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How to Murder a Millionaire (Movie Club Mysteries, #3)

“When I rolled out of bed at the butt crack of dawn, I had no idea my day would start with a missing sheep and end with a dead dude in a crotchless mankini.”

Armed with her newly issued private investigator's license, Maggie Doyle is on the case…of a sheep that went missing twenty-two years ago. When she trips over a dead body on the first day of the investigation, Maggie realizes there’s more to this cold case than a fight over lamb chops.

An invitation to spend the weekend with her grandmother’s oldest friend and her family, the super-wealthy Huffingtons, gives Maggie the perfect excuse to sniff out the killer. After the family patriarch is electrocuted in the swimming pool, Maggie finds herself embroiled in yet another murder inquiry. With the body count rising, can Maggie catch the killer before they strike again?

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Whisper Island, Ireland

When I rolled out of bed at the butt crack of dawn, I had no idea my day would start with a missing sheep and end with a dead dude in a crotchless mankini.

Averting my gaze from the dead guy’s man junk, I kneeled beside the body and felt for a pulse. As I’d expected, there was none. The man’s skin was cold to the touch, indicating he’d been dead a while. I stood and scanned the barn for clues, but the cause of death was obvious: the rake sticking out of his chest was hard to miss.

I swore under my breath. How the heck could this be happening to me again? In the five months since I’d swapped my cheating ex and crumbling career in the San Francisco PD for life on a remote Irish island, I’d stumbled into two murder investigations. Becoming involved in a third was not on my to-do list.

Swallowing a sigh, I reached for my phone and hit speed dial.

My neighbor, and not-so-secret crush, answered on the second ring. “Sergeant Reynolds, Whisper Island Garda Station.”

His deep rumble and Irish accent affected me like a comforting blanket. “Liam, it’s me. You’re not going to believe what I’ve just found.”

“Maggie?” He groaned. “Aw, no. Why didn’t I check caller ID?”

“That’s a lovely way to greet the woman who cooked you dinner last Saturday,” I said indignantly. “You could muster up a little enthusiasm.”

“When said woman only contacts me at my work number to report finding dead bodies, I have good reason to be wary.”

“Well, actually…” I let the words hang in the air a moment.

“No way.” There was the sound of a chair scraping the floor on the other end of the line. “Don’t tell me you’ve found another one.”

“It’s not like I plan to find dead people. It just sort of…happens.” I didn’t add that this particular corpse happened to be wearing a lime green mankini that hadn’t been designed with swimming in mind. I’d let Reynolds enjoy that sight when he got here.

He muttered something in Gaelic that I was pretty sure I didn’t want translated. “Tell me who’s dead and where you are, and I’ll get over there right away.”

“Jimmy Wright is our vic.” I rattled off the address of the Wright farm. “It’s a thirty-minute drive from the station, give or take.”

“I know the place. That’s where I had to arrest an animal activist a few months ago. You sure Jimmy’s dead?”

I regarded the rake sticking out of the farmer’s chest and the pool of blood staining the straw beneath his body. I tasted bile, and my grip on the phone tightened. “No doubt about it. All he’s good for now is fertilizer.”

“Once a cop, always a cop, right down to the black humor,” he said in a bone-dry tone. “I’ll be there in forty. If no ambulance is required urgently, I’ll swing by the Whisper Island Medical Centre on my way to the Wright farm and get Dr. Reilly to join me.”

“You do that. And bring a forensics kit,” I added as an afterthought. “It looks like murder.”

“Why am I not surprised? You have a magnetic attraction to people who die unnatural deaths.”

I tried to muster some righteous indignation, but failed. He had a point. I did have an uncanny nose for murder. “I’ll see you soon.”

“Wait a sec, Maggie.” Reynolds’s voice deepened a notch. “Promise me you won’t touch anything. Your P.I.’s license doesn’t give you permission to trample all over crime scenes.”

Trample all over the place? What did he take me for, an amateur? “Sure thing, Sarge,” I drawled. “I’ll stay out of the barn.”

I disconnected before Reynolds’s sharp mind guessed my intentions and ordered me off Wright’s property.

Shoving my phone into my purse, I exited the barn and jogged across the farm courtyard. Although it was gone eight-thirty in the evening, the sun still shone brightly, and would do so until around ten o’clock. Just as I’d had to get used to the longer hours of darkness during an Irish winter, I had to adjust to the longer hours of sunlight now that it was June.

When I reached my new car, I pulled my keys from my pocket. I say “new”, but the vehicle was my cousin’s cast-off. Julie had sold it to me for a steal when she’d upgraded to an SUV last month. I opened the passenger door of the MINI, trying to ignore the wobbly door handle. There was a reason the car had been cheap, but I’d spent the last of the money from my successful investigation into the Whisper Island Hotel hauntings on rent, equipment for my new profession, and my day-old private investigator’s license. Besides, the MINI was an improvement over the last rust bucket I’d driven.

I reached under the passenger seat and grabbed my mini detective kit. In the glove compartment, I located a pair of disposable rubber gloves, plastic overshoes, a cover for my hair, and a can of pepper spray. The latter was probably overkill—experience told me Jimmy’d been dead a while. I didn’t think his killer was lurking on the farm, but I wasn’t taking any risks.

I glanced at my watch. I had around thirty-five minutes before Reynolds arrived. I could spend it sweating in the barn with Jimmy Wright’s earthly remains, or I could sneak into his house and start the investigation I’d been sent here to conduct. As long as I didn’t have to pick the lock, I was golden.

From How to Murder a Millionaire by Zara Keane, Copyright 2017