Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders
Thank you Heather, for having us on your lovely site Bloodthirsty Muses (giggle). Today we’ll follow Milo as she makes a gruesome discovery.
ARTFUL DODGING brings together a cast of eccentric characters, from Milo the heroine needlepoint artist, to Tekla, ebony-tressed Russian sculptress, to Jacob, the fanatic environmentalist, to Archie who literally lives in the art center, to handsome lawyer Tristram, to the statuesque Ursula. The plot revolves around the discovery of two bodies who seem to bear no relation to each other or to anyone else. They are found in the tower room of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, an old munitions factory turned art studio center on the waterfront of Old Town Alexandria. Since the city is considering proposals to close the art center, Milo and her friends have their hands full trying to save it, at the same time trying to solve the murders. Her budding romance with Tristram is complicated by both her continued grief at the loss of her husband and Tristram’s involvement in a plan to turn the torpedo factory into a box store.
Wild Rose Press, 7/20/2016; Imprint Crimson Rose
Theme(s): Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Contemporary romantic Suspense, M/F, 2 flames
Ebook, 66,830 words; Print 268 p.
The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is a hulking former munitions factory right on the waterfront. Since the 1970s it has been host to art studios, a museum, and an art school. It’s never been renovated and is still a vast open central space surrounded by meandering corridors and rooms tucked away here and there. It is topped by a tower reached by hidden stairs. So you can imagine how our heroine, Milo Everhart, felt when she had to traverse the narrow stairs, open fire doors, and walk through a huge dark hall, to let the police in.
READ ON FOR AN EXCERPT, INFO ABOUT THE AUTHOR, AND MORE!
Excerpt (G): The Body
“Hello! Hello? 911?”
“Please state the nature of your emergency.”
“A body. There’s a b…b…body.” The word came out as a gurgle.
“Yes, ma’am. Now tell me where you are.”
Milo looked wildly around the darkened corridor. “Second floor. No lights.”
“Ma’am? Second floor of what?”
“Oh, er, the Torpedo Factory. I ran downstairs. I…”
“The Torpedo Factory? You mean the building at 105 North Union Street?”
Milo almost snapped, “How many torpedo factories do you know?” but thought better of it. “Yes.”
“All right, ma’am. Now, you say you’ve found a body? Is it dead?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course it’s dead. Dead. A dead body. In the office.”
“The tower. Look, can you send the police? I’m all alone in the building. Except for the body, of course. I mean, it’s pitch black in here. Please?” She knew she sounded less than rational, but weren’t 911 operators trained to weed out the gibberish and cut to the chase?
“I’ve already sent out a call. The police should be arriving any minute. Now, will they be able to enter the building?”
“Oh! Er. I don’t know. Archie’s already locked up.”
“The super. He’s long gone, though.”
“Can you get to a door to let them in?”
Milo’s shoes must have found bubble gum on the floor all by themselves, since they appeared to be stuck. “I…uh…I can’t get to the doors.” Nothing but silence on the other end. She must think I’m lazy. Or a coward. I’ll bet she knows how to wait people out, to force them to do her bidding. “I’m not lazy, miss. I’m just…I’m wondering. What if the murderer is hiding somewhere, still in the building?”
“Murderer? You think the victim was murdered?”
Every CSI show she’d ever watched, plus a couple of X Files, fast-forwarded through her brain. Somewhere in the reruns she found the answer. “I don’t know. That’s for the experts to decide.” Thank you, Gil Grissom.
“Okay, ma’am. Listen to me carefully. If the building is locked, the police will have to break the door down, but first they’ll have to go to a judge and get a search warrant. So you see, the quickest way they can help you is if you let them in. Now, do you think you can go down the stairs to the door?”
Milo drew in a long, ragged breath, holding it until her head began to spin. As she let it out, she managed, “Yes. I’m on the landing. Can you stay on the line with me in case I’m attacked?”
“I sure will.”
Milo felt her way with one hand toward the middle stairwell. “I’m on the stairs now. Now I’m walking down the stairs.”
The central staircase of the factory only had a single metal railing and thus was exposed to the entire main hall. If anyone still lurked in the building he could easily see (and hear) her. She stopped halfway down and looked across the main lobby to the front entrance, a set of doublewide, glass-paned sliding doors. “There are flashing lights and sirens coming from Union Street.”
“Yes, ma’am. That would be the police.”
About the Author:
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent.
After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia.
Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense and murder mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Other Books by M. S. Spencer:
Lapses of Memory
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MSSpencerauthor
My calendar of events can be found here:
Romance Books 4 Us: http://romancebooks4us.com/Romance%20Author%20M.%20S.%20Spencer.html OR