The Marriage at the Rue Morgue (A Rue and Lakeland Mystery)

BOOK: The Marriage at the Rue Morgue (A Rue and Lakeland Mystery)
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A part of Gale, Cengage Learning

Copyright © 2014 by Jessie Bishop Powell.

Five Star™ Publishing, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning.


This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.

No part of this work covered by the copyright herein may be reproduced, transmitted, stored, or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, scanning, digitizing, taping, Web distribution, information networks, or information storage and retrieval systems, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

The publisher bears no responsibility for the quality of information provided through author or third-party Web sites and does not have any control over, nor assume any responsibility for, information contained in these sites. Providing these sites should not be construed as an endorsement or approval by the publisher of these organizations or of the positions they may take on various issues.


Powell, Jessie Bishop.

The marriage at the Rue Morgue / by Jessie Bishop Powell. — First edition

    pages cm — (A Rue and Lakeland mystery)

ISBN 978-1-4328-2867-7 (hardcover) — ISBN 1-4328-2867-3 (hardcover)

eISBN-13: 978-1-4328-2862-2 eISBN-10: 1-4328-2862-2

1. Women detectives—Fiction. 2. Marriage—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3602.I75855M37 2014

813′.6—dc23                               2014007348

First Edition. First Printing: July 2014

This title is available as an e-book.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4328-2862-2 ISBN-10: 1-4328-2862-2

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Printed in the United States of America
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  18  17  16  15  14

For Scott, who made me believe in true love. For Caroline and Sam, who encourage me with their own creativity. I couldn’t ask for a better husband or more amazing children.


I owe a debt of tremendous gratitude to the family, friends, and professionals who helped bring this book to life. First among these is my husband. Scott is a brilliant man whose actual field is history. But when he’s conversing with me, he can demonstrate expertise in just about anything I happen to ask. It’s an invaluable asset in a spouse. He’s also my first reader, and he gives honest critique where others dance around flaws. My love and admiration for him are boundless.

My children are vibrant reminders to me of
I write. I want Caroline and Sam to know the importance of doggedly pursuing dreams and of knowing their own hearts. I hope that they understand that by writing, I am also asking them to be passionate, to throw themselves into the things they love with ferocity. I am so proud of them already.

My sister’s daughter Kaylee reminds me so much of myself. She’s independent, smart, and ready to tackle the universe. But she’s very much her own person. She’s got a wicked laugh, a keen eye for drama, and a knack for being
at everything she tries her hand at.

In fact, I admire all of Scott’s and my nieces and our one nephew. (Ryan was the only boy for several years before Sam came along.) Elizabeth is a smart athletic young woman; Courtney has the courage of Joan of Arc; Ryan’s energy and creativity fuel our family gatherings; and Meghan’s quiet enthusiasm is contagious.

But they are not the only people who helped me bring this book to life. I had help from the outset from Melanie Bond of the Center for Great Apes in Florida. She took time out from her busy schedule to correct misunderstandings and misapprehensions, and to direct me to numerous resources that primate caretakers would use regularly, such as the
Orangutan Species Survival Plan: Husbandry Manual
edited and compiled by Carol Sodaro. Any apeish (or monkey-fied) errors that remain are entirely mine. For more information about great apes, and to find out how to help ensure the species’ survival, take a look at the end of the book.

Detective John K. Schadle, Chief Deputy of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio, gave me insight into Ohio policing. I grew up in Brown County, and it was particularly fun to connect with a member of the law enforcement community from my home area. The fictitious towns of Ironweed and Granton are rural, just as Brown County is, making him the perfect expert for this book. I’m sure errors remain. They are entirely my fault, so I pray you heap contumely upon my head, not upon that of one who tried to steer me to the correct path.

My first readers, like D. L. Bass Kemp, Jennifer Richmond, Jennifer Southcombe-Harmon, and Linda Myers, have been so kind to my drafts. Other friends, like Kristi Jones and Karen Mannion, have done everything from watching my kids so I could write to taking my picture for the cover. Readers of my blog
Jester Queen
have given me encouragement along my road, even though they’ve never seen the book. Stephanie Ayers, Cameron Garriepy, Deana Burson, Lance Burson, Lisa Harvey, Kirsten Piccini, Carrie Rogozinski, and Andra Watkins are just a few of the people who I consider colleagues and friends. In fact, my blogging community represents the first writing community I’ve had outside of school, and I would be remiss if I didn’t thank them.

I need to thank my parents and in-laws as well. I will never live through half the things my mother has endured. She will surely fuss at me for being melodramatic, but when I look at what she has withstood, and how she has somehow come through with a joyful attitude toward life, I am awed and humbled. I admire you Mom, more than I can say. Dad, too, is always supportive. He’s a creative force of his own. He gives me honest critique, even when I don’t want to hear it, and I return the same to him, because we both know we’re doing each other no favors to lie.

I’m delivering no spoilers to tell you the mother-in-law in this book is an awful person, but I want to state up front that she is
in no way
based upon my own mother-in-law. My mother-in-law is patient where I am fiery and kind where I am judgmental. She has always been a solid rock that Scott and I can rely upon. Indeed, I have often said that if I had to choose my husband based on my in-laws, I’d still be married to the same man. My husband’s family, from his mother, through his sisters, and to his father and stepmother, has been universally loving to me. I can’t believe I lucked into such a close-knit group.

Finally, thank
If you’re reading the acknowledgments page, you are a truly dedicated bibliophile. If you’d like to get in touch with me, I’d love to hear from you. You can find me online at
. That’s a stable Web address where my most recent e-mail address should always be posted if you want to drop me a line.


Lance Lakeland dodged as a well-aimed fecal mass sailed past him.

“Thanks for the warning, Noel,” he called as he headed toward me. “Integration not going so well?”

“Slow.” I had been toting breakfast to the enclosures before I stopped to check in on our newest monkey. The pungent smell of overripe fruit mingled with the earthy scent of Ohio forest as I leaned across the chow bucket and Lance bent down so I could peck his cheek. “Anyway,” I asked, “what’s up?”

Lance’s hairy right hand crept up to the top of his head. Though I couldn’t see it from my own height of barely over five feet, I knew he was scratching his bald spot. His left thumb started drumming on the dial of his two-way radio, and he hunched in what I called his gorilla pose. “Bub got in,” he finally said.

“What?” My sympathy for his stress faded fast. “I thought your brother wasn’t coming!” I thumped down the chow again, primates temporarily forgotten in light of this new personal crisis. “What are we going to do with him?”

“I don’t know,” Lance said. But he did know. We both knew. His right hand moved down to the back of his neck, and he looked at the bucket of food like maybe the answer was fermenting in the mangos and bananas.

Around us, the din of primate chatter edged up a notch. The animals were restless, perhaps keying off of their caretakers’ moods, or maybe reacting to the distant racket of mall construction. In one enclosure, chimpanzees emitted their characteristic high-pitched screeches with lower huffing-hooting accompaniment. In another, the red-ruffed lemurs’ chatter periodically erupted into chirps and croaks. In front of me, the rhesus macaque screamed bloody murder. It didn’t seem at all repentant about throwing its excrement at my fiancé.

Above the animal ruckus, a car honked. The animals increased their volume. “Wonder who that is,” Lance said. “We’re not expecting anybody at the visitors’ gate, are we?”


We looked at each other. I said, “That better not be your brother.”

Simultaneously, Lance said, “If that’s Bub, I swear I’ll kill him.”

“Tell me you didn’t invite him to stay with us.”

“No, no!” Lance held out his arms, palms open. “I told him you and I would have to discuss it.”

of course, the bad guy if we say no.” I trained my glower over his shoulder and tried not to be angry. The anger boiled down to stress and the fact that we should have listened and taken the entire day before our wedding off work.

The horn blared again. I looked toward the barn. “Art will get it,” Lance said. “He was sitting up there fiddling with paperwork when I left him. Give him something to do.”

Thinking about Lance’s brother again, I said, “I love you.” But I was thinking
Perspective, perspective, perspective
to keep myself from shouting.

“Good thing,” Lance replied. He lowered his eyes to the bucket between us.

Since Lance was taken up with scrutinizing the meal, I turned my attention to the monkey. Although he looked starved, his real problem was an inappropriate diet. He smelled better now that we had regulated his insulin levels and gotten his kidneys under control, but his body still showed signs of his former circumstances. Most of all, the neglect could be seen in his face, where his prominent nose seemed too close to his sunken eyes.

This knowledge didn’t fix the problem of my future brother-in-law. At forty-two, I was far from the typical first-time bride. It was difficult enough getting around the fact that Lance’s brother Alex was very much a volatile ex-boyfriend of mine, without dealing with the landmine of my future mother-in-law’s fury should she feel
had denied Alex hospitality. She already considered me monstrous for leaving one brother for the other, never mind that it happened ten years ago and I had good reason.

BOOK: The Marriage at the Rue Morgue (A Rue and Lakeland Mystery)
3.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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