By Mary Daheim

Hillside Manor's buddies all loved owner Judith McMonigle Flynn's festive advice to deck the halls and homes of their cul-de-sac with attention-grabbing Christmas finery -- other than Enid Goodrich.The grumpy outdated humbug refused to cooperate.Then anyone cooked her Christmas goose -- silencing Enid's objections with a convenient hatchet. although Judith's already bought much below her tree -- what with holidy enterprise booming and the predicted undesirable arrival of hubby Joe's soused ex-spouse -- she's no longer approximately to enable homicide reduce to rubble what is left of her seasonal spirit. With assistance from irrepressible cousin Renie, Judith's decided to wrap up this example for Christmas -- and disclose the Scrooge-slayer who felt strongly that the single Goodrich is a Deadrich.

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God’s cheaper,” Gertrude asserted as Sweetums wandered through the village, sniffing and poking his head inside the doors. “It’s going to rain; then it’ll clear off and get colder. And before Christmas—bingo! ” Judith and Renie regarded Gertrude with skepticism. “We haven’t had much snow the last few years,” Judith pointed out. “In fact, this fall we’ve had only a couple of hard frosts so far. ” But Gertrude stuck by her guns. “There’s snow coming. I can feel it in these old bones. ” Judith started to smile, but saw that her mother was serious.

I can’t let people get away with stuff. ” Observing the sudden steeliness in her husband’s eyes, Judith realized she was up against a war of wills: Joe versus Enid. The phone rang before Judith could say anything. It was Ted Ericson, who announced that he had brought home the sign for the Goodriches’ yard. Judith groaned inwardly. “We still haven’t cleared it with Mrs. Goodrich,” she said into the phone. ” A glance at her husband caught him nodding his head. “We’ll get back to you. ” said Joe, draining the cauliflower.

She actually called our Martin a pickaninny! ” “Neither did Mrs. Goodrich,” Naomi Stein snapped. “You should hear what she called our son, Ben. He was only six the first time, and he came home crying his eyes out. ” “Mrs. Goodrich has never liked me,” Mrs. Swanson said simply. “But Mr. Goodrich, he is very kind. ” There was a pause, as if the entire group were paying homage to George Goodrich’s patience. Judith’s dark eyes flitted from guest to guest. Which was the most likely delegate? Enid Goodrich had criticized them all at one time or another.

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