Mrs. Morris and the Wolfman
Mrs. Morris and the Wolfman (A Salem B&B Mystery)
by Traci Wilton
About Mrs. Morris and the Wolfman
Mrs. Morris and the Wolfman (A Salem B&B Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington Cozies (August 22, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496741374
ISBN-13 : 978-1496741370
Digital ASIN : B0BNWG9V65
Saturday night at the movies has some added flair now that Darren and Elise Shultz are reopening one of Salem’s classic theaters. Charlene is delighted to help the couple with their venture, and Darren has lined up a cult classic double-header featuring Lon Chaney in The Wolfman. But things get hairier than expected when Elise starts to choke on her popcorn mid-movie—and once the lights go up,
she’s dead . . .
When tests reveal Elise’s popcorn was poisoned, Detective Sam Holden eyes her husband as the guilty party. Charlene doesn’t believe Darren would hurt his wife—even if his company’s specialty seasoned salts were sprinkled on the fatal snack. But who else had a motive to do something so unsavory? With a little help from Jack, the handsome ghost who haunts her B&B, Charlene delves into the ill-fated couple’s past. And the more she learns, the more Charlene wonders if this time, she’s bitten off more than she can chew . . .
Read an Excerpt
The teens left. Charlene refilled her wine, picked up Silva, and went to her suite where she and Jack could talk freely.
“What do we know about that kid? I think Sam’s right. He’s trouble,” Jack said.
“Seth Gamble is fine.” Charlene closed and locked the suite door. “He’s cute, and cool, and into Avery.”
“Better not be,” Jack growled.
“Hey!” Charlene put Silva on Jack’s favorite armchair, quickly changing the subject before things went too far down a figurative rabbit hole. “What have you been doing?”
“Researching wolfsbane. Aconitine is an alkaloid chemical that contributes to the toxicity of aconitum napellus. It’s been used in ancient times as a medicine but also a poison. Plants that can heal, can kill if not used properly.” Jack rubbed his smooth chin. “Like the dual nature of the wolfman himself, come to think of it.”
Charlene set her wine glass on the coffee table. “I don’t trust the herbal remedies. I’d rather go to the doctor and get a prescription in a nice orange bottle.”
“I felt that way too,” Jack said with a wink. “Now, like so many things, I find it fascinating. My memory is even better than it used to be when I was alive.”
“Lucky!” She smiled at him. “I’m curious as to how the poison was applied to the popcorn. We just know it was poison but not what kind.”
“You’re right. Seeing how interested Sam was in the wolfsbane bouquet makes me wonder if it was aconitine.” Jack tilted his head. “When dried, the properties would be easy to mix with sea salt. Darren’s hands-on with his salt creations.”
During one of the movie theater launch meetings here at the B and B, Charlene and the Shultzes had been discussing salt. How Darren came up with flavors. Darren rented an industrial kitchen when he made large batches. He bought his sea salt in bulk from Germany, but the process was as simple as boiling saltwater from the ocean and letting it evaporate.
“That makes a plus for Sam’s case, that Darren killed Elise by adding poison to her roasted garlic salt. He was upset and didn’t eat it. Elise brought him a fresh tub of popcorn and the canister of herb and chili.” Charlene blew out a breath. “But it couldn’t have been that particular bouquet.”
“Exactly. The fresh petals aren’t as potent. From the questions that Sam asked you, I think they’re gravitating toward something added to the salt. But, why.” Jack stood before the TV where he’d been watching the news. His image wasn’t strong, and she could make out the commercial break about a company selling car insurance.
“That’s never easy.” She perched on the arm of the love seat. “There are so many variables. And once you start asking questions, more questions pop up…I’m exhausted just thinking about it.”
Jack floated her pen and a notebook to her. “You should probably jot some things down as you like to do.”
Charlene laughed and accepted Jack’s offering. Doodling allowed her brain to pull things in from her subconscious. “Perfect. We need to start with the victim.” She scrawled an E, but added a D.
“Was the target Elise? Was Darren supposed to eat the roasted garlic too? I assume that because Elise was killed, and Darren is fine that the poison must be in the roasted garlic canister. Her favorite. Did you taste it?” Jack asked.
Charlene’s stomach tightened. She had tried it and found it delicious. “The sampling tray had thimble-sized salts in them of assorted flavors. My favorite was the Dijon.”
Jack’s energy chilled with anger before he calmed himself. “Probably not enough to harm you. If it was added to all the roasted garlic, which is an assumption. The poison could have been sprinkled over Elise’s popcorn alone.”
Her cell phone rang, and Avery’s picture showed on the screen. “Hey!” Charlene put the device on speakerphone so Jack could hear.
“Hello,” Avery said, her tone triumphant. “Just wanted to let you know that Officer Bernard seemed very interested in the possible shoe connection. Thanked me for the reminder about the canisters of seasoned salts, too.”
“That’s really great, Avery!” Charlene and Jack shared a smile.
“He’s the kind of officer I want to be. Well, like him, and Sam, and Officer Senta. She’s awesome.”
Charlene sent a little prayer heavenward that Avery would be okay. “You’ve done your civic duty, now, so try and have some fun. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff. This is your summer to relax.”
“I know how to compartmentalize very well,” Avery said. “Bye, Charlene!” The call ended.
“She would, too,” Jack said. “Poor kid.” He leaned back against her office desk; arms slung low across his stomach. His turquoise shirt matched his eyes.
“Now she has us, even if she can’t see you,” Charlene said. “You still look out for her.”
“I do.” Jack blinked and cleared his throat, a perfect affectation of how he must have been when he was alive. This man! This ghost. How he’d taken up residence in her heart.
She swallowed her emotions to focus on the list she was making. “Jack. You saw Darren and Elise interact here at the house. I just don’t think he would have killed her.”
“I agree.” Jack watched her as she doodled. “Especially not at the theater which was his dream come true.”
“He loved Elise. Elise supported his dreams in hopes to have her own family.”
“Things are often not what they seem.” Jack fluttered the edge of her notebook.
They’d learned that the hard way. One couldn’t accept things at face value. Not in life, and certainly not in death.
Her doodles were a pentagram in a circle, the sign of the werewolf, mingled with the Spellbound Movie Theater logo, and the nostalgic film reel.
Wolfsbane blossoms with their pretty shapes. Pretty but deadly. Like Klara?
Her attention was drawn to the television as Darren was handcuffed and brought into the brick jailhouse, struggling the entire way. A female officer propelled him forward.
Jack shifted his attention from her drawings to the television, his mouth lowered in surprise. “Oh no.”
And though they were riveted to the TV for the rest of the night, there were no further updates on Darren Shultz’s incarceration.
About Traci Wilton
From cozy mysteries to seaside romance, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall writes stories that captivate her readers. As a hybrid author with over sixty published works, Ms. Hall has a favorite tale for everyone. Mystery lovers, check out her Scottish Shire series, set in the seaside town of Nairn, or the Salem B&B Mystery series, as Traci Wilton. Her latest project is an Irish Castle cozy as Ellie Brannigan. Whether it’s her ever-popular By the Sea romances, an Appletree Cove sweet romance, or a fun who-done-it, Traci finds her inspiration in sunny South Florida, living right near the ocean.
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