We are so delighted to have bestselling author Julie Mulhern back to Chicks on the Case! Julie writes the Country Club Murders series and the Poppy Fields Adventures. Read on for an inside look at her latest book, Stayin’ Alive…
“I thought it would be bigger.”
My best friend Libba sighed. “That’s the story of my life.”
Unlike me, she wasn’t referring to the bronze horse displayed in front of us—not if her naughty smile was any indication.
I was definitely referring to the horse. “The catalog makes it look life size.”
“Why do you care?”
“I don’t want anyone to be disappointed, to expect something large and be confronted with a smaller reality.”
“Again, the story of my life.” Libba had a zest for living that allowed her to compare sizes. Regularly. Although, to be fair, she seemed devoted to the latest man—Jimmy, a totally-inappropriate-in-every-way-that-shouldn’t-count-but-did fireman. She patted my arm. “The exhibition is amazing. Everyone will love it. Don’t worry.”
The size of the horses and the quality of the exhibition weren’t my concern; my job as the gala chairman was to worry over food, décor, liquor, entertainment, and the seating chart. Worrying about horses’ sizes made for a nice change—I’d worried the gala almost to death. Worrying about the exhibit made for a nice change.
Libba closed her fingers around my arm and pulled me away from the horse. “I want a closer look at that.” She pointed to a jade burial suit sewn with gold thread.
I let myself be pulled. That we’d been allowed in before the exhibition opened was a special treat, and this was our chance to see the Chinese treasures without a crowd.
Libba opened the exhibition’s accompanying booklet and read, “Made for Tou Wan, the wife of Prince Ching of Chungsan.” She studied the fortune in jade in the glass case. “He must have adored her.”
The amount of jade and gold was impressive, but I suspected other motives. “Or he wanted to show up his friends.”
“Since when are you a cynic?”
I’d spent the past year of my life tripping over bodies—murdered bodies. Murder shattered rose-colored glasses. The pair I’d worn most of my marriage and adult life had been ground to a pile of pink dust. “I’m not a cynic, I’m a realist.”
“Potato, potahto. And you didn’t answer my question.”
The Nelson, as Kansas Citians call the museum, has an impressive collection of Chinese art. So impressive, that in 1975 Kansas City was one of four stops for a Chinese funerary exhibition.
Poor Ellison. A body is bound to turn up at an exhibition highlighting art and artifacts buried in tombs. And it does.
Do you prefer books where the setting is the product of the writer’s imagination or places you can visit?
She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.