Dead on the Fourth of July (David Dean Mysteries) (Chapter II, page 1 of 9)


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On Friday morning Bird Song's full complement of guests were treated to the usual bounty of Cynthia's baking, but with less zip and smiles than most days. There was the customary group of tourists with names like Bud and Ethel and Elmer and Clara- names not assigned to anyone born after World War II. These elderly patrons paid their bills, didn't trash their rooms and, to a person, were breathlessly enthralled with the mountains, weather, scenery, and everything else about the beautiful mountain town of Ouray, Colorado. What's more, none seemed bent on murder, a decided improvement over some of Bird Song's earlier guests! Sprinkled in the assortment of oldies were a few exceptions-two couples both named Dawkins, and Pumpkin Green, a young man taking a break from his cross country hike to California in support of the homeless, or so he claimed. The Dawkins brothers and their wives seemed to be continually in each other's faces and the Deans wondered why they bothered to travel together. Or why they were here in the first place, as they expressed zero interest in the beauty of the area; Ouray's main attraction. While the purpose for their stay remained a mystery, their credit cards passed muster and they didn't overeat the breakfast goodies. Not the case with Pumpkin Green. He gobbled everything he could grab as if building energy for the balance of his coast-to-coast trek.

Martha remained in bed, unusual for her but understandable, as this was her last full day in Ouray. Fred was anxiously glancing between her bedroom and the front door where he was expecting the arrival of Bird Song's latest domestic helper candidate. He alone had interviewed and recommended the young woman, who was located by one of his lady friends.

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