Anniversary excerpt: How about some Mayhem?

This is the 3rd in my Fatal Writers' Conference series and it released on this day in 2009.

Doesn't seem that long ago! Here's an excerpt from Mayhem, Marriage, and Murderous Mystery Manuscripts.

Setup: Bea Emerson, best-selling author, has found another author dead in a ballroom during a writer’s conference. Her husband, Lucas, is a retired cop and with her during the investigation.

I remembered my guilty mental promise to participate more in chapter activities. “It’s easy to do. Are you sure?” I asked Lucas.
“We’re in no rush.” He hugged my arm against his body but he wasn’t paying attention to me. He watched Detective Morton, who spoke with two people near the doors to the ballroom.
“Who are they?” George asked.
“Forensics.” Lucas started a slow walk to the door, taking me with him. Our friends followed behind in our wake.
“What do you think is happening, L.J.?” Clair asked. “Does someone have it in for Ralph?”
“I don’t think so.” His attention zeroed in on Morton and the people he was talking with. “Her movements were unpredictable. No one could have planned on her being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“So you don’t think she was the target?”
He hesitated and the others piled up behind us. Morton finished his talk with the crime scene techs. He turned to us and must have seen the question on Lucas’ face. “We’re wrapping up in the other ballroom.” He gestured to Bob Sipes, who hurried to join us. “We’ll let people in there to get their belongings but they’ll need to be escorted.”
“Great, thanks.” Bob hurried off. Clair and the others started to drift to the exit as a murmur started sweeping through the crowd about our impending departure from our temporary holding pen.
“How did she die?” I asked John Morton.
He glanced around but no one was nearby except Lucas. “She was stabbed.”
“Really?” I tried to reconstruct the scene in my head. If there was blood I missed it. Perhaps it blended with the red of her sweater.
“What was the weapon?” Lucas’ voice was harsh, huskier than his usual molten Southern drawl.
I glanced sharply at him. “Why does the weapon…?” My voice trailed away as I recalled my research into basic police procedure. The weapon could tell an investigator if the crime was premeditated or not.
Morton took a stick pen from a nearby table. It was one of the many littering the tables, probably one of many in a goody bag.
“What?” I asked stupidly.
Lucas took the pen from Morton, his face grim. “Damn.”
“What?” I asked again.
Lucas pulled the blunt cap off the pen to reveal its somewhat sharp point.
“You’re not serious,” I said in disbelief.
He nodded. A terrible cliché about ‘the pen mightier than the sword’ ran through my brain. “How could …?”
Lucas tossed the pen back on the table. “Any sharp object can be lethal if it ends up in the wrong spot.”
“Yeah,” Morton said glumly. “Like somebody’s heart.”

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