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Actress Isobel Spice and her best friend Delphi Kramer are thrilled to finally have an opportunity to perform together, even if it’s just a cheesy interactive murder mystery at a judge’s lifetime achievement dinner. But when Isobel’s dramatic death scene is upstaged by a real murder and Delphi is left holding the still-smoking gun, Isobel drops the role of victim and assumes the role of detective. With the help of her precocious brother Percival and her reluctant temp agent James Cooke, Isobel peels back layers of deception to reveal a shocking abuse of power—and no shortage of suspects eager to deliver justice to a man who denied it to so many.
Practically before the last word was out of Delphi’s mouth, the crack of the gunshot ricocheted off the walls. Isobel smacked her hand to her chest and felt the blood packet burst against her blouse. Someone shrieked behind her as she staggered forward onto the dance floor. The Brioschi burbled up from her throat, foaming out the corners of her mouth and down her face. She spun around, arms flailing, eyes closed. More shrieks erupted around her.
Yup, she thought with satisfaction, definitely memorable.
She finally collapsed on the floor, limbs splayed, and after a few full-body spasms, settled into a position she could hold until Peter lifted her into the fireman’s carry.
She strained to hear Andrew’s line, “You just shot my wife,” but she was distracted by the sound of a glass shattering somewhere to her left. Somebody kicked her arm, but she held still, determined to be a convincing corpse. A pungent tang of gunpowder tickled her nose. Funny, she hadn’t noticed that when they were practicing. And…was that someone crying?
Suddenly, she felt Peter’s stubble scrape her cheek as he hissed in her ear, “Get up. Get up!”
He tried to yank her into a sitting position, but the sharp movement made her choke on the still-fizzing Brioschi. She knelt on all fours, hacking and heaving until her eyes finally stopped tearing.
“You see?” she heaved. “That’s why I wanted to practice…”
Her words died in her throat as she got to her feet. Two Hostelry security guards gripped Delphi’s shoulders, pinning her arms behind her back. Delphi’s mouth was frozen open in horror. Slowly, Isobel turned and looked behind her.
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