Dead on the Fourth of July (David Dean Mysteries) (Chapter III, page 1 of 8)


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There was no time for Cynthia to talk to her husband, who was busy serving breakfast to the late sleepers while she showed Maria, by hand communication, the upstairs chores of Bird Song. The pair spent the balance of the morning emptying the washing machine and dryer, only to fill them with never-ending loads, while in between clearing dishes, brewing more coffee, and playing the jovial innkeepers. Fred O'Connor was off to the post office, but before leaving, he ceremoniously presented Martha with thirty dollars and a smothering hug. Martha was making herself scarce in her room before her luggage-buying expedition to Montrose, thirty-five miles away.

The inn, not large by city standards, was constantly in need of attention, especially in this, the short but hectic high season. The hundred-year-old Victorian building contained nine rentable rooms, each with a private bath. The three largest quarters were located on the third floor, all presently booked by the two Dawkins brothers and wives, one pair of whom was not sleeping with his mate. The second floor contained six quarters, five rooms for guests and the rear left corner occupied by Fred O'Connor. There was a small room beneath the stairs on the main floor, rented in the past but occupied by Martha since her January arrival. The first floor, bisected by a hall and stairs, contained a living room or parlor on the right, or southern, side, and across from it a dining room and adjacent kitchen. The Dean's private quarters, a sitting room-office combination and bedroom, were located in the rear.

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