What is included with this book?
She looks good, doesn't she, Patricia Anne, in spite of being dead," my sister, Mary Alice, whispered.
"Shhh," I answered. But Sister is not easily shushed.
"Don't you hate it when they give dead people those fakey smiles? You know. Stuffing their cheeks like Marlon Brando. Couldn't say a word if they had to."
The lady in front of us turned around. "Shhh."
"Sorry," I murmured. And to Mary Alice, "Shhh" again, accompanied this time by a small nudge with my elbow.
The closed gray casket was blanketed in a simple arrangement of spring flowers and greenery. It loomed large in the small stone chapel. There was no music to comfort the mourners, though the stillness was broken by an occasional muffled sob. In the front row, the widower, his young face frozen, sat holding the hands of his two little girls.
And then a stir as Father Patrick O'Reilly entered through a side door and took his place at the altar, directly above the casket. In the dim light, for no sun shone through the windows this day, his white robe seemed blue. He held out his arms in supplication.
"My friends, our sympathy is extended to the family of Sarah Lane Goodall. She was a very special presence on this earth and she will be missed. We welcome you to this service in her memory. May we pray."
Every head in the chapel was bowed. The little girls on the front row leaned closer to their father.
"Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life."
Beside me, Mary Alice began to sniffle.
"Listen to our prayers, look with love on Your people who mourn for their dead sister. Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate: forgive our sister her sins."
"She didn't do anything that bad!" Mary Alice whispered loudly.
"Shut up!" I whispered back.
"Do not let our sister be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give her light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live forever and ever. Amen."
Mary Alice sobbed loudly into a Kleenex. '1t was just that one time and her husband wasn't paying her any attention. Ignoring her."
The woman in front of us turned around again. I thought she was going to tell Sister to hush again. Instead she said, "I'm glad the priest got there in time to hear her confession. Maybe she'll still make it into heaven."
"I wonder how much repenting it takes," Mary Alice said. "Shhh," came from all directions.
Mary Alice looked over her shoulder. "Well, it's some thing some people need to know."
"Y'all shut up," I said to the two. "You're disturbing everybody in the theater." I handed the popcorn to Mary Alice. "Here."
On the screen, ghosts pushed their way between the mourners. For a moment I was confused, then I remembered they were characters who had died during the earlier part of the movie. Sort of like Our Town, I realized, minus the umbrellas.
The camera panned on the guilty man as he sneaked into the back of the church His shifty eyes, slicked back hair, and bow tie were a dead giveaway.
"Looka there, Patricia Anne." Mary Alice poked me in the arm. "You'd think he'd be ashamed to show his face."
"He'll get his comeuppance," the woman in front assured us.
"Shhh," the people around us again demanded.
I'd had enough distractions. I spotted an aisle seat several rows back and moved while Father O'Reilly was intoning, "Hail! Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve."
Unfortunately, Mary Alice realized the seat beside her was empty. "Mouse?" she whispered my nickname loudly.
"Mouse!" the woman in front squealed.
"Mouse!" There was a lot of shuffling for belongings then a general exodus for the doors. In the commotion, I almost missed seeing the ghosts usher the villain from the chapel for his comeuppance, which, as far as I could tell, consisted of him being ushered to hell by some black goblins. A religiously eclectic movie, to say the least.
"Now that was some movie," Mary Alice said when the lights came on in the nearly empty theater, and she had come up the aisle to meet me. "I swear, though, I don't think I've ever seen so much talkingthen all that coming and going. Somebody ought to complain to the manager."
Copyright ) 1997 by Anne GeorgeMurder Makes Waves. Copyright © by Anne George. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Excerpted from Murder Makes Waves by Anne George
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.