The cozy mystery has been hacked. Don’t run your antivirus software.
You may refer to inner cities all across America as “concrete jungles”. Stone everywhere you look. Apartment buildings and blocks of congested traffic. Well, Boston’s Pemberton Square has plenty verdure to change your outlook on big cities. It’s a great place to shop, dine, or catch a few rays as you lay on the soft grass of the Common. Not only is it a vibrant cultural center but a historical hub.
Amongst the historic landscape of court houses, I work as zookeeper. Not literally. But my job as a defense attorney can place me in a cage with some exotic creatures. Take one April afternoon for example.
My client, Norman Kane, allegedly created a QR code system to steal prescriptions. drugs from the hospital where he was employed.
I finished opening statements on his behalf, and court recessed for the day. Around three o’ clock, I was at a hot dog stand where a homeless man was trying to sell me a shoe.
“Hey, lady, you wanna buy it or not?” He resembled a young Lieutenant Columbo, dated trench and all, and shoved the leather loafer in my face. “It’s brand new, and cost a pretty penny too.”
“Look…” I smacked the shoe from my line of sight. “I already told you. No.”
“You don’t get quality like this at Payless. This here’s Norman Marcus.”
I paid for my chilidog and cola then turned toward him. “What am I supposed to do with one shoe? And, it’s a man’s shoe.”
Yes, folks, he tried to pawn a single, man’s shoe off on me, tailing me back all the way to McCarter and French LLP. Before I entered the lobby, I set him straight.
“If I ever get a boyfriend with an amputated foot, I’ll be sure to come and see you.” I tugged the glass door open and said, “It’s Neiman Marcus, by the way.”
“Neiman, Norman. . .pfft. . .they all got money in the bag.”
Now, that should’ve immediately sounded an alarm. But my mysterious salesman was the last person I’d expected to know details of my case. He’d used a clever name play, Neiman versus Norman, hence the expensive shoe for the charade. His “money in the bag” hinted to rumors that my client was hired to sabotage his family’s business.
I didn’t catch on until the vagrant was tossed out on his ear by security. I went after him, as he led me on a chase. This guy was fast, healthy, and fit. Not the normal qualities I’d expect for someone destitute in downtown Boston.
On Bromfield, he turned right for Morris Meats’s loading bay, a dead end. I had no idea if this was a setup, if someone else would join this party, or if my host intended to do me harm. I reached the maw of the alley and crept a few feet in.
He came out in the open. “Man. . .” He panted and chuckled. “Aren’t you a thick one?”
“Who are you?” He and I both were catching our breath as I inched near. “What do you know about Norman Kane?”
“Uh-uh!” He stretched out a gloved hand and reached inside his trench with the other. “Close enough.”
My movement stifled, a chill icing my spine despite the fair April weather. I locked my sight on the breast of his coat.
His voice came low, “A gift from your uncle Lou.” I balled my hands into fists upon hearing the name and my fingernails dug into my palms. “Work quickly.”
He removed a manila envelope, let it drop to the ground, then whirled and hopped onto a wire fence. He climbed over in a parkour style and landed upright on the opposite side. A tenacious smirk, then in a less than graceful exit, he shot off through the side street.
I had to admit I didn’t see that coming.
Dial QR for Murder is the first in the Marjorie Gardens Mystery series, released by Limitless Publishing, October 2015.
“Cozies can be more than knitting grannies, kittens, and cookbooks.”
The Marjorie Gardens Mystery series has the usual goodness of a cozy mystery but with an all-important upgrade. In the Digital Age Cozy™, characters utilize technology to commit or solve crimes. Readers can scan individual QR codes to visit websites and characters’ social media profiles.
Isis Ferrelli represents Norman Kane, an RN accused of stealing a drug called fentanol via his QR code software. After a day in court, a homeless man gives her an envelope. Isis believes she’s just received damaging evidence from her estranged uncle…mob boss Louis Fernoza.
Uncle Lou has found her after seven years in hiding. Her day’s ruined, but her evening is even worse. The assistant district attorney informs her that Kane’s been murdered.
She has some outmaneuvering to do, if Uncle Lou’s involved. Isis will need her online persona, Marjorie Gardens, and her MyThugShot.com followers to pull the plug on a tech savvy killer. If she fails, someone encrypted behind a firewall may get away with murder.
# # # # # # # # # # #
Meet the Author
Fun Fact: Veenman is pronounced “fein-mun.”
At an early age, her hunger for mystery books whetted her appetite for hunting down clues and solving crime. Thus began a three-course menu for her becoming a writer.
Rich and sweet was the first Digital Age Cozy in the Marjorie Gardens Mystery series, Dial QR for Murder. Now she doles out a helping of Prepped for the Kill. A delectable novella featuring Isis Ferrelli and Jason Shahaman follows in the first Marjorie Gardens Romance Mystery—Ten Days in Tahiti.
A. E. H. Veenman is a Dutch-American originally from New Jersey and has lived in Holland for eighteen years. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers’ Association.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a kindle copy of Dial QR for Murder. The giveaway will end August 23, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!