A. J. Harris’ Frugal Find Under Nine:
Description of Death in the Saddle, Not a Western!:
When Billionaire Real Estate Developer Peter Bruxton is found murdered – shot in the head in his hotel room – it comes as no surprise to anyone who knew him. In fact, the biggest challenge facing the detectives charged with solving Bruxton’s murder may be finding someone who is NOT a suspect.
Also not a surprise is the fact that Bruxton was shot while presumably having sex. His sexual escapades (with everyone except his wife) were the subject of open conversation at cocktail parties throughout the Coachella Valley social scene (as was his general tendency to offend anyone he met within five minutes of meeting them). Bruxton was universally disliked, but he was particularly despised by several of the women he had bedded (as well as by their husbands).
Was Bruxton’s murder a crime of passion or a premeditated act of revenge? It’s a case that crosses state lines, exposes the excesses of the very rich, and brings wartime secrets to light. Join detectives Mannheim and Oliver as they seek to solve the case of the philandering fat cat in Death in the Saddle (Not a Western).
A raucus good time! Kept me guessing until the very end. Another remarkable work by A. J. Harris, M.D. — Mark E. Anderson
Death in the Saddle, Not a Western! is available for purchase at:
An excerpt from Death in the Saddle, Not a Western!:
“You know, Josh, I swear I’m going to kill that sonofabitch one day. I can’t stand having him around. The very sight of him nauseates me.” Mary Bruxton said abruptly as she adjusted her skirt after the examination in Dr. Josh Harrington’s office.
Dr. Josh sat, taking notes, then looked up. “Mary, you’re upset and your aching back isn’t helping your disposition. I’ll order physical therapy, and give you a few samples of muscle relaxants, as well as some mild pain medication. Hang on.”
Dr. Josh got up, walked over to the cabinet, pulled open a drawer, and took out some sample packets. “Yes, these should work,” he said, handing the packets to his patient. “And take this too.” He added, handing her a note. “These are the dosages and instructions.”
Her edginess subsided as she placed the samples and the note in her purse. She smiled. “Josh, you’re sweet as ever to give me these freebies. But you know I can well afford to buy my own medication. It’s not like it was twenty five years ago when we were all neighbors, without a pot between us.”
Mary Bruxton, prominent socialite, the doyenne of charitable institutions in the Coachella Valley and wife of the lumber baron, Peter Bruxton, was recalling a time of profound penury. “Do you remember how the four of us—you and Sally, God rest her soul, Peter and I struggled so damned hard to eke out a living? And how we dreaded the bills that came due on the first of the month? Looking back, I think, what a wonderful time that was. We were in love, we struggled, we had great hopes for the future, we had our babies….” She stood up then, leaving the sentence unfinished as she drifted off with her memories.
Standing erect increased Mary’s low back pain, and she gripped the edge of the examining table, then took two labored steps toward Josh and embraced him. “You’re just as kind and considerate now as you were as a young doctor trying to make enough to keep your little family together.” She released her grip and leaned against the table, shaking her head before continuing. “And look what’s happened to Peter and me. Can you believe he’s become the largest private owner of forested land in the country? Rich as Croesus, but it’s changed his personality. He went from being a considerate loving husband and father to one rotten, depraved money-grubbing sonofabitch.”
She put her hand up. “And for heaven’s sake, don’t try to defend him. You can’t possibly know what it’s like living with him. It’s as though he made a pact with the devil and traded his soul and sanity for all that money. He treats me like dirt, or worse. He’s become a womanizer; no one in a skirt is safe around him, that filthy lecher. I won’t let him touch me. God only knows what he’s been exposed to. I suppose my hands-off treatment has made him even more resentful, but hell, he brought it on himself. I’m sorry, but I just can’t deal with that, anymore.”
Josh listened, dismayed to hear Mary castigate his old friend. But he knew that what she said was most probably true. Although reluctant, he asked, “Has he been abusive?”
“Has he been abusive, you ask? Hah! Oh, yeah, big-time, physically and verbally. We got into it pretty good several weeks ago. He went absolutely berserk—started swearing and calling me his usual vile names. Smashed some of my precious antiques. He said I loved them more than I loved him. And you know what? The bastard was absolutely right. When I tried to stop him he grabbed me and twisted my arm till I thought it would break. Then he slapped me across the face. I broke away, called the police and ordered him to get the hell out. He knows I can get a restraining order, so he packed a bag and got a suite at the Springs Hotel. I’ll allow him to come home when our daughter, Deena, comes in for a visit from U.S.C. In the meantime, he’s on his own. And I can tell you this: if he ever lays a hand on me again, I’ll kill that sonofabitch. I will. I swear it. I’m still pretty good with a pistol…got a few trophies to show for it.”
“Now, now Mary. When your backache eases you may feel a bit more charitable. Who knows, Peter may even put all his philandering behind him one day, and come back home to his true love.”
“Yeah, and I’m the virgin queen.”
Josh knew immediately how empty his words sounded, but he didn’t want Mary to leave without a word of hope or encouragement. “Does Deena know that you two have been at odds?”
“Of course. She enjoys a special relationship with her father, and I know she would like to see our feuding come to end.” Mary breathed deeply and sighed. “Truthfully, Josh, the prospect of a divorce, with the problems of property division and the inevitable court battles are more than I dare think about. I’ll try my best to tolerate the jackass—that is, at least until Deena finishes school or gets married.”
Josh bent over and kissed Mary on her cheek. “Try to rest and take the medication. I’ll notify PT to make arrangements to go to your home. Call me in a couple days and give me a progress report.”
Mary gave Josh a melancholy smile and held both his hands. “Why couldn’t I have married a sweet guy like you?” She took a small mirror from her purse to apply lipstick. She smacked her lips then ran her tongue around her lips before putting the mirror away. “When this back gets better I’m going to find me a virile dude for companionship.” She looked at Josh and arched an eyebrow. “Say, do you still make house calls?”
Death in the Saddle, Not a Western! is available for purchase at:
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