In the fifth installment in Janet Finsilver’s cozy mystery series, Kelly Jackson’s got to solve this murder—or her friends are sunk . . .
Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is fond of the Doblinsky brothers, Ivan and Rudy, members of the Silver Sentinels, a crew of crime-solving senior citizens in their Northern California seaside hamlet. After she discovers a jewel-encrusted dagger—with what appears to be dried blood on the blade—on their fishing boat, they share their family history with Kelly, and she learns that the knife may be part of a set from their long-ago childhood in Russia. Its sudden reappearance is eerie, but the mystery grows much more serious when a body is found on the boat. The victim was staying at Kelly’s inn, in town for a Russian Heritage Festival, and some of the organizers were clearly harboring some bitterness. But the story behind this murder seems as layered as a nesting doll—and Kelly’s feeling completely at sea . . .
Excerpt from Chapter 1
I looked at my watch and saw I was early but decided to see if the brothers had already arrived. They had given me directions, but what was crystal clear to them had me a little confused. I walked in the general direction of where I thought I was supposed to go, aware of the slight smell of fish.
I spied a man in baggy denim bib overalls wearing a dusty black Giants baseball cap, his gray hair curled up over its sides. He basked in the sun outside a small bait shop in a rocking chair. Fishing nets and tackle equipment hung on the building’s gray boards. Handwritten signs advertising live sardines and bait shrimp were tacked on the wall. An old, personalized fluorescent clock declared it to be Tim’s Place.
I approached him. “Hi, I’m Kelly Jackson.” I smiled. “Are you Tim?”
“Nope. He ain’t here no more. Done moved on. I’m Joe.” The missing front tooth didn’t mar the congeniality in his voice.
“I’m here to meet the Doblinsky brothers at their boat, Nadia. I’m wondering if you could help me with directions.”
“Sure. Glad to.” He pointed an arthritic finger in the direction of a gate. “Walk on through there. It ain’t locked right now. The boat’s down apiece on the left.”
A few minutes later, I stood in front of a large white vessel with black trim. Nadia in large bold black letters on the bow assured me I’d found what I’d been seeking.
“Rudy…Ivan…are you here?” I called out.
I didn’t get a response and decided to knock on the cabin door. I grabbed the metal rails next to an opening and boarded the boat. My knock brought no response. I could clearly see into the galley below. A tidy compact kitchen, a boothed dining area, and a small table filled the area. A living room with built-in couches along both sides of the wall occupied the right side. The dining table was in clear view, with a shaft of sunlight illuminating it. I caught a glimpse of a multicolored object sparkling in the sun’s bright light at the table’s edge. I stepped a little to the side and craned my neck to see better.
What I saw was the hilt of a dagger.
The handle glinted in the sun, but the curved blade didn’t shine like the rest of it.
A dull, rust-colored material covered the metal…the color of dried blood.
The cold hand of fear squeezed my heart.
About the Author
Janet Finsilver and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and Ellie, a boxer/coonhound mix. Janet enjoys horseback riding, snow skiing, and cooking. She is currently working on her next Redwood Cove mystery. Readers can visit her website at www.JanetFinsilver.com.