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Authors: Peggy A. Edelheit

Tags: #Mystery

The Puzzle

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The Puzzle

A Samantha Jamison Mystery

Volume 1


A Novel




Peggy A. Edelheit

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.


The Puzzle: A Samantha Jamison Mystery Volume 1

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this eBook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this eBook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.


Copyright © 2011 by Peggy A. Edelheit
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this eBook, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be
reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled,
reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this eBook via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.


Original Copyright © February 2009 by Peggy A. Edelheit


The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


Cover art:

Copyright ©
# 5655943 (Puzzle and Key)


Edited by
Winslow Eliot


Published by Telemachus Press, LLC


978-1-937387-27-3 (eBook)

-28-0 (paperback)







For my parents, who instilled in me the values of kindness, compassion and hard work, and the love of chasing your
Every day is a blessing.



With special love to,


Who owns my heart & is

My biggest supporter and confidant



Marc, Aaron & Jonathan

Who encouraged me to never give







A friend & fellow writer


Book Cover

Peggy A. Edelheit



Technical Support


Special thanks to

Winslow Eliot, Editor



Telemachus Press



The Puzzle

A Samantha Jamison Mystery

Volume 1



Chapter 1


Fatal Obsession


My Letter To My Dead Husband




For the first time, I find myself at a loss for words to describe exactly how I feel, but I will try. You see, I need somewhere to park my anger, and even though you will never read this, I must have something tangible in my hands, written in black and white. When I look back, I actually thought we had some kind of life together. Maybe not a great one, but, at least in the beginning, one that I thought was worth an emotional investment. Now, I’m not so sure.
The big shocker?
I didn’t expect to be a widow. It stopped me in my tracks. How and why did this happen? Undeserved as it was, it now dictates my search for the truth, regardless of what that truth might turn out to be. I ask myself, how was I to piece together all the shattered fragments of my life? To do that, I need a better understanding of where things went wrong. Initially, I felt vulnerable, but not for long. Knowledge was the game-changer. I remember the impact of betrayal, after discovering your deception, the way you used your lies and my apprehension to manipulate me. Why?
For what reason?
I’m exhausted from my naiveté and making excuses for your odd behavior, and I’m physically numbed by our last verbal encounter and your confusing remarks.
What strange bedfellows we ultimately became, me with my ignorance and you with your secretive duplicity.
It takes my breath away.




* * * * *


I felt like I was losing it, as my fingers flew across my computer keyboard, typing away, still wondering if my obsession for the truth would be the death of me. Little did I know when I first started this book that it would be the death of him instead. I paused to sip my wine, thinking it through. I wasn’t writing the great American novel, just another book about commitment and making choices. Pretty straightforward, right?

No. Not this time. All bets were off. My concentration stunk. I looked up. That damn clock was ticking away and my novel was behind schedule. I tried typing once again…



(My book)


…Doubt and fear shadowed me, as I proceeded down the hall with more courage than I felt. Listening carefully, I moved slowly past the first room, then the second, stealing a quick look in
each. Old houses settled and creaked, right? But his death did that to me, made me uneasy, ever since I discovered there were no lifetime guarantees on anything or anyone. There were just words that made you feel safe and secure. I flicked the landing light on and the hallway switch off, tentatively glancing back, but all I heard was that same conversation rebound from the past.


“I don’t have time right now!” snapped Stephen. “I’ve got to catch that plane. Let’s get a move on, or I’m going to miss it. We’ll sit down and talk when I get back.”

“Don’t you see? You always say that!” I knew the drill.

He turned back to me, grabbing my shoulders. “I’m sorry. I swear, this time I mean it. I have to tie up a few loose ends and have a feeling that everything will go my way. And if it doesn’t, well, you know me. I still manage to cover all my bases.”

I searched his intense, unreadable eyes. I wasn’t willing to let it go. “But what about me? What about us?”

Stephen smiled. “We’ll always have us,” he reasoned.

Was I overreacting? I tried yet again. “But, Stephen….”

His smile abruptly vanished, and he released me. “Samantha, don’t push. This is important to me. Now, drop it!” He glanced down at his watch. “Let’s go!” He turned, grabbed his bag and walked out toward the car, calling over his shoulder, “Are you coming? You have to drop me off at the airport, remember?”


I stood there, staring down that hallway, recalling his words. How could I forget them and all the anger that still lingered? I closed my eyes briefly, took a deep breath and moved on.

I knew how many times I had gone this way and it was always twenty-four, and then six footsteps, so predictable, just like our arguments. I descended to the landing and was about to swing to the right and go down those last steps, but stopped. Something caught my eye and I turned to the left.

There on the wall hung a familiar picture, another reminder of my life, the one that used to include Stephen and me. I was still trying to piece together what I may have overlooked. How could I have been so oblivious? Suddenly, what I thought was secure was unexpectedly reduced to nothing. Poof! Right for the jugular! Just like that!

Stephen, why did you lie? Were you dishonest with me from the beginning?

These considerations were long overdue since I was finally questioning his motives and confronting mine. How could I change my future if I didn’t understand his



Chapter 2


The Book Of Revelation


I slammed my laptop shut, tapping my fingernail in frustration. This whole thing was driving me crazy. Yet again, it was happening, figuratively and literally. I glanced down at my computer. Where was my book going? Leaning forward, I rested my forehead on crossed fingers, as if in prayer, and then sat upright, annoyed. For the life of me, I couldn’t think straight.

Restless, I shoved my chair back and began pacing. My neck was killing me. I tried massaging my muscles, as though that would ease all my uncertainty. I knew full well what was affecting my writing: Stephen’s death and that unknown factor just waiting in the wings. They influenced every word I typed. My life and my novel were becoming one. I couldn’t stop it.

Stuck on replay, my mind kept returning to that point in time when I had made deals with God to give my life back. And as usual, denial, pain, grief and doubt all found their target, and like clockwork, anger showed up and slapped me out of it. I remember standing there in shock…


(My past


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