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Chapter One

I have done a lot of embarrassing things, but this morning I topped even myself...

I watched as the detective walked out of the small blue stucco house. Everything about him gave off the vibe of somebody who'd been up all night chasing down evidence. His face featured a day-old beard, his tie was pulled loose from the collar of his pale blue dress shirt, and he gave out a weary sigh as he sauntered down the three steps to the front walk and moved toward the black Crown Victoria parked at the curb.

He was almost t the street when a man in a hooded sweatshirt with a baseball cap on top of the hood darted out from behind a large red oleander bush. The morning sun glinted off the gun in his hand. As he raised his arm and took aim, something triggered in my mind, really someone, namely Barry Greenberg. I'd given up trying to find the right title for Barry. It was enough to say he was my ex-boyfriend, he was a homicide detective and he'd recently been shot. I wasn't about to let that happen to someone else.

Without a second of hesitation, I rushed up behind the guy with the gun. If all the adrenaline hadn't been pumping I never would have had the force to knock him over. And maybe I would have noticed a few things like the detective's shirt had no wrinkles. And he was definitely wearing makeup. And there were cameras, lights and a lot of people standing around.

"Cut," a tall man in black jeans and a loose taupe-colored tee shirt yelled as he rushed onto the grass. He glared at me and waved to the uniformed officer hanging by the curb. "Get her out of here," he muttered, pointing to me as I rolled off the presumed assailant. The man I had tackled got up and dusted himself off, and the throng of onlookers surrounded me as I got back on my feet. But they parted for the officer who came through the crowd, linked his arm with mine, and pulled me to the edge of the sidewalk.

"Pink, what have you done now?" Adele Abrams rushed up behind me as Dinah Lyons started explaining to all who would listen why I'd done what I'd done. No, this wasn't some kind of bad dream, though at the moment I was wishing it was and hoping I'd wake up twisted in the sheets of my own bed. I admit to often finding myself in trouble, but usually it's for something real. This was all make-believe.

It was summer in the San Fernando Valley and the area had become a back lot for TV and film productions. Caravans of white trucks were on streets all over the Valley. Street corners had yellow signs with arrows to direct the cast and crew to the location. They always disguised the real name of the production with some cryptic phrase, so no one would have guessed by the sign on Ventura Boulevard that the area around Dinah's house had become the set for L.A. 911.

If this were a TV show or a movie, it would free-frame right now. Then I'd step forward an explain that my name was Molly Pink and that after my husband Charlie died, I'd started a whole new chapter in my life that included getting a job as event coordinator at the bookstore Shedd & Royal Books and More, which was just up the street from all this activity. I might mention that I was also in charge of the yarn department we had recently added.

You might wonder about a yarn department in a bookstore. The yarn department was added because the local crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, met at the bookstore and quite frankly the owners, Mrs. Shedd and Mr. Royal, were looking for more revenue streams. I think that's the right term. Actually, with a crafting table and available yarn, the Hookers didn't just meet at the bookstore - They almost lived there. Mrs. Shedd liked to joke that if we had cots, the group would probably sleep there, too.

If Hooks Could Kill
by Betty Hechtman

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