The second book in the Missy Jenkins musical mystery series, "Death in 3/4 Time," takes place in December of 1979. The following excerpt is from Chapter One:
The sparkle of ice on the bedroom window softened the deep blue of the winter night. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Two a.m. With her husband on a business trip and her teenagers spending the night with friends, this was her opportunity to indulge her secret passion for ballroom dance.
Taking a deep breath, she inhaled the cool, clean pine scent of the Christmas garland looped around the upstairs bannister. Lilting strains of a Strauss waltz played softly as the woman's slippered feet slid noiselessly across the hardwood floor. Head tilted to one side, embracing an invisible partner, she glided to the rise and fall of the waltz rhythm. One-two-three, one-two-three. Her heart soared with the freedom the music instilled in her. As she twirled, the pink chiffon skirt of the ball gown swirled out like an airy puff of cotton candy, then settled back around her shapely calves. The neckline was adorned with marabou feathers that fluttered gracefully in time with the rhythm of her movements.
Behind her, the lid to the chest containing her ball gowns was propped open. Once, long ago, she thought she would become a dancer. But her husband scoffed at her love of dance, suppressed her joy. Her children who used to prance around the house with her as toddlers, ridiculed her as soon as their father's influence took hold. For many years she gave in and gave up. Now, with only a few weeks remaining of 1979, a new decade promised a fresh start for her. She had finally found the self-confidence to live the life she wanted, not what others demanded of her. She had shared her secret with someone she could trust, and a weight had been lifted.
She thought about the wasted years. A rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows had marked her married life. Marital bliss had soon eroded into lies and infidelity. When her son was born, she devoted herself into becoming the perfect mother. After her daughter was born, a failed suicide attempt sent her to the psychiatrist who prescribed the drugs that had ruled her life since then. Manic-depressive, the doctor called it. Looking back, now that she no longer relied on the pills to get her through the day, she realized how overcompensating and overprotective she had become.
A loud noise jolted her out of her reverie. What was that? She turned off the music and listened intently. Nothing. The old feeling of paranoia welled up inside her. No! She closed the lid of the chest holding the gowns and waited. The hall was dark, the house bathed in silence. A few months ago, she would have said that withdrawal symptoms were making her imagination run wild. But not any more. She definitely heard a noise. She started down the stairs.