Murder by Metaphor
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by Chester Aaron
Description: Professor Forest Butler is shocked to learn Farleigh O'Brien is dead. O'Brien, an award-winning, nationally renowned poet, was the star of the English Department at St. Catherine's University and seemed the last person to kill himself.
As it turns out, he didn't--he was murdered. Forest decides his late colleague's case is the perfect basis for a mystery novel. He doesn't understand why his beloved wife Emerald is so upset over O'Brien's death, but the excitement of his new fiction project distracts him. When he learns a former student is the homicide detective in charge of the case, he's convinced he's on track to write a best-seller.
But there are dark secrets under the surface at St. Cate's, and when the truth of who killed Farleigh O'Brien is revealed lives will change forever.
eBook Publisher: Zumaya Publications/Zumaya Enigma, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: September 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [298 KB]
Reading time: 173-242 min.
To leave space in the garage for Emerald's new blue Mazda RX-7, Forest Butler parks his red ten-year-old Toyota Corolla at the curb. Forest, as he takes several deep breaths to build energy for the dash through the rain, considers the newspapers, books and briefcase beside him on the passenger seat and, on the back seat, the canvas overnight bag. Books, briefcase, newspapers must be carried inside. The overnight bag, which contains the clothes he used in Missouri over the weekend, can remain in the car. Emerald can throw the clothes into the laundry tomorrow or the next day.
Now! Go, Forest. Now!
With briefcase clasped in his left hand, this morning's New York Times and Wall Street Journal (both read on the plane) and four books held precariously between left arm and body, Forest exhales, waits, takes another deep breath, opens the car door, steps outside. While thumb and forefinger of his right hand fight and finally conquer the car's interior locking device the heavy briefcase dangles from the last three fingers of his left hand. Managing to escape the snare of the oleander bushes at the curb and, not daring to sprint for fear the books and newspapers will tumble into a puddle, Forest scuttles like a crippled crab as far as the redwood fence, where, with a well-practiced bump of hip and thrust of shoulder, he knocks open the gate.
After leaning back against it until he hears the latch click, Forest arranges books and newspapers more securely under his left arm for the final dash for the porch.
Hunched over, keyring caught and held now between thumb and forefinger of his right hand (briefcase dangling), he makes his way along the alternating curves of the brick path, successfully avoiding the deepest puddles until, just inches from the first of five steps leading up to the porch, water laps over the top of his right shoe and soaks the entire foot. On the porch, in the shelter of the overhang (books and newspapers slipping slowly from beneath his left arm), Forest, on the first try, unlocks and opens the front door as he kicks the plastic-bagged San Francisco Chronicle from porch to interior.
Inside, leaving the door open behind him, he rushes through the living room. He reaches the claw-footed oak dining table just in time for newspapers and books to drop to the top and continue, falling onto the Beluchistan carpet.
On his return to close the front door he curses the wet sock that has slid down past his right heel to settle like a boiled potato beneath the arch of his foot. Back at the table and standing over the furnace-vent in the oak floor, he unties the laces of his shoe and removes the sock. Heat drifts up through the vent to and through foot to knee to thigh, as Forest slips the Chronicle free of its plastic bag.