Bed-and-breakfast hostess Judith McMonigle and her policeman beau Joe Flynn hgave finally gotten hitched-and they're off on a sunny honeymoon to beautiful Buccaneer Beach.But an unfortunate confrontation with a dune buggy run amok puts hubby Joe in hospital traction-leaving his beleaguered blushing bride stranded in paradise with a bad case of ennui by the sea. Luckily irrepressible cousin Renie has selflessly agreed to keep Judith company. And when the landlady of their cozy, costly cottage by the shore turns up dead in their living room, the cousins suddenly have a murderous mystery to keep them afloat. Rumors of a fortune in buried pirate gold add spice to their adventure. But digging up both a treasure and a killer is dirty business-and Judith and Renie might end up digging their own graves.
"Sly humor and domestic details...light and cozy fare."
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 07, 1999
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Excerpt from Dune to Death by Mary Daheim
Judith Grover McMonigle rolled over, stretched, and felt something warm and furry next to her in the bed. Sweetums. The wretched cat had dared to crawl under the covers. Barely awake, she nudged with her elbow. There was no response. The aggravating animal obviously was playing possum. Judith jackknifed her knees, then gave a mighty heave.
The growl that met her ear sounded more like a dog than a cat, but it was neither: Joe Flynn clung to the edge of the king-sized bed, fighting for leverage. His usually imperturbable round face was blurred with sleep, his red hair stood on end, and the green eyes with their flecks of gold were murky slits.
"What the hell are you doing, Jude-girl? I practically fell on my backside!"
Horrified, Judith stared with round black eyes at her husband. Her husband. That was it, she and Joe were married. He wasn't Sweetums, and she wasn't home, at the bed-and-breakfast. Judith was on her honeymoon. She fell back against the pillows and began to laugh.
"Mrs. Joseph Flynn! I can't believe it! Happy day!"
Joe as not as amused. Clambering back into bed, he punched one of his pillows and gave Judith a sidelong look. "I'd hate to see you when you're not happy," he grumbled. "I'd have landed out there on the beach in somebody's picnic lunch."
Shifting her body under the covers, Judith turned to Joe, brushing his faintly receding disheveled red hair from his forehead. At just a shade under six feet, Joe was still muscular, with only a slight paunch to remind Judith that he had passed the fifty-year mark a couple of summers ago. "I dreamed you were Sweetums," she said with a grin that was almost penitent. "Being married is going to take a bit of getting used to."
Joe grinned back and kissed the tip of Judith's nose. "At least you didn't dream I was your mother." He shuddered, not entirely facetiously. "I could have killed her at the wedding."
Judith rolled her eyes. She had not been pleased with Gertrude Grover, either. Judith's mother had almost as little fondness for Joe Flynn as she had had for her daughter's first husband, the late and seldom lamented Dan McMonigle. Still, Judith felt it had been going too far when Gertrude tied a black ribbon around her walker. And told the other guests she was wearing crepe pants. When Father Francis Xavier Hoyle had asked if anyone present knew why the pair should not be joined together, Gertrude had whipped out a list. Fortunately, Auntie Vance and Aunt Deb had shushed her.
Actually, Auntie Vance had pulled Gertrude's maroon felt hat over her ears, but Judith hoped no one except Uncle Corky noticed. Gertrude had let out a squawk, which had fortunately been drowned out by the howls of the youngest Dooley baby who was -- according to Aunt Ellen -- under siege from the Rankers's grandchildren. No one had actually mentioned the word "hotfoot," but the votive candles weren't the only thing burning on the side aisles, or so said Cousin Marty.
Still, the wedding had gone off well, Judith reflected. Or, maybe it had just gone off, and after twenty-five years and a marriage apiece, that was all Judith and Joe could hope for. The annulment that Joe had told Judith he'd applied for had proved unnecessary; his first wife's previous bouts with wedlock had nullified the Las Vegas JP's service in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
Once he had obtained his civil divorce in late May, Judith launched a whirlwind of plans. At that late date, no ordinary mortal could have secured Our Lady, Star of the Sea Catholic Church for a Saturday afternoon wedding the last weekend in June. But Judith's extraordinary status as a parishioner-cum-sleuth had moved the appropriate mountains. Father Hoyle was only too glad to accommodate Judith in gratitude for helping solve the Holy Saturday murder in the parish hall. The fact that Homicide Lt. Joe Flynn had been the official investigating officer hadn't hurt anything, either.