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Who would want to frame a young rookie cop for murder? Private investigator, Dan Starrett, is hired to find the answer. When he discovers his client was videotaped having sex with the murdered woman just hours before her body was found, he realizes he has to work fast before the blackmail tape surfaces. He also begins to believe his client might possibly be telling the truth when he says he didn't kill her, but still feels he's lying about something. As Starrett gets deeper into the investigation, he finds himself being drawn into the killer's game. The trick is staying alive long enough to discover the identity of the killer. But maybe a pair of crooked detectives can help Starrett with that, and help him settle an old score, too.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

M.B. Eldridge

As a young child, Mary Eldridge was always drawing pictures. Later, she realized that before she learned to write she had used the drawings to tell stories. At age 14 she began writing her first novel and has been writing ever since. Drawn to mysteries, she enjoys the challenge of developing character-driven plots. She lives on a large acreage in Iowa with her husband and two horses. A licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Mary divides her time between working with wildlife, writing, and riding and caring for her horses.


4-1/2 Stars!

"M.B. Eldridge is a writer who should have a great career ahead of her. Her grasp of the human element and her gift for dialogue and characterization place her right up there with the best detective writers. One of the best PI books I've read in awhile."

"Booty from the other Genres" -- Affaire de Coeur

"A book that should grace any mystery-lover's library, Framework starts with a dead hooker, a video-taped murder, a rich cop framed, and a PI being lured into an alley and beaten. And, it's all done so smoothly that the reader can't stop reading, can't come close to guessing the ending, and has to follow, breathless and excited, as the plot twists and turns, the author peels away more and more chaff, reveals plots within plots. And, perhaps, frames within frames? Highly Recommended!"

Under the Covers Book Reviews


It felt like something was bursting inside him but he fought to keep himself under control, to stay calm and concentrate. On the balls of his feet like an eager boxer, he moved to several different areas of the room, always turning to look back at the scene, surveying it from every possible angle, savoring it. A few times he raised his hands, thumbs together, a few inches in front of his face, and viewed the woman in the bed critically in the square of his makeshift camera lens. How would they see her? That was very important. He wanted to view the scene from their perspective, fresh and critically. He wanted to feel the impact. Thinking about them being here, in this very room, this very spot perhaps, taking their photos, collecting evidence, excited him.

He could barely contain the excitement and forced himself to leave the bedroom and go into the adjoining bathroom. Passing the two side-by-side pink lavatories set in gray marble, he caught sight of himself in the large mirror and paused. For a second he was surprised that he should look the same, then a slow smile crept across his round face. He felt so damn good! This was going to work. He was in control of the situation. It belonged to him. But time was important now and he moved past the mirror to a small door at the end of the room. It opened onto a shallow closet. Removing the blue bathrobe from the teddy bear-shaped hook inside the door, he dropped it onto the tile floor. He turned the empty hook and the back wall of the closet fell toward him. He caught it easily and stood the piece of light plywood, painted to match the closet walls, aside.

Without its back wall the closet revealed a small room, 3 X 4 feet, just big enough for its contents -- a video camera mounted on a tripod and narrow shelves built into one end of the room, containing a couple dozen tapes. He raised his hand, finger poised over the eject button on the camera, but the excitement overwhelmed him and he couldn't push the button immediately. Forcing himself to take a deep breath and relax, he pushed the button and the side opened, revealing the tape. He plucked it from the camera and stowed it inside his jacket. It only took a few minutes to stash the camera, tapes and folded tripod into a large gym bag and replace the false wall. He ran the fingers of his leather-gloved hand around the edges of the wall after it was in place, making sure it fit snugly. Then he twisted the hook upright, replaced the robe and closed the door behind him.

In the bedroom, he had to stop and admire her again. Briefly, he considered firing up the camera and getting some more shots, but after checking his watch, he decided against it. He went to the built in entertainment center with her stereo, TV and VCR and squatted down on his haunches to go through her video tapes. She'd printed the labels in the large, meticulous lettering of a child. He selected one, then another and yet another. He went back through them all again, making sure he hadn't missed any, then suddenly realized he was wasting time and scooped them all up, dumping them in the bag.

As he walked past the bed, he felt the rush again. This was the beginning of something big for him, he sensed. With much more of the game yet to play, he was looking forward to every minute of it.

Nothing would go wrong, it couldn't, he was in control. He started to whistle a song from an old movie. He didn't know or care which one. Then he started laughing and couldn't whistle. It was so damn funny, here he was carrying all the evidence slung over his shoulder, whistling his head off, and not a goddam soul would ever find out.