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After her favorite aunt is found dead and an alarming box is mysteriously left on the doorstep of her aunt’s house now legally hers, Lavinia Esposito wants explanations. But, having cleared the package of explosives, the local cops are dumbounded by the precious stones which came without an explanation, just an address─her Aunt Livvy’s. Frustrated by the cops’ refusal to share their theories, criminal justice instructor Lavinia Esposito, a.k.a. Vinnie, takes investigation matters into her own hands. Vinnie is soon dragged into situations beyond her control, finding herself in hot water with the law, the crooks, and her Italian father. Willing to put her life at risk to find out what really happened to her beloved Aunt Livvy, and why jewels would be addressed to her aunt, Vinnie plunges ahead with her usual tenacity, bravery, and keen wits to solve and survive this mystery.
Now enjoy an excerpt:
It wasn’t long before the limber old guy came into view as he hot footed down the street with a stethoscope in his hand. This particular piece of equipment wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but then he wasn’t a bomb expert either.
When he arrived on the doorstep slightly out of breath, he glanced at the parcel, and then turned toward me.
“This was just delivered, you say?” MacNert squinted toward me with wizened brown eyes that twinkled all the time. It was as though there was a private joke going on inside his head.
“Yeah, someone knocked on the door, and when I got here to answer, there was nobody around. It didn’t seem prudent to mess with it, so I called you.”
“You just finished that bomb class, eh?” He chuckled and then sobered quickly. Since 9/11, everyone took stuff like this with a serious attitude. While he chuckled, I knew MacNert was no different.
The stethoscope ends plugged into his ears, Bill laid its diaphragm on top of the package. Removing it, he gingerly set it against the sides and listened again. I didn’t make a sound as he stood and glanced up.
“There’s no tickin’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive. You should probably call the state police barracks up the road. Have them send their bomb guys down for a lookie see, just to be on the safe side.”
“Geez, I hate to do that. I’ll feel stupid if it’s a joke,” I whined.
“It’s up to you, but if you were nervous enough to call me, then you should call them. It’s just my opinion, Vin.” He stepped over the box and wandered into the entryway. “Got anythin’ to eat? Wifey’s out of town visitin’ her sister and I’m starved.”
Bill didn’t seem over concerned, but then again, he hadn’t recently taken a bomb class either. My eyes never left the box as I answered him. “There’s food in the fridge, help yourself.”
I’d known the homely man and his family for years and respected his opinion. Tapping my fingers against my lips, I called after him, “You’re right. I’ll ring the state police now, but stick around okay?”
Unwilling to be nailed as over-dramatic by the staties, I reluctantly punched in the numbers. It was bad enough that the local cops had bugged the shit out of me for the first month after Aunt Livvy’s death. They still stopped by now and then, annoying me even more with stupid questions. Questions to which I had no answers.
After the trooper covering the desk answered, I explained what I’d found on the doorstep. He seemed unconcerned until I mentioned my name and address, and then he stated someone would be down momentarily. The swift change in his manner piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he’d suddenly capitulated when his initial response had been of disinterest.
J. M. Griffin is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to stimulate the imagination much like she wields her paint brush. The pages are a blank canvas on which J.M. draws vivid characters. J.M. is the author of the popular Vinnie Esposito mystery series featuring the sexy sleuth Vinnie Esposito and the engaging Deadly Bakery mystery series featuring the sassy baker/sleuth Melina Cameron. J.M. lives in rural Rhode Island, a state she considers colorful and interesting.