Ivy seemed anxious when Flynn went to meet her the day after the wedding. She was hovering in the doorway of the clubhouse and practically vibrating with excess energy.

“I have another lead!” she practically shouted at him. He took a startled step back and she blushed slightly.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. But I got another lead just before I left the wedding. I think I actually saved the killer’s meet intended victim.”

“Really? Who was it?” Flynn followed her into the clubhouse, stuffing his hands in his pockets and standing awkwardly near the wall. He felt a little embarrassed after just blurting out how pretty she looked at the wedding and now he felt almost shy and didn’t know what to do with his hands.

“This man named Jason Derringer. He’s an absolute troll but I noticed a note in his hand, and it was basically the same note that Samantha had on her, claiming to be a secret admirer.”

“Maybe that’s what we should start calling him, as a code name. Secret Admirer.”

Ivy broke into a grin that was at once impish and sunny and Flynn pretended to be fascinated by a spot on the wall above her head.

“That’s a good idea,” Ivy said. “The press will likely assign him a name eventually, if he keeps it up. It’ll probably be something stupid though.”

“So his targets must be people who are popular or seemingly well-liked in society. Or her targets.”

Ivy looked at him with raised brows and he shrugged.

“What? A woman can’t be a killer? The secret admirer routine would allow for an element of surprise.”

“Fair enough,” Ivy chuckled. “This theory on motive doesn’t tell us much in the way of who the next victim could be, though. There’s a whole list of possibilities.” She frowned, looking troubled. “Do you think he-or she-will try to come after Ginny?”

“Not likely,” Flynn said quickly. “Ginny is never alone, and I’m sure she’s too smart to go off and meet a stranger just because they send her a note. She has an amateur sleuth as a sister, after all.”

Ivy seemed slightly reassured. “Our father doesn’t want us going out alone right now anyway, and Ginny wouldn’t break that rule. She doesn’t even like covering for me when I slip out to come here.”

“Speaking of that,” Flynn said slowly. “You really shouldn’t be sneaking out here alone. It could be dangerous.”

“I’m not popular,” Ivy told him. “Why would the Secret Admirer bother coming after me?”

“We could be wrong about the motive,” Flynn reminded her. “We think he’s going after people because they’re popular but there could be more to it. After we parted ways last night, I went back to the pub where Chester Mansfield was murdered. There was a different bartender working, a more chatty one. And there was a guy at the bar that used to talk with Chester quite a bit; they liked to drink together. Anyway, I found out a little more about dear old Chester.”

“Tell me!” Ivy grabbed the front of his shirt and shook him slightly. Laughing slightly, Flynn pried her off. “Well the other bartender told us before that Chester had been hanging around the bar so much because his wife kicked him out, right? Well apparently she kicked him out because she got him getting fresh with the maid. And still he was befriending people in the bar and partying almost every night, like he didn’t even care.”

“Jason is a jerk too. But what about Samantha? She was new in town, and she was really sweet.”

“Maybe she hurt someone where she lived before. Though how on earth our killer found that out I can’t imagine. Unless she actually met the Secret Admirer beforehand. Or maybe they know someone from her hometown who told them something.”

“Samantha is a bit of a puzzle piece,” Ivy agreed. “I don’t know enough about her past or about how well she knew the killer. And I can’t exactly stroll up to her grieving family and ask if anyone was holding grudges against her.” She sighed. “Still, from what we know so far it does seem that the targets are all people who were seen as popular, but who were perhaps mean or bullies. So we have to assume for now that Samantha did something that the killer at least deemed bad and decided she needed to die for it.”

“I still really think you should be more careful about going out alone,” Flynn said. “You did just mess up a killer’s plan to kill someone.”

‘Yes, but how could they know that?”

“Well, they must have been at the wedding if that’s where they were meeting Jason.” Flynn shuddered faintly to realize that they had very likely been in the same room as a cold blooded murderer. “Just…promise that you’ll be very cautious when you go out, all right? If we’re wrong about the motives here, then a young girl walking around alone is too irresistible of a target.”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “You sound like my father.”

“Well, your father is right to worry, given all the antics you get up to. And I don’t want to open a newspaper to find a picture pf you splashed across the front page.”

“I’ll be fine.”


“Okay, okay. I promise I’ll be very careful.” She paused. “If you’re so concerned, there is this big event I have to go to in three days. It’s a big gala for the university, you know to get people to donate money. Daddy always goes because he’s passionate about education and such. Most years I don’t go, but he doesn’t really want me going out or staying home alone these days, and he thinks it’s good for us to get back out and do things now that we’re technically out of mourning. So anyway he’s making me go and it’s going to be very stuffy and boring but probably a good place to try and sniff around for another possible victim. Which I am clearly going to do. And since you’re so terribly worried about my safety and all, then as my partner you should come with me. Anyone can bring a guest along.”

“I’m not sure that’s such a good idea,” Flynn said, shifting nervously. It would be much harder to avoid talk or prying eyes if he showed up with the Brownwells, and he couldn’t possibly fake fitting in among that set for a whole night.

“Because of those people you’re avoiding?” Ivy asked, eyes narrowing ever so slightly. Flynn rubbed the back of his neck.

“It’s a long story,” he muttered. She just kept looking at him and he finally relented. “All right, if you’re going to insist on chasing after murderers at lavish parties, then I guess I have no choice but to go with you.”

She beamed. “Great. You can meet me at my house, then. Five sharp.”

“Five sharp,” Flynn echoed faintly. He had a bad feeling about this, but he didn’t want her to be mad at him and he’d managed to avoid detection for this long. Maybe none of the Radcliffes would attend; everyone knew by now that Benedict was dying. He hadn’t left the house in months and even Cordelia rarely went out these days. The Radcliffes were one of the oldest and wealthiest families in the city. Their absence wouldn’t go unnoticed.

“I probably won’t be able to get out much between now and then anyway,” Ivy was saying. “Ginny is going to help me with a dress again and if I sneak out too much she’s going to be mad because she doesn’t like lying to cover my ass. But we’ll talk at the gala.”

“And no chasing murderers without me,” Flynn warned. She rolled her eyes.

“And, Ivy?” he said hesitantly as they began to part ways. She glanced at him over her shoulder.

“You should, uh…you should wear your hair mostly down again, you know, like you did at the wedding? It suits you better than the buns most girls wear.” He cleared his throat, feeling awkward again. “So…yeah. I’ll be seeing you. Bye.”

He strode away up the street before she could say anything or notice that his ears had gone pink.