Murder Mystery excerpt

Barbara Haworth-Attard

So, I like to golf, and I like murder mysteries, and I decided to try writing one using both my “likes.” You will notice that I have books in a lot of different genres, much to my agent’s disgust – “Pick one and stick it!” That”s him. I like to try different things. Even my quilting evolves over the years. But I know for success you really should pick one genre. But…I also like funny. Here is the beginning of my humourous murder mystery with a bit of golf in it. Let me know what you think!

The Tuesday Night Ladies (Women’s!) Golf League

A Hole in One
Barbara Haworth-Attard

Sadie Brimley ploughed through the thick underbrush at the side of the fairway searching for her elusive pink dimpled ball. She was not losing yet another of her good Pinnacle golf balls. She hacked at vines and nettles with her pitching wedge. She’d lost four already, and she and the gals were only on Hole Seven! Mind you, hack, hack, she was keeping, hack, hack, the golf ball manufacturers in business! Helping the economy. And . . . Bullwinkles! . . . Was that poison ivy she’d waded through? Just what she needed, a rash running up her calf to her thigh and higher to . . . She stopped suddenly, club still. A foot! In a golf shoe. Peeking out from behind an oak tree. A man’s foot. Sadie took a tentative step forward. Now she could see two feet, which made sense because that was the number given to most people.
Wait! It was probably that good-for-nothing golf pro Nick Brown. Bang a ball, then bang a golfer. That was his motto. Thought he was irresistible to every woman alive. She smirked. Did he know he was banging in poison ivy? Did she? Whoever she was. Now that would be a story to tell the gals. She imagined them hanging on her every word as she described the disarray of clothing, the shamed faces. And she, Sadie, could certainly tell a story. She knew how to draw out the tension; she’d not reveal right away who lay in poison ivy with Nick Brown. Leave the listeners in suspense.
Awfully quiet, though. Maybe it was all over. Catching their breath as it were. Better that way, Sadie decided. She didn’t really want to catch them in the act. That was somewhat sordid. But after, that was fine.
Tingling with anticipation, she lunged around the tree, “Aha!”
Dead silence. Even the birds didn’t chirp. Then Sadie’s mouth opened and she started screaming.

Chapter 1

Merrilee focused her eyes on the white ball perched on top of the red tee, took a deep breath, and drew the club back and up past her head, where it paused for a fraction of a second, before beginning its downward path.
“My husband,” said a voice behind her. “Is full of shit.”
Startled, Merrilee’s hands wavered slightly, but momentum carried the driver down. Thwack. The sweet sound of a golf club hitting a perfect ball. Not one that Merrilee was used to hearing when she hit.
“Pardon my French,” Eleanor Chapman added.
In other circumstances, Eleanor’s announcement might not have raised eyebrows; but here? On the Fairview golf course? During the Tuesday Night Ladies League where an unwritten rule, strictly adhered to, stated that one did not discuss one’s significant (or insignificant as the case may be) other during play. And the fact that it was Eleanor, the best golfer among them, league champion, and undisputed expert and enforcer of all the weird and countless rules of golf, shocked the other three women in the foursome.
Merrilee’s eyebrows shot up under her chestnut-brown fringe of hair. She exchanged a startled glance with Brenda, who at forty-two, was the youngest player of the foursome. The woman’s jaw gaped open.
On Tuesday nights from early May to mid-September, women took over the Fairview Golf Course outside the small town of Fairview. Spouses, offspring, work – none of these existed on Tuesday nights – only drivers, putters, greens, bunkers, tees, and fairways.
“Close your mouth, Brenda, you’ll catch flies,” Eleanor ordered.
Brenda snapped her jaw shut with an audible click.
“Did anyone see where my ball went?” Merrilee asked. ‘I sort of lost track of it.”
“Straight down the center of the fairway. Great shot,” Eleanor told her.
“Eleanor. You have broken a Rule. You spoke while a golfer was swinging,” Colleen chided. “Merrilee, you may hit again if you wish.”
In fact, Merrilee did not wish. Eleanor was right. It was a great shot. “No, no, it’s fine,” she said.
“Wayne and I’ve been married thirty-five years, and I don’t know how I didn’t see it before,” Eleanor continued. “And I apologize, Merrilee.”
“It’s okay.” Merrilee was still bemused by her excellent drive. Maybe she needed someone to talk while she was hitting. Silence sent her ball slicing to the right or left, or worse; dribbling off the tee. “Talking doesn’t bother me.” In fact, she was going to encourage people to chat every time she teed up.
“Good girl,” Eleanor said. “Never let yourself get easily distracted.”
Merrilee felt ridiculously pleased by no-nonsense Eleanor’s praise.
“I have to admit,” Eleanor went on, pulling off her visor and agitatedly fluffing her short grey hair. “I did sort of suspect he was full of it a few years ago, but I didn’t want to believe I’d married a stupid man. When I was young and in the first rosy glow of love, I thought everything Wayne said was God’s truth, and I just nodded my head like a good little girl and looked at him adoringly. Now I realize, he doesn’t know a damn thing, about anything, but he thinks he does. That’s the annoying part; in his own mind he is omnipotent.” Eleanor replaced her visor and short legs pumping, made her way off the tee, golf cart pulled behind. Brenda and Colleen followed.
Merrilee dropped her driver into her bag, pulled on its head cover, and left the tee, trying not to look as smug as she felt.
It was a beautiful mid-June evening; the sun golden, the sky blue and the grass of Fairview Golf Course looking impossibly green. Spring had been long in coming this year, so everyone was out basking in the warm weather. In the distance, near the pond on the fifth hole, she could see another group of four women, also part of the league. Today there were twenty playing; five groups of four.
Two years ago if someone had told her she’d be part of a golf league – hell, if someone had told her she would even be on a golf course – she would have laughed and called them crazy. It had been Brenda Lawrence, the nurse in the sprawling white-sided, two-storey Victorian-era house next to Merrilee’s tiny red-brick sixties bungalow, who had cajoled Merrilee- bullied her really – into taking a few golf lessons last year. Then this year she’d insisted that Merrilee join the Tuesday Night Ladies League. Saying, she Brenda, needed a break from her three children and part-time nursing job at the local hospital, plus she needed the exercise to combat her slowly growing posterior. Merrilee, aware of her fifty-two year old spreading behind reluctantly agreed, only to discover that she loved whacking that small, hard ball around what passed for a very well cared for lawn. It was, she decided, extremely cathartic. Two years ago life had been very different for Merrilee.