Nutty As a Fruitcake by Mary Daheim

By Mary Daheim

Hillside Manor's acquaintances all cherished owner Judith McMonigle Flynn's festive recommendation to deck the halls and homes of their cul-de-sac with attention-grabbing Christmas finery -- other than Enid Goodrich.The grumpy outdated humbug refused to cooperate.Then a person cooked her Christmas goose -- silencing Enid's objections with a convenient hatchet. although Judith's already obtained much less than her tree -- what with holidy company booming and the predicted undesirable arrival of hubby Joe's soused ex-spouse -- she's now not approximately to allow homicide reduce to rubble what is left of her seasonal spirit. With the aid of irrepressible cousin Renie, Judith's decided to wrap up this example for Christmas -- and reveal the Scrooge-slayer who felt strongly that the single Goodrich is a Deadrich.

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Ma- 48 / Mary Daheim ma’s dead and I used the front door! ” Strangely, it was Mrs. Swanson who reached Art first. She went up to the porch with a careful, steady tread, her small figure exuding courage. Judith couldn’t hear what she said to the distraught man, but a moment later, Mrs. Swanson and Art went into the house. Arlene was uncharacteristically speechless. Ted Ericson was walking in circles, holding his head. Naomi Stein had crossed the street and was standing next to Judith. ” she asked in a shocked voice.

Jeanne snorted. “It might be better if Mrs. Goodrich wasn’t. Alive, that is. You were right the first time. ” Everybody, including Judith, was about to find out if Jeanne Ericson was right. FOUR PHYLISS RACKLEY WAS singing a hymn at the top of her lungs, but the vacuum cleaner mercifully muffled the noise. Judith had just finished spotting the living room rug, and left her cleaning woman to her tasks. Phyliss had arrived promptly at eight-thirty, filled with Christian zeal, the Protestant work ethic, and a lot of phlegm.

Merry Christmas,” Joe muttered as he poured out the last cup of coffee. ” Judith was at the phone, dialing the Ericson house. “You can’t have that attitude. ” Jeanne Ericson answered on the second ring. “Drop dead? ” Embarrassed, Judith laughed lamely. “It’s me, Jeanne. Judith. ” Jeanne’s voice tightened. “That’s understandable. She might as well drop dead. She seems to make everybody’s life miserable. ” Judith stiffened. “I did, as a matter of fact. ” “Goodriches’, that’s where. It sounded to Ted and me as if they were having a world-class brawl.

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