Catering the annual pre-Easter brunch and egg hunt is a hare-raising hassle for Judith McManigle, hard-working hostess of the Hillside Manor.And this year's egg scramble gets particularly messy when the reclusive wife of a local scion is fatally perforated my a fiend dressed in a bunny suit. Never one to pass up a good murder, Judith solicits the help of her sometime-beau policeman Joe and her irrepressible Cousin Renie to get energized and get hopping down the floppy-eared assassin's trail. But soon the list of suspects is multiplying faster than a hutch-full of rabbits. And Judith might very well end up a basket case-or worse-before this whole thing is through...now the the party-planning sleuth's unsolicited snooping has put a killer hot on her cottontail!
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August 03, 1999
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Excerpt from Holy Terrors by Mary Daheim
Judith Grover McMonigle put an ice pack on her head and sucked on a cough drop. She hated Lenten fast days. Self-denial was no problem; coercion was. Fasting wasn't voluntary, even in the contemporary Church. Not being able to eat between meals never failed to make Judith absolutely ravenous. Any other time of the year, she could go for the better part of a busy day and not so much as think about food. But come Lent, she always got a headache and a sore throat, and felt weak at the knees. It was illogical, and therefore out of character Judith sucked the cough drop so hard that it stuck to the roof of her mouth.
Her headache wasn't helped by the sound of her mother, who had thumped her walker into the living room. "Why are you wearing a turban?" she demanded in a raspy voice. "You some kind of swami? It's Good Friday. Why aren't you in church?"
"I was," said Judith, with a glance at the grandfather clock in the comer of the room. "It's three-thirty. I just got back from Stations of the Cross. We had it out on the playground."
"The playground? What did they do, use home plate for the Tomb?" growled Gertrude Grover, whose chartreuse and lavender housecoat was misbuttoned. "That knothead of a pastor at Star of the Sea has some of the daffiest ideas!"
Judith shifted the ice bag on her prematurely gray hair and kicked off her shoes. "It was arranged by the school kids. We formed a procession inside the church, then went outside. Prayerfully."
"Nuttily. That's the doing of that nitwit principal, Quinn McCaffrey, you can bet your butt on it. Whoever heard of a Catholic school being run by a man instead of a nun?" Gertrude was still looking for her cigarettes, but found only a couple of old garters. Disgusted, she tossed them onto the coffee table between the matching sofas that Ranked the fireplace. "Imagine, Mister McCaffrey, instead of Sister Mary Joseph or Mother Immaculate! It's all over, two thousand years down the dram. Might as well be a Lutheran or a Baptist or a Hottentot. Being a Catholic meant something in my day. It's a good thing I'm too crippled to go to church any more."
"You still go to bingo, you old fraud," Judith murmured, stretching out her long legs on the coffee table and hoping that Gertrude was too deaf to hear her riposte.
"Bingo?" Gertrude's little eyes bulged. "Don't tell me they're having bingo during Holy Week! Did I miss it?"