Shadow of a Butterfly – The Case of the Harmless Old Woman by J. A. Menzies

Shadow of a Butterfly

About the Book

When an elderly woman is murdered in the common room of the penthouse floor of a luxury Toronto high-rise that caters to famous seniors, residents and staff suspect a deluded mercy-killer. As homicide detectives Paul Manziuk and Jacqueline Ryan follow rabbit trails, sorting through half-truths and long-buried secrets, they realize they’re missing something; but what? And when will the killer strike again?

Book Excerpt

I think Ingrid’s dead.” Mary Simmons’s soft voice held a hint of sadness. She nodded her head, with its wrinkled face and halo of snow-white hair, and stuffed a tissue up the sleeve of her blue cashmere cardigan. Carefully, she leaned close to peer into the still face of the stout, grey-haired woman who was slumped over in her easy chair. “I’m pretty sure she’s dead.”

“She’s sleeping,” replied Lyle Oakley, who was seated on a leather recliner two chairs over from Ingrid’s. Having had a good lunch, he’d enjoyed a short nap and then spent some time perusing the four newspapers that were delivered daily. His eyes were now fixed on Ginny Lovejoy’s column in the sports section of the August sixth edition of the Toronto Daily News. He tended to save the best for last.

Mary, Lyle, and Ingrid Davidson were the only people in the lounge of the twentieth floor of Serenity Suites, an exclusive seniors’ condominium in downtown Toronto.

Mary stood watching Ingrid. The other woman’s eyes were shut, and her head was tilted back in an awkward position. The blanket she was crocheting for a newborn great-grandchild, along with the crochet hook and skeins of pink and white wool, had spilled from her lap onto the hardwood floor.

“There’s no sign she’s breathing,” Mary said.

With a sigh of resignation, Lyle noisily removed his reading glasses, folded his newspaper, and stuffed it down one side of his recliner before pulling himself to his feet. He shuffled over to stand behind Mary, his head above hers. “She’s sleeping. Look, you can see her chest rising just slightly.”

“You’re too old to be looking at women’s chests,” Mary said in a sharp tone.

“Well then, you look!” He shook his head as he moved back to his chair. “Always thinking the worst and then acting as if I’m in the wrong.”

“I just thought the way her head’s tilted over like that, she looked unnatural.”

“Yesterday you thought she was dead because her hands were blue.”

“Well, they were. They still are. And you know people get cold when they’re dead. Besides, most of her is well-layered, so I’d have thought her hands would be too, and not have such thin skin and big veins.”

“You just want something exciting to happen.”

“That’s not true at all.” Mary moved away, her soft pink bedroom slippers making a whooshing sound as she struggled to keep up with the walker she tended to push ahead, then catch up to and push again. Probably because of that, whenever Lyle thought of Mary, he tended to think of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.

“She could be dead,” Mary threw over her shoulder as she left the room. “Any minute now. Could be….”

 

JA Menzies

About the Author

J. A. Menzies writes classic mysteries set in contemporary Toronto. Her novels include the Manziuk and Ryan Mysteries (Shaded Light: The Case of the Tactless Trophy Wife; Glitter of Diamonds: The Case of the Reckless Radio Host; and Shadow of a Butterfly: The Case of the Harmless Old Woman.) Many reviewers, including Publishers Weekly, have compared her novels to the best of Agatha Christie.

Library Journal called J. A. a “master of plotting.” Her third mystery, Shadow of a Butterfly, will be out on May 15, 2015.

J. A. is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and The Writers Union of Canada.

Buy the Book

J. A. Menzies website

Amazon

 


 

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