Monday’s Sampler: A Portrait to Die For by Radine Trees Nehring

FC revised - A Portrait to Die For

In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Monday’s Sampler features an excerpt from A Portrait to Die For, a cozy and suspenseful mystery by award-winning author Radine Trees Nehring.

As one reviewer said: What a great mix for Carrie’s latest adventure!  She and Henry have their hands full with suspicious characters aboard an excursion train, switched identities, Civil War treasures, stolen jewelry, rifled rooms, and a “safe house” incident. Did I mention a dead body?  

The Story

Carrie McCrite, a volunteer librarian at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, discovers two versions of a portrait on loan to the museum.

When a reporter writing about that portrait disappears, Carrie must choose between honoring Henry’s request that she stop jumping into danger on behalf of people in trouble–or work to find the woman who was a college friend of her son’s. 

The Sampler

Nadine Trees Nehring
Radine Trees Nehring

At 8:20 the next morning Catherine sat in her car outside the workshop at Fred’s and wondered who was inside the building. There were two trucks parked in the lot. She supposed the newer pickup with the business name and logo on the door was Freda’s.

The other truck was unmarked. Maybe it was the older pickup she had seen here yesterday. She hadn’t paid much attention to it then, and wasn’t good at identifying trucks unless an automaker had displayed their company name and vehicle style prominently on the tailgate.


Well, nothing ventured. Daddy had said that. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

    Zero hour. Catherine opened her car door and slid out, putting her cell phone in her pocket.

Twenty steps to the open shop door, and then Catherine was inside. It was very quiet. Should she say something? No, not yet at least.

Two steps. Lots of stuff, but no person, no sound, no movement but her own.

Two more steps.

Something on the concrete floor caught her attention. Blobs of oil? She stopped to stare, bent over to look more closely.

Drops of blood. Fresh enough to be red. Oh, dear God, NO.

    Catherine started to turn back toward her car and run. Panic had her breathing like a steam engine though she was trying to be quiet, to give no sign she was there. She must get to her car and hurry to safety, to be with Carrie and Henry. Get away, Get away! Get to Carrie and Henry, get them to come back here with her.

A groan stopped her, freezing her steps as she started toward the door.

Her mind tried to work sensibly. Someone groaning probably wasn’t going to attack her. Someone was hurt and needed help.

She turned around again and took two more steps into the building, avoiding the drops.

Step. Step.

A weapon! She should have a weapon in case something horrible and dangerous faced her on the other side of those boxes. The workbench next to her offered a huge hammer. She started to lift it, found it too heavy for one arm, re-enforced her grasp with her other hand and, hammer raised, moved forward again.

End of the row of boxes. With the hammer held as high as she could lift it, she went around the stack.

A shriek. Oh! That was her voice.

A choked laugh came from someone propped up against the back of the box stack. Another person faced her–Freda, with a raised hammer.


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