The Frightened: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff


Review: “The author has given us a narrative that slowly builds the drama and tension, designed to keep drawing the reader deeper into the story.”

Magnolia has lived in Magnolia Bluff all of her life.

Caroline has been the town’s librarian for a long time.

It’s a good town.

It’s filled with good people.

There’s hardly ever a bad day in Magnolia Bluff.

But something’s wrong.

Someone has broken into their homes.

They didn’t steal anything.

They left behind black and white puppies.

So why should the women be afraid?

In Dewey Decimal Dilemma, Book 7 in the Crime Chronicles of Magnolia Bluff, you’ll find out.


Linda Pirtle

Caroline heard Dewey’s tiny yelps, so she stuck the envelope in the pocket of her cardigan and unlocked the door. Before

leaving for work, Caroline had placed Dewey’s crate on a table in front of a window so the tiny puppy could see outside. She set the crate on the floor and opened its door. Dewey wobbled out, tail wagging, obviously happy to see his new owner. Caroline picked up the pup and took him into the backyard. She opened the envelope and pulled out a handwritten note which read:

I know you are a kind person, so I beg you to accept this gift.

I am trying to save its life, and I know with you as its owner, it will have a good home.

FYI: He is a Standard Parti-Poodle. Please take it to Dr. Boyd for its shots.

P.S: Its mama died.

“Come, Dewey, we’re going to have company.” The puppy bounced clumsily through the thick carpet of grass and plopped onto Caroline’s shoe. “Well, my little one, I’d guess you aren’t more than two months old, but I do believe you are going to be a fast learner and easy to train.”

She picked up the puppy and kissed the top of his fluffy forehead. “We need to call Magnolia and make sure she remembers to check her mailbox.”

A loud chime resounded through the house. “Too late,” Caroline whispered to Dewey, “Magnolia is already here, and she has a surprise for you.”

The second Caroline opened the door, Magnolia stepped inside and quickly shut the door. She closed the drapery on the front window and said, “I think I’m being followed.”

“Oh dear,” Caroline said. She very gently pulled the drape aside, enough so that she could peer out the window. “I’ve seen that car before,” she said, turning away from the window. “Let’s

go in the kitchen. I’ll plug in the teakettle. You could use some chamomile tea to calm your nerves.”

Magnolia carried a solid black ball of fur which she placed on the floor of the kitchen. She laughed at the two puppies who immediately ran to each other, then playfully circled around each other. “Tea? Are you crazy? We need to call the police. Do you have a weapon?”

“Good grief, Magnolia, calm down. What are you planning on doing?”

“In case they try to break in on us before the police arrive, we need protection.”

Caroline walked back to the living room and peeked out the window. “They’re just sitting in their car not doing anything.”

“Well, do you, or do you not, have a gun?” Magnolia’s voice had risen.

Caroline calmly asked, “Do you want a big one or a little one?”

“Either. I’m not too choosey.”

“I’ll go get it.” Caroline left her friend and climbed the stairs to her bedroom where she kept a revolver in the top drawer of the small antique chest beside her bed.

Magnolia waited for her at the bottom of the staircase. “Watch this,” she said, reaching out to take the gun from Caroline.

“No, ma’am, you aren’t shooting anyone with my weapon.”

Magnolia gasped when she saw Caroline open the front door and step outside. From the top step of the porch, Caroline pointed the gun at the black sedan parked across the street. “Get away from my house,” she yelled and fired one bullet toward the car. The wild shot kicked up concrete in the street.

The driver revved the engine and roared down the street. Caroline turned and stepped inside. She laughed at Magnolia who stood rooted in place exactly where she had been waiting for Caroline to retrieve her .38 Smith and Wesson revolver. “It’s okay.

He’s gone.”

“I didn’t mean for you to shoot at them,” Magnolia said, voice shaking. “I wanted to know if you had a way to defend yourself in case they tried to break in during the night. I was only going to point it at them, to scare them.”

“My daddy told me to ‘never point a gun unless you intend to use it.’ Come on. I hear the teakettle whistling. Let’s make a cup of tea and read your note. You do have one, don’t you?”

“Oh yeah, and it’s someone who knows me.” Magnolia pulled out a chair and sat at the small kitchen table. She took a sip of tea from the cup Caroline handed her. With a flourish, Magnolia opened the envelope.

“Be careful. Hold the contents only on the top edge.”

Magnolia followed Caroline’s instructions and read.

Your husband is always out of town. I’m guessing you are lonely when he is gone. Please take care of the puppy. She is in danger, and I want her to have a good home. She is a Standard Parti-Poodle. Take her to Dr. Boyd for shots.

P.S: Its mama is dead.

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