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Goddin Books

Seven Corpses All in a Row (Molly Sutton Mysteries 12): paperback

Seven Corpses All in a Row (Molly Sutton Mysteries 12): paperback

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cozy mystery

immerse yourself in a French village

Read a description of the series

Boston girl Molly Sutton moves to a village in France to heal after a divorce--but then a girl goes missing. Follow the intrepid expat as she uncovers secrets and chases down murderers in charming Castillac, eating a few pastries along the way.

Read Chapter 1

October 2008

Florian Nagrand, longtime coroner of Castillac, mumbled an excuse to his assistant Matthias de Clare and stepped out of the office. He was terribly restless and had not been able to hit on anything to calm himself—not lunch, not walking around, not cigarettes. Though he persisted in employing those same strategies nonetheless, having no idea what else to do.

He sat down on the stone step and took a pack of Gitanes out of his shirt pocket. He shook a cigarette out and lit it, drawing deeply, then shot out a plume of smoke.

He told himself that he felt better, and tried to believe it.

The mild roar of a scooter caught his attention, and he glanced down the street to see Molly Sutton headed his way, her wild red hair mostly hidden under a helmet as she nimbly zipped down the narrow street and between parked cars to stop in front of him.

“Bonjour, Madame Sutton.”

“Bonjour, Florian. You’re looking like the very picture of despair this morning.” 

“You would too if you had just gone to see about the second corpse in a week.”

“I thought you hated having nothing to do.”

“Equally I hate having anything to do.”

He took a long pull on the cigarette and fixed his eyes on an empty yogurt cup in the middle of the street. “See that?” he said, gesturing at the cup. “This is not France. Yes, tais-toi, I’m generalizing—but in the main, French people don’t throw garbage on the street like this. We like things tidy. But this is how it is now. Those bankers in America—see what they’ve done? They’ve not only caused widespread global panic, but now your average Castillacois is so dispirited he’s throwing empty yogurt cups on the street.”

Molly looked at the cup and considered this. “It’s true, the financial news has not been good. My bookings are way down. People are nervous.”

Florian made a noise that sounded like a cross between a bark and a choke. Molly figured if he had lost the power of language, perhaps it was time to move along and come back another time. 

Well, maybe just one question….

“So—you know I’m going to ask, so here goes—anything troubling you at all about this sudden spate of deaths? I know we had a long stretch with no one dying except for poor Benoit LaRue, but…just wondering, it’s probably nothing…two deaths in the same week? If my information is correct, the victims were not already sick or otherwise compromised, yet they were suddenly struck down out of nowhere?”

Florian stubbed out his cigarette, carefully put the butt in his pocket, and shook a fresh cig out of the packet. He didn’t light it but stroked it with his fingers while deciding what to say.

“First: two deaths are not a ‘spate,’ and second: I don’t know when Selma is coming back. If ever.”

“Oh, Florian.”

“I suppose I was nothing more to her than a summer fling. Just a playmate for a short while, then tossed away like an empty yogurt cup.”

Molly came closer and put her hand on Florian’s shoulder. He was sagging as he sat there, his whole large body in one big droop, and she felt his sadness as though it were a physical weight pressing them both down.

Florian heaved an enormous sigh. “As for the two deaths, as you likely already know, one had a heart attack and the other, liver failure. They were not spring chickens. Make of that whatever you wish, Molly, though as usual, I will take the position that there is nothing whatsoever to be made of either death beyond the natural expiration that humans—regrettably, or perhaps blessedly—cannot avoid.”

“What about the fact that they are both women?”

“Two does not make a pattern, Madame Sutton. As I don’t have to tell you.”

They stayed there for some quiet moments. Florian’s presence was so heavy it was as though he were slowly sinking into the stone step.

“Is Selma in touch? Has she emailed?”

Florian’s broad shoulders rose into a mighty shrug. “What good is email?” he said.

Indeed, thought Molly. Impulsively she kissed the top of his head before heading back to her scooter.

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One by one, the deaths pile up in the village of Castillac.

Seven deaths in a matter of weeks. Seven.

The villagers are–understandably–worried. Then anxious. Finally, scared out of their minds.

Yet expat Molly Sutton, who has proven herself to be the best murderer-catcher around, is distracted by other matters. She’s simply not interested.

Will the villagers shake some sense into her before more people die?

 

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