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Authors: Jerilyn Dufresne

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3 Can You Picture This?

BOOK: 3 Can You Picture This?
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Books by Jerilyn Dufresne

Who Killed My Boss?
(Sam Darling mystery #1)

Any Meat in That Soup?
(Sam Darling mystery #2)

Can You Picture This?
(Sam Darling mystery #3)

Will You Marry Me?
(Sam Darling mystery #4) Spring, 2014

Praise for Jerilyn Dufresne and the
Sam Darling Mysteries

Dufresne has created a charming, nosy, and slightly irreverent character in Samantha Darling, the heroine in
Who Killed My Boss?
, a fast-paced cozy that takes place in the small town of Quincy, Illinois.

Beth Amos, author of the Mattie Winston Mystery series (as Annelise Ryan)

The plot kept me guessing until nearly the end and I am looking forward to reading further adventures! Fun and entertaining read…highly recommended…well done! 

Anne Kelleher, author of
A Once and Future Love
and
Wickham’s Folly

Dufresne shows her gift of storytelling as she moves the plot forward, introducing believable characters and a complicated plot. Recommended to everyone who enjoys a well-written, fun, cozy mystery!

Kimberly Shursen, author of
Itsy Bitsy Spider
and
Hush

…and from Amazon reviewers

…It’s like reading the old Nancy Drew books with others. Loved it very very much!

…This book was very well written and I loved all the humor sprinkled throughout the story. Characters were loveable, not to mention the dog. Great ending.


Sam Darling is the kind of gal you wish you could know in real life. Funny, quirky, entertaining. And her “partner,” Clancy the dog, helped make this book just plain fun to read. When’s the next one?! 

…Very exciting plot and hard to put down. Waiting for the next book to come out. I have told all my friends about how good the book was.

…I am one who figures out the guilty party before the author does. This time I was WRONG! Very enjoyable book, fast paced…Looking forward to the next one.

About

CAN YOU PICTURE THIS?

If Sam had known when she knocked over the guy’s bicycle that it would put her knee-deep in murder again, she might have thought twice.

Richie Klingman, the only representative of the “paparazzi” in Quincy, chased Sam down with his camera in an attempt to grab a quick shot of the local celebrity sleuth. But when the flashbulb went off in her face, she went off on him—or on his bike—and down it went, Richie and all.

Turns out that one of the photos Richie took caught the precise moment of a murder on film. The next thing Sam knows, Richie himself has been stabbed and is in the hospital with a serious chest wound. 

Sam is stumped. There are no suspects. Instead there are round-the-clock police protecting Sam and her kids, who are home from college for the summer. And there is round-the-clock involvement with her old high school beau George, whom Sam has finally forgiven for standing her up on prom night. 

When at last a suspect emerges, Sam is confronted with her own mortality yet again. In this third book of the Sam Darling mystery series, you’ll be wondering whodunit right up until the murderer is fully exposed and the picture finally emerges.

CAN YOU PICTURE THIS?

Jerilyn Dufresne

To Kayla and Hunter. My angels.

ONE

R
ichie howled as I shoved his bike away from me in surprise. Not my fault he fell over.

His flash went off again as he dropped to the ground. Richie, all lean and no fat, must have felt the fall much more than I would have. But again, not my fault.

“You can’t just push people over like that, Sam,” he yelled.

I wanted to retort with, “Yes, I can,” but I didn’t. Instead I leaned over to help him up. He rejected my arm as I offered it, so I moved to pick up his bicycle.

He reacted by grabbing the handlebars and taking it back. I guess I wasn’t surprised. Richie’s bicycle was his livelihood. While he righted the bike and looked it over for damage, I found his hat lying in the gravel on the side of the street.

Instantly he jerked the hat out of my hand too. I’d never seen Richie this mad before. Normally he was a pretty easy-going dude; this was a new side to him. He cleaned the hat against his threadbare jeans and brushed the gravel off his T-shirt and pants.

Trying to be the bigger person—literally and figuratively—I said, “I’m really sorry, Richie. Your flash going off right in my face surprised me, and I pushed your bike away without thinking. I hope there’s no damage.” I patted the camera that he’d managed to keep clutched in his hand as he fell.

With more dignity than I’d ever seen him muster, he shook the rest of the dust off his body and replaced the porkpie hat on his head. Then, with a look of horror, he let out another yowl, which pretty much undid the attempt at dignity.

“Where are they? Did you take ’em? Where are they?” He took off his hat again, looked it over, and checked his clothing, but the panicked look remained.

“Where are what?” It seemed we’d gotten his belongings and his vehicle. What else could it be?

His look bored through me. “You took them. I know you did.” Richie took a step toward me as he said it, and I saw his fist balled at his side.

“I didn’t take anything, Richie, and you’re beginning to piss me off. Even more than you already did with that damn camera flash.” I was tempted to smash that camera against Richie’s bird-chest, but I composed myself. “Now tell me what you’re missing and I’ll help you find it.”

“Two things. First the badge that goes in my hat.”

I knew that badge well. Everyone in town did. Richie was never seen without that piece of paper in his hatband that said, “PRESS.” He didn’t actually work for Quincy’s single newspaper, but he freelanced as a photographer and sold pictures to the paper whenever he could. He, his bicycle, camera, and hat were well known around the city.

“Okay,” I said. “That’s one. Tell me the second thing.”

“Pictures. I lost pictures.”

Richie was a rare breed. He still used a Polaroid instant camera. However, I knew he had a hard time finding film for it since his camera model had been discontinued, so WalMart special ordered the film for him. Or
the
WalMart, as he calls it.

“I’ll help you look for your pictures. They’ve got to be around here somewhere.”

“Yeah, you should. It’s all your fault they’re missing.”

“Richie, you took a close-up picture. The flash went off in my face. I couldn’t see. I lashed out. That’s what happened. If you want to take a close-up picture of someone you need to warn them.” I’d had it. He was bugging me and so was the heat. The humidity in Quincy could be intense in the summer. I was tired of both of them.

“I don’t have to warn anybody. I’m a paparazzi.” He practically whined.

In a fully superior voice I corrected him, “You’re a paparazzo. Paparazzi is the plural. You’re the only photographer in town who ambushes people.”

As we talked we looked for the missing photos. It was only a moment before Richie yelled, “Aha! Found them,” and held up a handful of pictures.

Minutes later I found the precious badge, which seemed to be made out of cardboard. It was folded in half. When I unfolded it, I noticed that it didn’t just say “PRESS.” It said, “PRESS HERE.”

I handed it to Richie with a big grin on my face. A laugh escaped despite my best intentions, and I could see from his look that he was offended by it. He stepped back as if he’d been hit.

“You’re mean.”

Well, I’d been told that before, but it didn’t mean it was true. “Sorry, Richie. I just thought it was funny.” I handed him the cardboard before he could grab that too.

As an afterthought, I said, “Why did you feel the need to take a close-up picture of me? You’ve never done that before.”

“Well, you just helped solve another murder, and—”

“Helped solve a murder? I
solved
it. And I solved the murder before that, too. Sure I had a little help, but I did it.”

“If you’d quit talking for a minute, I’m about to give you a compliment,” he said.

I shut up.

“You helped solve another murder and you’re developing quite a reputation in Quincy.”

I must admit my head was swelling as he spoke. “Quite a reputation,” I repeated, smiling.

Richie looked like someone who had something more to say.

“Spit it out, Richie.”

“Well, part of the reputation is that there hadn’t been any murders in Quincy for years…‌until you returned. Now we’ve had two situations in less than six months. People are saying that—”

“That what?” In my mind, I was wringing his scrawny neck.

“That maybe it’s you. Maybe you brought some bad juju with you from Chicago and now it’s making problems in our little town.”

“That’s BS. You need to tell everyone who talks about me that I solved the murders, but I didn’t cause them.”

When I said those words, I had no idea that I was about to find myself knee-deep in murder once again.

TWO

I
sent Richie on his way again, but I was not in a good mood.

How could people think the murders had anything to do with me? That was crazy. I solved two murders. Well, actually eight murders. The first one was my boss, and the next seven were people poisoned at the hospital. Again…‌I didn’t cause them…‌I solved them.

Luckily I had enough self-esteem that Richie’s statement couldn’t bring me down. In fact it was kind of cool that I had enough celebrity for Richie to seek me out. Normally he just rode around town shooting pictures of random people and events, hoping to get a money shot. Maybe someday, if he stopped gossiping about me, I might prove to him how it would be cheaper to buy a digital camera and just develop the good shots, instead of buying so much special-ordered Polaroid film.

I continued my walk down the beautiful, tree-lined streets near the carriage house where I lived. Normally I’d have my dog, Clancy, with me, but my neighbors and landlords, Georgianne and Gus, had asked if they could take her to the dog park today. Of course, Clancy would rather go there than on our routine walk. So I was alone, taking in the summer flowers, trees, and mansions along the way. My kids, Adam and Sarah, were home from the U of I for the summer, but both were sleeping in today—Adam after a late date and Sarah after working all night in the hospital kitchen.

My pleasant reverie was interrupted by a loud voice calling my name.

“Sam. Sam. Sam!” Each “Sam” was followed by a deep gulp of air, almost like someone were drowning.

Reluctantly, I turned, and saw Richie flying toward me on his bike. He was riding on the sidewalk and would have bowled me over if I hadn’t stepped aside. His brakes screeched and he almost went butt over handlebars as he stopped.

“Sam,” he repeated, and it sounded like he couldn’t catch his breath. “Asthma,” he whispered and the sound came from the deepest part of his lungs. He pulled an inhaler out of his pocket and breathed in a big squirt of the medication.

I waited until he could breathe before I spoke, but didn’t try to contain my emotion. “What? Do you have more gossip to report about me?” Of course, sarcasm dripped off my words.

He only said one more word. “Look.” Richie thrust one of his Polaroid pictures at me.

It took a moment for my middle-aged eyes to adjust focus. I looked at the picture, and grabbed Richie’s arm as dizziness overtook me.

My stupid, pain-in-the-butt psychic vibes were attacking me again. And that only happens big time when there’s a murder. Just like the last two times I’d gotten myself in deep with a murder investigation, I felt my vibes pulling me in. I let go of Richie’s arm and looked at the picture again as my dizziness diminished.

The picture showed a guy sitting against a building. What was shocking was that he was in the process of being stabbed by someone in a bright blue hoodie. You could only see the hood—the face was hidden.

It occurred to me that only in Quincy would a murderer wear a bright blue hoodie. Whatever happened to criminals wearing black and trying to be innocuous?

BOOK: 3 Can You Picture This?
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