Hayden Konig has always been lucky. As a detective, he’s top-notch. As the organist at St. Barnabas Church, he’s been tickling the ivories for close to twenty years. He’s rich, his wife is the best looking woman in three counties, he lives in a big cabin in the woods — he has a dog, a gun, a CD collection, and a truck.
Yet he is not content. He has one dream left to realize. He longs to be a noir detective writer like his hero, Raymond Chandler. In a desperate attempt to channel some of the master’s wordplay, Hayden has purchased Mr. Chandler’s old typewriter — a 1939 Underwood No. 5. It doesn’t help.
The woman swept in like a mezzo aria: her middle-aged melody anticipated by the accompanying strains of a lush, overripe, dewberry-scented décolletage. She surveyed the office, gave Pedro the once-over, then dropped her gaze on me like a feed sack full of alto-meal. Her lips were fleshy and wanting in that kind of way that lips get after eating Hunan spicy beef with Szechuan peppers, extra hot, with enough monosodium glutamate to exacerbate water retention and cause lips to be plump as a couple of meal worms. I thought about lunch.
Even as Hayden works on his new opus, he must deal with other, more pressing problems. Groundhog Day isn't usually a liturgical holiday, but when the new Anglo-Catholic priest decides that a Candlemas Evensong on February 2nd is in order, what can the choir do but comply? As "St. Groundelmas" approaches, three dead bodies turn up, and the clues point to a trashy murder mystery being read by the Blue Hill Bookworms. Will the St. Germaine PD get everything wrapped up before the groundhog sees his shadow?
"Hey,” says Hayden, "how hard can it be?"