BAD BLOOD "has vivid, interesting characters, great dialogue and psychological insight"–– Amazon Reviewer
Published: October 12th, 2017
After an argument with her grandmother at her Maryland home, sixteen-year-old Ginny Marshall – “born rotten,” according to Gram – gets high and runs away. She turns up on the doorstep of Maggie Ryan and Nick O’Connor’s Brooklyn brownstone. Her presence in Brooklyn is unsettling, but, more urgently, Ginny is a suspect in a murder investigation back home. Maggie travels undercover to Maryland, where she searches for a killer as threads from the past threaten to unravel both families.
This Mystery Company edition is the first paperback publication of the eighth and final novel in the Maggie Ryan series.
Rina had waited a day and faced her daughter. “Honey, I don’t want to make a big thing out of an experiment. But drugs are off-limits in this family.”
“For sure, Mom. No problem.”
The ironic flash in the blue eyes hurt Rina. She had exclaimed, “Ginny, think of your future! You’re bright and talented. You can do anything you want!”
Ginny had smiled tauntingly. “Like you, Mom?”
But at least she hadn’t come home high again. Till now.
Rina couldn’t trust herself to mention it directly today. She said, “Honey, if you have problems, please tell me about them. Don’t run from things. You have to face them.”
“Oh? You tell me to face them? You? Funny old Mom!”
“Yes, damn it! I’ve faced problems!” And a hell of a lot bigger than whatever you think yours are, she almost added. But she swallowed her rage; Ginny was high, so arguing wouldn’t help now. She said more calmly, “It’s just that you could be hurt. I don’t want that.”
“Yeah, for sure. I could be hurt.” That shining, cruel smile again. “Or I could be an addict. Or I could be a movie star. In America I could be anything!” Ginny pushed herself to her feet, scooping up Kakiy. She carried him steadily enough into her bedroom. Rina followed as far as the door. Ginny had made an insert for her backpack, a sturdy cardboard cat carrier with a round porthole window. She put Kakiy into it, took her waterproof poncho from the closet, clapped the fedora onto her head, then frowned at her cluttered table for a moment. Finally she picked up a box of cat treats.
“Where are you going, honey?” asked Rina.
Rina sighed. Better to talk to her later. “Okay. See you at dinner.”
“Yeah. Save the whales.” She kissed Rina almost contemptuously, then pushed by and swung down the hall. Kakiy, unapologetic, gazed back serenely through his porthole as she marched out the door.
She wasn’t back for dinner. Rina fought down her worry. But when her mother finally excused herself and went downstairs to her room, she said to Clint, “Maybe Ginny thought we’d be eating late, because of Mamma’s bridge game.”
“Maybe.” Clint, silvery-haired and blue-eyed, paused with a last forkful of cherry pie halfway to his mouth. “You’re worried, though.”
He tried to be comforting. “She’s probably just throwing her weight around.”
“Rina, I hate to see you worrying like this! It’s time to get her back in line. It’s no favor to go easy on a kid these days. But it’s up to you, Rina. I’ll back you up, but I’m not here much of the time, damn it.”
“She had reason to be mad today.”
“Half her fault,” he pointed out. He was too much the lawyer, she thought, always ready to see both sides of a question and argue whichever suited him. Rina busied herself cleaning off the table.
But when the doorbell rang at eight-fifteen Rina ran to it, her anxious heart a staccato counterpoint to her footsteps. Two men stood there: stolid faces, intelligent eyes. The older one held out a shield. Police.
“Ginny?” she blurted before they could say anything. “Has something happened to Ginny?”
“No, ma’am,” said the older policeman. His voice was flat-pitched, unexcitable. “We’re here to ask about a John Spencer.”
Behind her, Mamma laid a firm hand on her arm. “John Spencer was here this afternoon. Is there a problem?”
“Yes, ma’am. Are you Mrs. Marshall?”
“I’m Mrs. Rossi. Leonora Rossi,” Mamma corrected him. “My daughter here is Mrs. Marshall. But I’m the one who knows John Spencer. Not well–– we just met this afternoon.”
“I see. Well, ma’am, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
Clint had come up behind them. “We’d be glad to help,” he said. “What’s the problem?”
In answer the policeman held up his identification again. “Just a few questions, sir,” he repeated. “I’m Sergeant Trainer. Homicide.”
P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.