Cover image for Suture self : a bed-and-breakfast mystery
Suture self : a bed-and-breakfast mystery
Daheim, Mary.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2001]

Physical Description:
293 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



National bestselling author, the incomparable Mary Daheim, makes her long-awaited hardcover debut with a cozy mystery nonpareil. Plucky bed-and-breakfast hostess Judith McMonigle Flynn and her acerbic cousin Renie are examining Big Bad Medicine, So hang on to your gurney...and check your vital signs at the door!

Judith McMonigle Flynn is despondent as the winter blahs set in with a vengeance. A bum hip has forced her to shut down Hillside Manor temporarily and limp off to Good Cheer Hospital for a much needed operation. It's the very same "haven of healing" where a famous actress recently kicked the bucket after routine foot surgery, and where an ace baseball pitcher in for an elbow operation was tossed out of the game...permanently. Judith is certain that her scheduled date with a scalpel has placed her at the top of the Grim Reaper's "hip list." At least she's not alone. Cousin Renie is checking in -- though hopefully not checking out -- at the same time to have a shoulder surgically corrected, but that's small consolation at best.

Good Cheer, it seems, is anything but. With one look at the medieval wreck of a place administered by a doddering collection of clergy, Judith is convinced that she and Renie will be lucky if they're rolled out of the OR alive. But they are -- though the same good fortune does not extend to an ex-pro football quarterback, who is sacked by fatal knee surgery, the third improbable, high-profile demise in less than a month.

Since they are stuck in this chamber of Hippocratic horrors for a while, Judith feels it's hers and Renie's duty to get to the bottom of the Good Cheer carnage. What they discover is that the list of potential Angels of Death is quite extensive indeed, incorporating not-so-well-wishing relations, potentially homicidal hospital volunteers, deadly docs...even the puffed up, corporate-ladder-climbing chief of staff himself. But as the mortality rate rises -- along with Judith's blood pressure -- the worst diagnosis of all is the one that suggests the cousins' curiosity is terminal...and that the killer is saving the last, lethal dose of medicine for them.

From Just Desserts to A Streetcar Named Expire to this, her latest, most wildly successful operation, Mary Daheim's delightfully zany Bed-and-Breakfast mysteries are just what the doctor ordered.

Author Notes

Mary R. Daheim is a reporter and mystery writer. She was born in Seattle, Washington.

Daheim was a newspaper reporter and a public relations consultant before beginning to write. In 1983, she published her first historical romance. Daheim wrote six more books before becoming a mystery writer.

In 1991, Daheim began the Bed & Breakfast series of books. She began a second series, the Alpine series, in 1992.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Although this is part of Daheim's Bed-and-Breakfast series, very little of its action takes place at an inn. Judith Flynn, owner of the Hillside Manor B&B, is in Good Cheer Hospital for a hip replacement, and the novel is set in her room. Judith's cousin, Serena, whose name is contradicted by her volatile personality, shares the room while recovering from shoulder surgery. Both women are initially nervous about being in a hospital where two celebrities inexplicably died. A third death, that of a seemingly healthy football player in for minor knee surgery, terrifies them further. Judith, who has a Miss Marpleish reputation for solving murders, is determined to prove the deaths were not accidents. Conveniently, as Judith can't get out of bed, most of the suspects come into her room. This unrealistic parade becomes almost laughable, as does Daheim's pointless refusal to identify the Pacific Northwest city (Seattle) where the novel is set. Ultimately, the bland tale is saved by saucy Serena, who makes a much more interesting protagonist than her wimpy cousin. --Jenny McLarin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Not quite up to Daheim's usual standards, the 17th in the author's Bed-and-Breakfast series (A Streetcar Named Expire; Creeps Suzette; etc.) finds amateur gumshoe Judith McMonigle Flynn sleuthing from her hospital bed, where she is recovering from hip surgery. Before entering the Good Cheer Hospital with her peppery cousin, Renie Jones, who is due to have surgery at the same time, the two women become very apprehensive on hearing of the mysterious deaths of two patients. When the man in the next room becomes the third victim, Judith and Renie begin to investigate. Life as patients grows even more complicated for the duo when a blizzard brings the town to a standstill; Judith hears that her b&b is crowded with stranded tourists and an escaped boa constrictor; strange packages arrive at her house; her private detective husband, Joe, accepts a dangerous case; her son Mike makes a request that causes much soul-searching; and the Good Cheer Hospital is threatened by a takeover. In spite of all this confusion, Judith discovers the identity of the murdererÄbut the revelation is no surprise to the reader. Even though loyal Daheim fans will relish the witty and revealing interactions between familiar characters, the final denouement of a complex murder scenario and the multitude of subplots depicted here are as tedious and wearing as the healing process after surgery. Agent, Maureen Moran. (Feb. 13) Forecast: A series that's run as long as this one isn't going to be hurt by one flat outing, but this entry won't win Daheim many new fans; nor will the book's coverÄits depiction of someone in surgeon's clothing stitching a baseball seems likely to elicit shrugs from browsers. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Suture Self Chapter One Judith Grover McMonigle Flynn took one look at the newspaper headline, released the brake on her wheelchair, and rolled into the kitchen, "I'm not sure it's safe to go into the hospital," she said to her husband, Joe Flynn. "Look at this." Joe, who had just come in through the back door, hung his all-weather jacket on a peg in the hallway and stared at the big, bold front-page headline. Actress Dies During Routine Surgery John Fremont Succumbs After Minor Foot Operation "Who's John Fremont?" Joe asked after kissing his wife on the cheek. "The explorer? No wonder he wrecked his feet, going over all those mountains. Huh. I thought he was already dead." "He's been dead for over a hundred years," Judith replied. "It's a-" "A shame the local newspaper doesn't jump on those stories faster," Joe interrupted. "What's Queen Victoria up to this week?" Judith made a face at Joe. "It's a typo," she said in a testy voice. "It's supposed to be Joan Fremont. See, there it is in the lead. You know who she is -- we've seen her in several local stage productions. She is -- was -- a wonderful actress." Joe frowned as he read deeper into the story. "Jeez, don't these people proofread anymore?" "That's not my point," Judith asserted. "That's the second well-known person in three weeks to peg out at Good Cheer Hospital. I'm getting scared to go in next Monday for my hip replacement." Joe opened the cupboard and got out a bottle of Scotch. "You mean Somosa, the pitcher? That's no mystery. He was probably full of amphetamines." With an air of apology, Joe gestured with the bottle. "Sorry, I hate to drink in front of you, but I spent ten hours sitting on my butt for that damned insurance stakeout." "Never mind." Judith sighed with a martyred air that would have made her Aunt Deb proud. "I'm used to sacrifice and self-denial. After a month in this stupid wheelchair and taking all those pain pills, I suppose I should be looking forward to surgery and getting back to a normal life. How'd the stakeout go?" "It didn't," Joe replied, dumping ice cubes into a glass. "The guy didn't budge from his sofa except to go to the can. Then he used a walker. Maybe he's legit. The insurance company expected him to play a set of tennis or jump over high hurdles or do the rumba. I hate these alleged insurance-fraud assignments." "They pay well," Judith pointed out, giving the amber liquid in Joe's glass a longing look. "Oh, yeah," Joe agreed, sitting down at the kitchen table. "We can use the money with the B&B shut down for five weeks. I'm expensive to keep, and you're not delivering." Teasing or not, the comment nettled Judith. just after Christmas, her right hip had deteriorated to the point that she'd been confined to a wheelchair. With the help of Joe and their neighbors, Carl and Arlene Rankers, Judith had managed to keep Hillside Manor running smoothly through the holidays. But Carl and Arlene had left the day after New Year's for a vacation in Palm Desert. And even though Joe was retired from the police force, his part-time private investigations had become almost a full-time job. It had been a difficult decision for Judith, but she had been forced to cancel all reservations for the first ten days of January, until the Rankerses' return. Her only consolation was that the days in question were the slowest time of the year for the Bed-and-Breakfast industry. "We've lost at least four grand," Judith said in a morose tone. Joe gave a slight shake of his head. "Dubious. The weather around here this winter isn't exactly enticing to visitors." Judith glanced up at the window over the kitchen sink. It was raining. It seemed to have been raining for months. Fifty degrees and raining. No sun breaks, no snow, just relentless rain and gloomy, glowering skies. Day after day of gray, gray, and grayer. Even a Pacific Northwest native like Judith had an occasional hankering for a patch of blue sky. "People still visit people," Judith said, unwilling to let herself be cheered. Joe gave a solemn shake of his head. "Not in January. Everybody's broke." "Including us," Judith said. "Because of me. Renie and Bill are broke, too," she added, referring to her cousin and her cousin's husband. "Renie can't work with her bad shoulder. This is the busiest time of year for her, with all the annual reports. She usually designs at least a half-dozen, which means big bucks. She's out of commission until March." "When's her surgery?" Joe inquired. "A week after mine," Judith replied. "We'll be like ships passing in the night. Or should I say sinking?" Judith emitted another heavy sigh as she rolled over to the sink and took a Percocet. Then she took another Percocet. It couldn't hurt. Besides, she ached twice as much as she had the day before. As a distraction, Judith read the rest of the story about Joan Fremont. The actress had been admitted to Good Cheer Hospital the previous day. Her surgery, pronounced successful, had been performed that afternoon. But at ten-thirty this morning, Joan had died suddenly and without warning. She left behind two grown children and her husband, Addison Kirby, the city hall reporter for the evening newspaper. "No wonder her name got misspelled," Judith remarked. "Joan's husband works for the paper. The staff must be shaken by her death." "Oh?" Joe raised rust-colored eyebrows above the sports section. "Kirby, huh? I've run into him a few times at city hall. Nice guy, but strictly business." Judith put the newspaper's front section down on the table. Suture Self . Copyright © by Mary Daheim. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Suture Self: A Bed-and-breakfast Mystery by Mary Daheim All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.