Enjoy this excerpt from “Felicity Carrol and the Murderous Menace” — an Amazon Kindle Deal for July. Get your copy for $2.99 thru 7/31.
Heiress and amateur detective Felicity Carrol makes a perilous journey to apprehend a notorious murderer who has terrorized England–and now continues his vicious killing spree across the pond.
Felicity and Helen stepped out of the stagecoach and the ground shook. Horses clomped dirt. Buildings tremored.
“My heavens,” exclaimed Helen who turned around and tried to get back in the coach.
“What an introduction,” said Felicity, who gently tugged on the back of Helen’s dress to stop her. “We’ve come all this way, Hellie. We can’t go back now.”
“Oh, yes, we can.”
Felicity straightened her velvet hat while their trunks were removed from the coach. At a café across from the station, a man leaned against the porch. A star glinted on his leather vest. A lawman of the West, how exciting just to see one. She noticed how he examined the face of every man in the vicinity. He was searching for someone, and from his severe gaze, she was glad it was not her.
Then the man’s focus landed on Felicity and Helen, and he ambled toward them as if he had more than time on his side.
“This is our lucky day, Helen. I wanted to meet the sheriff, and I believe here he comes.”
“I wouldn’t call that lucky,” Helen replied and pulled at her wrinkled dress. “He’s probably come to throw us out of town.”
“Don’t be so negative, Hellie.” Even if he threw them out, she’d come back, because she had a goal to achieve.
The sheriff walked straight, though perhaps a little too much so, as if he only followed a path he trusted. With his longish dark brown hair, he could have been a good-looking, young Allan Quartermain pursuing adventure in Africa rather than upholding the law in an unruly Montana town. Almost as if he had heard her thoughts, the man licked his fingers to tame a few unruly strands of hair behind his ears.
Pay attention, Felicity chided herself. You’re acting like a silly schoolgirl, not that you were ever were one.
“Welcome to Placer,” the sheriff told Felicity. His voice sounded of an American sunset, rich and rough.
“This place is certainly a long way from New York.”
“Or anywhere.” Helen adjusted her hat. “My insides have never been so shaken around as in that contraption.” Her thumb pointed back at the stagecoach. “And what in blazes was that explosion all about then?”
He noted his short shadow, took the watch out of a vest pocket, and smiled. “Wait one more minute, ma’am.”
Helen mouthed “ma’am” to Felicity and they both tried not to laugh.
A whistle blew in the distance, and the whole town rattled. In the street, horses reared and whinnied. Dogs barked. Windows shook.
“Another earthquake!” Helen started to climb back into the stagecoach, and Felicity again pulled at the back of her dress.
“No earthquake, Helen. A dynamite explosion. If I’m not mistaken, the sound originated from the west.”
“You’re right, ma’am. It’s the noontime blasting at the mines.” The sheriff scratched his head.
From his face, Felicity could tell he was wondering how a woman knew about dynamite.
“I suppose the blasting takes place during the day so as not to wake everyone,” she said.
“That’s the general idea. You two sound British.”
“Your powers of observation are keen. Are you the welcoming committee?” The corners of Felicity’s mouth quirked up with mischievousness. The sheriff replied with a smile he probably used to impress women.
“Sheriff Tom Pike at your service.” He tipped up his hat.
“This is fortuitous. Exactly the person I wanted to meet,” Felicity said.
“How lucky can a fella get?”
Brilliant. Another sarcastic man. Her mouth straightened with determination. “I’ve come to Placer to learn about the murder of Lily Rawlins.”
Pike lost his amiable exterior and instead became a wooden pillar.
She pointed at the star on his chest. “You are the sheriff aren’t you?”
“Last I looked, ma’am.”
“Enough ma’am. My name is Felicity Carrol, and this is Miss Helen Wilkins.”
Pike shook their hands. “A pleasure. But what’s all this about Lily Rawlins? You a Pinkerton detective or something?”
“Heavens no. But what a delightful compliment.” Felicity’s eyes widened.
“When you came out of stagecoach, I told myself spring had arrived. Lovely and refreshing like the flowers on the mountainside,” Pike said.
“How poetic of you, Sheriff.”
“Then you opened your mouth.” Pike’s brow creased with irritation.
Even in America, I have this effect on men, Felicity thought. But she couldn’t worry about annoying this interesting fellow.
“Hundreds of people from all over the United States and other countries land in Placer to work in the mines and smelters or to seek their own golden vein in the ground. It’s my duty to find out who’s arrived in my town.”
“Not only poetic but efficient,” Felicity said.
“You two are among the most extraordinary I’ve ever seen.”
“How kind of you. Wait, was that a compliment?” Felicity said.
“I’m not sure.”
“Now about Lily Rawlins.”
“This is some sort of record, ma’am. You got into town a few minutes ago and have put me in a god awful mood.”
“I suspect you woke up that way, Sheriff,” Felicity replied.
“Why you asking about Big Lil? Her death isn’t exactly the nicest subject for a lady to discuss.” His tone turned harsh as if he hoped to scare her away.
Felicity brushed dust from her skirt. “My dear sheriff, if you’re not a lady then how can you determine what is proper?”
FELICITY CARROL AND THE MURDEROUS MENACE: A Felicity Carrol Mystery eBook is on sale for $2.99 through the month of November.
Felicity Carrol has found her calling—solving unsolvable murders using the latest forensic methods. The brilliant and eccentric heiress learns the infamous Jack the Ripper might be terrorizing an American mining town and she decides to investigate. In Placer, Montana, her first obstacle is a handsome lawman who uses his intuition as much as his Colt to keep law and order in this wild town. When the murderer strikes again, she begins to suspect the worst. Felicity sets out to find the killer in a town full of secrets, shadows, and suspects, but as the body count rises, this intrepid sleuth faces her most dangerous adversary yet–and discovers that not all killers are as they seem.
“This colorful, action-filled mystery presents a novel twist.” —Kirkus Reviews
The $1.99 ebook sale of FELICITY CARROL AND THE PERILOUS PURSUIT continues until Oct. 31.
Enjoy this sample
“Everyone, please take shelter behind the hedges,” Felicity Carrol announced.
Her homemade bomb was about to explode.
The dozen servants obeyed without hesitation. It was nearly ten at night, and they had already rescued what furniture and art they could from the east wing before Felicity told them to leave the rest to the flames. With help, she had first rescued the chemicals and scientific equipment from her laboratory, which was the source of the fire currently consuming the house.
When Felicity determined that the blaze could not be contained and would spread, she came up with a plan to save the rest of Carrol Manor. In the kitchen, she combined the perfect amounts of glycerin with nitric and sulfuric acids. She added torn paper and porridge oats to absorb the unstable mixture. With cautious movements, she packed the volatile paste into an Italian ceramic urn she had always disliked. As she did so, she reviewed the formula in her mind. Many times, pride in her knowledge and abilities suppressed any doubt about her experiments. She loathed that aspect of her personality—taking pleasure in what she could accomplish. For instance, she would bet no other young woman in England, well, in all of Surrey anyway, was capable of constructing a bomb in their kitchen. Despite the delicate work, Felicity wanted to laugh. Besides herself, what young woman would even want to pack an urn with dynamite?
An English lord is murdered at the British Museum. Scotland Yard believes he was killed by a robber who stole a priceless antiquity. Felicity Carrol launches her own investigation because the victim was her mentor and friend. Felicity is educated, wealthy and has no interest in playing the role of a proper young woman in Victorian Britain. Using scientific methods, deductions, and grit, her enquiry reveals that fate of the country may be in danger if she fails. “Readers who hunger for more portraits of independent women determined to make their ways in a stultifying society will take the heroine to heart.”—Kirkus Reviews