Dying Wishes (The Kate Lawrence Mysteries, #5) by Judith K. Ivie

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Kate’s turning 50, and as if that weren’t depressing enough, she’s about to become a grandmother—perhaps twice. Her investigation of a mysterious death at the Vista View retirement complex opens her eyes to the new realities of aging, some of which send her reeling. What really happened to the wealthy, tennis-playing cougar in Building One? Are residents covering up a sex-for-hire scandal? Will Kate’s longtime friend lose her job as Vista View’s business manager? Kate and her friends Margo and Strutter make it their business to discover the truth—or die trying.

This title is published by Mainly Murder Press and is distributed worldwide by Untreed Reads.


“There comes a morning in every woman’s life,” I said to Strutter on the telephone, “when she looks into the mirror and knows precisely what she’ll look like if she makes it to the age of eighty. Lines, pouches, droopy bits—they’re all there, lurking just below the surface, waiting to erupt at the slightest provocation. I won’t need to wear a mask this Halloween. A pointy hat and a broom, and I’ll be the perfect old hag.”

I squinted at my reflection in the hand mirror and stuck out my tongue.

“The approach of the big five-o has got you down, huh? Well, I’m afraid I can’t relate. Not only am I a full seven years younger than you are, but we women of color age undetectably, or hadn’t you heard? It’s you pigmentation-challenged Caucasians who dry up in your fifties, Katie girl.” The twinkle in her Jamaican lilt softened her unsympathetic words. “Not that you could prove that by Margo,” she added as a final dig.

Margo Harkness was our third partner and a few years into her fifties, an apparently ageless blonde beauty.

“That’s a Southern thing. Comes in the gene pool right along with the drawl and the debutante’s guidebook. So what’s on your agenda today?” I turned the mirror face down on my bed and reached for my cooling coffee.

“Nothing very exciting, although grocery shopping with a two-year-old does have its heart-stopping moments. She chuckled. “Thank goodness Charlie has a game after school. I can plop myself in a lawn chair and hand Olivia over to that gaggle of fourteen-year-old girls who think she’s just the cutest thing ever.”

“She is the cutest thing ever, and it doesn’t hurt a bit that her big brother is the emerging star of Wethersfield High’s soccer team.”

“Oh, Lord, don’t remind me. It’s only October, and I already wish the school year were over. Those girls are absolutely stalking him. If he’s not on Facebook, he’s got that damned cell phone clamped to his ear, or he’s hammering away at a text message. I swear, none of them will have functional thumb joints by the time they’re thirty. What’s your plan for today?”

I sighed. “Vista View. I told Margo I’d take her days this month as well as mine. She has a ton of new listings to show, and I told her I’d finalize the sale on Mrs. Roncaro’s unit. Her death was quite a surprise. She seemed just fine the last time I saw her. Such a nice lady.”

Vista View is a retirement community repped by our firm, Mack Realty.

“Tomorrow, I’m going to stop by to see the Henstock sisters. Ada telephoned me, and I haven’t seen them in a while. I think they may want to check out the retirement complex. Even that little Cape we sold them behind the Silas Robbins House is getting to be too much for them, I think, so I want to tell them about Vista View, if they’re looking at options.” Ada and Lavinia are sisters, former clients and now good friends who live near the Wethersfield Green on Broad Street, right around the corner from our office.

“Seeing them will probably do your silly age funk good. Those old gals are what, eighty-something? And still interested in the opposite sex, if Lavinia’s reaction to Margo’s husband is any indication.” Lieutenant John Harkness, AKA Margo’s husband, had taken charge of an investigation involving the sisters some two years previously.

I emptied my mug and eased out from under my ancient cat Jasmine, who considered me her personal heat source. Her housemate Gracie, a young ginger cat, slitted her eyes at me from the foot of the bed. I had lingered under the covers long enough that they had assumed it was a weekend morning and settled in.

“Let’s face it. Women of any age respond to a man as good looking as Margo’s husband,” I said, reflecting upon our previous experiences with Ada and Lavinia, “but Lavinia did have a habit of blushing whenever John was around, as I recall. Anyway, gotta go. Pinch Olivia’s fat cheeks for me.”

“Will do,” Strutter promised and rang off.

  • Published by: Mainly Murder Press

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