Bookmarked to Die (Miss Zukas Mysteries) by Jo Dereske

By Jo Dereske

Librarian extraordinaire leave out Helma Zukas wakes up at the morning of her forty-second birthday within the throes of a couple of midlife challenge. Her championing a set of neighborhood authors' works ignites a firestorm of jealousy and anger in Bellehaven. She's blackmailed through her conniving boss, library director may perhaps Apple Moon, into attending staff counseling classes - and of the members happen useless. An obnoxiously bubbly new librarian is popping the pinnacle of Helma's longtime admirer, Police leader Wayne Gallant. And worst of all, her uncuddly tom cat better half, Boy Cat Zukas disappears.

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She struggled to recall how she’d intended to close this meeting. Something about submitting published books to her for inclusion, about telephoning her with any questions. She couldn’t open her mouth to say a single word. The crowd seemed to be surging forward, pressing against her. And in a horrified moment, she realized her mother was holding her arms out, struggling to rise from her chair and come to her daughter’s rescue. Helma raised her hand to stop her mother, and was 34 JO DERESKE distracted by a disturbance at the doorway to the Iva Grover Room.

Both the coffee and ice water were gone. Helma’s mother and Aunt Em moved forward into the new front row of chairs and now sat at arm’s length from the podium whispering to each other as they watched the room fill, every now and then raising their fists at Helma in rah-rah motions. All Helma’s brochures had disappeared. “I’ll photocopy more for you,” Glory Shandy offered, suddenly appearing at Helma’s elbow. ” Helma surveyed the growing crowd, taken aback. Bellehaven had gained a reputation as a writers’ and artists’ haven, along with luring in the active to its water and mountains, and wealthy retirees to its pricy waterfront.

Helma ran her fingers across the delicate seams, thinking she and Aunt Em shared surprisingly similar, but very private, tastes. Ruth lay sprawled on Helma’s sofa with Boy Cat Zukas on her belly, his eyes closed. “Nothing’s changed here,” she said, gazing around Helma’s apartment. “Consistency in an inconstant world. ” Ruth laughed her big laugh. “I might call it . ” The voice came through the screen door from the balcony of the next apartment. The October night was pleasantly cool and Helma had left the door open an inch.

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