopia of slugs just passed us.”
“Cornucopia? Of slugs?” I asked. That couldn’t be right. But before she could explain that a group of slugs was indeed called a cornucopia, I said, “Never mind.” Flossie was rarely wrong when it came to grammar and etymology. Besides, slugs weren’t important. “This,” I said. “This is a mistake.” I felt the truth of it like a stone in my gut. I stood in the middle of the long, winding sidewalk leading up to Hazel Bailey’s front porch and scrunched my eyes closed. “I shouldn’t be here.”
“You’re suffering from a case of the jitters.” My friend touched my hand. I looked at her, and she smiled encouragingly at me. Flossie had dressed for the book club meeting in muted shades of turquoise and tan. The colors spiraled together on her long, homemade tie-dyed dress, but it was quite a shift from the bright (and often) clashing colors she usually wore. She’d attached a large golden pin in the shape of Edgar Allen Poe’s face to the collar of the thick white button-up sweater she’d worn over her dress. “Honey, even I get the jitters every time I do something new. Everyone does. That’s why you brought me. To have your back. And I do. I’ve got your back. And you’ve got this. Let’s go.”
Our host lived at the edge of town in the middle of a forest of cypress trees that gave the town its name. The cypress’s silvery trunks stood tall and straight, like the spines of books on a shelf, gleaming in the fading embers of the sunset.
Books were the reason I’d been asked to speak to the Arete Society. And those same books were the reason I couldn’t go through with it.
About the Author
Dorothy St. James is a former Folly Beach beach bum. She now lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with her family, slightly (OK, terribly) needy dogs, and the friendliest cat you’ll ever meet. Author of a dozen novels, Dorothy enjoys writing both cozy mysteries and romance.
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