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Authors: Patricia Sprinkle

When Will the Dead Lady Sing?

BOOK: When Will the Dead Lady Sing?
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Table of Contents
 
 
Praise for Patricia Sprinkle’s Mysteries
When Will the Dead Lady Sing?
“Patricia Sprinkle takes the reader on a trip to the ‘real’ South, the South of family traditions, community customs, church-going, and crafty, down-home politics. Reading it is like spending an afternoon in the porch swing on Aunt Dixie’s veranda. Fun and family values triumph in a delightful book.”
—JoAnna Carl, author of
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up
 
Who Left That Body in the Rain?
“Forming a triumvirate with Anne George and Margaret Maron, Sprinkle adds her powerful voice to the literature of mysteries featuring Southern women. . . . Highly recommended.” —
Mystery Time
 
“Authentic and convincing.”—Tamar Myers
 

Who Left That Body in the Rain?
charms, mystifies, and delights. As Southern as Sunday fried chicken and sweet tea. Patricia Sprinkle’s Hopemore is as captivating—and as filled with big hearts and big heartaches—as Jan Karon’s Mitford. Come for one visit and you’ll always return.”
—Carolyn Hart “An heirloom quilt. Each piece of patchwork is unique and with its own history, yet they are deftly stitched together with threads of family love and loyalty, simmering passion, deception and wickedness, but always with optimism imbued with down-home Southern traditions. A novel to be savored while sitting on a creaky swing on the front porch, a pitcher of lemonade nearby, a dog slumbering in the sunlight.” —Joan Hess
 
 
Who Invited the Dead Man?
“A wonderfully Southern setting . . . MacLaren seems right at home in her tiny town.”—
Library Journal
 
“Touches of poignancy mixed with Southern charm and old secrets make
Who Invited the Dead Man?
a diverting read.”

Romantic Times
And others . . .
 
“Light touches of humor and the charming interplay between MacLaren and her magistrate husband make this a fun read for mystery fans.”—
Library Journal
 
“Sparkling . . . witty . . . a real treat and as refreshing as a mint julep, a true Southern pleasure.”—
Romantic Times
 
“Sparkles with verve, charm, wit, and insight. I loved it.”
—Carolyn Hart
 
“Engaging . . . compelling . . . A delightful thriller.”

Peachtree Magazine
 
“The sort of light entertainment we could use more of in the hot summer days to come.”—
The Denver Post
 
“[Sprinkle] just keeps getting better.”

The Post and Courier
(Charleston, SC)
Thoroughly Southern Mysteries
WHO INVITED THE DEAD MAN?
WHO LEFT THAT BODY IN THE RAIN?
WHO LET THAT KILLER IN THE HOUSE?
WHEN WILL THE DEAD LADY SING?
SIGNET
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand,
London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road,
Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (NZ), cnr Rosedale and Airborne Roads,
Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
 
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
First Printing, June 2004
 
Copyright © Patricia Sprinkle, 2004
eISBN : 978-1-101-16160-9
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
 
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
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.
 
BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE AT QUANTITY DISCOUNTS WHEN USED TO PROMOTE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES. FOR INFORMATION PLEASE WRITE TO PREMIUM MARKETING DIVISION, PENGUIN GROUP (USA) INC., 375 HUDSON STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10014.
 
 
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

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THANKS TO . . .
sister mystery writer Toni Kelner for the diamond story. Steve Kelner also did not propose until he’d earned enough to pay for her diamond, which puzzled and bewildered her. Toni, however, was a more faithful soul than MacLaren. In MacLaren’s defense, she was a little younger at the time, and hadn’t ever had a boyfriend except Joe Riddley. And Burlin was so very attractive.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MacLaren Yarbrough:
Georgia magistrate, co-owner of Yarbrough Feed, Seed and Nursery
Joe Riddley Yarbrough:
MacLaren’s husband, co-owner of Yarbrough Feed, Seed and Nursery
Ridd Yarbrough:
MacLaren’s older son, high-school math teacher and part-time farmer
Martha Yarbrough:
Ridd’s wife, emergency-room supervisor
Cricket
(4) and
Bethany
(17): their children
 
Hollis Stanton
(17): Bethany’s best friend, lives with Ridd and his family
Tad Yarbrough
(10): son of MacLaren’s younger son, Walker, visiting Ridd
 
Hubert Spence:
Yarbroughs’ former neighbor, owner of Spence’s Appliances
Maynard Spence:
Hubert’s son, antiques dealer
 
Augusta Wainwright
and
Winifred “Pooh” DuBose:
Hopemore’s elderly aristocrats
Hector Blaine:
ne’er-do-well resident of Hopemore
 
Bailey “Buster” Gibbons:
Hope County sheriff
Charlie Muggins:
Hopemore police chief
Isaac James:
assistant police chief
 
Burlin Bullock:
Georgia politician, former congressman
Lance Bullock:
Burlin’s son, running for governor
Renée Bullock:
Lance’s wife
Georgia Tate:
Burlin’s sister
Edward Tate:
Georgia’s husband, Burlin’s partner, Lance’s campaign manager
Abigail “Binky” Bullock:
Burlin’s younger sister
1
The Hopemore water tank murder was news all over the world. It happened right after my own face got plastered on the front page of every major paper in the country, so for a time Middle Georgia had two national celebrities: Judge MacLaren Yarbrough and the Hopemore water tank. I am the shorter of the two.
With the town swarming with reporters and cameras, was I going to have to confess what I’d done?
However, I’m getting ahead of my story. For me, it began one September Friday when it was finally cool enough to shove our windows up. I looked out my front living room screen and gasped.
“Joe Riddley, there’s a buffalo in our front yard!”
From the dining room table, where he was trying to summon the energy to lift his first mug of morning coffee, my husband gave a little snort I suppose he meant for a laugh. “Is a coyote slinking through the bushes?”
I have known that man since we were four and six. It’s a miracle I have let him live this long. “No, but there is a buffalo. Shaggy shoulders, big hump on the back, great clumps of manure falling on the grass—”
He sighed, but didn’t bother to turn around. “Then he’s fifteen hundred miles and a hundred and fifty years off course. I’ve been telling you to get your eyes checked. It’s probably a big dog.” I heard the thump as his coffee mug hit the table. “What’s it doing?”
“Cropping grass. And there’s nothing the matter with my eyes. It’s a buffalo, dang it!”
I spoke so loud that Bo, Joe Riddley’s scarlet macaw—prancing around his own placemat—flapped his wings and demanded, “Back off! Give me space!”
At that, the huge creature on the front lawn raised its head and looked straight at me.
BOOK: When Will the Dead Lady Sing?
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