BRIAN KAVANAGH'S COZY MYSTERIES. Amateur sleuth Belinda Lawrence

A CANTERBURY CRIME BOOK EXTRACT & VIDEO

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Tommy gave a yelp as Belinda began to pull away from him but he tightened his grip and dragged her towards worn stone steps that led down into a frightening black void.

"Where are we going?"

Tommy, ignoring the sanctity of his surrounds sang softly and mischievously: "Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun’ Dem bones, dem dry bones, gonna walk aroun’ Now hear the word of the Lord."

"Yes, well, I’m in the mood to break a few," muttered Belinda.

As they descended the shadows intensified, Belinda stumbled, clung to Tommy to prevent herself from falling and cursed him under her breath in a most unchristian manner. Eventually they reached a point where Belinda was utterly immersed in an impenetrable blackness that seemed to swallow her up.

Tommy released his grip and stepped away from her. Panic rose in Belinda’s chest as the pitch black weighed down on her. She gave a whimper of fear as her outstretched arms sought some form of security.

"Tommy, you idiot. Where are you?"

It was then that a beam of light shot through the darkness. Belinda blinked in the sudden light and saw illuminated before her the face of the Virgin.

Tommy had turned on a torch.

"It’s Our Lady of the Undercroft," he said, a curious reverence in his voice. The white stone of the altar surrounding the Madonna glowed bright in the torch light and Belinda glimpsed a wonderful display above her of early Norman vaulting, supported by robust columns, with carved Romanesque capitals crowning each pillar.

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*****

Belinda shook her head in bewilderment.

"So no one knows if his bones are actually here in the cathedral? If the other grave proved to be false, why don’t they excavate this one to see if there’s someone buried here?"

With a laugh, Tommy sang softly: "Moral of the story be, Dem bones gonna rise again. Don't leave your cores for the Lord to see. Dem bones gonna rise again."

He took her arm once more and they moved away from the tombs.

"I think I’ve had enough talk about Thomas for one night," he said in a low voice close to Belinda’s ear, "and I don’t know about you, but I find it a bit chilly down here. How’d you like to warm me up?"

The light from the torch was suddenly extinguished and Belinda felt Tommy’s arm slide around her waist. She tried to push him away, but he tightened his grip.

"Tommy, let go. Grow up."

His face was close to hers.

"Come on, Belinda, you know you want to. Don’t tell me you really fancy that cold fish twerp that hangs around you."

His lips sought hers and he forced a kiss on her.

Belinda struggled and broke free, grabbing the torch as she did. She hit out and struck him on the head. He gave a yelp and as the torch flew from her hand Belinda heard it clatter to the floor and roll away. Fear and panic rose in her chest. In the total dark she could see nothing but she turned in an effort to get away from Tommy and started to run.

With a thud, she ran straight into one of the huge pillars and screamed in fright. The impact stunned her and took her breath away. She heard Tommy hoarsely calling her name but he seemed a distance away so steeling herself she pressed forward in the dark, holding her hands before her to prevent running into another obstacle.

After what seemed an eternity she saw a pale light in the distance. The steps. If she could reach them she would be safe as she could escape up to the nave. The light increased a little as she neared the steps. As she reached the bottom one, she looked up and froze. The eerie figure of a man was silhouetted against the faint light. He was descending towards her. Frozen to the spot she watched in terror as the figure grew closer and closer.

CHAPTER FOUR a video extract from Brian Kavanagh on Vimeo.

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