Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Spruced Up For Murder. I’m sharing an extract from the book with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour and to the publisher for my copy of the extract.
Death at Francis Court Now Confirmed as Murder!
Speculation is rife that the victim, estate manager Alex Sterling (44), was found by Lady Beatrice (35), the Countess of Rossex, niece of King James. Lady Beatrice, who has finally come out of hiding following her son’s departure to boarding school, has been managing the project to refurbish and redesign the Events Suite at Francis Court, alongside Perry Juke.
Heading up the murder investigation is Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam. Rumour has it that he and Lady Beatrice have a fractious history…
Awful man! How dare Fitzwilliam suggest Lady Beatrice’s sister is the number one suspect for Alex’s murder. It could be any one of the staff who were on-site that morning. Well, she’ll show Mr High and Mighty Fitzwilliam! With her attention to detail, her clever dog Daisy, Perry’s imagination, and his partner’s contacts at Fenshire CID, they’ll find the murderer before him. And then they’ll see who’ll look like a fool. Because it won’t be Lady Beatrice, will it?
A cozy British Whodunnit with a hint of humour from new author Helen Golden.
There was a click as the flash on Perry’s camera phone went off.
Dragging her gaze away from the spread-eagled form in front of her, she looked over at Perry and yelled, “What on earth are you doing?”
“I think Simon would appreciate some photos of a real dead body. You know, for a future book.”
She stared at him, her mouth open in horror.
“Perry, behave please. We need to know if he’s actually dead. Shouldn’t we check for a pulse?”
“Go ahead, my lady,” he replied as he took another couple of shots.
She cleared her throat. “Well, I don’t know what to do. There are always people around me who deal with situations like this.” She coloured slightly and looked down at her boots.
“Always people around? Do you stumble across corpses on a daily basis, my lady? Or is it more like a weekly—”
“Okay.” He grinned before the light in his eyes slowly died. Edging over to the body, he picked up the man’s wrist. He stood there for a moment, staring into space before shaking his head. “He’s definitely dead.”
Lady Beatrice breathed out slowly, then reached behind her and picked up her radio, switching it to the security only channel. “Adrian, this is Lady Rossex, over.”
The response from the other end was immediate. “My lady, this is Adrian Breen. Is something wrong, over?”
“Yes, Adrian. Please come to the Garden Room immediately, over.”
“Roger that, my lady. I’m on my way now, over.”
“Oh, and Adrian, you’d better call the police, out.”
She put the radio down and looked at Perry, who was bending over the body, his arm reaching…
“Perry, don’t touch anything!” she cried. He looked up at her, his head tilted to one side.
“Okay, Miss Marple.”
She rolled her eyes in response. They both relaxed a little.
Her gaze darted back to the blood. What was that famous Shakespeare quote? ‘Who would have thought the old man would have so much blood in him’ — or something like that? Looking at the side of his head and the rug, she had expected there to be more. She shook herself. How would she know? Thankfully, this was her first, and she hoped, her last ‘in situ’ dead body. They hadn’t let her see James after his accident. She was grateful for that.
“Is it me or is it hot in here?” Perry asked, saving her from her thoughts. Unbuttoning the suit jacket of his maroon Burberry wool suit, he glanced at the radiator by the sideboard.
Lady Beatrice moved over and touched it. Ouch. “The heating is full on.” She turned the controls down and moved slowly towards the body.
“Who do you think it is?” she asked.
He studied it for a bit. “Alex Sterling?”
They stood there for a few minutes in silence. A wave of sadness washed over her. She hadn’t known Alex particularly well. In fact, she avoided him when she could, feeling awkward around him after his wife had died in her husband’s car. Even so, it was tragic to see someone previously so full of life reduced to a bloody mess on a hundred-year-old rug.
Flash! Perry was taking more photos.
“Perry,” she hissed, beckoning him over. He put his phone in his jacket pocket and joined her. She pointed at the table in front of the French doors. “Does that table look odd to you?”
He tilted his head to one side. “What do you mean by odd?”
She shook her head. “I’m not sure exactly. It just doesn’t look right to me. Can you take a photo? And then we should lock up and leave.”
He looked at her in surprise, then pulled his phone back out and took a couple more shots.
She grabbed his arm. “Come on, we need to go. Adrian and the police will be here soon.”
Spruced Up For Murder is available from Amazon.
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