A Gift for Murder
Deleted Scene

Five Star/Gale Group/Cengage
ISBN: 978-1-59414-931-3
Price: $25.95
Length: Novel
Read Excerpt

This short scene isn't particularly important to the plot (which is why it was deleted), but I thought it had some wonderful resonances for the entire story as well as trade shows in general, marketing, sales and PR.

If you haven't read the book, this scene probably isn't going to mean much to you.


I made a mental note to check on Blue Hills tomorrow during that event Crane had mentioned. I wouldn’t put it past her to turn on the machine again despite my warnings.

Savotsky was next on the to-do list, but I had to calm down before I got to her, so I walked a couple of aisles, just glancing at the merchandise. I got hooked by a booth showing large, lavishly framed, reproduction art, and stopped to study the pictures. A couple of lovely, peaceful landscapes caught my eye, especially one that showed a river meandering through a quiet forest. It reminded me of my favorite daydream and I let myself sink into it for a moment.

Then I checked out the other pictures. I recognized a few of them as famous pieces of art, though I didn’t know the titles or artists of most. The bright, vivid colors of a series of still-lifes caught my eye.

Large, shiny vases brimmed with roses, daisies and other flowers I couldn’t name. I leaned forward for a better view of one, trying to figure out how the artist managed to make a gold vase look so shiny when he hadn’t used any actual gold paint. It looked like the gold actually came from numerous shades of yellow, brown and white, the impression of shininess produced by the way the lighter sections suggested light reflecting off it. I’d never realized how clever an artist had to be to figure that out.

I moved on to the next one, which featured a silver vase. Shades of gray and white and black made up the vase, but there were hints of other colors. Especially in the reflections. And that was another way the artist fooled you into thinking the thing was shiny. This was way cool.

The next picture had a shiny gold bowl, with bunches of big flowers spilling out of it and fruit on the table beneath. The bowl had reflections, too, but… I looked even closer. One of the reflections showed a bug crawling over a side of the fruit turned away from the viewer. Odd. Other weird things began to register. Some of the fruit looked a bit over-ripe. Most of the flowers had started to lose their petals and others sagged as though dying. A spider spun a web between an apple that had subtle wrinkles and a pear with a brown streak up the skin.

The artist was playing some kind of game with the people who looked at the picture. When you glanced at it, you saw just a pretty bunch of flowers and fruit in an attractive bowl. You had to study it more closely to see the subtle signs of decay and death.

This was neat. I started checking other pictures to see what other subtle messages I could find in them, but I didn’t get far before my cell phone buzzed again.