Jane DiLucchio is a late bloomer when it comes to writing.
She spent many years as a teacher (first elementary school and later at the community college level), massage therapist, and amateur farmer before giving in to the little voices that kept sounding off in her head.
Since there's a thin line between a psychotic and a writer (psychotics try to convince everyone that the voices they hear are real; writers write it down and tell everyone its fiction), Jane finally decided to give in to the voices rather than undergo intensive psychotherapy.
Jane and her spouse are raising their two cats in a loving home in Southern California. (Actually, the cats allow Jane to live with them in return for certain personal services, but that'
Action suits TJ Brewer best, whether kayaking, hiking, or golfing, she lives life with gusto. Friends and an active social life keep her energized for her passion--her work with adults who need an academic boost in order to fulfill their dreams.
Into TJ's world wanders Lily Wamer, a new volunteer tutor with TJ's program and sister to one of the students. Lily is divorced, newly engaged, and trying to rebuild a connection to the brother she raised. She is fascinated by the outgoing TJ Brewer, but is aware of an emotional wall that TJ puts between them, for TJ has learned the hard way not to trust the interest of straight women.
For both women, any relationship will take a major change of heart.
When her friends take Diega DelValle on an impromptu vacation to Talkeetna, Alaska, they envision a quiet setting in which to give Diega a breather from both teaching and heartbreak. However, even before the friends arrive, this small town on the edge of Denali National Park becomes a less than idyllic vacation spot. Gail, a Talkeetna native, dies on the mountain. Melissa, Gail's cousin and a former student of Diega's, arrives in Talkeetna and raises doubts about the death being accidental. Due to Melissa's pleas for help, Diega and her friends are thrust into an investigation of a small town and its inhabitants--an unsavory pastime that turns deadly.BR>
A client dying on her massage table is traumatic enough for Kate Matthews, but when the police declare that death a murder, life becomes more painful for her as she is cast as the major suspect.
None of this is what Kate expected from her move to the peaceful town of Santa Barbara. After a near-fatal heart attack, an early retirement from her Los Angeles law firm, and a change in careers, Kate envisioned a quiet life with her wife, Alicia, and their grown children.
Since the client held a position on the California Coastal Commission, her death becomes a media event. Kate finds herself and her family sucked into the maelstrom. The former lawyer has all she can do to find the truth behind Celia's death without adding her own name to the body count.
Diega DelValle and her friends return in Teaching Can Be Murder!
Nothing says, "Good morning!" like finding a bloody corpse in the classroom next to yours. Assistant Superintendent Zeke Chambers had no business being in room seven of Vista Elementary, dead or alive, but dead he was and Diega DelValle, discoverer of his body, becomes a suspect.
Diega finds out she is not alone. Her principal, Sally, has been working with Zeke-possibly too closely-on a special, secret project. Sally's husband is none too pleased with that arrangement. Neither is their daughter who arrives on the scene suspiciously close to the time of Zeke's death.
Other Vista Elementary employees also have a vested interest in Zeke's unwell-being. The teacher who's a cast-off lover. The union rep who accuses Zeke of espionage. The probationary teacher who knows more than she's telling.
Then there are Zeke's gambling associates and his extracurricular girlfriends, none of which are to the liking of Zeke's wife. Nor do his business partners outside the district appreciate him using their money to develop a competing company.
All factors collide when another body is found and Diega, Tully, Jenny, and Felicia discover that teaching can, indeed, be murder.
Relationships Can Be Murder. That's what Diega DelValle concludes when she finds herself alienated from her lover because of her affair with Sheila Shelbourne, Los Angeles TV newscaster and woman-about-town. Diega's woes only increase when Sheila is found beaten to death and the police focus their investigations upon her.
Diega summons help from her three best buddies, Tully, Felicia, and Jenny. Together they delve into the world of television where they encounter an arena where ratings can be a matter of life and death. There's Rachel who was vying with Sheila for a New York job. Or was she? Her husband Curtis maintains Rachel would kill for Sheila's now open position in L.A. But then Curtis has his own, very old, axe to grind with Sheila. Has their past relationship caused her demise?
Then again, Sheila's ex-husband is in the picture as well. Newly arrived from San Diego and famous for hurling items at Sheila's women, does Steve have his own murderous thoughts about Sheila? Aurora thinks so. However, as Sheila's discarded lover, Aurora may have her own agenda.
Family relationships are also suspect. Henry and Francine Shelbourne had two daughters, Sheila and Natalie. Both daughters are now dead. Coincidence? Or did the secret that bound the sisters together bring both their deaths years apart?
In the midst of trying to clear Diega, the four women discover that one of them has an even better motive than Diega for wanting Sheila dead--a discovery that drives a wedge between the friends. In the meantime, new relationships develop and get in the way of their investigation. The ever-amorous Tully finds herself drawn to the enticing police detective and Felicia and Jenny are discovering each other's charms. No one but Diega seems to realize that Relationships Can Be Murder. Then Diega, herself, becomes the target. Is she the victim of one of her own relationships or is she getting too close to the truth?
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