No More Time
(A Dodie O'Dell Mystery)
by Suzanne Trauth
About The Book
Cozy Mystery 5th in Series
Lyrical Underground (July 23, 2019)
Paperback: 214 pages
Digital ASIN: B07JYQD61M
DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAYRestaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has found her niche in the cozy New Jersey town of Etonville, creating menus that make a delicious double-act with the community theater’s productions. Now she’s ready for a vacation at the Jersey Shore town she called home before a hurricane hit. Sun, salty air, and seagulls make for a nostalgic escape from regular life—until a contingent from Etonville arrives to compete in a Jersey Shore theater festival.Roped into helping her former boss cater the event, Dodie also gets a visit from her old flame, Jackson, who’s hoping to revive his charter boat business and is looking for a place to crash. Before Dodie can tell him that ship has sailed, Jackson’s partner is found murdered on his boat. Dodie knows her ex is a mooch, but she’s sure he’s no killer. But as she follows a trail of evidence that leads into her own past, Dodie stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy theory that could bring the festival to a shocking finale…
About the Author
Suzanne Trauth, Harvard Studio, Montclair, NJ. 06/27/2014
Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
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ExcerptBy noon we were both hot and famished. I suggested a break from the sun at the tiki bar and we gathered our beach gear and trudged through the sand to the Polynesian music. We were halfway through our bucket of steamed clams when an elderly twosome at a table next to ours gasped in shock. We couldn’t help noticing.“Is everything okay?” I asked gently.The woman’s head bobbled and her wide-brimmed sunhat swung from side to side. She picked up the newspaper she’d been reading, the Candle Beach Courier, a local rag, and shoved the front page at us. “He was such a nice boy. We knew his parents years ago.” I smiled sympathetically and scanned the sheet. Then I gasped.“Dodie, what’s the matter?” Lola said. “Were you acquainted with him too?” the woman asked.I nodded numbly. Was I ever. The headline read LOCAL MAN DEAD. Underneath was a photo of the victim: It was Vinnie C. I rotated the paper so Lola could see the front page. “It’s him,” I said hoarsely.Lola blinked. “Vincent Carcherelli,” she read.I scanned the story. Apparently his body had been washed up on the beach sometime overnight and was discovered by a jogger early today in time to make the mid-morning edition. The police were calling it a drowning and speculating that he’d fallen off his boat, The Bounty, which had drifted half a mile off the shoreline. No foul play suspected at the moment but the investigation was ongoing.I offered to return the newspaper but the couple refused to accept it, saying the story was too upsetting. They picked up their bill and left.“Wow. What a coincidence. We were talking about how Jackson saw him yesterday …” Lola stopped. A light bulb went on. “The police will want to speak with Jackson. He might have been one of the last people to see Vinnie alive.”It was Lola’s last word that brought me up short: alive. Jackson had been steamed during that meeting on the boardwalk. Did he know anything about Vinnie’s last hours? If Bill were here he’d tell me to mind my own business, let Jackson alone, let the police determine the actual cause of death. Bill was right, of course. But something about the whole event didn’t sit right with me. Why did Jackson lie about what happened when he met Vinnie?
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No More Time
Character Guest Post 2 – Great Escapes Tour
I, Dodie O’Dell, am ecstatic! My summer vacation has finally begun. Meaning I have escaped from my Etonville, New Jersey responsibilities managing the Windjammer restaurant and from the everyday antics of my good friends at the Etonville Little Theatre. It was sheer joy anticipating this getaway with my current squeeze, Bill Thompson, who also needed a break from his daily routine as chief of police of our small town.
I am also thrilled because we headed down the Jersey Shore to Candle Beach. The town where I grew up and where I also managed a restaurant owned by an old friend, Surfer G aka Grody Van Houten, before Hurricane Sandy drove me north and Grody south. Now he’s back in Candle Beach with a new restaurant—the Sandbar—and from the looks of the line to be seated tonight, he’s crushing it! I am so happy for him…
Grody is one terrific chef and his seafood specials are to die for. Since we arrived, Bill and I have devoured gourmet seafood risotto, grilled scallops cilantro, shrimp with orange sesame noodles. All of them super yummy. Grody has even begun to lend a few recipes to Bill, who is himself a bit of a gourmet cook. I should know! Vacation doesn’t get any better than this—sunning on the sand all afternoon, hitting happy hour at the tiki bar, and enjoying one of Grody’s specials by candlelight.
Still, I knew I couldn’t leave Etonville completely behind and when Grody asked me to come up with some theme food ideas for the opening night reception of a theater festival, I surrendered. After all, what are friends for? Besides Grody heard that I had a track record with the Windjammer serving theme food for the Etonville Little Theatre: a seafood buffet for performances of Dames At Sea, Italian nights at the restaurant for Romeo and Juliet, a 1940s food festival for Arsenic and Old Lace, early American desserts food for Eton Town, the theater’s adaptation of Our Town. Most of my ideas went over well, even if, at times, the actual menu got derailed by murder investigations. But that’s another story…
So when Grody asked for my help, I offered to wrack my brain for some inventive reception fare. The problem was the actual theatrical event—the New Jersey Community Theater Festival, an annual gathering honoring the best of the state’s community theaters. In the past, I’d dealt with a single production. Now I was faced with seven play titles, finalists who would each be performing fifteen minutes from the show. Harvey, Mousetrap, Noises Off, The Sound of Music, King Lear, Cinderella, and Death of a Salesman. I recognized all of the titles, mostly because I was privy to the Etonville Little Theatre season selection discussions through my BFF Lola, artistic director of the theater. What did these seven plays have in common? What kind of theme could I create from that group? A princess and mean stepsisters, a murder mystery, backstage hijinks, the destruction of the American dream, Shakespeare…I was at a loss.
Then my cell pinged. It was Lola: we’re coming down the shore…the ELT is invited to replace another theater…can’t wait! I found out later that a group from Cranford had been hit with an outbreak of food poisoning at a company picnic. They were out and the Etonville Little Theatre was in… Yikes! Looked like I hadn’t escaped Etonville after all.
Still unable to come up with a theme food scheme for Grody, I went to sleep, my last thoughts the opening night reception. I guess my subconscious was working overtime because in the middle of a nightmare, an ocean wave curled over my head and I dove into the green foam, swept along by the incoming tide. Next thing I knew—
But wait! You’ll have to read No More Time to find out what happened in my dream…and to see how I solved the theme food puzzle!
See you at the Jersey Shore…in Candle Beach!