The past is like a tiger you’ve put in a cage. You might think you’ve tamed him,
but one day as you pass by, he’ll reach through the bars and claw you bloody.
I’d spent the morning hoeing the weeds away from among my tiny, tender carrot and
pea plants, and after taking a moment to admire the neat, pale green rows, I started
for my kitchen and a glass of cold water. It was May. The sky was so blue it hurt
my eyes, and the air smelled of growing things. When I came inside, blinking in the
relative darkness, I almost tripped over Eddie, who sat with heels propped up on
the table and my iPad in his lap. Frowning at a screen so smudged it was a wonder
he could read anything at all, he asked, “Loser, who’s Jacob?”
A familiar face rose in my mind, friendly in repose, determined on the job. “Used
to be my partner.”
“You got an email from him.” His tone turned chiding. “It’s two days old.”
When I took on the role of Eddie’s guardian, he’d become my conscience.
“Here.” Eddie leaned back in the kitchen chair, tipping it onto two legs in order
to hand me the iPad. I didn’t bother to ask if it might be safer to get up and walk
two steps. “Better see what he wants.”
With a sigh, I took the iPad and touched the circled 1 that signaled an unread email.
I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, but I thought you’d want to know.
A couple of our guys caught a missing person case last week, a prostitute named Carole
Ann Minier. When they searched her apartment, they found a florist’s card in the
drawer of her nightstand that said, “I’m sorry. You’re the only woman I really love.
D.” They ran the card. The prints on it came back as belonging to Darrin Lousiere.
The other weird thing, which might not connect at all, is that a street person named
Aisha Star was also reported missing last week. Apparently she’s been telling the
world that you and she are best friends. It might mean nothing, but the two disappearances
coming at the same time is weird.
Let me know if there’s anything you want me to do on this end.
I leaned against the wall, fighting the rush of memories that threatened to overwhelm
me. I’d never heard of Carole Ann Minier, but Darrin Lousiere was once my husband.
He and our infant daughter had been savagely murdered three years earlier. The trauma
of loss combined with being the main suspect in their deaths had caused a mental
breakdown that left me living on Richmond’s streets for over a year. I’d met Aisha
there, though she and I had not been friends. Abuse of drugs and alcohol had left
Aisha in a state where she couldn’t recognize the truth if it appeared before her
with angel wings and a halo.
Two women were missing, one connected to me and the other to my husband. What did
“What does he want, Loser?”
I brushed a lock of hair from my forehead, brushing away the past at the same time.
Richmond and the events Jacob described were far from here. In the last year I’d
re-learned how to live inside—at least during the daytime. I’d stopped counting how
many words I spoke in a day. Answering a question didn’t put me into a panic, and
I could initiate a conversation if conditions required it. I could act like a normal
person, though Beth always felt Loser watching, waiting for her to screw up her life
again. My old friend Mabel still called me Loser, and Eddie followed her example,
so I was Loser at home and Beth to the rest of Beulah.
Eddie clicked his tongue to remind me he was waiting for an answer to his question
about Jacob’s message. “He’s just checking in,” I said. Using one finger, I tapped
out a quick reply. Jacob -Thanks for the info. I’m good here. Best to Sasha, Beth.
The Loser Mysteries: Book Three
By Peg Herring
Does despair end when you finally learn the truth?
Beth Lousiere, once known as Loser, learns there’s new evidence concerning the murders of her husband and daughter three years ago. The crimes, along with suspicion that she was responsible, sent Beth into such despair that she lived on the streets of Richmond, Virginia, for almost a year, lost in grief and pain.
Somewhat recovered though still plagued by insecurity and odd phobias, Beth returns to Richmond to face the past. Soon she’s the suspect in a new murder of a woman who might have been involved with her husband. To escape arrest, Beth disappears into the anonymous world of the homeless, becoming Loser again. There she’s protected by people like her, society’s outcasts, but she also finds support from others: Jake, her former partner on the police force; Verle, a local restaurant owner; Bert, her lawyer; and his associate, Alex, who cares more about Beth than she’s comfortable contemplating.
As events of the past and present merge, Loser comes to realize she’s been framed for murder a second time. Fearing her problems will endanger her friends, she goes deeper into hiding. By the time she begins to understand why someone did this to her, Loser is pursued by killers who don’t care why. They track her to Belle Isle, determined to kill her. As she struggles desperately to survive, Loser realizes the life she once thought worthless has become precious, offering friendship, peace, and perhaps love.
Reviews for The Loser Mystery Series:
“Peg Herring’s Killing Silence was a delightful departure; in the first few pages, I felt that pleasurable anticipation when you’ve just become enmeshed in a story you know you’re going to love.”
—Theresa de Valence
“--now that I have finished Killing Memories…I hope Ms. Herring is busy writing the third book.”
—Barbara Graham, author of Five Star’s quilting mystery series