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When Jennet Greenway witnesses the murder of an animal activist and meets charismatic Caroline Meilland, she finds herself involved in the controversies and dangers that surround Carolineâ€™s animal rights organization.
Then the killer strikes again, leaving a bloodstained toy fox next to the body, and Jennetâ€™s desire to help animals turns deadly.
Fur Is Dead.
The letters were bleeding, drops of bright red blood dripping down the white canvas like tears. I came to a standstill at the edge of the crowd that had gathered to watch the disturbance in front of Warringtonâ€™s Department Store, my eyes transfixed on the words.
The small silver-haired woman who marched at the head of a line of orderly demonstrators held her picket high, as if it were a standard. In her blue cardigan, that looked too heavy for the warm October day, she was a dignified, neatly dressed matron who had taken to the street on behalf of the animals.
Fifteen people had turned out to march in front of the storeâ€™s display window, newly decorated to promote Warringtonâ€™s first trunk show. The event was part of a special "Shop Lakeville" week, designed to lure customers with selections of designer dresses, pricey jewelry, and furs brought in from New York.
Three reed-thin mannequins, wrapped snugly in fur coats, stood on the leaf-strewn floor of the window. Frozen in graceful poses and clutching beaded evening bags in their lifeless hands, they advertised elegance and promised dreams.
But at what cost? Blood--or the best prices of the season, depending on oneâ€™s point of view.
The demonstration was cleverly timed to coincide with the first day of the trunk show, and the unseasonable seventy degrees might have been specially ordered to suggest that fur was much too warm for comfort.
"But notice that leaves are falling from the maple trees that line Grove Street," the mannequins seemed to say. "Winter is coming. Youâ€™ll need a fur coat then."
I looked in the display window again. Long mink coats with full shawl collars, a matching hat, a fox headband--they were hideous. The mere thought of wearing the coat of a slaughtered animal made my arms feel itchy under my cotton sleeves.
Fur Is Dead. I didnâ€™t need to be convinced.
The picketers were a restrained and courteous group. No one attempted to stop a customer from walking through Warringtonâ€™s doors. They allowed their painted slogans to speak for themselves: Real People Wear Fake Fur, Protect the Fox (a sentiment unlikely to garner sympathy in the heart of Michiganâ€™s fox hunting country), and over and over again the acronym M.A.R.A. in bold black letters.
"M.A.R.A.?" I didnâ€™t realize Iâ€™d spoken the word aloud.
"It stands for Militant Animal Rights Activists. Those animal rights people again. Theyâ€™re everywhere."
The voice was loud, almost petulant. The speaker, a willowy blonde woman next to me, glanced at her watch. Over her pink turtleneck she wore a brown vest trimmed with fur. "I donâ€™t have time for this. Someone ought to call the police."
"They seem peaceful enough, and theyâ€™re not stopping people from entering," I said. "Just walk on in."
She didnâ€™t challenge my statement, but she didnâ€™t move either. No one was moving, except for the demonstrators.
I was going to Warringtonâ€™s myself. Maybe. Until five minutes ago, that had been my intent.
I had a strong affinity for the Animal Rights Movement. The sight of a fur coat made me wish I had a can of spray paint in my purse. But Saturday was the only day of the week I had time to browse in the stores. Today I planned to take advantage of Warringtonâ€™s trunk show to shop for a dress, something bright, classy, and unique. I wouldnâ€™t go near the fur coats.
The blonde said, "The activists must be following the trunk shows. Last month I saw them at Madelineâ€™s down in Rochester. I like animals as well as the next person, but these groups go too far. Theyâ€™re fanatic."
This sweeping indictment was met with murmurs of agreement and assorted grumblings. A portly man, who wore his Detroit baseball teamâ€™s Tigers cap, with the old English D, pulled down low on his forehead, shouted, "M.A.R.A., go home!"
"We are home."
Dorothy Bodoin lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, with her black collie, Holly, who appears in the Foxglove Corners cozy mysteries as Halley. After attending Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where she earned Bachelorâ€™s and Masterâ€™s degrees in English, she taught secondary English for several years. Now she is a full-time writer of cozy mysteries and novels of romantic suspense. At present she is working on a novel of romantic suspense.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 266
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