Side Trip to Kathmandu
Sidney Marsh Mystery, #3
Publisher: Camel Press
Date of Publication: March 1, 2015
Number of pages: 156
Cover Artist: Sabrina Sun
Sidney Marsh's job as a New York travel agent is on the line. On her last two tours, she and her colleague Jay ended up smack in the middle of murder and mayhem. Their sleuthing sideline did not endear them to their employer, Itchy Feet Travel, so naturally they are relieved when their wealthy friend Brooke requests their presence on a no expense spared tour of India and Nepal. Another agency has made the arrangements, so all they need do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Well, not quite all. Brooke has enlisted them to keep a sharp eye on their fellow travelers, all "friends" who have grown rich from the demise of others. After surviving an attempt on her life, Brooke is certain the culprit must be one of the five: a handsome Scotsman, a Bollywood actress, an investment banker, a Parisian filmmaker, or a twice widowed blonde. Many of the tour accommodations prove to be as dodgy as the reputations of the travelers themselves. After one of the members of the moving house party dies of an apparent heart attack, everyone's nerves are on edge. Sidney can hardly be blamed for assuming a deadly game is afoot... or for falling for Adam, the doting Scotsman. Now, if only she can unmask the killer before the killer beats her to the punch.
My name is Sidney Marsh, and I’m a travel agent, one of the last left standing in a job that everyone seems to think is becoming obsolete. Not me. I hope and believe that there will always be a place for a really good travel advisor, no matter what the Internet offers. I love planning trips for people and I pray they will always need my services. It’s great making people happy. Plus, I get to go on amazing trips that I could never afford on my own. Bonus.
My career started about nine years ago when I came to New York for a summer internship with a travel agency, fell in love with the travel business and the City, and worked overtime until I managed to turn that little temp job into a career.
My mother, back home in Mississippi, nearly passed out over the idea of blowing off college and sorority rush for Manhattan, but she’s finally gotten used to it. Sort of.
I’m happy about that, because I love my mom but I totally don’t want to have to leave the energy of Manhattan and head back home for good if I can avoid it. Not right now, anyway.
My little hometown is warm and friendly, filled with nice people, good people, but it’s tiny. I can count all the stoplights in my head if I try. It’s a charming place, it’s home, but it’s not The Big Apple.
The agency I work for in New York is called Itchy Feet Travel. Our name sounds kind of goofy, but it appeals to people and we’re pretty successful, even in these tough times. Like I said, some people think travel agents may be a dying breed, but in our shop we work really hard to send folks around the world happily and safely. We have good agents at Itchy, skilled, experienced agents. I’m pretty good myself, and Jay Wilson, my best friend and usual travel partner, is one of the best.
Life is good, fun and challenging at the same time, but certainly not perfect by any description. For one thing, my love life is, shall we say, kind of uneven, all ups and downs. I’ve fallen for some amazing guys that never seem to have a problem attracting, but so far nothing permanent has worked out. My mother calls it The Marsh Curse, because so many of my dad’s sisters seem to have the same difficulties I have with men. Jay agrees with Mom and says so whenever I hit the wall, which is fairly often. But in spite of that, I’m happy, and my life has worked out pretty well so far.
But now, however, there’s this big black cloud on my horizon. My boss at the travel agency, Mr. Silverstein, laid it out for me first thing this morning, while giving me a new assignment, a luxury trip to Northern India and Nepal,
“This is your final chance, Sidney,” Silverstein said, slouching in his Italian leather chair and staring at me over his Cheaters. “And I really mean it this time. Your last two trips were disasters.”
I tried to explain to him, not for the first time, how all that really wasn’t my fault. Really, it wasn’t. After all, I don’t exactly recruit killers to come on my trips, do I? Somehow they just appear. How can I be blamed for that?
“All I know, Sidney,” he replied, “is that on the trips you’ve been leading lately, stuff happens. Bad stuff. People die. It may be just bad luck, it may not be your fault, but somehow it happens. And if your luck doesn’t change—and I mean right now—you are out of a job. My lawyers are screaming. Itchy Feet Travel can’t take any more unfortunate accidents. It’s bad for business.”
So right now, that’s my problem, and it’s a big one, as I pack my bag, headed out for India.
The boss is right. Our last two big trips, a Scandinavian cruise and an African safari, unfortunately did not turn out well.
Through no fault of my own, people really did end up dead….
1 e-book of Side Trip to Kathmandu
Marie Moore is a native Mississippian. She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly trinewspaper—first as a writer and later as Managing Editor. She wrote hard news, features and a weekly column, and won a couple of MS Press Association awards for her stories. In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency, which she managed for the next fifteen years. The Sidney Marsh mysteries are inspired by those experiences. Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She and her husband now live in Memphis, TN, and Holly Springs, MS.
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