Read Murder Plays House Online

Authors: Ayelet Waldman

Murder Plays House

BOOK: Murder Plays House
13.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“Well-plotted . . . Juliet is a wonderful invention, warm, loving and sympathetic to those in need, but unintimidated by the L.A. entertainment industry she must enter to search for clues . . . What a motive, what a resolution, and how clever of Juliet to figure it out.”


Publishers Weekly

“The Mommy Track mysteries get progressively feistier and wittier . . . 
Murder Plays House
is a well-thought-out mystery.”


Midwest Book Review

“As always, Waldman uses humor to portray the Los Angeles scene while making some serious points about what is really important in life. This thoroughly modern cozy will be popular.”


Booklist

“Witty Waldman is so endearingly pro-kid that you may run right out and get pregnant and so unsparing about Hollywood sylphs and pro-anorexia websites that you may never diet again.”


Kirkus Reviews

P
RAISE FOR
D
EATH GETS A
T
IME
-O
UT

“Juliet and her patient husband make an appealing couple—funny clever, and loving (but never mawkish). Waldman has an excellent ear for the snappy comeback, especially when delivered by a five-year-old.”


Publishers Weekly

“Waldman is at her witty best when dealing with children, carpooling, and first-trimester woes, but is no slouch at explaining the pitfalls of False Memory Syndrome either.”


Kirkus Reviews

“Think
Chinatown
, but with strollers and morning sickness. Arguably the best of Waldman’s mysteries.”


Long Island Press

A P
LAYDATE WITH
D
EATH

“Smoothly paced and smartly told.”


The New York Times Book Review

“Sparkling . . . Witty and well-constructed . . . those with a taste for lighter mystery fare are sure to relish the adventures of this contemporary, married, mother-of-two Nancy Drew.”


Publishers Weekly

“[A] deft portrayal of Los Angeles’s upper crust and of the dilemma facing women who want it all.”


Booklist

T
HE
B
IG
N
AP

“Waldman treats the Los Angeles scene with humor, offers a revealing glimpse of Hasidic life, and provides a surprise ending . . . An entertaining mystery with a satirical tone.”


Booklist

“Juliet Applebaum is smart, fearless, and completely candid about life as a full-time mom with a penchant for part-time detective work. Kinsey Millhone would approve.”

—Sue Grafton

N
URSERY
C
RIMES

“[Juliet is] a lot like Elizabeth Peters’ warm and humorous Amelia Peabody—a brassy, funny, quick-witted protagonist.”


Houston Chronicle

“A delightful debut filled with quirky, engaging characters, sharp wit, and vivid prose.”

—Judith Kelman, author of
After the Fall

“[Waldman] derives humorous mileage from Juliet’s ‘epicurean’ cravings, wardrobe dilemmas, night-owl husband and obvious delight in adventure.”


Library Journal

MURDER
PLAYS HOUSE

Ayelet Waldman

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4V 3B2, Canada

(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia

(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr. Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand

(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

MURDER PLAYS HOUSE

A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author

PRINTING HISTORY

Berkley Prime Crime hardcover edition / July 2004

Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / July 2005

Copyright © 2004 by Ayelet Waldman.

Cover design by Steven Ferlauto.

Cover art by Lisa Desimini.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-66460-5

BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME

Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

The name BERKLEY PRIME CRIME and the BERKLEY PRIME CRIME design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Acknowledgments

M
Y
thanks to Sylvia Brownrigg, Peggy Orenstein, Micheline Marcom, and Susanne Pari, brilliant writers and fine editors all; to Natalee Rosenstein, Esther Strauss, and Rebecca Crowley for taking such good care of me; to Lisa Desimini for such delightful and original covers; to Jan Fogner for details of the real estate business (all errors are my own, of course); to Kathleen Caldwell for her unending support; to Mary Evans, not just a remarkable agent, but a good and loyal friend.

Sophie, Zeke, Ida-Rose and Abraham give me something to write about, and their father makes everything possible.

Berkley Prime Crime Books by Ayelet Waldman

NURSERY CRIMES

THE BIG NAP

DEATH GETS A TIME-OUT

A PLAYDATE WITH DEATH

MURDER PLAYS HOUSE

THE CRADLE ROBBERS

To my girls,
Sophie and Ida-Rose

Table of Contents

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-one

Twenty-two

Twenty-three

Twenty-four

Twenty-five

Twenty-six

Twenty-seven

Twenty-eight

Twenty-nine

Thirty

Thirty-one

Thirty-two

Thirty-three

Thirty-four

One

A
S
I huddled in the six inches of bed that my three-and-a-half-year-old son allowed me, I comforted myself with the knowledge that at least I was marginally more comfortable than my husband, who had been reduced to camping out on the floor. We didn’t normally permit Isaac to evict us from our bed, but since he’d made his toddler bed uninhabitable with a particularly noxious attack of stomach flu, we’d been forced to let down the drawbridge and allow the barbarian through the gate.

“Are you sure you don’t want to sleep on the couch?” I whispered to Peter.

He grunted.

“Honey? Do you want to try the couch?”

“Yeah, right,” he muttered.

“It’s not
that
wet,” I said defensively.

He groaned and rolled over.

It wasn’t my fault that the dryer broke down two loads
into laundry day. Perhaps it was shortsighted of me to use the couch as an impromptu drying rack, but how could I have anticipated a night of vomiting and musical beds?

I jumped as Isaac jammed his foot into my stomach, and reached a protective hand around my bulging belly. I patted at the tiny elbow I felt poking up just north of my belly button and murmured to the little girl swimming in the warm dark inside of me. This was likely just the first of many beatings she would suffer at the hands of her older brother.

“Juliet?” Peter said softly.

“Mm?”

“Is he asleep?”

“Like the dead.” I heaved myself over so I could see Peter’s shadowed form on the floor.

“You win,” he said.

“Good,” I replied. Then, “I win what?”

“You win. We buy a house. A big house. With lots of beds. At least two for each of us.”

I sat up in bed. “Really? Really? Oh sweetie, that is so great. You will not be sorry, I promise. I’ll start looking tomorrow. I’ll find something with enough room for all of us, and even a special place for your collection.”

The truth was, I’d started looking for a house months before, and Peter probably knew it. I had paid little or no attention to his insistence that our entire family could continue to fit comfortably into a two-bedroom apartment, even with the pending arrival of our surprise third child. Peter was just nervous about spending the money on a house. He preferred the flexibility of a month-to-month lease, comforting himself with the notion that if his screenplays ever stopped selling, we could just pack up our children and his twenty cubic feet of vintage action figures still in the
original blister packs and move into the trailer next to his mother’s. Yeah. Like that would ever happen. While it’s possible that there has been born a man both cruel and strong enough to force this particular Jewish American Princess into a double-wide in Cincinnati, Ohio, it is certainly not the sweet, sensitive, grey-eyed guy I married.

Anyway, I knew the moment I saw the double pink line of the pregnancy test that we were going to buy a house, and since then all of Peter’s protestations and carefully constructed arguments about mobility and low overhead had had about as much effect on me as flies buzzing around the ears of a hippopotamus. Sure, they were irritating, but did they prevent me from wallowing in the mud of the Los Angeles real estate market? As my six-year-old daughter would say, “I don’t
think
so.”

I drifted off to a sleep enchanted by dreams of second bathrooms and front-loading washers. Alas, it seemed as if I had only just managed to close my eyes when I was awakened by an insistent whine in my ear.

“Come
on
, Mama. It’s seven fourteen! We’re going to be late for school.” As I had every morning since Ruby’s sixth birthday, I cursed my mother for buying my overly conscientious daughter that
Little Mermaid
alarm clock.

I hauled myself out of bed, scooping Isaac up with me, and prodded Peter with one toe. “Bed’s all yours, sweetie,” I said.

Peter leapt up off the floor and burrowed into the newly vacant bed. I sighed jealously and herded the children back to their room. My husband works at night; he finds the midnight hours most conducive to constructing the tales of mayhem and violence that characterize the particular style of horror movie for which he has become marginally well known. That leaves the morning shift to me, a system that
works well, by and large, although on the mornings following nights punctuated by the cries of sleepless children, I sometimes wonder if I’m getting the short end of the stick. Before allowing myself to become awash in a sea of self-pity, I reminded myself that since I barely earn enough with my fledgling investigative practice even to pay a babysitter, it is in my interest to make it possible for my husband to get his work done.

BOOK: Murder Plays House
13.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Dream Dark by Kami Garcia
The Rogue Prince by Michelle M. Pillow
The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch
Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
Julia by Peter Straub
Voices in the Night by Steven Millhauser
The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee