Come Helen High Water
by Susan McBride
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
Helen Evans returns in Susan McBride’s fourth River Road Mystery!
Spring has sprung, the river is rising, and when Luann Dupree, the head of River Bend’s Historical Society, vanishes into the night everyone in town is convinced she’s run off with her Internet Romeo. But her lifelong friend, Sarah Biddle, is convinced Luann is the victim of foul play. No one believes her-not even her husband, the local sheriff, so she turns to Helen Evans for help.
As River Bend’s resident puzzle-solver, Helen’s tackled many a local mystery before. So she agrees to help Sarah, even though she’s not so sure herself that Luanne is really in trouble. But as the town’s flood waters slowly recede, dead fish and muck aren’t the only things Helen finds. She begins to uncover town secrets, false identities…and the very real chance that Luanne might not be discovered alive…
The “walk of shame,” wasn’t that what they called it?
Despite the hangover that played timpani drums in her head, Luann Dupree cracked a smile as she locked her car and scurried toward her front door in the gray light of early morning. She’d always been such a straight arrow that it tickled her to envision herself being labeled a hussy. Unfortunately, it appeared that no one was around to witness her predawn homecoming.
She glanced right and left, checking an all-but-deserted Main Street beneath the still-glowing streetlamps. It felt very much like a ghost town, though there were a few signs of life: the lights flickering on at the diner down the block; a whip-poor-will calling out from a nearby tree; and a cat with a bell on its collar darting beneath a parked car. Otherwise, the town slept, not to awaken until the morning newspaper landed hard upon front porches.
“No one here but us chickens,” she murmured, shaking her head.
She let herself into the building that had, half a century ago, been the Spring Creek Hotel. Through the years the hotel had fallen into disrepair. When its owners died and their heirs placed it on the market for a pittance, the town council had scooped up the property for the River Bend Historical Society. Walls had been torn down to create vast space on the first floor for a museum. The second floor held countless documents and photographs that needed scanning into the system. Its unoccupied rooms also provided storage for the dozens of boxes found in the attic during the renovation and an extensive inventory of items left to the Historical Society by deceased town residents.
The renovation had been fully completed a year ago, and Luann was still sorting through the jumble.
She’d assumed the helm of the Society a decade before and had spent so much time in the building that it felt like home. Heck, it was her home. Before the town council had pushed forward plans to turn the attic into a tiny one-bedroom apartment, she’d often slept on the couch in her office. Though her brand-new living space was hardly bigger than a breadbox, it was all that she needed, seeing as how she was single without even a pet to her name.
One of these days, Lu imagined moving into a cottage perched atop the bluffs above the Mississippi River. How glorious it would be to wake up every morning and see the sunrise dapple the water! It would be even better if she had someone to share it with, she mused wistfully.
Not that there was anything wrong with living alone. Luann had been alone most of her fifty-two years. If she’d liked pets, it might have been a different story. But she was bored to death of herself and itched to share her passion with someone else, hopefully before another decade passed her by while her nose was buried in census tomes or dusty old photographs.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
SUSAN MCBRIDE is the USA TODAY bestselling author of Blue Blood, the first of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries. The award-winning series also includes The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, Night of the Living Deb, and Too Pretty to Die. She’s also the author of The Truth about Love & Lightning, Little Black Dress, and The Cougar Club, all Target Recommended Reads. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and daughter.