Grand Slam Murders (A Bridge to Death Mystery) by R. J. Lee

Grand Slam Murders
(A Bridge to Death Mystery)
by R.J. Lee

About the Book

Grand Slam Murders (A Bridge to Death Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 149671914X
ISBN-13: 978-1496719140
Digital ASIN: B07CWF82MH

After four bridge players are poisoned, newspaper reporter Wendy Winchester sets out to catch a killer who’s not playing with a full deck . . .

When the four wealthy widows who make up the venerable Rosalie Bridge Club never get up from their card table, this quiet Mississippi town has its first quadruple homicide. Who put cyanide in their sugar bowl? An aspiring member and kibitzer with the exclusive club, Wendy takes a personal interest in finding justice for the ladies.

She also has a professional motivation. A frustrated society columnist for the Rosalie Citizen, she’s ready to deal herself a better hand as an investigative reporter. This could be her big break. Plus, she has a card or two up her sleeve: her sometimes boyfriend is a detective and her dad is the local chief of police.

Partnering up with the men in her life, Wendy starts shuffling through suspects and turning over secrets long held close to the chest by the ladies. But when a wild card tries to take her out of the game, Wendy decides it’s time to up the ante before she’s the next one to go down . . .

Bethany straightened up in her chair, lit a cigarette, inhaled, and streamed smoke through her nostrils like an old-fashioned femme fatale in the movies. The others had complained about her habit many times over the years, but to no avail. Bethany was convinced she was immortal, that she would live forever and remain “cute” in the process. Neither smokes nor spirits could do her in, she had adamantly insisted.
“I most certainly did not lie,” Bethany said. “You misinterpreted my response. If I recall correctly, you had three Bloody Marys that afternoon. You were swimming in gin.” The last statement was no less appropriate on this particular afternoon.
“I beg your pardon. I only had two, and I never misinterpret Blackwood. Apparently, you don’t understand it. You claimed you had the missing king, but you didn’t. You definitely misled me.”
The battle of the gin brains continued unabated. “I understand Blackwood, Stayman, Gerber, and all the conventions, and well you know it. You also know I bid short clubs and diamonds. How long have we all been playing this game together? Since we all moved into the sorority house at Ole Miss, I believe.” She paused for an exaggerated smirk. “Instead of going to class, of course.”
“We’ve been playing together too long, I think sometimes,” Hanna said, averting her eyes while gazing at the chandelier overhead as if it were going to speak to her and take her side in the fuss. “But the onus is on me and Bethany to find this one way to defeat the Grand Slam.”
Liddie put a finger to her lips, winked somewhat preciously, and made a shushing sound. “Girls, girls, please.” The gesture got their attention, and they went silent while looking into their laps like shamed puppies. Liddie always had that effect when she focused. “I have the hands all neatly arranged in stacks over at the bridge table. We are only going to be find\ing out if we can duplicate the Grand Slam results that Goren created for us. If we don’t, it won’t be anyone’s fault. We just won’t have passed his test. At least, that’s the way I insist we approach it. Now, no more of this bickering. It is what it is.”
Liddie had laid down the law, and the partnerships were now written in stone. Liddie and Sicily would be declarers as North and South, and Bethany and Hanna, despite her strident protestations, would be defenders as East and West.
“But before we move to the bridge table,” Liddie continued, “I think we need to clear the air with our usual coffee toast. We must have none of these bad feelings that were bandied about to be at our best. Merleece should have the coffee at just the right temperature soon, and we’ll hoist our cups to bringing home that championship next week in Jackson. We’re going to win it this time, or we’re not the one and only Gin Girls of Rosalie.”

R. J. Lee follows in the mystery-writing footsteps of his father, R. Keene Lee, who wrote fighter pilot and detective stories for Fiction House, publishers of WINGS Magazine and other ‘pulp fiction’ periodicals in the late ’40’s and ’50’s. Lee was born and grew up in the Mississippi River port of Natchez but also spent thirty years living in the Crescent City of New Orleans. A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) where he studied creative writing under Sewanee Review editor, Andrew Lytle, Lee now resides in Oxford, Mississippi.

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  • Kay Garrett

    Thank you for the spotlight on “Grand Slam Murders” by R.J. Lee and for being part of the book tour. Enjoyed reading the excerpt which makes me want to read the book all the more. I’d love the opportunity to read this book on my TBR list. Love the cover!