Work in Progress
Although I frequently decide to concentrate only on one book at a time, I inevitably find myself with more ideas than I need, so end up with several works in progress. At the moment, I’m busy with three new books:
A long Cool Glass of Murder
The second volume in my Terry Bell Mysteries series begins with the intrepid taxi driver finding another corpse:
I knew as soon as I reached the top of the stairs that something was wrong. Tina Overton wasn’t the sort of woman to go around leaving her front door open, neither was she the sort whose tastes included screechy violin music. The final bars of something discordant and unappealing in a fingernails-scraping-down-a-blackboard sort of way, floated out from somewhere beyond the open doorway, heading for an equally unappealing climax.
But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the bad feeling in my gut. The one that had been foisting itself on me at regular intervals ever since the last time I’d discovered a dead body. I consoled myself with the observation that at least this time it would be occupying someone else’s living room floor, rather than mine.
The Phantom of Fiddler’s Lane
Book 3 in my middle grade Christie McKinnon Adventure series, finds young Christie targeted by an old enemy:
“Gracie. Come away.” The boy beckons to the girl, but her eyes are still fixed on the man at the corner, or rather, the strange creature dancing around on top of the music box.
She watches the man’s grimy fingers fluttering over the keyboard, his feet pumping away on pedals underneath the contraption. Grinning up at him, she holds a hand out to the monkey.
“Careful lassie, he’ll hae your fingers off.” The man smiles, his mouth a veritable graveyard of blackened teeth.
“Oh,” she says, withdrawing her hand sharply.
Robbie trudges back up the lane. “Come on, now,” he says, taking her sleeve. “We’ll get a row off Ma if we’re late.” He watches as the monkey holds out its tiny hat towards them.
“Can we no give him a penny, Robbie?”
He glances at the old man and a wave of guilt washes over him. “Next time, maybe. Now come away, will you?” He smiles at the man, but the musician’s happy face has gone.
The girl finally takes her brother’s hand. “Fine, but we’ve tae come again tomorrow.”
“Aye, maybe,” he says, pulling her away from the busy street and down the alley towards home. The snow begins to fall as the two children hurry away, their coats pulled tight against the cold.
The man in the black cap steps out of the shop doorway opposite and crosses the street. He watches the animal’s antics for a moment, then digging into his pocket, holds out a coin. The creature stops jumping around and reaches towards him.
“A fair exchange – a ha’penny for a bit of entertainment.”
The old man stops pumping the pedals and lifts his hat. “Most grateful, I’m sure.” His tired eyes flick across the stranger’s face, but there’s something in the newcomer’s expression that prompts him to drop his gaze. Nudging the monkey, he takes the coin from its leather pouch and drops it into a bag tied to the musicbox. The animal screeches and performs a miniature bow, while its master resumes pedalling, grateful to turn his attention back to his task. He begins the tune again with renewed vigour.
Terry McManus gives a sullen nod, digs his hands into his pockets and moves off down the lane, following the two children. With any luck, they’ll be the perfect bait to lure that interferin wee lassie Christie McKinnon into his trap. And this time, she’ll no be gettin away so easily.
The Curse of Calico Jack
The second book in my middle grade Skeleton Cove Horror series, is a new mystery for Jeff and Suzi Q: