A suicide note found in a locked room. A shard of glass buried in a scoop of whipped potatoes. A pickle jar filled with poisonous spiders. Precious jewels yanked off of a woman’s neck but left at her feet. It’s just a week in the life of Damon Lassard when he boards The Vitamin of the Seas with his charismatic mother for a ‘relaxing’ Caribbean cruise.
After Damon’s acerbic dining companion is found floating alongside the ship and local police rule the death a suicide, the loveable amateur sleuth is left to find the killer himself. He encounters seductive sirens, cunning con artists, and fascinating family members en route to solving not only the murder but a handful of clever capers as well.
Murder, She Floats is the third book in the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery series by Stephen Kaminski. It Takes Two to Strangle was the Winner of the 2012 Reader Views Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region and Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk was the winner of the same award for 2013 as well as a finalist in the 2013 Chanticleer Media Clue Awards.
Jack launched a half-inch sliver of glass from his mouth. The bloodied shard landed in a ceramic gravy boat.
“Oh my gosh,” Fava shouted. “Jack, are you all right?”
Jack coughed, and blood spilled from his mouth onto his plate. It slithered among the beef Wellington, mashed potatoes, and asparagus like lava finding recesses in rocky terrain. Jack swept a cloth napkin from his lap and crammed it into his mouth.
Houston rose to his feet and yelled for help. Niels sprinted across the dining room, followed by Kristjan and the mustachioed headwaiter, Charles.
Jack gathered a small clump of unswallowed food from his mouth into his napkin, wadded it up, and set it on the table. He snatched Fava’s napkin from her outstretched hand and pressed it firmly against the inside of his right cheek.
“That little spear was smack in the middle of my mashed potatoes,” Jack said through a mouthful of napkin. He pointed at the glistening spike floating in rich, brown gravy.
Charles and the waiters rushed to a stop beside Jack. Their eyes followed his finger and focused on the shard of glass in the gravy boat.
“My most sincere apologies, sir,” Charles gushed. “Let me clean this up and get you a fresh entrée.” He reached for Jack’s plate.
Jack caught Charles’s arm in midair. “Not so fast.”
The headwaiter’s face registered shock. “You’d prefer me to leave the plate, sir?” he asked. “I assure you it’s no trouble at all. Besides, there’s blood all over your food.”
Jack’s wrinkled eyes narrowed. He removed the red-splotched napkin from his mouth and tossed it on the table.
Without removing his grip from Charles’s arm, he turned to Fava. “Do you have your camera in your purse, dear?”
Fava looked just as confused as Charles. But she answered, “Of course. You know I carry it everywhere.”
Jack smiled. “Be a good girl and take photographs of everything here. That shard of glass in the gravy boat, my plate, both of our napkins, and the inside of my mouth.” He looked at Kristjan. “Go find one of the ship’s doctors. I need him to document the lacerations inside my cheek.” Jack focused on his tablemates. “If you all don’t mind, could I trouble each of you for a written statement, detailing exactly what you witnessed here?” He picked up his fork and delicately pushed around the bloodied food on his plate. The sight was repulsive, and Kitty turned away. But every other set of eyes around the table watched in horrified amazement as Jack pulled a second fragment of glass from the depths of his whipped potatoes.
Jack turned his head toward Niels and Charles. To Niels, he said, “I suggest you collect the other waiters and remove the plates from anyone else who ordered potatoes.” Then he directed his attention to Charles, finally releasing the man’s arm. “And you tell the captain to put in a call to corporate headquarters. They’ll want to get their lawyers up to speed. Had I swallowed that sliver of glass, it would have torn up my insides. I could have internally bled to death.”
STEPHEN KAMINSKI is the author of the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series published by Cozy Cat Press. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School, and currently serves as an executive of a national health services organization.
Please visit his website: http://www.DamonLassard.com