A Crabby Killer

A Crabby Killer by Leighann Dobbs Page A

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Authors: Leighann Dobbs
made it to the meeting on time, except Blunt never showed for the inspection. The inspector waited a good half-hour for him, too.”
    “I suppose you were at home in bed asleep earlier that morning,” Claire said.
    Mae scowled at her. “Of course. Where else would I be? But I wasn’t asleep. I was scouring the kitchen for the inspector. And it must have worked, because I passed with flying colors.”
    “So you can still make your jams.” Claire’s thoughts of Mae’s jams turned to thoughts of the brown twine that had been wrapped around Blunt’s neck. “Why didn’t you say something about the inspection or that you knew who the victim was and even had an appointment with him that morning when we found Blunt at the Crab Festival?”
    A crimson stain crept across Mae’s cheeks. She looked down at her white tennis shoes. “I was embarrassed. I mean, I’m practically famous for my jams. I did win the Crabby last year, so how would it look if the cleanliness of my kitchen was brought into question?”
    Dom’s bushy brows mashed together. “The Crabby ?”
    Mae’s blush deepened. “Yes, it’s quite prestigious. Each year, it's awarded to one islander for excellence in their field. We’ve been doing it for about five years and I won last year.”
    Claire thought about her kitchen cupboard stuffed full of excess jars of Mae’s jam. The truth was, her jams were quite tasty but she gave them out so frequently that most of the islanders had so many extra jars they’d be bequeathing them to relatives in their wills for generations to come. Claire remembered how proud Mae had been to win the odd trophy, which was a giant two-and-a-half foot tall monstrosity made out of silver-colored metal in the shape of a crab holding a silhouette of Mooseamuck Island.
    “I can see you are quite proud of the award and your jams.” Dom studied Mae as if he was trying to decide whether she was proud enough to kill someone over it.
    Claire thought about Mae’s new design with the brown twine. She couldn’t really blame Dom for looking at her that way, but she also couldn’t picture the senior citizen getting out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, sneaking down to the pier and strangling Blunt.
    Claire looked out over Mae’s farm. The strawberries were planted in neat rows in front of almost an acre of blueberry and raspberry bushes. Pear trees dotted the sides of the field and even the backyard of the farm, where white linen sheets flapped in the breeze on a clothesline strung between two massive oak trees. A pair of goldfinches twittered around a bird feeder filled with thistle.
    Beyond the rows of strawberries, a cloud of dust rose in the air along the road that led to Tom’s farm.
    “Anyway, surely Zambuco can’t be serious about thinking I killed Blunt,” Mae said. “He was a nasty piece of work, and I’m sure there are other people that wanted him dead more than I did.”
    The cloud of dust drew closer. Claire squinted into the distance just as a golf cart emerged from the dust. It was Norma, driving exceedingly fast, even for her. She started honking the cart’s high-pitched horn and waving her cane in the air.
    The commotion caught Dom and Mae’s attention and they all stared as the cart careened into Mae’s driveway, screeching to a stop in front of them. Norma’s face was tight with anxiety and she swished her cane in the air like a sword.
    “Hurry up and get in! Zambuco’s at Tom’s and I think he’s fixing to arrest him!”

14
    C laire’s tailbone slammed against the thinly cushioned rear seat of the golf cart as it sped toward Tom Landry’s farm. Her mouth was dry from the dust that whipped up around the tires and swirled into her face. For once, she wished that Dom was driving, but Norma had insisted and somehow Dom had commandeered the front seat, leaving her and Mae riding backwards in the rear.
    In Tom’s field, she could see Zambuco, Robby and Tom standing near a log post fence. Norma

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