Excerpt from Alice in Jeopardy by Ed McBain, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Alice in Jeopardy

by Ed McBain

Alice in Jeopardy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2005, 304 pages
    May 2006, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"No, no," she says. "Actually, the name is an odd combination of Seminole and Spanish."

She goes on to explain that when the Spaniards first came to southwest Florida, the Seminole word tha-kee for "big" was already in place, and they added the Spanish word cabo to it, and came up with the name "Cabo Tha-kee," or "Big Cape." This eventually became slurred and contracted to "Cab'Otha-kee," which was then finally Hispanicized to "Cab'Octubre," which of course was "Cape October" in English.

"Or so the story goes," she says, and turns to him and smiles.

The eastern rim of October Bay is jaggedly defined by U.S. 41, more familiarly known as the Tamiami Trail. Frank Lane, the owner and sole proprietor of Lane Realty, believes that "Tamiami" is redneck for "To Miami." Alice doesn't know if this true or not. But if you follow 41 south, it leads eventually to Alligator Alley, which then crosses the Florida peninsula to the east coast and, of course, Miami. So maybe he's right.

There are four keys off the Cape's mainland. Beyond these so-called barrier islands lies the vast Gulf of Mexico. Sail out due west from the Cape, and eventually you'll make landfall in Corpus Christi, Texas. If you're lucky.

"So how old are you, Alice?" he asks her. "May I call you Alice?"

"Sure," she says.

"So how old are you, Alice?" he asks again.

She doesn't think that's any of his business, but he is a client, and neither does she wish to appear rude.

"Thirty-four," she says.



"Sorry to hear that."

"Yes," she says.

"Any children?"

"Two, a boy and a girl."

"Tough break."

"Yes," she says again.

"How long ago?" he asks.

"You know," she says, "I'm sorry, but I'd rather not talk about it."

"Okay," he says, and shrugs. "Sorry. I didn't mean to intrude."

"That's okay," she says, and then softens her tone. "It's just that it's still painful."

"Must've been recent then, huh?" he says, and when she doesn't answer, he says, "Sorry."

They ride in silence for several moments.

"Was it an accident?" he asks.

She doesn't answer.

"Sometimes it helps to talk about it," he says. "I figure he had to've been young, right? I mean, you're only thirty-four. So it had to've been either a heart attack or some kind of accident, am I right?"

"He drowned eight months ago," Alice says, and Webb remains silent for the rest of the trip to Tall Grass.

"The house was built in 1956," she tells him. "Named for Jennifer Bray Healey, who had it designed by Thomas Cooley and his son. They're famous Cape October architects."

"Never heard of them," Webb says.

"They designed a great many of the buildings downtown, I'll take you to see some of them later, if you like. The Healey house is considered a hallmark of the Cape's modern architectural movement."

They are standing in the oval driveway in front of the house. Alice is deliberately postponing that moment when she unlocks the front door and opens it onto the spectacular panoramic view of Little October Bay. It never fails to knock the socks off any prospective buyer.

"The house fell into disrepair after Mrs. Healey died," she says, searching in her bag for the key to the lockbox. "The present owners -- Frank and Marcia Allenby -- bought it two years ago. They've been renovating it ever since, all in accordance with historic guidelines. The rules are that you can make changes provided you don't alter any 'historically or architecturally significant aspects of the design,' quote unquote."

"Sounds like bureaucratic red tape," Webb says.

"Well, no, not actually. The regulations are there to protect the environment and the property itself. This is a landmark house, you know."

From Alice in Jeopardy, chapter 1, pages 3-23. Copyright © 2005 by Hui Corp. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.