Cover image for This old souse : a bed-and-breakfast mystery
Title:
This old souse : a bed-and-breakfast mystery
Author:
Daheim, Mary.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
316 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780380978694
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

The incomparable Daheim returns, increasing the property value of her delightfully daffy, USA Today bestselling Bed-and-Breakfast mystery series with a sturdy new addition -- a well-constructed tale of murder, milk delivery, and seamy secrets locked behind the closed doors of ...

A nostalgic trip back to Renie's old neighborhood wasn't meant to get B&B hostess Judith McMonigle Flynn's snooping engine revved up. But there it is: the exotic and decrepit manse on Moonfleet Street that the cousins always thought was deserted, even way back in Renie's junior high school days. And since Judith's ex-cop hubby, Joe, is out of town private-eyeing, and her duties at Hillside Manor are strictly routine, what's wrong with giving the creaky old house a closer look?

Lo and behold, the imposing architectural antiquity actually is occupied -- and has been since 1947 -- by the seldom seen and rarely heard Dick and Jane Bland along with Jane's spinster sister, Sally. At least that's the scoop according to the Blands' chatty milkman, who says he's been making deliveries to the address for as long as he can remember. Apparently, the Bland bunch gets mail, groceries, and cow juice dropped off regularly, and they pay their bills in cash that's left in the milk box -- a rather odd arrangement that intrigues Judith and Renie, unfortunately.

It's a curious situation to be sure, but there's certainly nothing sinister going on. At least not until Judith opens the trunk of her car ... and discovers a dead body. To her dismay, the corpse, when animated, had been tightly wrapped up in this Bland business.

Suddenly Judith's gone from being suspicious to being a suspect. And to extricate herself, she'll have to sort through a fine mess of skeletons that the whole blamed Bland family has stuffed away in their many closets.


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 3

Booklist Review

What sets this latest entry in Daheim's Bed and Breakfast series apart is neither its plot nor its B-and-B connection. Set in the Pacific Northwest, the mystery is somewhat predictable, and very little of the action takes place in the B and B. Apparently, protagonist Judith McMonigle Flynn can run the place and take care of her crotchety mother with plenty of time left over to investigate mysteries. None of these flaws are fatal, however--far from it. Readers clearly enjoy this warm, funny, feel-good series, thanks mostly to sexagenarian sleuth Judith and her ornery cousin, Renie. When Renie convinces Judith to investigate the elderly owners of a Spanish villa, a series of misadventures ensues. First a mysterious package is left on the villa's porch. Then Judith finds a dead milkman in her trunk. With a few white lies and help from Renie, Judith tries to find out who wants to frame her for murder. A charming cozy to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon--preferably with tea and scones. --Jenny McLarin Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In Mary Daheim's This Old Souse: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery, the 20th entry in this popular cozy series (Suture Yourself, etc.), B&B proprietor Judith Flynn joins cousin Renie in scouting an old Seattle house inhabited by the reclusive Bland family. When a corpse turns up in the trunk of Judith's car, it proves to be that of the Blands' milkman. A thin, improbable plot, vague characterization and a myriad of irrelevant detail won't deter Daheim's many fans. Agent, Maureen Moran. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Cousins Judith Flynn and Serena "Renie" Jones (Hocus Croakus) decide to investigate a seemingly long abandoned Spanish-style house in Remie's neighborhood. Judith can't afford much time away from remodeling her successful bed-and-breakfast or catering to her cantankerous, script-writing mother. But when a body connected to the house is discovered in her car trunk, time truly becomes of the essence. The two aging sleuths use a host of contacts, still attempting to meet the owners of the house. The "queen of the cozies" again features sprightly characters, seamless prose, and winning dialog: fans will snap up. Daheim lives in Seattle. [See Mystery Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/04.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

This Old Souse A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery Chapter One Judith McMonigle Flynn hurried to answer the front door, took one look at the hideous drooling green creature on the porch, and screamed. Panicking, she slammed the door and leaned against it. The thing was six feet tall, with gaping holes for eyes, viscous green scales, and sharp yellow fangs. Judith was so shaken that she couldn't move to call 911. "Hey!" shouted a voice from outside. "Open up! It's me! Renie!" Judith held a hand to her racing heart. Renie, along with other family members and friends, always used the back door. The front was reserved for guests at Hillside Manor. "Coz?" Judith croaked, and slowly turned to open the door just a crack. There, next to the gruesome green creature, stood Serena Jones, more familiarly known to her family as Renie. "Did SuperGerm scare you?" Renie asked, brown eyes wide. "Good grief." Judith wilted against the doorframe. "I thought I was going to have a heart attack. What is that awful thing?" "I guess I shouldn't have stood behind it," Renie said, looking apologetic. "I would've gone to the back door, but this guy is kind of awkward to carry around." She gave the creature a pat on one of its long, scaly arms. "It's just a cutout. I created it for the county board of health's antigerm campaign. Garth Doyle made this model in his studio. The county will put posters of SuperGerm in all public restrooms to remind people to wash up." "I'm about washed-up after that," Judith said, regaining some of her aplomb. "How about getting that thing off the front porch? It's not good advertising for a B&B." "Hmm." Renie examined the cutout from stem to stern. "Probably not. But don't you think it's good advertising for hygiene?" "Yes, fine, super," Judith retorted. "Now put it back in your car before you come inside." Renie, who was on the small side, struggled a bit as she carted SuperGerm off to her car, which was parked in Hillside Manor's driveway. Waiting on the porch, Judith surveyed the cul-de-sac. Just three days away from the start of summer, the spring shrubs, trees, and bulbs had faded away. The grass was green, the leaves were glossy, and some of the roses were in full bloom. But the sky was overcast, the temperature lingered in the midfifties, and there was a 40 percent chance of rain. It was, Judith knew, a typical June day in the Pacific Northwest. "All gone," Renie announced, bounding up the steps. "I could use some strong drink. You got any Pepsi?" Judith nodded. "I just got back from Falstaff's Grocery. I have a full house tonight, so I had to fill the larder. Now that school's out, the B&B reservations are pouring in. I'm pretty well booked up through early August." "That's great," Renie said, sitting down at the kitchen table. "I'm not so busy. Summer's always a slow time in the graphic design business. Everybody goes on vacation. Good for you, bad for me." Judith took a can of Pepsi and a diet 7UP out of the refrigerator. Even after more than a year, she was still delighted with the renovations -- particularly in the kitchen -- that had been made following a disastrous fire almost two years earlier. "Say," Renie said as Judith joined her at the table, "have you got time to take a little ride with me?" Judith frowned at her cousin. "And with SuperGerm?" "Well ... " Renie took a deep drink before finishing her reply. "Yes, actually. I have to drop him off at Garth's. He needs some fine-tuning. SuperGerm, I mean, not Garth." Judith looked skeptical. "And why would I want to help chauffeur SuperGerm to Garth's studio?" Renie reached into the sheep-shaped jar on the table and filched three oatmeal raisin cookies. "Booyoommerthathouthnmoo fle?" she inquired with her mouth full. Judith was accustomed to her cousin's voracious appetite; she had also grown adept at translating Renie's food-marred speech. "The house on Moonfleet Street? Sort of. Why?" "Ahmobthethd." "Oh." Judith nodded. "You've always been obsessed with that place, ever since you were a kid. What about it?" Renie finally swallowed. "Garth lives in my old neighborhood, about four blocks from that house. As you may recall, it's Spanish-style architecture, very unusual for this part of the world." "I recall." Judith turned as her cleaning woman, Phyliss Rackley, stomped into the kitchen carrying two black plastic bags. Upon seeing Renie, she stopped and glared. "You," Phyliss breathed. "Don't start in on me with your Romish ways." "Bite me," Renie snapped. Phyliss kneaded the plastic bags with her skinny fingers. "False gods. Painted idols. Craven images." "Funny," Renie remarked, about to pop another cookie into her mouth. "I thought they were graven images." "You're a blasphemer," Phyliss declared, pronouncing the word as if it were "blass-FEMUR." She turned to Judith and shook the black bags. "I don't like giving these to the St. Vincent de Paul. What's wrong with the Salvation Army?" "Nothing," Judith replied, ignoring the long-standing religious animosity between Renie and Phyliss. "I'm the one who's giving that stuff away, and it'll go to whichever charity calls first. For now, I want those bags out on the back porch. They're cluttering up the second-floor hall." With one last dark look for Renie, Phyliss proceeded down the narrow hallway to the porch. "The pope has spies everywhere," Renie called after the cleaning woman. "Better check the recycling bin, Phyliss." Judith shook her head. "I never bait Phyliss the way you do," she admonished Renie. "I don't rile her. She's too good at her job." "I didn't start it this time," Renie responded. "You didn't need to," Judith said. "You've done it often enough in the past. Which," she went on as Phyliss returned from the porch and headed down the basement stairs, "brings us back to the house on Moonfleet." This Old Souse A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery . Copyright © by Mary Daheim. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from This Old Souse 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.