Freelance reporter Cat Marsala has done lots of tough investigative pieces lately. Now she would like something a little softer-and a feature story on Christmas tree farming sounds ideal. She's thrilled when Henry DeGraaf, president of the West Michigan Evergreen Growers Association, invites her to spend Thanksgiving at his family farm north of Holland, Michigan, where she can observe the Christmas tree industry up close. With only seven hours of daylight, the work is intense, the team spirit legendary. Cat receives a warm welcome at the DeGraaf farmhouse, especially from DeGraaf's twelve-year-old niece, Nell. Grandmother DeGraaf prepares delicious old Dutch dishes, and Great-Aunt Clara shares with Cat letters written by the first DeGraaf to settle in Michigan. Cat is impressed with the history and tradition of the family, but it's not long before she discovers the terrible tensions that permeate the household. A dark mystery lies over the death of the family patriarch, Henry DeGraaf, Sr, who died in the spring. Walking in the Christmas tree fields when the crop-dusting plane flew over he suffered a fatal asthma attack brought on by the chemicals. He was somehow caught without the orange vest that would have warned the pilot not to spray. While DeGraaf's death could have been an accident, a second death proves without a doubt that a killer lurks in this unlikely pastoral setting where the kitchen table is laden with Gran's casseroles and apple pies, but one of the diners, among either the family or the crew, has evil motives. Cat quickly grows attached to young Nell, who has already suffered so much, having lost both her mother and her grandfather. Now she may suffer again as the DeGraaf family and all that it has stood for is thrust into a cataclysmic situation from which it may never recover Cat's adventure starts as a feature story but ends as a tension-filled search for the answers that can save a family and bring a murderer to justice.
Cat Marsala has a rush assignment: an article on how the state lottery works. The job sounds simple enough: talk to lottery officials, research lotteries in gen¬eral, and write the piece. Cat talks with the lottery director, Doro¬thy Furman, then meets the advertising manager, Jack Sligh. As she is leaving, Sligh asks Cat if she would do an expose. Intrigued, she makes an appointment for Tuesday morning to talk some more. But, on Tuesday morning, as Cat is approaching the building, Jack's body falls from a high window. Her meeting with Jack has been forever canceled. Cat's interest in the lottery has just begun, however. She interviews Jack's wife, Doris, who is a lottery stores coor¬dinator. About to divorce Jack, she's now conveniently a widow. Cat also meets old Hector Furman, father of Doris and Doro¬thy, who began long ago in the illegal numbers game and brought his skills to the lottery. And she meets others who know more about lotteries than Cat ever imagined. Cat's investigation takes her into the techniques the lottery uses to increase sales, the way lottery tickets are pro¬duced, and the fears of compulsive gam¬blers in this age of highly advertised games. She learns about shocking odds- for instance, that the chances of picking the six winning numbers out of fifty-four in a weekly lottery are only one in four¬teen million. And she discovers that someone will make an attempt on her life and on the life of her parrot, Long John Silver, to stop her story. Barbara D'Amato, hailed by the critics as "stunningly ingenious"* and one of the top new American mystery writers, brings to her novels wit and style and a dramatic sense of her Chicago setting. With memo¬rable characters and a dynamic insider's look at the lottery,
Cat Marsala is thrilled when she is asked to do a story about the lives of how the rich live. Then she finds out that in order to take on this story, which comes with a fat check, she must go on a cruise with them. Two problems ... they all know each other ... and Cat can't swim. This book takes place on a luxury yacht and the reader gets to learn a lot about sailing. How murder could take place in a locked room is the challenging question in this mystery.
NOBODY CARES MUCH ABOUT A DEAD HOOKER... Nobody but Chicago journalist Cat Marsala, who had befriended the frail young woman who now lies dead in a gutter near Cat's apartment. Four days earlier, Cat had picked Sandra Love, as she liked to be called, out of a crowd of detainees at Women's Court. Cat had something Sandra wanted: a hot meal, in exchange for some information about life on Chicago's streets. That's all Cat intended-a fair trade of food for facts that Cat could use in a television documentary. When Sandra later appears at Cat's door and asks to spend the night, Cat's not at all sure she wants a hooker for a guest. And when Sandra shows signs of settling in for an indefinite stay, the small apartment suddenly seems very crowded. Sandra's murder tragically solves Cat's roommate problem, sending her on a quest for a killer and for a deeper understanding of the netherworld of Chicago prostitution, with its caste system in which the streetwalkers, the women in brothels, the escorts, and the by-recommendation-only independents live out their lives-and sometimes die.
As head of Common Sense, Louise had earned the wrath of the PTA, Police and church groups all over Chicago. Free lance journalist Catherine Masala smelled a great interview. It was a bomb. Now Cat is hungry for more than a story... she wants to nail a killer. The whole thing could win her a Pulitzer... if she lives long enough to write it.
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