Genre: Historical Mystery
Published:March 31, 2013
"In 1911, England hovers on the cusp of change. A new king waits to be crowned. Women and the poor are fighting for their rights. Political turmoil rages throughout Europe. And a promising young artist lies dead in the heart of London.
"Just another tragic death in a city filled with untimely demises. Or so thinks Hargreaves, the gifted, but troubled, Detective Inspector called in to investigate. Haunted by the tragedy of his own past, he is unprepared for the onslaught of long-buried memories and powerful emotions the case brings. Making his task even more difficult is the troubling presence of Daisy Cartwright, a wealthy widow closely connected to the victim, and a woman he feels inexplicably drawn to.
"Untangling the tightly woven threads connecting the victim and the suspects, Hargreaves soon reaches a conclusion, only to have that theory shattered by the revelation that everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Groping through the silence and secrets, he uncovers a cold-blooded killer, and a connection to his own past that leaves him reeling."
Forty-five minutes later, her head pounding with fatigue, Daisy thanked Olivia for a truly enjoyable evening, nodding and smiling at the rest of the guests as she made her carefully timed exit. She subtly scanned the room for Eugene, hoping for a chance to speak with him before she left, but he was nowhere in sight. Disappointed, she continued into the hallway, followed by Sir John, playing his role as host to perfection, seeing her to the door.
“I’ve instructed Mary to bring your hat and coat,” Wilson, the Sebright’s butler said, opening the vestibule door as she approached.
“Thank you, Wilson,” she replied, as a gust of wind sent a smattering of rain against the stained glass panels beside the front door.
“Do mind the weather, Daisy,” Olivia called, her strong voice carrying into the entrance hall. “I would hate to hear you’ve caught a chill.” She stretched her ample neck, peering over the back of the drawing room sofa.
“Not to worry, Olivia. I’ll be quite all right,” Daisy called back, touched by her concern. She genuinely liked Olivia, taking delight in her numerous eccentricities. She just wished Olivia had chosen a better husband. “So nice to see you again, Sir John,” she said, turning with a charming smile to the man in question. “I was hoping you and Olivia could join me for dinner next week. There’s something I would dearly love your advice on. Perhaps next Wed…”
Her words were interrupted by a scream. Flinching in surprise, she stared wide-eyed down the hallway as another scream, even more ear piercing than the first, quickly followed. “What on earth,” she mumbled, following her first instinct and hurrying down the hall, leaving Sir John rooted to the spot, his mouth hanging open in shock.
Nearing the rear of the hall, Daisy spotted the Sebright’s housemaid, Mary, trembling at the entrance to the coatroom. Her face was ashen, a hand clamped over her mouth in an effort to stifle the further screams gathering in her throat.
“Mary!” Daisy exclaimed, reaching for the young woman’s arm. “What is it?”
Mary’s head shook quickly back and forth, her eyes filled with stark terror.
“What’s happened?” Daisy tried to keep the alarm from her voice as a cold sense of foreboding swept over her. From the corner of her eye, she could see Olivia and several other guests making their way down the hall toward them.
In a voice filled with more curiosity than annoyance, Olivia asked, “What is all the commotion? Ooh, has our young Mary seen a ghost? How thrilling! You know, there were rumors when we moved in here…”
Daisy kept her attention focused on Mary, Olivia’s voice fading away. Mary stepped aside and pointed a trembling hand to the rear of the coatroom. Unsure what Mary was indicating, Daisy took a step into the room and gasped, the color draining from her face. Amidst a jumbled pile of evening wraps and overcoats, a body lay sprawled on the floor, unmoving. Stepping closer, her stomach clenched.
Oh, dear God, no. Please…
It couldn’t be. It was just a strange trick of the light.
A familiar pain swept through her and she choked back a sob. Shaking her head in slow denial she stared at the once handsome face of Eugene Evans, his youthful features now distorted and reddened into a deathly grimace as dull, sightless eyes stared past her.
M M Hall is the author of Whispered Truth, the first novel in the Inspector Hargreaves series. She also writes as Molly M Hall, and is the author of Reckoning, the first installment in the Dark Prophecy series. She currently lives just outside of Denver where she's at work on her next novel.
She pursued a degree in English Literature at Columbia College and worked in the corporate world for several years before turning to writing full time.
When not reading or writing she can be found listening to music, playing piano, exercising, working on her very inadequate French, or looking for inspiring landscapes to photograph.