3 Winter chickens against a cadre of thugs? Yeah, the bad guys are definitely in trouble!
When a dead guy turns up in the freezer of Flo and Agnes’s favorite Italian restaurant, the ladies quickly discover the corpse had connections to one of their friends. Celia Angonetti’s husband owns Gioppino’s Italian Restaurant, as well as the gun lying next the frozen body with bullet holes in his chest. What he doesn’t own, according to Celia, is responsibility for the kill. Against their better judgement, the ladies get pulled into the mystery of how the dead guy got dead in the freezer…why he’d been killed with Massimo Angonetti’s gun…and how Celia came to the unlikely conclusion that her thug of a hubby was innocent of the crime. Some might think it was an impossible task.
Some probably haven’t met Flo and Agnes.
Flo rounded a long, stainless steel counter and found Celia and Agnes staring down at something on the floor. Expecting to see a man’s body, she blinked in surprise at the long sheets of brown paper with blood seeping out from underneath. “Is that butcher paper?” she asked softly.
Celia looked up, her mouth puckered worriedly. “It was all I could think of to cover him with.” She shrugged, her frown deepening.
Flo stopped beside Agnes and stared down at the paper, willing it to rise and fall in breaths that wouldn’t come judging by the amount of blood on the floor. “Do you know who he is?”
Celia didn’t respond. Flo glanced quickly up. “Celia?”
“Yes.” She sighed. “His name’s Bernie. He sold Mass a car last week.”
Agnes wandered away from the corpse and stepped into the freezer, eyeing the series of holes in the door. “Why would Mass kill a car salesman?”
Celia snorted. “Why wouldn’t he?” She shook her head. “Besides, he didn’t kill this man, Agnes. Mass wouldn’t kill anybody.”
Flo’s eyebrows climbed north but she didn’t say anything. From what she’d heard about Massimo Angonetti’s temperament and business dealings, he had no trouble at all killing things.
Agnes shrugged, stepping more deeply into the freezer.
Watching her friend’s movements, Flo felt the need to give a warning. “Don’t touch anything Agnes, the police will be fingerprinting everything.”
Agnes’s head popped around the door. “Even the gelato?”
Flo shook her head. “How did he die?”
Celia twitched a hand toward the butcher paper. “You should uncover him and look.”
Flo’s mouth came open. “Whatever for?”
“To look for clues of course.”
Flo shook her head. “I’d have no idea what to look for.”
Flo immediately felt bad. “Okay. Don’t cry. I’ll see what I can…um…see.” Flo carefully lifted the paper and peeked underneath. The man’s face was a strange blue color and his eyes were wide. They were cloudy from death and Flo shuddered. His mouth was open wide as if he’d been shouting something when he died.
“There’s no foam around his mouth.”
Agnes’s heavy footsteps came from inside the freezer. “You and your foaming mouth.”
Flo didn’t look up. “No petechial hemorrhaging.”
“Petechial what?” Celia asked.
Warming to her examination, Flo peeled the paper back more. It stuck to his chest and she grimaced as she realized it was glued to his shirt by drying blood. “Broken blood vessels in the eyes from strangulation.”
“Ah,” Celia said. “See, Flo, I knew you were the right person to call. You know all about this stuff.”
Agnes snorted out a laugh. “She knows those two things and that’s all.”
Flo glanced angrily at her friend. “Says the person not helping…” Her voice trailed off in horror. “Please tell me you’re not eating gelato at the crime scene?”
Agnes looked down at the small carton of lemon gelato. Then she shrugged, sticking the flat, wooden spoon back into the frozen dessert. “Flo, I’m not eating gelato at the crime scene.”
Celia looked horrified. “How can you possibly eat with a dead body right in front of you?”
Agnes shrugged again. “I have a very strong constitution.”
“Yeah,” Flo stood, “that’s one way to refer to it.” She looked at Celia. “Do you have the weapon he…erm…the killer used?”
“No,” she said much too quickly.
Flo crossed her arms. “Celia.”
Celia flushed guiltily, then folded like yesterday’s laundry underneath Flo’s substitute school teacher glare. “Okay.” She marched over to a big, stainless steel pot on the stove and pulled off the lid, reaching inside.
“Wait!” Agnes screamed, starting forward as Celia jumped and her arm hit the side of the pot, sending it clanging to the floor. A big, black gun flew out of the pot and skidded toward the body, landing right next to Bernie as if the killer had dropped it there.
Flo’s heart was pounding in her chest. “Good Lord in Heaven, Agnes. What are you screaming about?”
Agnes strode over to the gun and inserted the wooden spoon under the trigger, pulling it off the floor with a grin. “No fingerprints. Pretty smart, huh?” A glob of gelato fell off the spoon and landed on the body.
“Very smart, fool. If only you hadn’t thrown your stolen gelato at poor Bernie in the process.”
Celia and Agnes looked where Flo was looking and Agnes frowned.
The shiny glob of frozen sweetness was perched on Bernie’s bloody shirt, in the vicinity of the three tightly packed bullet holes.
“Oh my,” Celia said. “Should we try to clean it out?”
Agnes took a giant step backward, which put her back inside the walk-in freezer. “I’m not touching him.”
Glaring at her friend, Flo nodded curtly. “The last time you touched a corpse he ended up with a broken wrist and a lampshade on his head.”
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/freezer-bernie-sam-cheever/1124741944?ean=2940156900169