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Derby Rotten Scoundrels . . .

Presented by Silver Dagger Mysteries:

May can be the deadliest month, especially the first weekend. This anthology surrounds one of the world's greatest sporting events--the Kentucky Derby. For over one hundred years, the race has introduced a new crop of horses, and new mayhem galore. Amidst the glamour of fast horses, beautiful women, and great bourbon is an underlying current or danger and deceit as deep as the Ohio River.

Derby Rotten Scoundrels hosts a full field of proven winners. A socialite's Derby bash turns deadly. The Derby Diamond disappears from the neck of its current owner. Churchill Downs becomes the site of a murderous scavenger hunt. Horses are threatened by West Nile virus.

These eleven mystery short stories include cases of equine evil by Kit Ehrman, Tamera Huber, Sandra Cerow Leonard, Jeffrey Marks, Elaine Munsch, Beverle Graves Myers, P.J. Robertson, Brenda Stewart, and Laura Young, all members of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

an excerpt from Ehrman's "Retribrution," featuring FBI agents Weiler and Ramsey . . .


There’s nothing like a horse race to stir the imagination and excite the blood. From impromptu races contested on Market Street in downtown Louisville in the late 1700s to the multimillion-dollar industry it has become, horse racing has long been an integral part of Kentucky’s history. When twenty-six-year-old Colonel M. Lewis Clark created Churchill Downs in 1875, in order to showcase the Kentucky breeding industry, a tradition that became the Kentucky Derby was born. Over the years, the facility and the tradition have endured financial instability, various reform movements to abolish horse racing, The Great Flood of 1937 and The Great Depression, numerous wars, and man’s own folly.

But some threats are less easily detected. Certainly, in the summer of 1999, when a record heat wave baked the Eastern Seaboard and shimmered off the streets of New York City, some seven-hundred-and-eighty-five miles distant from the stately twin spires at Churchill Downs, no one suspected the threat that lurked in the murky waters surrounding Staten Island. But as the seasons passed, the threat, in the form of West Nile Virus, grew and spread westward, literally borne on a bird’s wings. And because the horse is so highly susceptible to encephalitis, the industry sat up and took notice. A vaccine was developed, and as the virus crept across the border into Kentucky during the summer of 2001, numerous precautions were and still are being taken to minimize the threat to one of the state’s most prominent industries.

“You’re kidding, right?”

Gerrich tapped the papers together and tucked them in a file folder, then he looked at me over his gold-rimmed bifocals. “Since when have you known me to possess a sense of humor, Ramsey?”

One of Gerrich’s gofers choked on his Coke. I glanced at Nobbie. The corner of his mouth twitched as he stared steadfastly at the stretch of conference table before him.

“But I don’t know a damn thing about horses,” I said, “except you feed one end and clean up after the other.”

“Agent Weiler assures me, even an idiot can handle the job.”

I glanced at Weiler, whom I’d never met, then at Gerrich’s right-hand man. He stood two paces behind his boss in a wide-legged stance with his hands clasped behind his back and a smirk on his face. His eyes sparkled with amusement, and it occurred to me that everyone in that room, except possibly for Weiler, knew why Gerrich was sticking me with this asinine assignment.

“Agent Noblitt will set up surveillance and run the van with help from the Louisville office,” Gerrich said, “and you and Agent Weiler will work undercover in the barn.”

Above my head, a fluorescent tube buzzed over the hum of the ventilation system. I could feel the cooled air sliding across the back of my neck, yet my skin felt hot.

“But I don’t look the part,” I said, and it was true. I was a thirty-five-year-old, six-two, two-hundred-and-twenty-pound, clean-shaven white male with a buzz cut, and I’d spent most of those years working out in a gym.

“Weiler will help you blend in.”

I looked across the table at her, and she stared right back, her expression composed and unreadable. Weiler was pretty and blond and young. Early twenties. Refined bone structure under smooth honey-colored skin that glowed with health. Big blue intelligent eyes. Small ears that laid flat against her head, nice square shoulders, delicate hands. She’d pulled her hair into some kind of fancy braid at the back of her head that must have taken her half an hour to do and would have taken me all week. She’d been stationed at Quantico since she’d joined the Bureau, and as far as I knew, she’d never worked in the field. This assignment was destined to fail, and I figured that’s what Gerrich had in mind all along. One more screwup, and my career was in the toilet.

“Pick up the files on the way out,” Gerrich said. “I expect you to be in position and set up, thirty-six hours, max. You’ve got thirteen days until the Kentucky Derby to neutralize the threat.”

When Weiler stood and gathered the stack of folders together, Nobbie jacked his chair back, and the two of us followed her into the hall. She led the way, which was fine by me. Her tailored suit snugged her hips and clung neatly to the curve of her thigh with each step she took down the corridor. And she had a nice ass, too. We waited for the elevator, and in a moment, I felt a subtle vibration beneath my shoes as the car lumbered up the shaft and bumped to a halt on our floor with a muffled thud. Otherwise, the building was shrouded in a deep-seated quiet typical for a Sunday morning.

We rode down to the parking garage, and when the door slid open, air laden with the stale smell of exhaust and engine oil and grease swirled into the car and mingled with her perfume. Some kind of flower. Lilac, maybe. We stepped out of the elevator, and Nobbie headed for the van.

“See you in Louisville,” he said and winked at me.


Mystery Muses --100 Classics That Inspire Today's Mystery Writers edited by Jim Huang & Austin Lugar
2007 Macavity Award Winner for Best Nonfiction!
I was invited by Jim Huang to write about an author who inspired me. The answer was simple:  Dick Francis. I wrote about his influence and specificialy about one of his favorite books of mine--Dead Cert.

A Second Helping of Murder--More Diabolically Delicious Recipes from Contemporary Mystery Writers . . .
Jo Grossman ~ Robert Weibezahl
This eagerly-awaited follow-up to the Agatha and Macavity Award finalist, A Taste of Murder, features more crime and nourishment from today's foremost writers of crime fiction. With more than 130 recipes
from an entirely new gang of mystery authors, A Second Helping of Murder lets fans enjoy the culinary cravings of such favorites as Elizabeth George, Dick Francis, Elizabeth Peters, Robert Barnard, Claudia Bishop, Alexander McCall Smith, Linda Barnes, George Pelecanos, and dozens more. Whether "meating out justice" or serving up "red herrings," contributors have provided the cherished recipes of their fictional sleuths or shared a personal favorite.

Look for Kit's recipe, Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes, on page 92.

Louisville's FBI

Silver Dagger Mysteries
Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN: 1-59058-302-9
December, 2006

Trade paperback
ISBN: 1-59058-478-3
May, 2007

ISBN: 1-59058-303-6
March, 2007

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Louisville, KY
the high life
K i t   E h r m a n . . .
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Horse photo by Mike Corrado
Overmountain Press
ISBN 1570722781

Trade Paperback
ISBN  157072279x