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The Body in Bodega Bay

A Nora Barnes and Toby Sandler Mystery

Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden

Publication Year: 2014

Life in Bodega Bay on the rugged, foggy coast of northern California has been pretty quiet since Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds there. But antiques dealer Toby Sandler learns that his new business partner Charlie has been found dead on an abandoned boat in the harbor. When the local sheriff discovers that Charlie’s newly acquired Hitchcock artifacts and a painting of an angel are missing, he enlists Toby and his wife, Nora Barnes, an art historian, in the investigation.
            Local tales about Hitchcock’s famous film, and some digging into the region’s past as a Russian outpost, provide Toby and Nora with clues to the existence of a lost masterpiece. Convinced that this forgotten work may hold the key to the murder, Nora and Toby set out to find it. When Nora’s trouble-prone sister Angie arrives, events take a surprising turn, leading to the uncanny realm of angel reading and putting Nora and her family in danger. As Nora and Toby investigate matters both criminal and otherworldly, Nora realizes that some mysteries in life may be too deep to solve.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Chapter 1

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pp. 3-13

I’ll be damned. There’s a body on the boat.” We were sitting in The Tides having crab cakes for lunch when the news came in over Captain Andy’s CB radio. He relayed the information from the table next to us. Andy’s a commercial fisherman who works out of Bodega Bay. His mooring is opposite our house. “That,” said Toby, “explains the commotion in the harbor.”...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 14-29

Highway 1 from Bodega Bay to Jenner is a dazzling stretch of road. The two- lane tarmac spools up and down low, closecropped hills and winds around treacherous horseshoe bends, while the ocean crashes against the bluffs and throws spume high into the air. At...

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Chapter 3

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pp. 30-44

In early March, daybreak sometimes starts with a streak of rose over the dark Bodega hills. As dawn swells, I like to be seated in the kitchen looking out at our deck, so I can watch the sky shift from orange to pink, with a hint of green, giving way to daylight blue. Sometimes...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 45-59

Rose Cassini, the consignor of the icon, had agreed to meet with us the next morning at her home in Cazadero. On the way, we stopped off in Duncans Mills so Toby could hang a “closed” sign on his shop for the second day in a row. Wednesday morning is a slow time for...

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Chapter 5

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pp. 60-76

The cousin? The man Peter feared? I called Rose right away, but the best she could do was confirm that Andrew might have been the cousin’s name. Honestly, she couldn’t remember. Still, it was enough of a reason to call Dan. He picked up the phone on the first ring. He...

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Chapter 6

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pp. 77-92

Not a thing was taken, not a blessed thing. Drawers and closets had been tossed, but the upset was just a quick turnover of the contents, in search of something that hadn’t been found. The woman officer Dan sent over was especially impressed that a thick envelope...

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Chapter 7

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pp. 93-106

The foghorn woke me. I lay in the dark, counting the seconds between its eerie notes: ten, as usual, never varying. Finally, I fumbled for my clock and saw it was just past five. The call of the foghorn wasn’t necessarily bad news for my day’s plan. In fact, it’s a constant...

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Chapter 8

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pp. 107-119

As soon as he reached the railing, Toby pulled his cell phone from his pocket to call the sheriff and cursed when there was no connection. Angie and I reached into the car to get our phones and turn on the emergency lights. But neither of our phones worked...

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Chapter 9

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pp. 120-133

Leave it to Toby to have a rational explanation for everything. It sometimes bothers me that there’s so little room in his makeup for the mysterious side of life. In this instance, though, he probably was right. “You’re going to the cemetery today for Charlie’s funeral. The grave...

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Chapter 10

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pp. 134-146

The next morning a bleary- eyed Toby drove us into Berkeley, with the damaged icon cradled in my lap. Angie was off for another session with her angel reader. I hadn’t been in touch with Al since our previous visit, so we had some catching up to do. Sitting in his...

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Chapter 11

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pp. 147-161

March in Madison can still be the middle of winter. That was clear from the airplane window: carpets of snow and two frozen lakes framing the isthmus with its gleaming Capitol. But the sky was the bright blue of summer at the sea. Deceptive. I almost fainted from cold as I waited outside the terminal....

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Chapter 12

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pp. 162-173

Toby should have been there. He deserved to share my joy at seeing the long- lost image emerge from under the crust of ancient gesso. I snapped a dozen shots for him, using my cell- phone camera. Now the question was how long we would have to wait to view...

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Chapter 13

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pp. 174-186

The house phone was ringing as we walked in the door. It was Al Miller. “Hi, Al.” “Hi, Nora. I was just talking to George on Skype. He’s finished the cleaning. It looks magnificent. Have you seen it yet? He’s been trying to reach you.” “Not yet. I’ve been out. I just this minute got home.” “Well, wait till you see what it looks like now. I’m sure it’s Rublev. I...

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Chapter 14

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pp. 187-198

We cleared the table and laid out the storyboards again. This time it seemed to me that one felt thicker to the touch than the others. I ran my fingernail along the edge and felt a slight indentation, like a tiny groove. “Look at this, will you? Am I right that...

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Chapter 15

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pp. 199-213

Toby came out of the house and walked up beside me as I stood on the curb. “Poor Angie.” “She’ll be okay.” “Are you still up for our treasure hunt after all that?” He pointed to the gardening tools he’d fetched from the garage this morning and had left leaning against the side of the house. “I think so. There’s no reason to put it off.” The rain had stopped an...

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pp. 214-220

Six months later, we were all standing in the lobby of the UC–Berkeley Museum, attending the reception for the world debut of Andrei Rublev’s restored masterpiece, The Old Testament Trinity Triptych. Al Miller had organized the exhibition. The place was...


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pp. 221-223

E-ISBN-13: 9780299297930
E-ISBN-10: 0299297934
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299297909
Print-ISBN-10: 029929790X

Page Count: 229
Publication Year: 2014

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Subject Headings

  • Bodega Bay (Calif.) -- Fiction.
  • Murder -- California -- Bodega Bay -- Fiction.
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