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Nightmare in Shining Armor

Cover of Nightmare in Shining Armor

Nightmare in Shining Armor

Den of Antiquity Mystery Series, Book 8
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The Corpse Is In The Mail

Den of Antiquity proprietress Abigail Timberlake's Halloween costume party is a roaring success—until an unexpected fire sends the panicked guests fleeing from Abby's emporium. One exiting reveler she is only too happy to see the back of is Tweetie "Little Bo Peep" Timberlake—unfaithful wife of Abby's faithless ex, Buford. But not long after the conflagration is brought under control, the former Mrs. T. discovers an unfamiliar suit of armor in her house. And stuffed inside is the heavily siliconed, no-longer-living body of the current Mrs. T.

Certainly some enraged collector of medieval chain mail has sent Abby this deadly delivery. But diving into their eccentric ranks could prove a lethal proposition for the plucky antiques dealer/amateur sleuth. And even a metal suit may not be enough to protect Abby from the vicious and vindictive attentions of a crazed killer.

The Corpse Is In The Mail

Den of Antiquity proprietress Abigail Timberlake's Halloween costume party is a roaring success—until an unexpected fire sends the panicked guests fleeing from Abby's emporium. One exiting reveler she is only too happy to see the back of is Tweetie "Little Bo Peep" Timberlake—unfaithful wife of Abby's faithless ex, Buford. But not long after the conflagration is brought under control, the former Mrs. T. discovers an unfamiliar suit of armor in her house. And stuffed inside is the heavily siliconed, no-longer-living body of the current Mrs. T.

Certainly some enraged collector of medieval chain mail has sent Abby this deadly delivery. But diving into their eccentric ranks could prove a lethal proposition for the plucky antiques dealer/amateur sleuth. And even a metal suit may not be enough to protect Abby from the vicious and vindictive attentions of a crazed killer.

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  • Chapter One

    It isn't every day that a headless woman rings my doorbell. You can be sure, therefore, that I examined this one closely. She was about five feet, six inches tall, sans head, which she held in her right hand. Her severed neck was abnormally large, especially considering the fact that there was a bit of it still attached to her noggin. I peered harder. Yup, there were two eyeholes about five inches down.

    "Wynnell!" I cried delightedly. "I'm so glad you're early. I can use all the help I can get. The caterer got sick at the last minute, and although I have all the food, it needs assembling."

    The bloody stump blinked. "How did you know it was me?"

    "Because you're my best friend. I'd recognize you no matter what you wore." It would not have been kind of me to mention that it was Wynnell's bushy eyebrows poking through the vision slits that had tipped me off.

    My buddy sighed and stepped over the threshold. Then, really seeing me for the first time, she gasped.

    "Abby! How did you do it?"

    "Do what?" I said with a coy smile.

    "You're a foot taller. At least!"

    "Am I?" I smoothed a portion of my antebellum skirt, which, suspended as it was by hoops and crinolines, puffed in all directions like an organza igloo. Incidentally, I wasn't alone under all that material. My yellow tomcat, Dmitri, had been tickling my ankles with his tail ever since I'd gotten dressed.

    "Abby, tell me, or I'm going to peek."

    "No need," I said and hoisted my hemline.

    Dmitri took one look at my headless visitor, hissed, and shot out of the room like there was a pack of dogs in pursuit.

    Wynnell laughed and peered more closely. "Stilts?"

    "Greg made them. I've been practicing all week."

    Perhaps I should explain that I am normally only four feet, nine inches tall. My fiancé, Greg, is just over six feet. We would have made an odd Scarlett and Rhett without my wooden appendages. This not to say we make an odd couple in real life, but you know what I mean. Besides, if the hooped skirt gave me the opportunity to experience the rarefied strata to which the rest of you folks are accustomed, why not go for it?

    "How do you manage to keep your balance?" Wynnell asked, as she bumped against the hall console.

    "I don't always," I said, remembering my bruised right knee. "I can balance about as well as you can see. But I can't walk at all in this dress without the stilts, so I'm stuck until the party's over. You, however, are another story. Why don't set your head down on that console, take off your mask, and help me in the kitchen?"

    "Be glad to." Wynnell whipped off her rubber neck. "You'd be surprised how hot it is under here."

    I patted my voluminous skirt. "Fifteen yards of fabric is no cool breeze."

    Wynnell nodded. Her hair was damp with dew—we Southern women do not sweat—and her face the color of a radish.

    "So what do you want me to do first?"

    "Stir the punch. And taste the bowl on the left to see if it needs more pizzazz."

    "Champagne?"

    "Vodka. I want this party to rock."

    "Abby, you're so bad. What will your mama say?"

    "She gave me the recipe."

    "Speaking of her, did you find out what she plans to wear tonight?"

    I shook my head. "Her lips are sealed tighter than a clam at low tide. All she would say is that I was in for a big surprise."

    Wynnell frowned, her damp brows fusing like giant spiders. "Doesn't that make you nervous?"

    "You bet it does. Last year she came as Mother Teresa—but that was during her nun craze."

    Wynnell, having tasted the bowl of spiked punch, decided it need an extra wallop. She added enough imported spirits to keep Kiev humming for a month. And this from a Baptist!

    "What does she want to be now?"

    "A jockey."

About the Author-
  • Tamar Myers is the author of the Belgian Congo series and the Den of Antiquity series as well as the Pennsylvania-Dutch mysteries. Born and raised in the Congo, she lives in North Carolina.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 2, 2001
    Humor and hijinks abound in Myers's eighth Den of Antiquity mystery (A Penny Urned; Estate of Mind) set in Charlotte, N.C. Feisty Abby Timberlake, an antique store owner and amateur sleuth, is celebrating the purchase of her new house by throwing a costume party. Among the revelers present is her ex-husband's much younger wife, Tweetie, who arrives dressed as Little Bo Peep. When the Statue of Liberty accidentally starts a fire with her torch and Moses douses the blaze with a bowl of punch, Abby kicks everyone out, including her flamboyant mother and her fiancé. Later that evening, Abby and her friend Wynnell—who had passed out during the party—discover Tweetie's dead body encased in a suit of armor and stuffed under Abby's bed. Due to Abby's rude behavior the night before, there's no shortage of people who would like to see her take the rap for the murder, so she sets out to do a little snooping of her own. She soon finds that Tweetie had about as many enemies as she did amours and that the citizens of Charlotte aren't all as respectable as they seem. Oddball characters and clownish antics tend to outshine this cozy's plot, and Myers's caustic secondary characters are off-putting. Nevertheless, antique lovers and fans of the series will enjoy this fun, frivolous read.

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Nightmare in Shining Armor
Nightmare in Shining Armor
Den of Antiquity Mystery Series, Book 8
Tamar Myers
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