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By Mary Daheim

Notwithstanding lurching via London is ever so jolly, hostess on-holiday Judith McMonigle Flynn and her cantankerous cousin Renie are waiting for an unharried weekend at a true English state manor. They locate the property taxing, in spite of the fact that, what with traveling family members crowding each corner and cranny of Ravenscroft condo, whereas its awesomely elderly mistress, Aunt Petulia, holds court—until a field of poisoned goodies hurries up the dour dowager's dying. quickly Judith and Renie are as much as their American necks in a muck of homicide such a lot British—as they got down to unearth a deadly relatives secret...and unmask the perpetrator who was once anti-Auntie sufficient to do the outdated woman in.

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The carpeting was a serviceable wall-towall shag, and the only art featured dinosaurs drawn by the twins. The large-screen television, the elaborate stereo setup, and the VCR all had been imported from Japan. The room was just like home. “You can’t have children—especially boys—playing Power Rangers in the drawing room,” Claire explained. “The back stairs from the kitchen and the servants’ hall come up through the nursery wing and end here. ” Reflecting on the layout, Judith nodded. “We have our living quarters on the third floor.

Tichborne, she’s a mean-spirited old cow. The rest come and go, like the weather. ” Claire was aghast. “That’s not so! ” Nats laughed, a brittle tinkling sound. “It was a whorehouse, Claire. ” Claire seemed shaken. ” Nats shrugged her slim shoulders. “He’s been the Ravenscroft steward for over ten years and worked as a stablehand before that. ” Claire lowered her head, seemingly absorbed in her soup plate. “It was a boardinghouse,” she whispered. ” “Well,” Renie said brightly, “it couldn’t have been a restaurant.

Grandpa hated England,” Renie pointed out. ’” “That’s because he was English,” Judith countered. “Once he took out his American citizenship papers, he hated everybody who was different. It was the English way. Insular. Prejudiced. ” At Reading, two young men wearing lots of leather and 24 / Mary Daheim studs sat down next to the cousins. Their magenta and chartreuse punk haircuts didn’t endear them to Judith and Renie. ” Twenty minutes later, Judith and Renie were glad to change trains at Newbury.

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