This is a six part series called Murder on Main Street. I will be posting one part each Saturday. If you missed the first segment go back to last Saturday and read it first.
The author's bio:
Vickie McDonough, an award-winning inspirational romance author, has written 12 novels and novellas. Her stories have continually placed in prestigious contests, such as the ACFW Book of the Year and Noble Theme contests, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, and Heartsong Presents annual readers' contest. She is active in local and online writers' groups and enjoys mentoring new writers. Vickie has been married to her wonderful husband, Robert, for 32 years. They have four terrific sons and have finally evened the odds with a sweet daughter-in-law and a granddaughter. She has lived Oklahoma all her life, except for one exciting year when she and husband lived on a kibbutz in Israel. When she's not writing, Vickie loves to read, watch movies, and travel. You can learn more about her at her Web site: www.vickiemcdonough.com.
Murder on Main Street--part 2
By Vickie McDonough
Tory’s heart thudded and her throat tightened as she struggled to comprehend what she saw. With a trembling hand, she reached out, searching for a pulse on Gilford Richard’s neck. The man lay slumped over his tea, which had spilled onto his lap.
She jerked her hand back and turned, needing to get away from—the body. “Mrs. Beavers!”
What happened? Had her vehement opposition stressed Mr. Richards to the point of him having a heart attack?
Her assistant hurried toward her, wiping her hands on her apron. “What’s wrong?”
“Mr. Richards is d—dead.”
Mrs. Beavers’ brown eyes widened. “But how? He just arrived.”
“I don’t know. I came back from signing the delivery receipt and found him lying in his tea.”
Mrs. Beavers peeked into Tory’s office. “Oh, my stars. I’ll call the police.”
“I’ll call Barry.” Her fiancé would know what to do.
Ten minutes later, Tory sat in the serving area of tea room, watching the police going in and out of her shop. An officer carried out a plastic bag holding her favorite English tea cups and another bag held the box of her special Oolong blend. Tory shredded a paper napkin and blinked back tears. What could have happen?
She glanced out the front window, wincing at the sight of the growing crowd of curious spectators. How would this affect business? And where was Barry?
Tory looked up to see a stranger. Serious sky blue eyes stared at her from a tanned face. He fit the cliché—tall, dark, and handsome. Her heart flip-flopped, and she chastised herself for being attracted to him. After all, she was engaged.
“I’m Detective Ethan Jamison.” The man sat across from her and pulled a notepad from his shirt pocket. “What was your relationship with Gilford Richards?”
Surprised at his stern tone, Tory leaned back, crossing her arms. “We didn’t have a relationship.”
“Did you fix that cup of tea he drank?”
Tory blinked. “Uh...no, my assistant, Mrs. Beavers, did.”
He looked over his shoulder and down the hall where the coroner was examining the body. “I’ll need to talk to her. Were you alone in the room with the cups of tea before Richards arrived?”
Guilt riddled her at his insinuation, even though she had no reason to feel responsible. “No.”
The police chief strode down the hall and stopped next to the detective, whispering something in his ear. Detective Jamison nodded and narrowed his gaze at her. “There are indications of cyanide in the tea, Miss Bradford.”
Tory sat stunned by his implication. She swallowed the lump in her throat. “But how is that possible? That tea is from my private collection, and few people have access to it.”
Jamison's brows dipped, and he studied her with an intense gaze. She resisted the urge to squirm.
“Did you have a vendetta against the developer?”
Anger simmered. How dare he think she had anything to do with Richards’ death. “Of course not! I wasn’t happy about his building destroying the quaint character of Jenks, but I would never hurt the man.”
Jamison made some notes, then he asked a few more personal and pointed questions.
“Surely, detective, you don’t suspect I had anything to do with Mr. Richards’ death. If I hadn’t been called out right after he arrived to sign a delivery receipt, I would have drunk the tea, too.”
His sapphire gaze narrowed. “Don’t leave town, Miss Bradford.”