Murder for a Rainy Day


Animal rustling is alive and well in the sleepy little town of Pecan Bayou, Texas–but with a particularly peculiar spin. Only the fake livestock seem to be at risk. First, cowboy legend Charlie Loper’s  larger-than-life fiberglass horse disappears from the town square, but before the police can get any solid leads, the cow in front of the local steakhouse gets pinched.

Betsy Livingston Fitzpatrick, a local helpful hints columnist for the Pecan Bayou Gazette, is trying to keep her mind off of being nine months pregnant in the blistering Texas summer heat. Troubled by haunting dreams, she pursues the odd animal thefts in a case that soon turns into murder. As Betsy closes in on the killer, a hurricane is headed straight for the Gulf Coast sending spin-off storms and tornadoes to the little town of Pecan Bayou. “Hunker down” with Betsy and the lovable characters of Pecan Bayou in the latest Betsy Livingston mystery from cozy author Teresa Trent. Recipes and helpful hints included.



“Well it’s official,” my father said. “We now have the most lame-ass town entrance in the whole state of Texas.”
Scowling, he dropped the freshly severed hand of cowboy star Charlie Loper to the ground. It landed with a thud.Scowling, he dropped the freshly severed hand of cowboy star Charlie Loper to the ground. It landed with a thud.
“Offensive my ass. That was Charlie Loper’s signature pose. The man is nothing without his six shooter. Now he looks like the butterfly whisperer.”
I have to admit my father was right. Although Charlie Loper had been dead for more than fifty years, he was immortalized in bronze thirty years ago and has been ushering visitors into Pecan Bayou ever since. Pecan Bayou, Texas held bragging rights to only two things: growing the biggest and best pecans in the state of Texas, and being the boyhood home of matinee idol Charlie Loper. His daughter, Libby Loper, still lived in Pecan Bayou and kept Charlie


s memory alive through the Charlie Loper Deadeye Museum and a newly-opened dude ranch.
And now, bronze Charlie Loper had been neutralized. The hand holding his six shooter was gone, a new one being welded into place. The cowboy’s new pose did indeed look as if he as if he would never dream of using a gun.
My dad’s clenched fist rested on the revolver tucked comfortably on his hip—standard issue for the Pecan Bayou Police Department. I wondered if he was aware of the grip he held on his own gun while he watched Charlie Loper’s being sliced away.
Even if the non-violent Charlie were alive and standing here today, there would be no butterflies fluttering about. Mosquitoes were the only insects that could tolerate temperatures in the high 90s, with humidity that registered somewhere between a sauna and the steam from a pot of boiling water.
Today was a big day for my father, so it was important for me to be here, but this environment was brutal for a woman who’s nine months pregnant. I had just come from my weekly appointment with Dr. Randall, my obstetrician, who said she’d be surprised if this baby stays put longer than two weeks.
Sweat trickled down from my hairline and I felt like I was wrapped in a blanket. Normally, my caring and attentive father would have been fussing over me, but the disarming of Charlie Loper – the hero of my father’s youth – had him completely unsettled. I just hoped I wouldn’t pass out before this whole thing was over. As a welder attached two thin metal strips to Charlie’s shiny new outstretched hand, a pickup truck approached, pulling the likeness of Charlie Loper’s famous horse, Ol’ Bess. She’d just made the two-mile journey from the Charlie Loper Deadeye Museum to join Charlie at the corner of Main and Pecan.
For the most part, Pecan Bayou is a quiet little town with just a few restaurants, a movie theater, churches, schools, a library, and a public pool. The streets are filled with families who have lived here all their lives. We’re a small spot on the map, but not really that different from any other city or town with gossip, marriages and divorces, new babies and sad goodbyes. My father, Judd Kelsey, was a lieutenant on the Pecan Bayou Police Force, and although a heavy day of crime might involve a lost dog and a dispute over the bingo money over at the church, he still had strong opinions on the right to bear arms.
Now, a more peaceful Charlie Loper would greet all who entered our quaint little town. As I watched two strapping guys unload Ol’ Bess, I was certain my father was right. The cowboy statue and his newly added horse were a strange couple. While Charlie was made of bronze, wearing a classic weathered patina, the horse looked like it was plucked directly from Ronald McDonald’s play yard. Leave it to Pecan Bayou to take its best cash cow and screw it up. Now this mismatched pair would stand at the main roadway into town, greeting our visitors and giving them a glimpse of how looney we all are.
I reached into my purse for the Gatorade that I had been carrying around. I swallowed, but choked as the green liquid hit the back of my throat. The drink had been cool just a few minutes before, but now it felt warm and sour. As I gasped for breath, my father finally turned around and looked at me.
“Oh darlin’. Do you really think you ought to be standing out here in the heat?”
“I’m fine,” I lied.
During my first pregnancy, I had been an attractive pregnant woman. Well, as attractive as one can be with an extra thirty-five pounds. But the extra weight had been in the front, where it should be. This time around, I put on weight in the front, the back, on the top and on the bottom. And the pounds kept piling on. I was only a few weeks from delivery, and at this point, I was counting down the hours.
To make matters worse, my husband Leo, a meteorologist, was kicking into high gear as hurricane season got into full swing. This summer had been abnormally hot, and the waters in the Gulf were starting to heat up.
The recipe for a hurricane is simple. Take a storm off the coast of Africa and let it drift across to the United States. Trap the storm the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and let it churn. The more it churns, the bigger it gets.
For as long as I can remember, Pecan Bayou and other towns north of Houston have played happy hosts to evacuees wielding credit cards, looking for places to escape the wind and rain. The only problem though, was that often these hurricanes made landfall and triggered other storm events like tornadoes.
I occasionally wondered if people up north scratch their heads and ask themselves why anyone would live in a hurricane zone. All I can say is sometimes you’re born in a place and that is where you stay. It takes more than swirling clouds and record-breaking heat to run us out.
Even if we do have the most lame-ass entrance of any town in Texas.
Welcome to Pecan Bayou.

Reviews:~Back Porchervations wrote:

Murder for a Rainy Day has all the things I enjoyed about Burnout, plus a baby! The townspeople are warm and genuine. I felt like I had a stake in the goings on about Pecan Bayou and care about its residents, including the newest little’un.

~Readalot wrote:

Murder for a Rainy Day had some things that I knew were coming and other twists I did not see. It had some funny stuff, some recaps with dreams, some silly crimes and some murder.

~Kaisy Daisy’s Corner wrote:

Once you start reading this book you will not be able to put it down. You will fall in love with this series as I did.

~Mysteries Etc wrote:

…Lots happening in this fun fast read….

~ Melina’s Book Blog wrote:

This was an entertaining read, as are all of Teresa’s Pecan Bayou Series books. Teresa is an excellent writer who blends humor with a great mystery.

~Shelley’s Book Case wrote:

The story line is great with a plot twist that you didn’t see coming and the characters re strong and vibrant! This whodunit will have you reading through the night.

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