Excerpts | Murder Unrenovated & Rehearsal For Murder by PM Carlson
Murder Unrenovated by PM Carlson
Brooklyn, 1972. Realtor Len Trager shows an old brownstone to actor Nick O’Connor and statistician Maggie Ryan.
Len felt a prickle of hope. He couldn’t remember anyone else being this pleased by Lund’s weary old brownstone, not after meeting the immovable basement tenant. Could there possibly be a sale here after all?
Not to an actor, he reminded himself.
The upper floors were shoddily divided into separate apartments. But the second-floor bath still held a Victorian marble sink and chipped clawfoot tub, and the room at the front overlooked the street. Maggie smiled at Nick and said, “This could be a little study.”
“One more floor,” said Len. The top floor, once servants’ quarters, had been most recently occupied–– only Lund’s disruption of the plumbing had finally forced the young tenants to accept his relocation money and leave. Nick slapped his hand against a wall. “This isn’t a supporting wall, is it?”
“No,” said Len, giving the room a professional glance. “You’re thinking of remodeling?” That was always a good sign.
“Not many gyms around here. It would be great to have space to work out.” Nick stepped to the doorway. “What do you think, Maggie?”
She was down the hall, looking into the little front room, the one that sported the oriel window. For a moment she remained there, still.
“Do you like the place?” Len prompted.
She turned back to them slowly, and Nick, suddenly concerned, took a step toward her. But it was Len she answered.
“Yes,” she said, “it’s a great place. There’s only one problem. There’s a corpse in it.”
* * *
Excerpt from Murder Unrenovated by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.
Rehearsal For Murder by PM Carlson
A pause; a choked sob from the crumpled Ramona; and then the pounding dirge from chorus and piano.
Ramona straightened slowly, as though lifting a crushing weight, and pulled a black shawl about her. The chorus moved back with measured steps, leaving her solitary in the middle of the stage. The music modulated, and very quietly she began to sing “The Widow of Windsor.” For the first time that day she did not have to worry about new dance steps or new movements, and she invested the words with a powerful emotional energy. “Alone,” she sang, “in the crowds, still alone; among the princes, alone; forever alone.” Nick, standing in the silent chorus, felt his throat tightening. The small isolated figure, the husky beauty of the voice that shimmered on the edge of tears, communicated a human truth that transcended history, geography, wealth, gender. She bound them all into Victoria’s grief.
The last chords faded.
Then the stage manager cleared his throat and said, “Blackout,” in his flat twang.
The spell was shattered. Derek exclaimed, “Super! But you know that, Ramona. On to act two?”
“Let’s stop a minute early today, Derek. It’s been a long afternoon.” Ramona, drooping, pulled the shawl from her shoulders, then noticed the blond onlooker for the first time and stiffened. “Well! So Larry’s evening revels have begun already. Though the brunette that came for him yesterday was prettier. Treat him well, sweetie.” She winked at the young woman. “Your competition is formidable.”
The few words reawakened the sizzle of rage in all of them.
* * *
Excerpt from Rehearsal For Murder by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.