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March 2010

Winner of the Golden Wings Award, June 2009

Book 7 in the Foxglove Corner Mysteries

Excerpt

Now on to Foxglove Corners and my wedding shower.

I walked briskly back to my car, realizing that I had lost about twenty minutes and couldn’t drive over the speed limit until the fog burned away, which should be soon. A quick glance at my watch told me that it was already ten o’clock.

Halley’s whining continued. It contained a desperate pleading note.

Of course, silly, I told myself. She needs a bathroom break.

I grabbed her leash and a jelly doughnut and led her across the road a little way into the fog. The world was truly magical this morning, if an English teacher was allowed to use a trite adjective. And everything was going my way. Finally.

While Halley sniffed at a circle of buttercup-yellow flowers, I bit into the jelly doughnut, wishing I’d bought two cups of coffee. How could I have known what would happen, though? Maybe I’d have time to make a fresh pot at home before going to the shower.

And I could take one of those flowers to Camille, the master gardener of Foxglove Corners. She would be sure to know their name. If I could find some in a nursery, they’d brighten the front of my house until the forget-me-nots bloomed. I took another bite of doughnut and another step.

I stumbled. Time slowed down. I felt myself falling forward, felt a surge of disbelief as I catapulted toward the ground. Pain exploded into waves of blankness.

~ * ~

A strong smell of strawberry hung in the air. I opened my eyes and saw the pink veins of a jagged boulder and a stream of red jelly seeping out of a soggy doughnut.

The lower left side of my face hurt, and the back of my head throbbed, and... Dear God! The leash! My right hand lay against the rock’s sharp side, the left under my chest. Both were empty.

Halley!

I forced myself to sit up, felt the pain migrate to my eyes, and made myself focus. I must have tripped over the rock and let the leash fall out of my hand.

I called Halley’s name and heard the rising panic in my voice. There was no answering bark, no sound except for the merry chirruping of unseen birds. I was alone on an isolated road, and the landscape was subtly different. The fog had dissipated, leaving the world greener and brighter under a warm sun.

How long had I been unconscious? And where was Halley?

I stood shakily and looked at my watch. The crystal had broken, but time moved on; it was ten-fifteen. Although every part of my body hurt, nothing seemed to be broken. One panel of my long denim skirt was damp from the dewy grasses. Absently I smoothed it, gasping at the tenderness in my hip.

Memories came in a parade of rapidly-changing images: The Volkswagen. The driver who thought she’d hit a deer. My offer to help her. The brief walk with Halley. Stumbling over the boulder. Waking up.

Abruptly I switched the memories off, trying to breathe away the nausea that settled deep inside my body. Halley was gone. I’d lost her in this godforsaken wilderness.

I leaned against a willow sapling that grew near the road and scanned my surroundings: Woods too thick to see through on my left side; that deadly slope and treetops that rose up to meet the ground on my right. Not a car in sight. No houses. No sign of life.

A sense of unreality gripped me, a suspicion that the woman had been unreal, only an illusion; that with the wave of a fairy wand, everything had vanished--the fog, the Volkswagen, its driver, and my dog. It was magic again. Dark, dreadful magic that had stolen my best friend.

I half expected the Taurus to be gone, too, but it was where I’d left it, silver and gleaming in the morning light, with the door ajar.

In my mind I could hear Crane’s voice with his strict deputy sheriff’s tone. ‘Never get out of your car on one of these lonely roads, Jennet. No matter what happens. And don’t forget to keep your doors locked.’

But how could I have driven past a woman who might have been ill, whose car might have broken down?

If you had, you’d be driving up Jonquil Lane now, and Halley would still be in the back seat, I told myself.

Recriminations were futile. I had to do something. To make a plan.

I remembered the last time I’d fallen two winters ago when I lived in Oakpoint. I was leading Halley across an unplowed street. As we were about to step up to the curb, I’d slid on ice hidden beneath the snow and fallen on my back.

Halley promptly lay down by my side, licking my face anxiously. She wouldn’t leave me of her own accord. Not then; not now.

A thought slipped into my mind. Somebody stole her. The woman in the Volkswagen, the only other person on Crispian Road.

But how unlikely is that? Logic whispered. You do her a good turn and she steals your dog? Besides, she left before you took Halley out of the car.

Did she?

I couldn’t recall hearing an accelerating engine. Intent on resuming my journey, I’d never looked back. Concentrating on Halley, yellow flowers, and my doughnut, I’d never even glanced across the road.

I didn’t know the woman’s name, and there’d have been no reason for me to notice her license plate number. What did I remember?

A white blouse with lace on the front and dainty scallop-edged cuffs. Shoulder-length jet black hair. The large diamond ring, the gold necklace. A Volkswagen the soft blue color of a robin’s egg. That was unusual. The only Volkswagens I’d seen were a bright lime green.

I was almost certain that, seeing a beautiful, obviously valuable dog, this woman had coaxed Halley into her car, leaving me lying unconscious on the ground. Still, I called Halley’s name over and over again and listened to echoes in the silence.

What could I do? Go on home without Halley? Come back tomorrow with ‘Lost Dog’ flyers? Try to find a black-haired woman in a pale blue Volkswagen who might well have left the county by now?

Whatever I did, the prospect of being reunited with my dog seemed hopeless.

Back in my car, I surveyed my reflection in the mirror. An ugly purple bruise discolored the left side of my face from my cheekbones down to my chin. At that moment I remembered my wedding shower. Suddenly it didn’t matter.

Tears burned in my eyes, obscuring my vision as the fog had earlier. Automatically, I started the car and drove out onto Crispian Road.

‘Never drive when you’re upset,’ Crane would have said.

Once again, I didn’t see another option. Somehow I had to track down the black-haired woman. When I found her, I’d find Halley.

 

Reviews

When forced by circumstances to put down the book only a couple of pages into it, I found myself thinking, “She certainly has a way with words.” Then I heaved a sigh of relief that this is obviously a well written book, with an attention to detail. This thought was followed by a moment of surprise at the slowness of the beginning. It doesn’t start with a dead body or grab me and take off running as I’m used to in so many mysteries, but meanders through the mist and spring flowers. But then I remembered this is a cozy and that is the nature of a cozy. I can hardly wait until my next opportunity to pick it up.

~*~

I just finished COLLIE CONNECTION by Dorothy Bodoin and I am basking in the glow
of a very happy ending. I don’t suppose that is a spoiler, since cozies always have a
happy ending, but I felt in the course of the book that Dorothy’s heroine, Jennet
Greenway had become a very close friend and she deserves her happy ending.

Jennet Greenway has lost her collie, Halley, and the person she believes took her turns up dead, floating in a Michigan lake. While she searches for Halley, she must deal with plans for her rapidly approaching wedding, reviews of her teaching by the principal (it seems that being sent to the principal’s office is every bit as traumatic for teachers as it is for kids.), and two more collies in her life that can in no way take the place in her heart of the one missing. Not to mention the series of mysteries that capture her attention, such as anonymous and strangely threatening wedding gifts, Alyssa, a strange little girl, who buys dinner every night at the Clovers Restaurant, a missing waitress and cook, and.who killed Crystal and dumped her in the lake

Dorothy Bodoin has filled Foxglove Corners with interesting and compelling characters,
especially the heroine Jennet. The story moves at a leisurely pace, but never bogs
down.  The nit-picker in me found a few too many minor copy editing problems to give it the highest Q Award, but you won’t be disappointed when you read COLLIE
CONNECTION.

And if you enjoy reading cozies, I highly recommend that you do.

~*~

True love survives the test of time, and at long last, Jennet Greenway and Crane Ferguson are getting married. For those of you, like me, who have devoured every one of Dorothy Bodoin’s books in the series set in Foxglove Corners, this is a long-awaited and exciting event. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

The series tells of the gentle, sweet growth of love between Crane and Jennet. In the midst of suspenseful mysteries that have my heart hammering away, their discovery and exploration of one another will always leave the romantic feeling satisfied and eager for more. The Collie Connection, a cozy mystery, Dorothy Bodoin’s newest release in this series, is no exception. It is a must read.

Jennet’s wedding date is almost here; however sometimes the cruel realities of life take over, muddying up in our romantic visions. Poor Jennet. This books starts off with a resounding bang as she stops to help a traveler in trouble and her beautiful dog Halley goes missing. Jennet is beside herself in grief and panic. She must find her dog. She’s raised Halley from a pup and she was her nearest and dearest companion. So now she has to deal with a bridal shower, mailing invitations, making sure her wedding plans are on track, while also coping with a principal who is reviewing her at school. and still make time to find her precious dog. All through this upheaval, mysterious gifts appear at her doorstep and she also finds herself experiencing bridal woes as questions surface about how she will be able to maintain her freedom and individuality while being married and part of a team. And if this isn’t enough, she also has the addition of collies Holly and Candy to deal with, both of whom I fell in love with. Whew!  Quite a huge undertaking for the gracious, clever and tenacious heroine.

Suspense builds superbly. Will Jennet find Halley?  Will she find out who is leaving unsigned gifts on her doorstep? Most important, will she marry the kind, handsome Crane?

Dorothy Bodoin is an outstanding author. Her books are warm, cozy and a must read. Clear the afternoon, put on a pot coffee, pop some corn and get right to it. I guarantee you will not be able to put The Collie Connection down. I couldn’t. With great anticipation, I look forward to her next one.

Suzanne M. Hurley
www.suzannemhurley.com

 

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