Murder Most Irritating by John Duckworth
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.7 MB
John Duckworth is a novelist, editor, playwright, scriptwriter, cartoonist, and father of twins. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Linfield College, he spent 35 years in the publishing industry as a curmudgeonly editor, product developer, and author, working with people like Ken Blanchard, Dr. Kevin Leman, Richard Foster, and Calvin Miller, producers like VeggieTales, organizations like Focus on the Family and companies like Random House, Thomas Nelson, NavPress, Group Publishing, Zondervan and Rainfall Toys.
When a big Seattle pharmaceutical company’s “miracle” drug kills several people, a dedicated researcher blows the whistle.
Pressed to come up with an instant bestseller about the case, book editor Carolyn Neville and her sidekick Stephen Ames are stunned when the scientist is poisoned.
Trying to produce a book, they face a grieving widow, an opportunistic police chief, an impossible deadline—and jail.
Did I still love slipping into my tweedy brown editor’s blazer? Why did I keep putting up with 137 minutes of arduous brake-mashing from the picturesque seaside village of Hensford to the grimy Oz of Manhattan?
I looked at the clock again. What I saw made me grip the wheel more tightly, a move that did surprisingly little to increase the speed of traffic.
I fished my phone from my pocket and placed a call to Stephen Ames, the young senior editor who reported to me, or pretended to.
“Carolyn,” he said. “Where are you?”
“On the way. I’m running late for Acquisitions.”
“But you’re never late for anything. I thought it was like your Prime Directive.”
“I need you to stall until I get there.”
“How? Go around the room and have people name their favorite color? Pull the fire alarm?”
I squeezed the wheel harder, but the driver in front of me seemed not to notice.
“Are you in the meeting room yet?” I asked.
“Uh-huh. People are starting to show up.”
His voice dropped to a whisper. “Two from Marketing at the other end of the table . . .”
“I think these are new. They’re always new. They never seem to stick around for long.”
“Because they all have ADHD,” I said.
“There’s a middle-aged lady with gigantic hoop earrings. And a young guy who looks like he’s having a really bad hair day, only it’s probably an actual style he paid seventy-five bucks for.”
“What about Our Friends in Finance and Our Friends in Legal?”
“One of each. Ed Kraft and Bob Whatshisname.”
“Is Hunter there yet?”
“No, but I’m sure he will be.”
I knew what he meant. Hunter Thicke never missed a chance to run a meeting; it gave him something to do. As vice-president of content development, he was not a member of the working class.
“Any editors?” I asked.
I considered reprising my classic speech about how editors had sunk to the bottom of the publishing food chain. How we were trapped on the wrong side of history, like pagers and Betamax. But we’d addressed this subject many times, since editors liked nothing better than complaining about their pending extinction. There seemed to be little new ground left to plow.
“I hope you brought something to present,” I said.
“Two proposals. One about the geology professor who returns to the small town he grew up in, where he has an affair with the woman who runs the bed and breakfast. Not very original, but I like what he does with dialogue. I told you about it last week.”
“Of course,” I said, not wanting to admit I hadn’t been listening at the time.
“And a young adult dystopian series, except that it’s not. It’s actually utopian, only in an angsty way. Does that make sense?”
There was a long pause, during which I tried to think of a response other than “No.”
“Guess you had to be there,” he said finally.
“Unfortunately, I’m not. But I will be as soon as I can.” I hit the END button and dropped the phone back in my pocket.