Authors: Kylie Logan
Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #General, #Women Sleuths
More praise for
is absolutely terrific! I love it, and can’t wait for the next installment in the
—Diane Mott Davidson,
New York Times
“This is the opening act of an engaging amateur-sleuth mystery series, and if this
book is any indication, readers have a special and original new series to enjoy. The
protagonist is independent and resolute…She enlists a quirky crew to assist her on
her quest. Kylie Logan overcomes the subgenre flaw of why the heroine must investigate
with an entertaining plot and a strong cast led by a woman who refuses to be Button
—The Mystery Gazette
“[A] unique and fun adventure…Fast-paced…A very different and very fun cozy series.”
“Lots of action and humor thrown together. First-rate writing and plotting.”
—Once Upon a Romance
“This mystery was fun to read while still educating me about buttons. I also enjoyed
Josie’s character—she’s fun, funny, and sharp…It was also nice to see someone embrace
their ‘button nerd’ side.”
“I loved it. The writing is superb…The characters were interesting, the pace was fast,
and there were plenty of clues planted.”
—The Mystery Bookshelf
“That’s right, buttons. Who would have thought?…[
] was a very enjoyable mystery…[Josie is] a very entertaining narrator…And the plot
unfolds in expert fashion…I know I’ll never look at a button the same way again.”
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Kylie Logan
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME, NEW YORK
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is
entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume
any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / January 2013
Copyright © 2012 by Connie Laux.
Mayhem at the Orient Express
by Kylie Logan copyright © 2012 by Connie Laux.
Cover illustration by Jennifer Taylor.
Cover design by Annette Fiore Defex.
Interior text design by Kristin del Rosario.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or
electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy
of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is
stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither
the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
For Kathleen Morrish,
goddaughter and friend
Every author gets asked the question: Where do you get your ideas?
I have to say that for me, the answer to that question is different for every book
I write. Sometimes, an idea comes from a bit of conversation I overhear. Sometimes,
it can result from something I see online or in a newspaper. For
, the idea started to form the moment I read about charm strings.
What a wonderful, old-fashioned bit of Americana! Imagine young girls collecting buttons,
trading them, getting them as gifts—all so those buttons could be strung and saved.
There’s bound to be folklore to accompany a hobby that charming, and of course, with
the button strings there is. Collect one thousand buttons and your Prince Charming
will come along. What writer could resist a legend that delicious!
There are other legends, too, involved in
, specifically, the legend of Lake Michigan pirate, Thunderin’ Ben Moran. Thunderin’
Ben is based on a real Great Lakes pirate, Roaring Dan Seavey, who was notorious in
the early twentieth century.
As always, my thanks go out to the button collecting community which has welcomed
me—and the Button Box Mysteries—with open arms, to my writing friends who are always
there with support and encouragement, and to my family who put up with the button
magazines that come in the mail and the button museums and exhibits we visit.
O YOU BELIEVE IN CURSES?
I was so intent on studying the glorious buttons on the worktable in front of me,
I only half heard Angela Morningside’s question. So who can blame me! Naturally, I
blinked, looked up, forced the pleasant whirr of button daydreams out of my head so
I could focus on my customer, and said, “Huh?”
Angela did not seem to hold my inability to concentrate against me. Then again, we’d
been working together on this particular project for about six weeks. No doubt, she
already knew that antique buttons are to me what Hershey bars are to a chocoholic.
When she repeated herself, her expression wasn’t exactly as kind as it was patient.
And a little pained, too. “I asked you, Josie, do you believe in curses?”
Anyone who’s ever met me knows that I am infinitely practical. Which means my first
inclination was to laugh. I controlled myself. After all, Angela was the one who’d
canceled each of our first three appointments and made no apology about the reason—her
horoscope, she told me, informed her that making the one-hour trip south from Ardent
Lake to Chicago on those days was not a good idea.
If she took horoscopes that seriously, it wasn’t much of a stretch to think curses
might not be far behind.
I flicked off the high-intensity lamp I’d had trained on the string of buttons spread
over my worktable and slid off the stool where I’d been perched, the better to walk
around to the front of the table and look Angela in the eye. This was not exactly
as simple as it sounds since Angela was a full eight inches taller than my bit over
five feet and broader by a mile. Still, I am all about making a valiant effort. I
lifted my chin, the better to meet her question head-on. “You’re serious?”
Angela’s shoulders dropped. Her chin quivered.
Hey, I might be practical, but I am not heartless. I grabbed her elbow, piloted her
to the nearest stool, and eased her onto it.
“You are serious.” Understatement. I knew that as soon as Angela was seated and I
got a good look at her eyes—and the fear that shimmered in them, as razor-sharp as
sunlight sparking off ice. “Angela, tell me what’s going on.”
“I will. At least, I’ll try.” We were in the back room of my shop, the Button Box,
and Angela’s gaze jumped from the antique buttons on the charm string to the floor
and stayed there. “No doubt you think I’m nothing but a crazy old lady. Post-menopausal
delusions. That’s what some of my friends have told me.” Her gaze snapped to mine.
“As if my age has anything to do with it. I’m not imagining any of this, Josie. And
I’m not making it up.”
In the six weeks since Angela had first called and told me about the charm string
she’d inherited from her great-aunt, I’d come to learn that she was usually as serious
as a heart attack and as levelheaded about her successful medical transcription firm
back in Ardent Lake as I was about my shop, where I sold antique and collectible buttons
to dealers, hobbyists, and discerning sewers and crafters. Sure, the woman not only
read her horoscope each day, but actually remembered it and acted on its advice. That
didn’t mean she was crazy, did it? Out of the ordinary. Sure, I’d go along with that.
But ruddy-cheeked, well-dressed, understated Angela never struck me as crazy.