Fri
Oct 27 2017 9:00am

Amy Korman Excerpt: Killer Holiday

Amy Korman

Killer Holiday by Amy Korman is the fourth book in the Killer WASPs Mystery series. 

Tis the season for mayhem and mystery...

Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr pals are ready for a festive holiday—one that involves sipping Blitzen’s Bourbons by a yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and a holiday cabaret starring ex-Mafia wife Sophie Shields. But this year, Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store.

A stranger dressed as Santa has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters local golf-shop owner Chip Delaney’s car window with a 5-iron and leaves a threatening note demanding $50,000. When Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly.

Much-hated Powerball winner Eula Morris is also back from a luxury cruise, more boastful than ever and toting a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar), as well as a Samsonite filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the gang to track it down.

Is Chip on the run, or was he kidnapped? And who stole Eula’s gold? The Killer WASPs and Kristin’s basset hound, Waffles, are on the case—before this white Christmas turns dark...

Chapter 2

As I looked around at the layers of holly and silver ribbon and inhaled the scent of the bourbon Bootsie McElvoy was liberally glugging into a huge pitcher, something akin to holiday excitement started to well up inside me, and I could practically hear the strains of “Jingle Bells” wafting around town square, just outside The Striped Awning.

Oh, wait—I did hear “Jingle Bells,” I realized—the Bryn Mawr Town Singers were warming up their vocal cords.

However, the return of Eula Morris didn’t add to the merry vibe.

“Hi, Eula,” said Bootsie in a friendly enough manner. She and Eula share a hyper-competitive streak on the tennis court, and get along well. 

It’s not that Eula is pure evil, but when Eula takes over a local event, including last summer’s Bryn Mawr Tomato Show, everyone involved usually quits. Our friends Holly and Joe were so desperate to get rid of Eula that they’d bought twenty dollars’ worth of Powerball tickets and anonymously left them in Eula’s mailbox. A week later, Eula had been one of five winners of the mega-jackpot.

Eula had immediately boarded a cruise ship called the Palace of the Seas for a twenty-four-month voyage, and our town had been blissfully Eula-free for a glorious autumn season.

“Nice tan,” Bootsie added, observing the glowy hue of Eula’s skin. It was true that Eula was looking good: This bossy and competitive girl now had kicky blond highlights, wore a cute, belted down jacket, and appeared to have been taking all the Zumba and Pilates classes on her mega-ship.

 “How’s that boat trip going, anyway?” said Joe, looking hopeful that the ship would run into an iceberg soon, and Eula would have to float to shore clinging to a wooden door. 

“It’s going amazing!” said Eula. “The crew waits on me hand and foot, and I’ve met an incredibly handsome guy, and there are disco parties every night!”

“What happened that you’re back here—the boat docks for Christmas?” asked Sophie.

“Yeah, the crew wants to see their families,” Eula said sourly, as if this was totally unreasonable, “so we’re on dry land till December twenty-fifth. Then we take off again and spend New Year’s Eve doing a moonlight limbo in Barbados!”

A small volt of jealousy surged through me, and Joe looked like he’d just been gripped by a horrible case of acid reflux. 

Probably it was best that Holly wasn’t here to listen to Eula, who was still rattling off enviable details of ports of call from Antigua to Montego Bay, and days spent kayaking around deserted islands, enjoying beach picnics, foot scrubs, and lunches of just-caught crab cocktail. 

“There is one small problem,” Eula said, aiming a sad glance at Bootsie and me. “I got home last night, went to dinner at Restaurant Gianni with my wonderful new boyfriend, and when I got home, my suitcase was missing.”

She paused for a moment, doing an awkward little foot shuffle. “And, um, I know you’ve solved a few little mini-crimes in town, so I thought you could figure out where my luggage has wandered off to!

 “Because, um, I can’t report it to the police since there’s one slightly illegal part of the situation.”

“Eula,” said Bootsie, “this suitcase snatch must be a major fuckup for you to have to come and ask us for help. I need details, pronto!”

 “Yeah, what’s the big deal with your Samsonite?” demanded Sophie. “Because that’s great about your new life and all, but I joined the Bryn Mawr Singers, and I’ve got practice in five minutes.”

“Well, what happened was, the ship stopped in Paradise Island and I went a little nuts at the duty-free jewelry shops, and I also felt like I wasn’t diversifying my investments enough, so I bought a few, um, gold bars. They fit right in my suitcase.”

“Uh-huh, I hear you,” said Bootsie, nodding as if this sort of purchase was as commonplace as the rest of us heading to Target for a few boxes of Triscuits.

“How many gold bars?” demanded Gerda.

“Oh, about eight,” said Eula airily. “And when I got off the boat yesterday, the customs line was really long and I was in a hurry, so I didn’t declare most of what I bought in the Bahamas.

“I said I got a sarong and a pair of wedge sandals. Which I did!” Eula added hastily. “But I didn’t have time to go through explaining the gold bars, because when you have to fill out the forms for stuff like that, they charge you a bunch of taxes, plus customs takes forever!”

“Understandable,” said Bootsie, who also likes to skip lines and flout laws, though not usually while carrying a Samsonite full of precious metal.

“So last night,” continued Eula, “I got home and went out to dinner at Ristorante Gianni with that fantastic guy I met on the ship, and when I got home, the suitcase was gone!”

“Let me get this straight,” Joe said, after a brief detour to the bottle of Maker’s Mark. “You want us to help you find a missing suitcase full of gold that you didn’t declare at customs. And I would do that why? Because to put this in terms that are easy for you to comprehend, I hate you.”

 “Because I hear that you’re stuck doing a renovation with an elderly lady in Florida who drives you crazy just to pay the bills, and ’cause your girlfriend dumped you and you have nothing else to do,” said Eula, scoring a couple of valid points at Joe.

“And, if you get my suitcase back, I’ll give you one of the gold bars, which I paid thirty-nine thousand dollars each for,” Eula told him. “Split that four ways, and that’s a cool nine thousand, seven hundred fifty dollars for each of you.”

***

 

Copyright © 2017 Amy Korman.

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Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer's Philadelphia and the Amish Country. She has written for Town & CountryHouse BeautifulMen's Health, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family and their basset hound, Murphy.

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