Seventy-something Jewish American widow Lori Brill thought she’d have a pleasant, uneventful vacation in London visiting her granddaughter, Cate.
Her trip started out even better than she could have imagined when she ran into Josh, her old high-school boyfriend, in line for the same flight at the airport—resulting in an unexpected night of passion in a London hotel room. Lori was all smiles as she stepped out of the shower the next morning, ready to slip back into Josh’s arms—until she saw his bloody corpse lying in the bed where they had made love only a few short hours before.
The London police naturally suspect Lori of murdering her lover, but the case becomes more complicated when it is discovered that international ladies’ man and real estate mogul Josh has swindled millions of dollars from hundreds of people—a fact that broadens the case beyond the Scotland Yard team led by Inspector Geoffrey Holmes and brings in American FBI agent Jordan Gould.
Also on the case are Lori’s granddaughter Cate and Cate’s fiancé Joseph, two London solicitors.
Complicating matters are Cate’s and Jordan Gould’s growing mutual attraction as the investigation progresses; another growing mutual attraction between Lori and Inspector Holmes; and Lori’s family’s unexpected connection to Joseph’s father, Lord Roger Lunt, and to the wealthy German nobleman Baron Joseph Braun and the horror of the Holocaust.
So who killed Josh? Was it Josh’s beautiful girlfriend Suzi, who unexpectedly appears in London? Was it Josh’s Chinese financial backers? Was it British mobsters, led by the evil Roland McKeifer, who kidnap Lori in an attempt to find Josh’s hidden millions? Was it Baron Braun, who summons Lori to Germany to tell her a 70-year-old secret? Was it someone whose money had been stolen or heart had been broken by Josh?
Or was it someone else?
Find out in Murder Across the Ocean
She shrugged off her momentary embarrassment and, humming happily to herself, turned off the water and stepped out of the shower into the bright morning sun shining through the small bathroom window. As she reached for her towel, she heard a sudden pounding noise coming from the adjacent bedroom. She dismissed it as nothing more than the sound of room service bringing breakfast.
Lori ran her tongue over her lips and smiled while saying aloud, “Josh.” Gazing at her reflection in the mirror, she realized she glowed. Yes, she thought, last night with Josh was almost as wonderful as the senior prom. At that moment, she felt like a teenager again instead of a seventy-year-old grandmother.
She toweled and then dabbed herself with Chanel No. 5, put on her expensive flowered silk dressing gown, slipped on her complimentary hotel slippers, and stepped out of the bathroom into their luxurious suite in the world-famous Palace Hotel.
Her eyes immediately stung from a smoky cloud hovering in the air; her nostrils twitched from the thick metallic scent of blood. Fear grasped her entire being. She slowly edged farther into the room while cautiously calling his name.
He didn’t answer.
Slowly, she approached the bed, then stopped cold, gasping in disbelief. Bright red blood spattered the rich tan-colored wall and the mahogany headboard, continuing down to the unmade bed where Josh’s body hung over the side of the mattress. White bone and gray-red brain matter dripped from the side of his head, staining the white silk sheets and the lush beige carpet. A burst feather pillow, also besmirched with blood and gore, lay on the floor.
Lori fixated on Josh’s face; a shower of white feathers clung to his forehead and cheek. Where once was a beautiful blue eye, there now appeared a mangled, bloody hole. It took a few moments for her mind to gather this information, process it, and allow a scream to escape.
Once she began screaming, she was unable to stop.
About the Author:
Charlene Wexler is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She has worked as a teacher and dental office bookkeeper and as “a wife, mom, and grandmother,” she said. In recent years, Wexler’s lifelong passion for writing has led her to create numerous essays as well as fiction.
She is the author of the books Lori, Elephants In The Room, Milk and Oranges, Murder Across the Ocean, and Murder on Skid Row.
Her work has appeared in several publications, including North Shore Magazine; the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry’s Vision magazine; Alpha Omegan magazine; the book and CD Famous Poets of the Heartland: A Treasury of Beloved Family Poems, Talent, OR: Famous Poets Press, 2014; and the Gazette newspaper of Chicago.
She also has had essays and fiction published on the websites AuthorsDen.com, The Best Short Stories, Booksie.com, Classic Short Stories, Cat Stories, Cats and Dogs at Play, End Your Sleep Deprivation.com, Funny Cat Stories, Funny Cats Playing, Funny Passport Stories, How Old is Grandma?, Laughter Is My Medicine, Make-Up Mouse, Moral Short Stories-Ethical Tales, One Bright Star.org, Scribd.com, Short Stories for Women, Short-Story.net, True Cat Stories, Way Cool Dogs.com, and the Write City Magazine.
Poetry of Wexler’s appears on Poetry.com.
Wexler’s first novel, Murder on Skid Row, was published in 2010. It is the story of a double-murder on Chicago’s Skid Row in the 1960s. Murder on Skid Row won an international Apex Award of Excellence from Communications Concepts, a writing think tank outside Washington, DC.
Published as an e-book on Smashwords and as a print edition by Central Park Communications in 2012, Milk and Oranges, is a collection of her short fiction and essays examining life, love, and the tragedy and comedy of the human condition. Whether she is tackling fiction or essays, Wexler writes from the heart. With a keen eye for detail and a way of looking at the world a bit sideways, Wexler’s writings in Milk and Oranges entertain while they make you think.
Milk and Oranges received a Bronze Award in the Women’s Issues category of the eLit Book Awards competition sponsored by the publishing services firm Jenkins Group Inc. of Traverse City, MI, and a rare international Grand Award in the Apex Awards competition by Communications Concepts in 2012.
In 2014, Charlene published two novels as e-books on Smashwords and Amazon Kindle: Lori, a family saga spanning several decades, and Murder Across the Ocean, a murder mystery set in England. Murder Across the Ocean also is available from Amazon as a paperback.
In 2016, Amazon Digital Services published her book Elephants In The Room, Charlene’s latest collection of short fiction and essays examining life, love, and the tragedy and comedy of the human condition.
Her short story Abracadabra Magic received a “Very Highly Commended” rating in the AuthorsDen.com Tom Howard Prose Contest, 2009. Her essay “A Letter to My Parents” won an Honorable Mention in the Glimmer Train Magazine Family Matters contest in 2017.
Wexler is active with the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity, the Authors Marketing Group, the Chicago Writers Association, Children’s Memorial Hospital philanthropy, the Geneva Lake Museum, Literary Fiction Writers, the Love is Murder Conference, Lungevity (an organization that fights lung cancer), the McHenry Bicycle Club, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Mystery Writers of America, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Richmond IL Book Club, Sisters in Crime, the Jewish United Fund, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association.
She is on Facebook and Twitter.
“I have always used writing as therapy,” Wexler said. “Now I have the time and opportunity to pursue it as a career.”
Her advice for other aspiring writers—even grandmothers like herself—is to “follow your dream. You can do it, and it’s never too late.”