Carlson, P.M.: Murder Unrenovated
by P.M. Carlson
Maggie and Nick hope to buy a lovely old brownstone. It looks like a dream house for a young couple expecting their first child, but problems show up. It needs renovation. There’s a stubborn tenant who refuses to move out. And then there’s the corpse on the top floor. . . .
ABOUT MURDER UNRENOVATED, A 1989 NOMINEE FOR MACAVITY AND ANTHONY AWARDS
“Terrific characters, funny incidents, genuine suspense, and an absolutely right sense of period and place.” — Tom and Enid Schantz, THE PURLOINED LETTER
Brooklyn, 1972. Realtor Len Trager shows an old brownstone to actor Nick O’connor and statistician Maggie Ryan:
Nick and Maggie stood on the sidewalk looking up at Lund’s building. It was narrow, chocolate-colored, three tall stories above a raised basement. A third-story oriel window and a band of vestigial crenellation completed the rugged trim. Nick said, “A forted residence ‘gainst the tooth of time.”
An actor, Len remembered.
He said, “Well, shall we go in? Start at the bottom.” If he hit them with Mrs. Northrup first, they’d have time to see another place. He led the way through the iron gate under the tall front stoop and down a hall ringing with a radio preacher’s voice.
A sharp voice answered Len’s knock. “Who’s that?”
“Len Trager, ma’am. From Banks Realty.”
“Blast.” The door opened a few inches and a pair of shrewd eyes glittered at them. Len wished that she would simply refuse to let them in. That might give Lund grounds for eviction. But she snapped, “Well, come in!”
Unkempt gray hair, wrinkled face, alcohol smell. Her long cardigan was unraveling at the sleeves and her pink terry-cloth slippers were stained and burst at the seams.
Len led the way into the dark and smelly apartment. The radio preacher was requesting money now. “Thanks! Mrs. Northrup, meet Nick O’Connor and Maggie Ryan.”
Nick said, “Glad to meet you.”
Mrs. Northrup gave Nick a sharp unfriendly look, icily inspected Maggie, and asked, “You together?”
“Living in sin, eh? One of those libbers. No bra, I bet. Well, it’s your souls.”
Len said hastily, “They’re married. We’ll just take a quick look, okay?” The smell wasn’t just alcohol today, he decided. There was something rotting too.
P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.
Author Website: http://www.pmcarlson.net:
Publisher Website: http://www.crumcreekpress.com/carlson
Print, Kindle, Nook, other e-books: http://www.crumcreekpress.com/shop/
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