BY: GINNY FITE
When Grant Wodehouse went to the barn that fine morning, he had no idea what good, bad, or ugly would happen—saddle a couple of horses, a little S&M with his neighbor, get a pitchfork rammed through his chest, pinning him to the wall…He never expected the latter.
Who would not want him dead? Having bedded every female he’d ever laid eyes on, swindled anyone he had ever had business dealings with, and ignored and ostracized his children, one person said it was time for Grant to meet his maker…but who?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In No Good Deed Left Undone by Ginny Fite, Grant Wodehouse is a womanizer, liar, and all-around cheat. When someone finally has enough and stabs him through the chest with a pitchfork, Detective Sam Lagarde is called in to solve the murder. But it seems like everyone has a reason to want him dead, so the suspects are endless. As Lagarde and his assistant Larry Black chase down the clues, they discover suspect after suspect. When Wodehouse’s sexy neighbor is also murdered, they fear they have a serial killer on their hands. Did the murderer kill the neighbor because she was having an affair with Wodehouse, because she might have been a witness to Wodehouse’s murder, or simply because he or she enjoyed killing?
This second book in the Sam Lagarde Mystery series is as well written as the first. The characters are interesting and well developed, the plot strong, and the action fast-paced. This one will keep you turning pages.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: No Good Deed Left Undone by Ginny Fite is the second installment in her Sam Lagarde Mystery series. We are reunited with Detective Sam Lagarde of the Charlestown, West Virginia, Police Department. He and Sergeant Larry Black are called to the home of wealthy horse owner Grant Wodehouse early one morning after Grant’s wife finds him in the barn with a pitchfork in his chest. As the two begin to investigate, they soon learn that Grant was not the upstanding husband, father, and community member that he pretended to be. He had affairs with every willing woman he met, so his current wife is naturally the prime suspect. But his business partner also claims he cheated everyone he had business with. So his business partner is also a strong suspect. Grant also alienated his children and ex-wives, so Lagarde has to add them to the mix as well. And what about the neighbor woman with whom he was having an affair? When she ends up murdered as well, her husband jumps to the top of the list. But he has an alibi. Can they break it?
No Good Deed Left Undone explores the life, and death, of a not-very-nice man. It’s the story of a man addicted to sex, who swindled people in his business dealings, cheated on his wife, and ostracized his children, but was surprised when someone finally had enough. It will make you laugh, cry, and struggle to guess “who done it.” It’s one you will want to keep on your shelf and read again and again to catch what you missed the first time.
Tali spotted the man when she was about halfway across the meadow, walking her horse at a slow pace. This was familiar territory for both of them.
The man was getting out of the driver’s side of a vehicle, the side opposite her. He walked toward the back of the car. He opened the trunk and started rummaging around.
She wondered what he was doing on this rocky, dirt road, and then she grinned to herself. She bet Burt, owner of Burt’s Gas and Tire Repair shop on the highway, had probably told this man to turn down this road as a shortcut to get to Granville.
The man had probably asked for the nearest way to Granville.
Since Burt was a great practical joker, he always told people who stopped and asked that to go this way.
Well, Tali thought, it actually is the closet way to get to Granville in terms of distance, that is true. But, as far as time is concerned, the man just found out the problem.
As Tali approached the car from the front, she could hear the man talking to himself. She could not make out exactly what he was saying, but she caught the words “flat,” “stupid pot-holes,” and a couple of other words she decided she would forget she heard.
She brought TD, her horse, to a stop at the front of the car. They had approached quietly, but the man probably would not have heard them, anyway, talking to himself as he was.
Just then a hand reached up, grabbed the top of the open trunk lid, and slammed it down with a loud bang.
He rose up.
“Whoa!” he cried when he saw Tali on TD just a car length away. He took a step backward.
The slamming of the trunk lid and a man suddenly appearing and crying out caused TD to rear up suddenly, which was unusual for him. He was generally a calm horse. Nothing ever seemed to affect him.
Tali barely had time to adjust in the saddle. If she wasn’t as excellent a rider as she was, she would have been thrown off at the unexpected move.
TD may have reared up because Tali had been so startled when she saw the man, she was sure she jerked the reins backward suddenly. TD was not used to having such a command from her. He probably just reared, confused as to what he was supposed to do.
The man was, by far, the best-looking man she had ever seen in her life. Dark blond hair was cut in an upsweep to frame his handsome face. His blue eyes looked as startled as hers did, she was sure.
Brent, on the other hand, had taken even another step backward. He knew he was looking at the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
Tali had somewhat recovered her composure and calmed TD, but her heart was still racing. She was sure the man could see it pounding through her T-shirt.
“Flat?” she asked.
She knew the answer, of course. That was the major problem with this road. It seemed every time someone tried to go this way, for whatever reason, the result was a flat. That is, if the person were lucky. A ruined tire was more common. The locals avoided this road as much as possible.
She would have to talk to Burt about telling people to come this way. It simply wasn’t fair to them, practical joke or not.
“Yeah,” Brent answered, “an elderly gentleman at a gas station told me to come this way and I would be in Granville in ‘no time flat.’ I guess he was right!”
Brent grinned, sheepishly. He knew the joke was on him. He should have turned back when he was only a few yards down this road. At that time, he could tell what it looked like ahead for as far as he could see. He had hoped it would get better. But it hadn’t.
He should have at least turned around at the farmhouse he saw on a hill about a half a mile back.
“I’ll have to talk to Burt about that,” the woman said.
Brent brought his thoughts back to her. But his thoughts had never really left her. How could they?
“What’s that?” he asked.
Tali could have kicked herself. Here was her dream man, obviously from the city and wealthy, also, by the make of his car. And all she could do was say something stupid! He would surely think she was just a “hick from the sticks” and never want to be near her again.
She took a deep breath. She knew she wanted to keep him talking. His voice sent chills down her spine. She had never had such a reaction to any other man before.
Brent wanted to keep her talking. Maybe evasive answers or idiotic questions would keep her here.
“The elderly man you probably asked about how to get to Granville. He thinks it’s funny to send people this way. A little ways up the highway, you would have seen a sign at an intersection, with directions on how to get to Granville. It’s a very decently-paved county road. Nothing like this.”
“I guess I’m just lucky,” Brent replied. In more ways than one, he thought, because I may have never met you otherwise. Here you are, out in the middle of nowhere, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.
Tali smiled. Actually, she would thank Burt and give him a big hug the next time she saw him. She had been leisurely walking TD across the meadow, going home, with really nothing to do the rest of the day. Sitting on the porch swing at the farmhouse could only be done for so long.
“I bet he gets lots of tire repairs from sending unsuspecting people this way, right?” he asked, sarcastically. It seemed logical to Brent–send someone to a place where they would have a flat, then offer your services.
“I really don’t think he looks at it that way,” she responded, bristling at his tone. She had known Burt Madison all her life. It was just his way.
Brent caught the narrowing of her eyes and the almost-resentful tone of her voice. He sure didn’t want to offend her, not at this beginning stage of what he hoped would be a delightful relationship.
No, one should not offend such a beautiful woman as this. He didn’t want a strike against him from the get-go.
She dropped the subject, much to his relief.
“What’s the problem?” she asked. “Can’t you fix a tire?”
This time his eyes narrowed. What kind of man did she think he was? A wuss?
“Of course I can change a tire, if, and that’s a big if, I have a tire iron, which seems to be missing from this trunk. And, no, I’m not so irresponsible as not to have one. I let a friend borrow my car last weekend, and I do admit I didn’t think to look in the trunk to make sure everything was still there when he returned it. He didn’t mention having a flat or using the tire iron, but there it is. You just assume everything will be there as you left it.”
He was sweating, his forehead covered. His shirt was soaked. He was stuck in the middle of nowhere. And he had just met a beautiful woman looking like this. He was in no mood to be friendly or even courteous. What right did she have to look so cool, to be so happy and friendly?
“Hop up behind me. TD and I’ll take you to town. Eddie at the station will bring you back out, fix your flat.”
The horse had been prancing, never still, as she made her offer.
Her voice was melodious, a lovely sound.
But Brent had never been on a horse in his life, much less such a magnificent beast as this.
“No way,” he said, shaking his head. “Thanks for the offer, but not me.”
“Suit yourself,” she responded, shrugging.
In one fluid motion, horse and rider turned, crossed the ditch, and jumped up the other side to the open meadow.
“Wait!” Brent called, but his voice fell onto deaf ears.
A second before he called out the horse had sprung into a gallop.
As she galloped across the meadow, she almost forgot about the horse. She had just met the best-looking man she had ever seen. She was still shaking.
Why had she offered to take him to town on her horse? Obviously, he was a “city slicker,” and was probably afraid of horses, especially one as big and powerful looking as TD.
He watched as they crossed the meadow. The horse seemed to glide across the grass, the rider in perfect harmony. They were one.
Her long, beautiful hair flowed out behind her. He watched until they disappeared among the trees.
Then he noticed the silence again.
“That was dumb. Really dumb,” he said aloud to himself.
He straightened up. He reached for his cell phone and flipped it open. No service.
Great, he thought. This must be a “dead zone.”
He tossed the phone onto the front seat of the car.
He was not sure how far it was to town, but he knew that the farmhouse was about a half mile behind, so he decided to go that way. He could telephone for help from there.
He reached into the backseat for his jacket and slung it over one shoulder as he began walking. He wasn’t going to reach any town in time to find and try to interview anyone this evening, let alone Mrs. Margaret M. Barnett, heiress to the Quincy fortune and newspaper baroness.
© 2016 by Mary Jane Bryan