November 28 , 2009

Bitch Slap

A Mark Manning Mystery


Journalist Mark Manning has been successfully running his family's newspaper, The Dumont Daily Register, for several years now, and he sits on the board of two local companies, Quatro Press and Ashton Mills. So when the respective CEOs of these companies discuss a merger, it is only natural that Manning be interested in the proceedings. What's more, Manning's lover Neil, an architect, is designing a new house for Ashton's CEO, Gillian Reece.

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Reece is a business friend of Manning but not a friend to many else; she is generally considered overly aggressive and fastidious. When Manning assigns Glee Savage, the newspaper's society reporter, to cover Reece's new home, the subsequent meeting between the two does not end well: Savage huffs off in a fury but not before ferociously bitch slapping Reece in front of everyone. With Reece's cheek still smarting, more bad news comes as the accountant performing due diligence for the merger reports some very questionable items regarding Ashton's books.

It seems as though things couldn't go much worse for the unpleasant Reece. That is, until she is murdered. The discovery of her body is greeted with great surprise, but perhaps not much regret on the part of most who knew her. Still, with Manning's friend and employee Glee Savage as the obvious and primary suspect, he cannot resist wading in to this most unsound of business dealings.

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