A Treasured Little Murder: A Violet Carlyle Cozy Historical Mystery (The Violet Carlyle Mysteries Bo, стр. 1

A Treasured Little MurderA Violet Carlyle Historical Mystery

Beth Byers

For Ethy

Contents

Summary

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Preview of The Mystery at the Edge of Madness

Also by Beth Byers

Summary

August 1926

Jack and Ham’s first solo case is placed on pause just as the tale of a treasure is brought to light.

As the case progresses, Vi and Rita dive in, and somehow it becomes a competition between the two couples. Things, however, take a sideways turn and the couples must unite and work together to protect all they hold dear.

Chapter 1

“Remember when we decided to whimsically get on the next ship and go to lands unknown?”

Violet was lying on one of the couches in her parlor. It was stifling hot and even with the lights low and the thick curtains drawn, nothing helped against the heat. Wearing her lightest dress still felt like wrapping in a wool blanket. Stockings were the bane of her existence.

Her Turkish coffee and her cocktail were on the table next to her, but she’d have to move to partake, so they were slowly moving in temperature towards each other with the coffee cooling and the ice in her cocktail melting. Only her headache had her contemplating the coffee, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to put it near her mouth.

They had determined to go bathing later but Jack had a meeting, so they were waiting for him to return. A part of Vi considered abandoning her husband to dive into the pool without him, but the heat of the day would turn her skin to a burnt crisp. She needed the sun to start moving towards the horizon before she could risk diving into the water. Instead, she once again considered taking a sip from her cocktail and then rejected the idea of moving at all.

Only Denny had even appeared in the parlor that morning, and he’d explained it had been because his wife, Lila, had ordered him and his hot breath from the bedroom.

Denny glanced at Vi from his reclined position on the chaise lounge, propped up with a melting box of chocolates. “Are you referring to our most recent voyage?”

Violet held out an imperious hand for a chocolate. Denny scowled darkly, eyed the box carefully, and handed over one of his least favorites.

“You’re lucky I like this one”—Violet lifted the chocolate and took a slow bite before lying back down—“given these chocolates are mine.”

“They’re always yours.” Denny’s whine was clouded by chocolate and she lifted a brow at him. It was too hot to voice a mockery. “No one loves me.”

“Do you remember our trip?” Vi asked again. She sighed deeply and snuggled into her sofa. What she needed, she thought, was some sort of fan. The kind her great-grandmother would have glanced flirtingly over the top of at a man or snapped closed to make a point.

“I remember. Twins trying to murder each other’s husbands, failing, and poisoning each other. It’s a story I’ll tell my grandchild and she won’t believe me.”

Violet laughed weakly, exhausted from the heat to make more of an effort. “Maybe next time we should research our ship first. Perhaps also be sure of where we’re going.”

“So let’s never, ever do that again.” Denny grunted and then demanded, “Where is everyone?”

“Jack and Ham went to meet with Smith about something or other. I think they’re working with him on a missing person.”

“A child?” Denny asked and for once he didn’t sound lazy. Instead he had the edge of a frantic father who suddenly cared about more than cocktails, chocolate, and afternoon naps. It was a new look for him, and he was struggling to carry it.

Consolingly, Violet replied quickly. “No, a businessman, I think. His partners are looking for him.”

“I would say that’s interesting, but my guess—and I’m just wildly throwing out ideas here—is that what they’re missing is money.” Denny popped another chocolate into his mouth and then groaned, waving his hand in front of his face. With a whimper, he added, “It’s so hot.”

Violet ignored the obvious to continue. “It’s possible that Jack and Ham have thought of that. They’re supposedly somewhat good at this whole investigating thing.”

“Jack scolded you about interfering in his new collaboration with Smith and Ham, didn’t he?”

Violet scowled. “It’s not like I don’t have my own things to do.”

Denny giggled like a schoolboy. She watched him wipe a tear away before he asked, “Did Rita get scolded as well?”

Violet sat up suddenly. That idea had not occurred to her, and she needed to know. She abandoned Denny and the parlor, leaving behind her shoes to make her way to the telephone. A quick call later and Vi returned to the parlor and tossed Denny’s feet from the chaise lounge.

“Hey now,” he said with a bit of a groan. The glee in his eyes, however, told her that he already knew the answer to his previous question.

Vi put her hands on her hips and scowled down at him.

He grinned at her, unrepentant. “Am I in trouble for being one of the boys or am I in trouble for being right?”

“The latter,” Vi told him and then took the chocolate, found one of the covered caramels—both of their favorite—and popped it into her mouth, savoring it in retaliation.

“It’s not my fault that I’m brilliant, Vi. It just happens.”

“Brilliant?” She put the box of chocolates just out of his reach. He tried to appease her with a meek expression.

“Maybe I have a little bit of an idea of how some men might feel even if I would never scold in such a manner.”

“Never?” Vi snorted and then gave him the chocolates again. She was too hot to stay angry for long. She frowned at her cooled coffee and watered-down cocktail. “My brother staying home with his sick wife and sick daughters