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By Gillian Roberts

"Here's the Dorothy Parker of puzzle writers . . . giving extra wit in line with web page than such a lot writers supply in line with book."
--Nancy Pickard
In her new novel starring Philadelphia schoolteacher Amanda Pepper, Gillian Roberts once more mixes secret and mirth. This time Roberts explores Philadelphia's special flesh and blood "historical monument"-- the Mummers, who reside (and possibly are keen to die) for a couple of hours of glory each New Year's Day.
The recognized Mummers' Parade is an extravaganza that pulls huge, immense crowds who cheer via chattering enamel, as greater than thirty thousand clowns, string bands, and fancy brigades strut their stuff up huge highway. yet this yr, whereas the tune blares and the Mummers dance, a reveling Pierrot all at once sinks to the floor, shot dead.
Amanda is, at the start, just a horrified spectator. but if the top suspect--her pal and fellow instructor at Philly Prep--falsely claims to were together with her on the time of the homicide, Amanda can now not remain at the sidelines.
Is the homicide a flare-up of lethal rivalries? Is it hooked up with the disappearance, the week earlier than Christmas, of one other Mummer, the inheritor to a meat-packing kin? Does anyone disapprove of the Mummers' feathers, sequins, and string bands? And why isn't any one within the tight-knit global Amanda investigates keen to inform the reality approximately anything?
With Amanda at the scene, the who in whodunit does not remain mystery for lengthy. within the Mummers' Curse, Gillian Roberts is, as consistently, on the head of the parade.

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Occasionally I’d stick to him, simply be there, simply see him. occasionally him and the fellows, occasionally him and Dolores. ” “Jimmy Pat, is that who we’re speaking approximately? ” I stated it softly in order to not holiday her focus. Her cheeks have been flushed, even if I couldn’t have stated evidently which emotion produced the colour. “I can’t clarify why I did it, what i wished, other than it was once anything to do. ” I waited, learning the mural at the some distance wall. It depicted a gorgeous Philadelphia with scenes of the Delaware and a bridge—the Walt Whitman or the Ben Franklin, I couldn’t tell—of the Schuylkill’s Boathouse Row, and none of murdered Mummers. The clock in the midst of the mural moved ahead a notch. “I knew his routine,” Emily acknowledged. “He got here the following round this time Thursdays, so I did, too. He wasn’t challenging to discover, other than while he went to the shore. The casinos. Then, I couldn’t stick to. but if he stayed on the town, he performed playing cards, took her out, had a couple of with the men or went to the membership Tuesday nights. in point of fact, he didn’t spend a lot time with Dolores. They have been like previous marrieds, if you happen to get my that means. form of boring. ” It’s regularly ironic to listen to marriage maligned by way of these desperately attempting to turn into a part of the establishment. every body wishes the happily-ever-after bit yet not anyone desires to be an outdated married. Me, too, even if I haven’t found out how which could paintings. “Dull doesn’t topic, although, if you’re a Grassi,” Emily stated. “She doesn’t need to be attention-grabbing. ” I nonetheless had no concept why the Grassis have been spoken of with reverence. I puzzled if anyone out of the local used to be even conscious of the kinfolk, yet right here their prestige used to be genuine, a given within the equations of lifestyles. “When he dumped Dolores and went with me, humans stated it used to be a shotgun marriage ceremony. ” Her smile used to be authentically amused this time. “That used to be funnier than they knew. It was once, yet now not simply because i used to be pregnant, that's what they intended. ” She was once nonetheless whispering, slightly audible, chatting with herself up to to me. “They’ll see I’m no longer pregnant, correct? that is why I don’t wish them to grasp the reality. i admire being one up on Dolores Grassi for as soon as. I’m unlikely to allow her say he used to be scared of me back. Her brothers—they act like they’re the one ones with delight. They got here to me two times now, announcing I shamed them and their sister. good, how approximately me? ” How approximately her, certainly. Her pathos used to be touching, yet I held again. Emily acknowledged much, and that i nonetheless wasn’t certain if it all was once precise, or if any of it was once the total fact. It used to be attainable she had attempted to promote the Grassis her tale, in truth blackmail them, in trade for retaining their kinfolk honor spotless. “That night,” she acknowledged, “I had no suggestion. It used to be chilly and there have been flurries. no one used to be in the street. I observed Ted Serfi used to be with him and that i idea might be they have been going to have dinner, yet then, it was once so quickly, I didn’t imagine something. Like that, they’re shouting approximately cash. That was once no shock. there has been not anything a lot else to get mad at Jimmy approximately, yet someone may possibly get lots mad concerning the cash he owed.

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