The gun went off with a resounding report, and Isobel Spice staggered backward with a gasp. She tried to scream, but her breath caught in the back of her throat and all that came out was a gurgling, choking sound. Her eyes widened in horror as her hands, clutching her chest, came away red and sticky. She swayed precariously for a moment, but then her eyelids collapsed, her head fell back, and her knees gave way. She sank to the ground, arms and legs splayed at unnatural angles.
All was silent.
“Okay, that was way over the top.”
Isobel sat up in the middle of the dance floor, wiping her hands on her stained shirt. She frowned at her friend, Delphi Kramer, who was still aiming the old-fashioned derringer at her.
“That’s not your call.” Isobel turned to Peter Catanzaro, the burly, broad-shouldered, perennially stubbled producer and star of Murder à la Carte. “Was it too much?”
“Are you kidding? The cheesier, the better.” Peter offered a hand and pulled her to her feet. “Shakespeare it ain’t.”
Isobel snuck a glance at Delphi, whose blue eyes grew stormy. Isobel knew Delphi prided herself on her facility with the Bard’s iambs, and she, more than Isobel, felt they were slumming doing murder mystery dinner theater. Having won her point with Peter, however, Isobel took pity on her friend and, grabbing her arm, whispered a reminder: “A hundred bucks. And dinner.”
Delphi shook her off, and the gun bumped Isobel’s side. She let out a little shriek.
“Give me the gun,” Peter ordered. “That’s why you don’t get to handle the weapons except during rehearsal and performance.”
“Last I checked, this was a rehearsal,” Delphi said. Still, she obediently returned the gun, which Peter pocketed in his tan trench coat.
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