Playing Possum: Lois Schmitt
First impression can change at any time. Meeting with the director of the animal refuge, reporter for Animal Advocate magazine Kristy Farrell, learns more about the animals that are missing, the responsible of those that work there and why some like the owl, woodpecker, woodchuck and turtles were orphans and the baby possums and birds and rabbits are orphans and cannot live in the wild on their old. From the start you get an uneasy feeling as Melissa explains the duties of the educational director Elena, and the animal rehabilitator George and what each one does. Elena wants her job as she is engaged to the son of chief trustee, Victoria Pendwell. Explaining her role and tell Kristy that Elena wanted to be the director but that she had a contract. She always told her that she realized that Victoria might have rigged some bids for the refuge. Delving more into the relationships she learns that Melissa was seeing someone named Jeremy and that might have had something to do with what happens next and an argument she heard before she left between her and Elena.
On her way in her car someone was tailgating her, and the driver and she barely survived. Explaining the meeting to her daughter, Amy who was a vet and worked for her husband, Matt, she explains what happens and that Melissa asked for an Order of Protection against Jeremy and that she heard and witnessed an argument between Melisa Modica and Elena Salazar. Should she tell Detective Wolfe? Then the unthinkable happens and Melissa is found dead. There are things that come out about her relationship, and they learn she was pregnant but who was the father? She dated Austin Pendwell but was it him or Jeremy? Linda Lau comes back she was Melissa’s roommate and Mei Lau was a relative with Lau she learns more about Jeremy and her relationship with him. he does have someone new, but would he kill her anyway talking about Austin and learning more about the wildlife refuge the receptionist Clara seems to be on her case and loves gossip.
Is what George told her the truth that Melissa only took the job at the wildlife refuse to care for her parents. Then an idea came, and she would hire Jeremy and his Crepe truck to cater her daughter’s engagement party/ she also winded up talking with Melissa’s parents and learned some interesting information. But the author includes another story line related to puppy mills and the terrible treatment of animals. SANAN stands for Stop Animal Neglect and Abuse Now but the horrors she uncovers on the internet are appalling. How are these puppies sold and the seller are good at disguising the dog’s origins and where they came from?
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals conducts investigates for pet stores owners what she learns is shocking. Puppy brokers who get the dogs they sell them directly form the puppy mill put up the websites where they are often out and out lies about these animals. No one checks and the prices are huge, and they have a number to call Clay at 555 1294.
She decided to attend the board of trustees meeting to learn more and hopefully understand what Victoria’s real motives are and why she wanted Melissa out and just how did her parents get some many things that they thought she could not afford? Was Melissa extortion Victoria? As the mystery unravels Kristy finds herself embroiled in the lives of many people that she’s flagged as suspects in the murder. Veronica who was displeased with Melissa and George who was making mistakes at the refuge and who Elena the new director wanted out and did fire him. Plus, she’s engaged to veronica’s son who wants out of the relationship asap, but his mother rules and he might have to hear it anyway. Elena just wants the last name. Austin who has temper and anger issues and was Melissa extortion Veronica? Added in we learn more about the refuge center and meet Cassie who’s replaced George and Kristy uncovers part of the mystery. However, she’s on the wrong side of Detective Wolfe who won’t investigate the missing animals, George’s murder by poison and anything that draws negativity to the refuge center and Veronica. Will his partner investigate on his own plus the second plot line unravels related to the puppy mills as Kristy gets a job at the pet store and alerts the authorities as to the abuses inflicted on the animals and what role the owner plays and the puppy broker? She seems determined to interfere everywhere and presents herself at another pet store too.
Then Sheila who works for Veronica has her own take on her and Kristy takes more chances gets the Gerber Engineering proposal given to her daughter’s future father-in-law to have assessed and what he tells her changes it all, but something still bothers Kristy. She was going to try and convince the groom that works for Veronica to talk to her.
What she learns just might create the solution to the two murders as Kristy learns about and event at the refuge center that might have lured Melissa to her death, but can she prove it?
The pieces fall into place in an unexpected way as Kristy comes face to face with the killer, but will the police get there in time. A single piece of evidence that flashes a thought in her mind and a whole house of cards might crumble as author Lois Schmitt leaves us with a surprise twist, several unexpected turns of events as a killer is revealed, an abuser might lose it all and in the end can money set you free? Deceptions, fraud, betrayals and class positions and power they will or will justice prevail as several learn the consequences of Playing Possum.
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