The Grub-and-Stakers Pinch a Poke - Charlotte MacLeod - ebook
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An amateur play turns serious when a prop gun is swapped for a real one. When Jenson Thorbisher-Freep announces an amateur theatrical contest, the women in the Grub-and-Stake gardening club race to join in. They enlist Osbert Monk as their playwright - not only is he married to their club leader Dittany Monk, but he's famous the world over as Lex Laramie, bestselling novelist of Westerns. Taking the legend of Dangerous Dan McGrew as his inspiration, Osbert delivers a rough draft faster than the Pony Express. Now all the Grub-and-Stakers have to do is cast it. To play McGrew, Dittany picks town cad Andrew McNaster, who has recently improved his manners in an attempt to woo Osbert's aunt, Arethusa. The gunslinger's performance gets a bit too real on opening night, though, when his prop bullets are replaced with real ones, and claim the toe of a fellow thespian. Is McNaster as nice as he pretends to be? Or has he taken his part too close to heart, and decided to become very dangerous indeed? Review Quote. "The screwball mystery is Charlotte MacLeod's cup of tea." - Chicago Tribune. "Charlotte MacLeod does what she does better than anybody else does it; and what she does is in the top rank of modern mystery fiction." - Elizabeth Peters, creator of the Amelia Peabody. series "The epitome of the 'cozy' mystery." - Mostly Murder. Biographical note. Charlotte MacLeod (1922-2005) was an internationally bestselling author of cozy mysteries. Born in Canada, she moved to Boston as a child, and lived in New England most of her life. After graduating from college, she made a career in advertising, writing copy for the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company before moving on to Boston firm N. H. Miller & Co., where she rose to the rank of vice president. In her spare time, MacLeod wrote short stories, and in 1964 published her first novel, a children's book called "Mystery of the White Knight." In "Rest You Merry" (1978), MacLeod introduced Professor Peter Shandy, a horticulturist and amateur sleuth whose adventures she would chronicle for two decades. "The Family Vault" (1979) marked the first appearance of her other best-known characters: the husband and wife sleuthing team Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn, whom she followed until her last novel, "The Balloon Man," in 1998.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

The Shooting of Dan McGrew

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Looking for more suspense?

Cover

Begin Reading

About the Book

An amateur play turns serious when a prop gun is swapped for a real one.

When Jenson Thorbisher-Freep announces an amateur theatrical contest, the women in the Grub-and-Stake gardening club race to join in. They enlist Osbert Monk as their playwright - not only is he married to their club leader Dittany Monk, but he’s famous the world over as Lex Laramie, bestselling novelist of Westerns. Taking the legend of Dangerous Dan McGrew as his inspiration, Osbert delivers a rough draft faster than the Pony Express. Now all the Grub-and-Stakers have to do is cast it.

To play McGrew, Dittany picks town cad Andrew McNaster, who has recently improved his manners in an attempt to woo Osbert’s aunt, Arethusa. The gunslinger’s performance gets a bit too real on opening night, though, when his prop bullets are replaced with real ones, and claim the toe of a fellow thespian. Is McNaster as nice as he pretends to be? Or has he taken his part too close to heart, and decided to become very dangerous indeed?

Review Quote.

“The screwball mystery is Charlotte MacLeod’s cup of tea.” - Chicago Tribune  

“Charlotte MacLeod does what she does better than anybody else does it; and what she does is in the top rank of modern mystery fiction.” - Elizabeth Peters, creator of the Amelia Peabody series

“The epitome of the ‘cozy’ mystery.” - Mostly Murder

About the Author

Charlotte MacLeod (1922–2005) was an internationally bestselling author of cozy mysteries. Born in Canada, she moved to Boston as a child, and lived in New England most of her life. After graduating from college, she made a career in advertising, writing copy for the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company before moving on to Boston firm N. H. Miller & Co., where she rose to the rank of vice president. In her spare time, MacLeod wrote short stories, and in 1964 published her first novel, a children’s book called “Mystery of the White Knight.”

In “Rest You Merry” (1978), MacLeod introduced Professor Peter Shandy, a horticulturist and amateur sleuth whose adventures she would chronicle for two decades. “The Family Vault” (1979) marked the first appearance of her other best-known characters: the husband and wife sleuthing team Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn, whom she followed until her last novel, “The Balloon Man,” in 1998.

The Grub-And-Stakers Pinch A Poke

Charlotte MacLeod

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2012 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1988 by Charlotte MacLeod

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Mauricio Díaz

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-391-6

 

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

For the incomparable trio:

Barbara Mertz, Elizabeth Peters, and the Sitt Hakim

THE SHOOTING OF DAN McGREW

A BUNCH OF THE boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;

The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;

Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,

And watching his luck was his light-o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.

When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,

There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.

He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,

Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.

There was none could place the stranger’s face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;

But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.

There’s men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell;

And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell;

With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done,

As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one.

Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he’d do,

And I turned my head—and there watching him was the lady that’s known as Lou.

His eyes went rubbering round the room, and he seemed in a kind of daze.

Till at last that old piano fell in the way of his wandering gaze.

The rag-time kid was having a drink; there was no one else on the stool,

So the stranger stumbles across the room, and flops down there like a fool.

In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;

Then he clutched the keys with his talon hands—my God! but that man could play.

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,

And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear,

With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,

A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;

While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars?—

Then you’ve a hunch what the music meant … hunger and night and the stars.

And hunger not of the belly kind, that’s banished with bacon and beans,

But the gnawing hunger of lonely men for a home and all that it means;

For a fireside far from the cares that are, four walls and a roof above;

But oh! so cramful of cosy joy, and crowned with a woman’s love—

A woman dearer than all the world, and true as Heaven is true—

(God! how ghastly she looks through her rouge,—the lady that’s known as Lou.)

Then on a sudden the music changed, so soft that you scarce could hear;

But you felt that your life had been looted clean of all that it once held dear;

That someone had stolen the woman you loved; that her love was a devil’s lie;

That your guts were gone, and the best for you was to crawl away and die.

’Twas the crowning cry of a heart’s despair, and it thrilled you through and through—

“I guess I’ll make it a spread misere,” said Dangerous Dan McGrew.

The music almost died away … then it burst like a pent-up flood;

And it seemed to say, “Repay, repay,” and my eyes were blind with blood.

The thought came back of an ancient wrong, and it stung like a frozen lash,

And the lust awoke to kill, to kill … then the music stopped with a crash,

And the stranger turned, and his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way;

In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;

Then his lips went in in a kind of grin, and he spoke, and his voice was calm,

And “Boys” says he, “you don’t know me, and none of you care a damn;

But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I’ll bet my poke they’re true,

That one of you is a hound of hell … and that one is Dan McGrew.”

Then I ducked my head, and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark,

And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark.

Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead, was Dangerous Dan McGrew,

While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that’s known as Lou.

These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know.

They say that the stranger was crazed with “hooch,” and I’m not denying it’s so.

I’m not so wise as the lawyer guys, but strictly between us two—

The woman that kissed him and—pinched his poke—was the lady that’s known as Lou.

Robert W. Service

Chapter 1

“WHAT THE HECK DO we need Sarah Bernhardt’s Sunday bustle for?” demanded Zilla Trott.

“There’s nothing here about Sarah Bernhardt’s bustle,” said Dittany Henbit Monk. As secretary to the trustees of the Aralia Polyphema Architrave Museum and also to the Grub-and-Stake Gardening and Roving Club into whose collective hands had fallen the task of managing the museum, Dittany had dealt with a wide range of correspondence. This letter opened up a new vista. “It just says theatrical memorabilia.”

“Huh! Signed photographs of Ivor Novello and a lock of Rudy Vallee’s hair, I’ll bet.” Hazel Munson was on a diet, therefore inclined to take the darker view.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake have a cookie and quit grumping,” said Minerva Oakes. “Rudy Vallee had gorgeous hair. Come on, Dittany. Let’s hear the rest of the letter before we get down to the wrangling.”

“Well, as I said, it’s from Desdemona Portley on behalf of the Traveling Thespians. You know how hard she’s worked to keep the troupe together, but things haven’t been the same with them since Mum married Bert and went into the fashion eyewear business.”

“I’ll bet the fashion eyewear business hasn’t been the same, either,” said Dot Coskoff, who’d once played the former Mrs. Henbit’s bosom friend in a souped-up production of Anne of Green Gables. “Skip Dessie’s maunderings, she always did go on and on. What’s the gist?”

“The gist is that Jenson Thorbisher-Freep and his daughter Wilhedra are trying to get up a drama festival over at Scottsbeck. They want to restore the old opera house and make it a center of cultural vibration for the citizens of Scottsbeck and surrounding communities of which, as Dessie points out in some detail, Lobelia Falls is one.”

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!