A Cozy Little Murder: A Violet Carlyle Cozy Historical Mystery (The Violet Carlyle Mysteries Book 24, стр. 1
A Cozy Little MurderA Violet Carlyle Historical Mystery
A Sneak Peek of Mystery at the Edge of Madness
Also by Beth Byers
Vi and Jack have settled into London for the fall, and they want nothing more than an excess of cocoa, coffee, good books, and time with friends.
They should, however, know better. Jack is brought in to consult on a case in the coziest of houses. Only all is not what it seems and no one is surprised when they find yet another body.
“Promise—” Vi begged. She knew it was begging, and she didn’t care in the least. She’d have gotten onto her knees, given him the puppy dog eyes, and batted her lashes. Whatever it took. She needed a break. She needed to have a few weeks without treasure hunts and stumbling over a body.
“It’s just a simple case that Smith passed on, Vi. Honestly—” Jack shook his head.
“You’re addicted to investigating,” she told him.
He lifted his brows and the look of stark disbelief on his face had her giggling into her hand. With a growl, he ran his fingers down her side, making her squirm with laughter.
“Stop, stop, stop!”
“Beg for mercy and tell the truth,” he told her, his lips directly next to her ear.
“Never!” she cried and tried to get away. She failed instantly and instead wrapped her arms around him and bit his chin with just enough force that he cursed low. She laughed into his ear.
“You,” he told her fiercely, “are the one who is addicted to investigating.”
“I’m just interested in people,” she tried. His groan told her exactly how effective that whopper of a lie was. She then went straight to whining. “I don’t get to have any fun.”
Jack tangled their fingers together and sat up, lifting her along with him. “According to Smith, the feel of the case is off, but he doesn’t have time for it.”
“It’s just an old woman?”
“Just an old woman,” Jack promised, sitting near the fire and reaching for the coffee he’d requested earlier. Speaking of being overly attached to something, they were both almost incapable of starting the morning without coffee. Lately, they were ordering it to their room when they woke and then having more with breakfast.
“An old woman who wants what, now?” Vi took her coffee from him, snuggling into his side in the overstuffed chair. Was there any better way to wake than curled into Jack’s side with an oversized cup of coffee while laying her head on his oversized shoulder?
She glanced up through her lashes at him, noticing how he quietly took in the smell of his coffee before taking a sip.
He answered a moment later. “She said her grandson is behaving oddly, and she wants us to find out what is wrong and help him fix it. Her son has passed away, and the grandson is her only family.”
“Her only, only family?” Vi demanded.
“I don’t know,” Jack replied. “Who can tell if he’s just her only progeny or if she’s got a slew of cousins, nephews, and nieces.”
“Or, she has way more children and grandchildren, but this grandson is the favorite.”
“Well then,” Vi told him, “I suppose you’re bringing Ham with you?”
“He is my business partner,” Jack said as though they weren’t halfway to partners with Smith as well. Ham, however, was Jack’s best friend. Smith had somehow become part of their hodgepodge family, but they all knew what they had in Smith, and the man was about as shady and nefarious as you could get without being a full rogue.
“That means I get Rita,” Violet told him, and then made sure she grinned as largely and wickedly as possible to send off all the red flags she could.
His gaze narrowed on her, but she rose, taking her coffee into the bath. She started the water, throwing in salts and then sank into it with her coffee. She lingered in the water until her coffee was gone and then rose to wrap in her silk kimono.
With a glance outside, she saw the skies were grey, and when she breathed in deeply, she caught the scent of rain in the air. It was just what she needed, so she closed her eyes and continued inhaling the glorious scent. After weeks of too much heat in the summer, Violet needed nothing more than drizzly days, coffee, long baths, and days of typing to feel like herself again. Especially since Victor, Kate, and the twins were a mere two doors down.
She searched through her closet until she found a dress to match the weather. It might have been grey, but the dress wasn’t drab. It was a straight drop to past her waist, with a sort of jagged hem that looked as though it was both torn up and intentionally ragged. The fabric had been woven with silver thread, so it glistened in any light. She wrapped her long black pearls around her neck, put on her spider ring, and then added black pearl earbobs and a bracelet.
Her brother was on her mind, given they were finished with the werewolf-pirate story, which they had written more as a dare. Now that they were done, should they publish it? And if they did, did they want to use their pen name, V.V. Twinnings?
They knew, after all, it was a story of madness that appealed to their most ridiculous humor. Vi’s mouth twisted. She wasn’t sure it was a story that matched the rest of their admittedly light fiction. Their stepmother hated the kind of things they wrote. They weren’t even trying for an epic novel for the ages. They wrote fun fiction for the joy of it.
Vi knew she needed to make a choice before she went to her brother. She slowly put on her cloche hat and grey wool coat. She belted