The Luckiest Woman Ever (Molly Sutton Mysteries 2): Audio
The Luckiest Woman Ever (Molly Sutton Mysteries 2): Audio
Immerse yourself in French village life
In the grand old mansion on rue Simenon, in the center of Castillac, sitting in a deep armchair covered in a fabric so expensive it could have paid for a small car, Josephine Desrosiers was watching a game show. She was wearing a nightgown her husband, long dead, had bought for her in Paris thirty years earlier. She blinked as the host talked rapidly in his forced jolly tone, lights on the set flashing as a contestant managed to mumble out the correct answer.
Madame Desrosiers was seventy-one, and her hearing was as sharp as ever. She heard the door to the kitchen close three floors down even though Sabrina, the housekeeper who came each morning, was a quiet girl and not remotely a door-slammer. Josephine got to her feet and snapped off the television set, then smoothed the cushion of the armchair so it looked fresh and unsat-in. And then she nimbly climbed into her vast bed with its ornate posts and carved headboard, and squeezed her eyes closed.
Sabrina could not clean the entire four-story house in one day, even as young and hardworking as she was. That day she did all of the first floor and most of the second, but never came up to Madame Desrosiers’s bedroom. Madame Desrosiers had told her that she was very ill and did not have the wherewithal to see visitors, including Sabrina, so she was left alone. She had a box of crackers under her bed and a bit of Brie that was past its prime—quite enough sustenance thank you—so she never rang the servant’s bell.
When Madame Desrosiers heard the door softly shut at the end of the day, she slid out of bed and turned the television back on. Then she did her exercises in front of an enormous gilt-framed mirror, counting her movements, bending to the right and then the left, breathing heavily from the work of reaching for her toes. She was preparing for the best part of the day, when she sat at her desk and wrote letters. Each one was a harassing and maligning and instructing sort of letter, every single one of which, when opened, was greeted with the same feeling of deflation and even shame in its recipient, just as Josephine intended.
Josephine Desrosiers had been a lucky woman, in material respects. Her family had not been wealthy, but her husband had invented something that made him millions. (She couldn’t say what exactly—something electrical, she believed?) And now she was able to play the significant role of Rich Widow, complete with younger members of the family gathered at her feet, hoping for the odd crumb to fall their way.
Well, there was one family member who did that, anyway: Michel, her nephew. He would likely come around tonight as he usually did late in the week, trying to butter her up. Very occasionally she wrote him a small check. She liked sometimes to think of herself as bountiful, and with impressive self-control, she denied any connection in her mind between Michel’s attentiveness and the money she gave him. As she thought of Michel, the doorbell sounded and she heard him let himself in. She was not quite dressed and she enjoyed making him wait. Josephine liked the idea of the young man sitting in her salon, twiddling his thumbs, with nothing to do but look forward to the moment when she appeared at the top of the wide, curving staircase.
A vanity table stood in a corner of the expansive bathroom off her bedroom, covered with crystal bottles of perfume and old tins of eyeliner and foundation. She sat gazing at herself in the mirror, brushing her wisps of white hair straight up. She dabbed her fingertips into a pot of rouge and reddened up her wrinkled cheeks. She applied lipstick and blotted it with special blotting papers. It occurred to her, not for the first time, that some music might be pleasant to listen to while she made her preparations, but the record player had broken decades ago and she had no wish for anything ugly and modern in the house.
Finally, with a spritz of perfume, Josephine Desrosiers was ready to greet her nephew. She was spry for her age and she had no trouble with the stairs. She nearly hummed to herself as she descended, but stopped herself because she thought humming was a low-class pursuit. Her nephew, chewing on a fingernail, was sitting on the very edge of the sofa cushion, his brown hair falling down over one eye.
“Ah, Michel, comment vas-tu?”
Michel jumped up from the sofa and kissed his aunt on both cheeks, murmuring the most polite murmurs he could come up with.
He loathed his aunt.
He thought her mean and narcissistic, which did not take an abundance of perception.
“What would you like to do this evening, my dear?” he asked her, so solicitous he almost believed himself. “How about a bit of television? I hear there’s a new—”
“Television is vulgar,” said Madame Desrosiers.
“Ah. Well, shall I take you out to dinner then? Are you hungry?”
She considered. She did like to enter a restaurant and see the people she knew jump up to come say hello. But on the other hand, the tiresome service! The expense! She had lost her appetite for food years ago, and she didn’t see the point in spending that much time and money on something she wasn’t especially interested in. “If you would make me my usual,” she said.
Michel sighed inwardly and went to a sideboard. He took a dangerously fragile cordial glass from inside the cabinet and placed it on a silver tray. Then he poured some Dubonnet from a crystal decanter and took the glass to his aunt. The stuff smelled musty like the rest of the house and he did not breathe until she took it from him.
He would have welcomed a drink himself, but had learned that helping himself, or even asking politely if he might join her, was a mistake. And with Aunt Josephine Desrosiers, you did not want to make mistakes. Not if you wanted to escape without a cruel dressing-down.
And definitely not if you wanted to inherit her money.
Another pastry, another dead body.
Things have started to look up for Molly Sutton. Her new life in the French village of Castillac isn't as peaceful as she expected it to be, but maybe that could be a good thing. Turns out a little mystery, a little excitement - it gives a girl with imagination something to do besides obsess about croissants.
After Molly stumbles on another dead body, our amateur detective wastes no time before eavesdropping and butting into conversations all over town, gathering as much information as she can on everyone.
But when Dufort is about to clap handcuffs on the wrong man, she's got to do more than eavesdrop to save him. Will she have the chops - and the cleverness - to pull it off?