Drawn to Murder
Publication date: January 31st 2024
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Sam Green is a newly minted art school graduate, excited to attend her first artist residency. But the pretty, serene Vermont surroundings soon turn sinister.
After a few months spent looking for the right project, Sam has landed a dream opportunity: three blissful weeks of working at a beautiful artist residency program in remote northern Vermont. But almost as soon as the residency begins, strange things start happening. Eager to settle into her work and make new friends, Sam tries to ignore the vaguely sinister feelings trying to warn her that something is afoot. But when a body is discovered, Sam can’t ignore what’s going on any longer.
If she has any chance of getting out of here – alive – Sam will have to figure out who the killer is.
“Sam, it’s your turn.”
I jolted out of my daydreaming, looking up at the dark-eyed, even darker-haired man across from me at the table. From the intensity of his expectant stare, you’d think we were plotting world domination, not playing a simple getting-to-know-you game. If you could call revealing unexpected or odd facts about yourself a game. Everyone was just trying to one up each other in achievements, fame or outright weirdness – because this was a group of artists, after all.
“Uh, sure. I’m Sam. Samantha, but everyone calls me Sam,” I said, stumbling over my words and sure that my cheeks were as bright red as they felt. Whatever I had been planning to say was instantly forgotten. Was there anyone who actually enjoyed these kinds of introductions?
“I’m here from Boston,” I continued. “I just graduated from school in the spring and I’m…taking a kind of gap year at the moment. I primarily work in ceramics and sculpture, especially miniatures.” I paused, willing anyone else to make a comment or ask a question, anything to save me from having to think of an interesting fact to share. What was there to say that was appropriate for this group? I grew up in New York? I have a cat named Paul? I once tripped over the body of a dead famous sculptor who’d been poisoned?
There were polite smiles around the table, which I returned, slightly nodding my head, signaling that I was done with my intro. I was saved from further humiliation-by-spotlight by the woman on my right, who moved her wheelchair closer to the table so everyone could see her.
“I’m Tony. Tonya, but everyone calls me Tony,” she said, throwing a small smile my way. “I’m here from LA, where I make immersive installations that challenge viewers’ perceptions of their interactions with, and limitations within, the physical world.” Tony waited a beat, tilting her chin as if daring any of us to ask the obvious question. There were more polite smiles, although I noticed about half of our group were studiously avoiding eye contact.
Unfortunately, only Eliot took the bait. “What inspired you towards that kind of work?” he asked with a kind of forced obliviousness. I didn’t think any of us needed more of an introduction to Eliot: over the course of the previous twenty-four hours since we’d gotten to the Winterbrook Artist Residency, he’d made himself known as the type of pompous, arrogant artist that gives the rest of us a bad name.
“Well, Eliot,” Tony said, returning his tone. “I’ve used a wheelchair since I was a kid, after a spinal injury. So after all these years experiencing a very different side of the physical world, I thought I’d give other people the chance to have a similar view.” The pair politely smiled at each other (although, one did have to admit – and admire – that Tony’s smile had more than a hint of crocodile to it) while the rest of us avoided engaging. “But if you’ll forgive me, I think I’ll actually head up to bed now,” Tony said, wheeling away from the table. “It was great to meet all
of you!” she called cheerily as she turned towards the door, her wheelchair making an unmistakable bumping motion over Eliot’s foot as she left. I couldn’t help but grin.
Sarah Vernon is an author and artist based in Massachusetts, where she writes the Triple-Decker Mystery Series.
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