As Tinker’s Cove, Maine, buzzes over a town-wide silver wedding anniversary bash, Lucy is reminded of her nuptials and ponders the whereabouts of Beth Gerard, her strong-willed maid of honor. It only takes one phone call for Lucy to realize that a reunion will happen sooner than later—at Beth’s funeral.
Beth, who was in the process of finalizing her fourth divorce, had a reputation for living on the edge—but no one can believe she would jump off a penthouse terrace in New York City. The more Lucy learns about Beth’s former husbands, the more she suspects one of them committed murder. Summoning her friend’s impulsive spirit, Lucy vows to scour New York in search of the killer—even if it means risking herself as the next victim . . .
“Reading a new Leslie Meier mystery is like catching up with a dear old friend.”
—Kate Carlisle, New York Times bestselling author
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"Honestly, I'm surprised he hasn't killed her," whispered Harry Nuttall, leaning over the deli counter at the IGA in Tinker's Cove, Maine. He was speaking to one of his regular customers, Lucy Stone, who was doing her weekly grocery shopping.
Lucy was a part-time reporter for the Pennysaver, the local weekly newspaper, and had developed the habit of shopping after the paper's Wednesday noon deadline, taking advantage of the free afternoon, which also happened to be a time when the usually crowded supermarket had few customers.
"So is it the usual?" Harry pulled on a fresh pair of plastic gloves. "A pound of ham, sliced thin, and a half of Swiss?" "I guess I'll live dangerously," said Lucy, turning to watch Warren Bickford, Harry's potential murderer, presenting his wife and likely murder victim, Sylvia, with his wrapped cold cuts. Then remembering the task at hand, she turned back to Harry. "Throw in a half pound of turkey breast, too."
"Do you want it sliced like the ham?" asked Harry. Lucy's attention had returned to the Bickfords; Warren's deli purchase had clearly not satisfied Sylvia. She glared at the label on the package through heavily made-up eyes, ran her red-tipped nails through her obviously bleached blond hair, pointed at the label, then roughly thrust the packet back to Warren. "Black Forest, Warren. I told you Black Forest! Honestly, how many times do I have to repeat myself?"
Warren bent his head and seemed to offer an apology, then trotted obediently back to the deli counter.
"Same thickness as the ham?" Harry asked again, the grin on his face revealing his amusement at Lucy's fascination with the Bickfords.
Lucy considered asking him to slice the turkey a bit thicker than the ham, but aware that Warren was under the gun to deliver the correct order, changed her mind. "Same," she said, turning to give Warren a big, warm smile. It seemed the least she could do for the poor, henpecked husband. "Nice day," she said, referring to the lovely, mild, May weather that was such a treat after the bitter cold Maine winter, which this year had been followed by an especially blustery March and extremely muddy April.
"Sure is," replied Warren, unzipping his jacket. Lucy guessed he was in his early fifties, and like most middle-aged men in Tinker's Cove, he was wearing khaki pants and a sports shirt topped with a light sweater. His thinning hair was combed in the standard left-parted barbershop cut and he was developing a bit of a paunch. That growing tummy was probably the result of an occupational hazard; as owner and operator of a limo service he spent a lot of time sitting behind the wheel. "Sorry to bother you, Harry, but I got the wrong ham. I should've asked for Black Forest. I hope it's no problem."
"No problem," said Harry, placing Lucy's three packages on the counter. "It's already wrapped. I'll save it for the next customer who wants Virginia ham."
Warren let out a relieved sigh. "Thanks, Harry." It seemed he was about to say something more, perhaps a reference to his wife, but thought better of it and bit his lip instead, rocking slightly from one sturdy Timberland shoe to the other while waiting for Harry to slice his Black Forest ham.
Lucy put her packages in her cart and pushed it along, heading for the meat counter, which ran along the back wall of the supermarket. She paused at an island displaying English muffins — buy one get two free, a deal that was hard to pass up — and witnessed Warren rejoining his wife and presenting the correct ham, rather like a little girl offering flowers to the queen.
"Warren, you always do this. You don't speak up and people take advantage of you. Just look — this ham is sliced much too thick. Not that I blame Harry. He isn't going to shove that slicer back and forth any more times than he has to, if people don't speak up and ask for thin slices."
Warren stood like a statue, letting his wife's criticisms rain down on him. "Do you want me to take it back, dear?" he asked, with the slightest note of sarcasm in his voice.
Sylvia expelled a large sigh. "No, Warren. We don't have time. We have a big order this week." She flourished her shopping list. "Do you think you could manage a simple task like getting the coffee while I look over the meat? Beef chuck is supposed to be on sale, but I'll be amazed if they have any left this late in the week. They probably sold it all on the weekend. Not that they'll get away with it, not with me. I'll insist on a rain check."
"You do that, dear," said Warren. "Quite right. Now, do you want decaf or regular, and what brand? Or should I go for price?"
"It never ceases to amaze me, Warren. How long have we been married? Twenty-five years next month, and you don't know what brand of coffee we drink?"
"Well, it's usually the one in the red package, but sometimes it seems to me we have the blue kind."
"The red kind? The blue kind? Honestly, Warren, you sound like a child." She rolled her eyes. "Get the Folgers, unless Maxwell House is on sale for half price. And don't fall for that foul French roast stuff. Can you do that for me?"
"Yes, dear." Warren trotted off in the direction of the coffee aisle, and Sylvia, as promised, attacked the meat counter. Lucy, hoping to avoid witnessing any more of Warren's humiliations, slipped off into the cereal aisle. Distracted by a special on canned soups on the end cap, where she was searching for chicken noodle but only finding minestrone and vegetarian vegetable, she wasn't quick enough to miss Warren's presentation of a green can of coffee.
"Green is decaf, Warren; everybody knows that," declared Sylvia, in a voice that could probably be heard on Metinnicut Island, ten miles across the bay.
"But it's Folgers, like you said." He attempted a weak defense. "They could have changed the package, you know."
"No, Warren, they haven't changed it." Sylvia paused to sniff a cello-wrapped piece of chuck, then replaced it. "Now, take this back and get the red Folgers. And do hurry. We've got a lot to do and I'm going to have the butcher cut me a fresh piece of chuck. The nose knows — you can't fool my nose. This meat has probably been sitting out here since Sunday."
"Right, dear," said Warren, obediently hurrying back to the coffee section to complete his assignment. Watching him go, Lucy thought Harry might have a point. Some day, maybe some day soon, Warren was bound to snap.
Diverting as that thought was, Lucy had a long shopping list that demanded great concentration as she frequently consulted the weekly ad for specials, checked prices, and thumbed through her coupon file. From time to time she heard Sylvia's strident voice berating Warren for something or other, but she didn't actually encounter the Bickfords again until she reached the checkout counter.
Warren was busy bagging their order when Dot Kirwan, the cashier, announced the amount due. "A hundred and forty-seven dollars!" exclaimed Sylvia. "We don't want to buy the store, do we, Warren? We just want to eat for a week."
"Should we put this back, dear?" suggested Warren, who was holding a large bottle of expensive olive oil. "We could get a smaller one."
Sylvia shook her head. "The larger one is a better value, Warren. You ought to know that. It's cheaper per ounce. Now pay the bill and stop grumbling."
"Yes, dear," said Warren, pulling his wallet out of his back pocket and handing a credit card to Dot.
"Let me see that!" demanded Sylvia, snatching the card out of Dot's hand. "Just as I thought. It's the wrong card!"
Dot's eyes met Lucy's, and they both struggled to maintain neutral facial expressions while Warren fumbled with his wallet. The two women were of like minds and Lucy had great respect for Dot, who was the widowed matriarch of a large family. Most of her kids and grandkids worked for the town, filling positions in the fire and police departments, which made Dot a valuable source of inside knowledge for Lucy.
"Oh, give me that wallet!" demanded Sylvia, losing patience. He obliged and she flipped it open, pulling out a wad of plastic cards. "My word! What is all this? Exxon, Sears, Shell, Visa, Plenti ... Ah, finally! This is the one that gives us rewards, Warren." She waved the colorful bit of plastic underneath his nose. "Only use this one, from now on, only this one. You don't need the rest. You might as well cut them up and throw them away."
"I'll do that, dear," said Warren, who had continued packing the groceries and was holding the disputed can of Folgers coffee.
"Just slide the card on the keypad," urged Dot, and Sylvia complied, signing with a flourish. Warren carefully placed a plastic bag containing their eggs on the child seat and pushed the cart toward the door, followed by Sylvia, who was checking the register tape as she walked.
"Thank you and have a nice day," said Dot. Unable to stifle her laughter any longer, she burst into a fit of giggles. "I call them the Bickersons," she whispered to Lucy, as the automatic door opened and the Bickfords exited the store.
Lucy felta certain sympathy for Sylvia as Dot finished ringing up her order, which amounted to nearly two hundred dollars despite her coupon clipping. Sylvia was right about one thing, she decided, as she pushed her heavily loaded cart out to the parking lot, and that was the price of groceries. The sun this afternoon was very bright, and she paused in the shady overhang to put on her sunglasses only to find they were missing. They weren't in the usual pocket on the outside of her purse, and they weren't inside, along with her wallet, granola bar, numerous pens, phone, and reporter's notebook, either. Sighing, she gave the cart a shove and stepped into the sunlight, squinting. She'd almost finished loading everything into her trunk when it came to her: she'd pulled the sunglasses off when she got to work earlier that day and set them down on her desk. They were most likely still there, so she'd have to swing by the Pennysaver office to retrieve them.
Lucky for her, there was a vacant parking spot right in front of the weekly newspaper's Main Street office and Lucy swooped right in, then dashed into the office, setting the little bell on the door to jangling. Somewhat to her surprise, she was greeted not only by the receptionist, Phyllis, but also by her editor, Ted, who didn't usually stick around the office after deadline. The two were standing at the reception counter, heads bent over a press release.
"What's up?" asked Lucy. "Breaking news?" Late breaking news was a problem for a weekly, which had to wait an entire week before printing stories that by then had become stale.
"Not hardly," said Ted, chuckling. He was not only the editor, but also the publisher and chief reporter for the paper, which he'd inherited from his grandfather. That celebrated New England journalist's rolltop desk still dominated the old-fashioned newsroom and was Ted's most prized possession.
"You've got to see it to believe it," said Phyllis, laughing so hard that her sizable bosom was jiggling as she handed the press release to Lucy. Phyllis was celebrating spring's late arrival by wearing a pink bouclé sweater that matched her pink reading glasses and her hair, also dyed pink.
Lucy quickly scanned the press release, which announced in bold capitals that Sylvia and Warren Bickford were soon to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in June by renewing their vows, that joyous ceremony to be followed by a reception to which the whole town would be invited. And that was not all, promised the press release, which went on to invite all the ladies of the town to participate in a fashion show of wedding gowns from the past by modeling their own dresses. All those interested should contact Sylvia at her shop, Orange Blossom Bridal.
"This is so funny," said Lucy, when she'd finished reading. "I just saw the Bickfords, who Dot Kirwan calls the Bickersons, at the IGA. She picked on him mercilessly; the poor guy couldn't do anything right. Harry, the deli guy, said he was surprised Warren hasn't murdered Sylvia. A divorce would be more appropriate than renewing their vows. The whole town is going to be laughing at them."
"It's pretty smart, if you ask me," said Ted. "It's great publicity for her bridal boutique, and also for his limo company."
"It could backfire," said Lucy. "Everybody knows it's an unhappy marriage. Nobody'd be surprised if Warren bailed out, or worse."
"Oh, I don't know," said Phyllis, in a thoughtful tone. She was a bit of a romantic, having found her great love, Wilf Lundgren, rather late in life. "There must be something that keeps them together, despite outward appearances. I think it's kind of sweet."
Lucy spotted her sunglasses, exactly where she had left them, and grabbed them, perching them on top of her head in Jackie Kennedy style. "Speaking of sweets, I gotta run before my ice cream melts — see ya tomorrow!"
Lucy thought about marriage as she drove the familiar route through town, down Main Street, and out to Route 1, then turning onto Red Top Road and up the hill to the handyman's special she and Bill had restored and in which they'd raised their four children. Sometimes the glue held, even for couples like the Bickersons, who didn't seem terribly happy, and sometimes that glue dried up and crumbled, like the stuff she'd spent hours scraping off the back of an antique picture frame she'd recently picked up at an estate sale. There had been rough spots in her marriage to Bill — she remembered fights but not exactly what caused them — but she'd never seriously considered divorce. Maybe, she admitted to herself, that was because she was far too practical to attempt to raise four children by herself, especially considering the mostly low-wage jobs available to women like her in coastal Maine. She didn't want to spend her summers juggling a couple of jobs, chambermaiding by day and waitressing by night as many local women did.
That wasn't quite fair to Bill, she thought with a smile, pulling into the driveway. She loved him. She'd been distant at first, when he began chatting her up in college, but through sheer persistence he'd gradually won her over. Now, after the house and the kids and grandson Patrick, he was so much a part of her that she couldn't imagine life without him.
Though, she admitted to herself as she began toting the heavy recyclable bags of groceries into the house, she could use a little help from him right now. What was it her mother used to say, when her father was nowhere to be found? Something about wishing she could put on her hat and walk out the door, though that didn't quite take into account the fact that Dad was just going to work. She knew that Bill, who was a restoration carpenter, was hard at work on a big project, transforming an old, abandoned church into a vacation home for a successful Portland restauranteur and his family.
Still, it was a big job, toting all the groceries that would feed herself and Bill, and their two daughters who hadn't yet flown the nest. The fact that Sara, now a graduate student at nearby Winchester College, was a vegetarian, and Zoe, an undergraduate at the same institution, was avoiding gluten, didn't make things any easier. Her grocery list was now filled with the special foods the girls demanded: quinoa, kale, organic yogurt, free-range eggs, hormone-free milk, on and on it went. She dropped two heavy bags on the kitchen table and went out for more, eventually making three trips to get everything inside. And then there was the unloading, the sorting and the storing.
When she'd finally folded the last bag and tucked it away with the others in her bag of bags, she sat down at the round, golden oak kitchen table and considered making herself a cup of tea. Entirely too much work, she decided, opting instead for a glass of water. She sipped it thoughtfully, thinking of Sylvia's challenge: could she possibly fit into her wedding dress? Setting down her glass, she decided she had to find out.
The dress, shrouded in a garment bag, hung in the back of her closet. She hadn't looked at it in years, had almost forgotten about it. Like most mothers, she had a vague hope that one of her daughters might wear it for her wedding, but so far that hadn't happened. Even Elizabeth, her oldest, who worked for the tony Cavendish Hotel chain and was currently living in Paris, hadn't shown any interest in marriage, much less in wearing her mother's dress. It probably wouldn't suit her, thought Lucy, climbing the steep, back stairway that led from the kitchen to the bedrooms on the second floor. She would surely want something more high fashion.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Silver Anniversary Murder"
Copyright © 2018 Leslie Meier.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I always enjoy Lucy Stone mysteries. Been reading them from the beginning. Each story is intriguing and keeps me interested to the end. This latest is particularly good. I was wondering how she was going to escape rev. Gabe. Can't wait for the next book!
Tinker's Cove, Maine, is preparing for a town-wide silver wedding anniversary festival. Lucy is reminded of her wedding, making her reach out to her old friend and maid of honour, Beth. When she calls, she finds out that Beth is dead. Heading to New York for Beth's funeral, she finds out upon arrival that her death has been ruled a suicide. Neither Lucy or Beth's son believe that it is suicide. After the funeral, Lucy cannot get over it and decides to head back to New York to see what she can find out. With her children grown, she is not worried about leaving her family behind. Once she arrives she begins chasing down four ex-husbands and deciding which one is the most likely to have pushed Beth off her balcony. I have not read all the Lucy Stone mysteries, and the ones I have read, I have read out of order, but one thing that was in all books was the importance of family. I liked that they had their troubles and the marriage was not always perfect, but this book has Lucy's homelife, quite troubled and disappointing. Bill seems rather uncaring and jealous at the same time, and the kids almost don’t exist. The mystery itself was very far-fetched and somewhat hard to believe even for a cozy. There was even a cult in this book involved in trafficking and kidnapping, which was a bit much. There were a lot of unusual things are crammed into one novel and then all of a sudden, it wrapped up and the case was solved. I do enjoy this series, but this one was not one of the best, at least not to me. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The raing, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
I was disappointed in this story. I don’t like unnecessary propaganda. This story contains propaganda that is irrelevant to the story. If I had known I would not have purchased it. There were several pages I skipped because they had become tedious. Skipping those didn’t effect the story.
Very compelling story. Modern take told in a familiar Lucy Stone setting. Love how strong and smart she is now.
Decent story but hated setting and basic plotline. I want more Tinker"s Cove. Getting somewhat stale without a hometown touch. Stephanie Clanahan
Fast moving Lucy Stone mystery
I've always loved Lucy Stone mystery novels. This latest installment did not disappoint. Full of intrigue, friendship and murder. I love how this mystery novel keeps you guessing and you never see the end coming.
Silver Anniversary Murder by Leslie Meier is the twenty-fifth A Lucy Stone Mystery. Lucy Stone lives in Tinker’s Cove, Maine with her husband, Bill along with two of her daughters and their dog, Libby. The town is surprised when Sylvia Bickford announces that she and her husband, Warren will renew their vows for their twenty-fifth anniversary. The nickname for the couple is the “Bickersons”. It has been turned into a town wide events called Silver Anniversary Weekend. Lucy thinks back on her wedding and her maid-of-honor, Beth Gerard. She decides to give her a call and is surprised when Dante, Beth’s son answers the phone. Lucy is shocked when Dante tells her that Beth is dead. Beth plummeted to her death from her penthouse apartment in New York City and the police have ruled it a suicide. Lucy does not believe her adventurous and full of life friend would commit suicide. Lucy rents an Airnb and heads to New York to get answers. She begins her investigation by questioning Beth’s four ex-husbands to see who had a motive. Someone is not happy with Lucy’s questions and takes desperate measures to silence her. Will Lucy make it home to Tinker’s Cove? I have read every single book in A Lucy Stone Mystery series. I discovered the series one day in my local library and quickly devoured the series. I look forward to reading each new Lucy Stone book when they are published. It has been a pleasure to see Lucy and her family change as the years go by. Her children are now grown, but Sarah and Zoe are still living at home while they attend college. Silver Anniversary Murder is easy to read with a steady pacing, but it missed the mark for me. I can understand getting Lucy out of Tinker’s Cove (before it becomes known as murder central), but the author should have made it a girls’ weekend in the city (Lucy and her three close friends). I did enjoy learning more about Lucy’s younger years as she explored New York. Lucy did not seem like herself in Silver Anniversary Murder. Then there was a jealous Bill, the odd situation with the cult, an anxious Lucy, and the Bickersons. The mystery was light, and it was rushed at the end. The whodunit needed more work. The way it was handled at the end made it seem like the author had reached the maximum number of pages for the book and she had to wrap it quickly. I did not understand the addition of the cult to the story (nor what happened with Lucy (I am trying not to give away any of the plot). I liked that Lucy was watching one of my favorite shows Call the Midwife (I wish there were more shows like this one). My rating for Silver Anniversary Murder is 3 out of 5 stars. Silver Anniversary Murder is a book for fans of the series only. I suggest newcomers begin with Mistletoe Murder. While I was not enamored with Silver Anniversary Murder, it will not stop me from picking up the next A Lucy Stone Mystery.
There are two mysteries in the Silver Anniversary Murder. The first is the death of Lucy’s old friend Beth. Beth’s jump from her penthouse’s balcony is ruled a suicide. But Lucy, a reporter in small town Maine, doesn’t believe it. After all, Beth has three ex-husbands and one almost ex who all had motive to kill her. The second is why Warren and Sylvia Bickford are having a town-wide celebration of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Sylvia is constantly putting Warren down in public. Could it just be a publicity stunt for her wedding shop and his limo service? The Silver Anniversary Murder is the 25th book in the Lucy Stone series. I disliked the last entry, the Turkey Trot Murder, intensely. My 1 star review is here. I’m glad to report this entry has returned to form. It is recommended to cozy readers who want a nice simple evening’s entertainment. 3 stars! Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
In Leslie Meier's 25th Lucy Stone Mystery, appropriated titled Silver Anniversary Murder, Tinker's Cove, Maine is preparing for a festive Silver Anniversary Weekend, celebrating couples who've been married for at least 25 years, which causes Lucy to become nostalgic about her own wedding. She tries to contact her oldest friend (and maid of honor) Beth Gerard, but is devastated to learn that Beth has apparently killed herself by jumping to her death from the balcony of her New York City penthouse apartment. Despite all the evidence, Lucy is convinced that Beth's death was actually a murder, and sets off to look into the matter. In typical Lucy Stone fashion, trouble quickly finds her in the big city, and it doesn't take long for her to realize that investigating Beth's untimely demise could be more than she can handle. Excellent storytelling, as usual, by Leslie Meier, and I guessed neither the murderer nor the reason until they were revealed - lots of little red herrings! 5 stars!
So good!!! I love all of the Lucy Stone books, but this one was one of the best! I enjoyed Lucy being out of Tinkers Cove and traveling to New York. There was a lot of details about New York that I enjoyed reading about. The ending had me biting my nails. Very well written!
Tinker's Cove is getting ready to have a multi-faceted silver wedding anniversary celebration. With all that is going on Lucy starts to think of her own wedding which leads to thoughts of her best friend and maid of honor at the time. Lucy decides to call Beth and looks forward to catching up on old times and seeing what she has been up to for all these years. When Beth's son answers the phone and let's Lucy know that his mother commuted suicide she just can't believe it. The Beth she knew was a lovely person who loved life to the fullest. Beth was in the process of divorcing her fourth husband, did that drive her over the edge. After attending the funeral a d heading back home thoughts of Beth linger in Lucy's mind. She can't believe that her friend would kill herself, she never seemed like a person who would go that route. Lucy ends up deciding to return to New York and look into her friends death. Along the way she finds several clues that lead her to believe that someone else was responsible for Beth dying but can she convince the police? Follow Lucy as she digs into her friends life tugging on lines in hopes of finding the answers she is so desperately searching.for. Will she find a killer and convince the police it wasn't a suicide or will she end endangering herself in the end? I've read this series from the beginning and have watched Lucy and her family grow. The author has done a wonderful job of evolving the characters from book to book. If your looking for a series that has stood the test of time then look no further.
I love all of her books. In fact ive read them 2xs but this was the worst book I ever read of hers. It was stupid, and very creepy. I usually like her books which are light quick reads. Horrible.... waste of money. What happened to her.
Normally a fan of Leslie Meier, but the thinly veiled political jabs and support for PP were too much. Story was okay but not great. The political innuendo will make me reconsider future reading of Meier’s work. These are supposed to be easy, fun reads. If I wanted the other stuff that’s what I would read. So next time just find some bodies and leave the other stuff to the current events section!
This author is a great storyteller. My only objection is the super-proabortion view. Is that really necessary in a great mystery!