Death Of A Highland Heavyweight
Murder, chaos, teen angst, missing frog figurines, wedding preparations. What do these things have in common? Gailynn MacDonald. When Highland Games Heavyweight Champion Claude Oui is found dead at the bottom of the stairs, his wife is overcome with grief. As head of the town's annual Hum Harbour Daze festival, she cannot plan a funeral and keep up with her responsibilities to the town, so Gailynn dutifully steps in.
Amidst choosing bridesmaids dresses, assembling a big top tent, and advising teenagers in love—one of whom just might be a murderer—Gailynn is once again caught up in the town’s hidden secrets as she races to solve Hum Harbour's latest crime spree.
It started with the robberies. I doubt anyone would have noticed anything missing if Mom and I hadn’t been browsing through wedding magazines at my place. We were searching for the perfect bridesmaid dress, one that would suit both my sister-in-law, Sasha, and my cousin, Ashleigh, when Mom mentioned she couldn’t find her kitchen frog—you know, those little ceramic creatures that hold pot scrubby pads.
Ash is a frog fanatic. She collects frog everything, which was why frogs and bridesmaid dresses went together in Mom’s mind.
“Come to think of it,” I said, leaning back to see into my postage stamp kitchen, “I haven’t seen mine for a while either.”
I live above my shop, Dunmaglass, and after last year’s break-in, I’d installed a mega security system. No one should be able to sneak in and abscond with anything—even my kitchen frog.
“We should report the thefts to the police. Andrew’s been complaining that business is dull this summer.”
My brother, Andrew, was one of three local law enforcement officers.
Mom closed the magazine and reached for a new one. “Don’t go wishing for another crime spree, Gailynn MacDonald. We’ve had enough in this town to last a lifetime.”
“I don’t think the Simmons brothers getting caught siphoning gas for their lawnmower constitutes a crime spree, Mom.”
“Neither is a couple of missing kitchen frogs.”
“You never know,” I said. “First kitchen frogs, then small appliances, freezers. Imagine the hoopla if we had a ring of freezer raiders on our hands.”
I clicked my tongue as Mom wiped laughter-tears from her cheeks.
“You laugh now, but mark my words, this is bigger than a couple of kitchen frogs.”
She pushed her new magazine across the table. “Look, I’ve found the perfect dress.”
I was doubtful, but Mom, an avid sewer, sees things I miss at first glance.
She tapped the picture with her finger. “All we need to do is change the shoulders, tuck the waist a bit, and lengthen the hem. We could even eliminate the lace ruffles, if you like.” She smiled triumphantly.
“And it’ll have to be lavender.”
“Purple?” She crinkled her nose with disdain.
“Lavender. Otherwise it’s perfect.”
And that was the last time I thought about missing kitchen frogs until I discovered Carrie Hunter-Oui administering CPR to her husband in the middle of her back hallway.
Question 1: Claude Oui’s new Christian faith was the talk of the town. Everyone was watching to see if it was real. How does your witness stand up to scrutiny?
Question 2: Claude’s enthusiasm for God meant family obligations came second. Are we really honoring God when we ignore those obligations?
Question 3: Professional and amateur athletics often have far reaching health risks. Claude Oui suffered from post concussion syndrome, something that’s gaining a lot of press these days. How should we respond when someone we love allows their athletic involvements to compromise their health?
Question 4: Carrie Hunter-Oui struggled to find a balance between her roles as wife and daughter. If you are facing a similar struggle, how do you find balance?
Question 5: Carrie did not appreciate her husband’s new faith. What do you think he could have done to help her understand?
Question 6: Danny-Boy Murdock saw Claude’s physical symptoms and immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion. Can you think of a time you jumped to a wrong conclusion? What were the consequences?
Question 7: Ashleigh agreed to work at Dunmaglass for the summer, but when her personal situation turned sour, she quit her job. Can you think of a time you used an unpleasant circumstance or situation as an excuse to break a commitment?
Question 8: Gailynn told Josh Pry that a gift’s value is in the love it represents. What message do the gifts you give express?
Question 9: Gailynn stepped forward to help Carrie in her time of need, but she had a hard time keeping a joy-filled attitude about it. How do you handle situations where you feel compelled to help when you’d rather not?
Question 10: Gailynn knows it’s wrong, she tries to stop, but somehow she can’t seem to help meddling in police business. What no-nos do you find yourself drawn into again and again?