A Pop in the Nose #SampleSunday

I haven’t shared a snippet from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE for a while. DEAD GUY (as I call it for short — get weird looks when I’m unloading at book sale events and tell my partners, “I left the Dead Guy in the car.”) — I lost my place. Oh, yeah: DEAD GUY is a paranormal suspense set in 1968.

James Michener (Mitch) Franklin is an orphan, hired by Amelia (“Call me Aunt Missy”) Hardesty to look after her two Pekingese dogs. When Mitch drives her home, he meets Mr. Walton, her brother-in-law, and his son, Andrew.

A Pop in the Nose

by Marian Allen

Mr. Walton took a cream-colored envelope from the inside pocket of his suit-coat and handed it to her. “The name sounded familiar. After a while, it came to me.” I craned my neck, trying to read the return address, as if it would mean something to me. “Grant Marsch. Do you recognize the name, Amelia? Remember Grant Marsch?”

“Who?” said Dr. Andrew. “The name does sound familiar.”

Aunt Missy sat very still, holding the envelope by one corner. “I remember him.” She put the envelope in her pocketbook and snapped the clasp.

“Aren’t you going to open it?”

“Later. It is a piece of private correspondence. I’ll read it privately.”

“Aren’t you going to accuse me of steaming it open and re-sealing it?”

“Did you?” Aunt Missy asked, but you could tell her heart wasn’t in it.

“Grant Marsch was a friend of Albert’s,” Mr. Walton told his son. “A very dear friend of dear Albert’s, as I recall. Surely you remember.”

“Isn’t he the one –” Dr. Andrew began, and Mr. Walton nodded.

“Albert,” Mr. Walton told me, “was Aunt Amelia’s last hire. He didn’t work out.”

Aunt Missy lowered her eyelids and turned her head away, as if she were watching the dogs, but I saw a glisten at the corner of her eye.

I didn’t know what all this by-play was about, but if Aunt Missy had turned to me and said, “Mitch, dear, would you give Matthew Walton a pop in the nose?” I’d have said, “Sure,” and done it.


Dead Guy cover
cover by T. Lee Harris
artwork by Sara Marian


In multiple formats from Untreed Reads

From an indie bookstore through Indiebound 

In print and for Kindle and free Kindle apps through Amazon 

As an audiobook through Audible 

A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Someone gets a letter.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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