BRIAN KAVANAGH'S COZY MYSTERIES. Amateur sleuth Belinda Lawrence

ILLUSION OF DEATH extract
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Publication early 2018

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Jake sucked the blood off his thumb. A shard of glass had sliced into his flesh as he reached in through the shattered window. Turning the key in the old lock had been difficult but eventually yielded to his insistence. Tentatively he pushed open the door and stepped into a small porch. His feet crunched on the broken glass scattered on the worn linoleum. To his left he could see the kitchen; ahead a passage led to the main rooms of the house. Cold and silent, the air musty with damp and dust. The floor boards objected to his advance, squeaking and groaning, all amplified in the hush of the empty house. Wrapping a handkerchief around his bleeding thumb he continued on until he reached the entrance hall. He knew the rooms that ran off to the side; a reception room, a dining room which led to a garden room attached to the side of the building like one of Prince Charles’ carbuncles. Knew them well as he’d often attended one of Max’s ‘soirees’ as the old fool liked to call them; just a piss-up was more like it in Jake’s vernacular. No. What he wanted was upstairs in one of the six or seven rooms. Possibly. Hopefully. He glanced up at the stained glass window on the landing. The early evening sunlight beaming through scattered a rainbow of violent shapes on the walls creating a mystical grotto turning the simple staircase into a Jacob’s Ladder. Totally unaware of this biblical transformation, Jake climbed swiftly. He didn’t have much time. It was probably foolish to have left it so late, but now he was here he had to do what he had planned. The sound of a car approaching and drawing to a stop made him pause. He peered out the window. In a rose coloured world he saw Bridie, and the two strange women he’d seen earlier in the day emerge from the car. Shit! Even less time now. He turned and began the climb to the top floor. Reaching the passage he paused at a door on his right. Closed. The ornate brass handle, long unpolished, was ice cold, but readily capitulated to his firm grip. Silently the door swung open revealing… (C) 2017 Brian Kavanagh

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