It’s hard to say when I fell in love with Em—before or after the king-sized Snickers incident. There she was, sitting in the front row of the faculty meeting, noisily unwrapping the candy bar. She was blissfully unaware that Jim Giles, our English chair, was waiting for her to finish. Eventually he would give up, as a box of Hot Tamales followed the chocolate. She’d skipped lunch that day and stopped by her favorite lunch destination: the downstairs vending machine. I’ve seen a five-dollar bill disappear in there in less than thirty seconds—and her promises to eat healthier, too.
Em would call me the “rabble-rouser” of the department, and yes, she would use that word. She’s fond of antiquated words that don’t exactly roll off the tongue. But her assessment would be dead wrong. Em has caused more rabble than a student protest, mostly with her investigations. She reads a lot of detective fiction and fancies herself an amateur sleuth. She reads a lot of historical romance, too, but I told her that doesn’t make her a duchess. Unfortunately, it does make me a duke—the imaginary sort.
We were at This and That, a thrift shop in Copper Bluff, when she asked me to try on a kilt, a green and blue plaid that had seen better days. I knew she’d been reading that Scottish series again. She said she hadn’t, but I recognize the look of a wanton woman when I see one (plus she gave me an example from one of her books). It wasn’t Macbeth she was envisioning when I tossed on the garment over my shorts.
Which is just as well for me. When it comes to our relationship, she thinks of us as “just friends.” We are friends, but we are also idea junkies, coffee drinkers, sparring partners, pasta lovers, and wine enthusiasts. If we’re not teaching class, we’re together. She thinks this is mere coincidence.
To quote one of her recent novels, “Dear readers, it is not.” I’ve done everything I can think of to win her heart. I’ve crept around theaters, I’ve interrogated faculty members, I’ve skipped classes (okay, that was all me), I’ve gone to bake sales, I’ve even gone to Mass—and I’m Jewish! What will it take for Emmeline Prather to see the light?
It might be the greatest question she’s never asked, and she’s asked plenty. She asked me to a funeral parlor once like we were going on a date. I’m a patient man, but I’m no saint. I need to find a way to make her understand, and I think I know how. Cross your fingers, friends—and if that doesn’t work, rub a rabbit’s foot, throw a horseshoe, pick up a penny. You get the idea. She’s a big believer in signs. Let’s just hope she sees the flashing one in front of her before we’re old and gray.
Coming Up Murder (Professor Prather Mystery) by Mary Angela
About Coming Up Murder
Cozy Mystery 4th in Series
Camel Press (November 12, 2019)
Paperback: 258 pages
Everything’s coming up roses for Professor Emmeline Prather. Her scholarly book is finished, spring term is coming to a close, and her love life is blossoming. Then the festival surrounding the exhibit of Shakespeare’s First Folio opens, bringing with it a tempest more dramatic than the bard’s.
In his panel presentation, actor and grad student Tanner Sparks contends Shakespeare isn’t Shakespeare, boasting that he can prove the long-debated theory that an aristocrat actually penned the sonnets and plays. His bombshell sets off an acrid debate among scholars. But were they upset enough to kill him? That’s what Em wonders when Tanner is found dead in Shakespeare’s Garden, his macabre pose inspired by a scene from Hamlet.
At her department head’s urging, Em sets out to find the killer. Suspects abound, and Em finds herself targeted by Shakespeare-themed threats. Undaunted, she persists, determined to solve the case before the end of the semester.
About Mary Angela
Mary Angela is the author of two cozy mystery series that have strong protagonists with soft hearts. Emmeline Prather is the witty young teacher in the Professor Prather series, and Zo Jones is the sassy sleuth and shop owner in the Happy Camper series (coming from Kensington in 2020). When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She’s the proud mom of two beautiful daughters and the shameless owner of two very spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryangelabooks/ .
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