Today we’re in for a real treat. (Like always? Okay, I won’t push it …) It’s a pleasure to have author Geraldine Evans here. She’s posted an excerpt from her latest novel Deadly Reunion (also coming soon to the UK).
You’ll notice this is excerpt three from chapter one, right? That’s because she’s on a blog tour. So if you’d like to read the first two parts of the chapter, just click here and here. If you do, you’ll get all sorts of extra information I didn’t even think to ask for. (*smack* Ow! That hurt my head AND my hand …) Naturally, there’s a drawing at the tour’s finish.
Anyhow … hope you enjoy the post!
A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel by Geraldine Evans
EXCERPT THREE from Chapter One
‘Now, Mr Harmsworth,’ Rafferty began once they were settled in the small office that Jeremy Paxton had let them use. He was glad to see that the headmaster had already organized a pot of coffee. By the time he’d finished questioning the seven reunees who’d lunched with Adam Ainsley before he’d gone off on the run from which he had never returned, he’d be parched. ‘Perhaps you can begin by describing what happened on the day Mr Ainsley went missing? Start at your arrival at the school and go on till after lunch, when I believer Mr Ainsley set off alone for a run.’
‘It was a day much like the reunions have been in previous years. I come every year,’ he added. ‘I noticed Adam was quiet at lunch, as though he had something on his mind. But he’s always tended to be a bit moody, so I didn’t take any notice. He set off on his run straight after lunch and the rest of us just lounged around the common room getting reacquainted until lunch had been digested. I’d brought my laptop with me, so I was able to get on with some work. I think Victoria and Alice had a game of tennis around three and Gary – Asgar – Sadiq went swimming in the school’s pool. Kennedy seemed to be happy to just lounge around, listening to music and drinking that never-ending supply of lager he brought with him.’
‘Was there a lot of milling around during lunch?’
‘Not during lunch, no.’ He smiled, showing perfect teeth. ‘It was the rule, when we were at school, that once we were seated, we stayed put, apart from the servers. And we all seemed to continue the tradition even though there’s no Mr Barmforth any more to glower and yell out ‘You, boy’!’ The gleaming smile faded. ‘I imagine that means that the only suspects for this crime are the seven of us that were seated at Adam’s table.’
‘If what you say is correct, yes, it would seem so. And nothing out of the ordinary happened? No arguments, for instance?’
Hamsworth smiled again. ‘I don’t know as I’d call arguments unusual, Inspector. I’ve had spats with Kennedy off and on since we got here. He always did like winding people up. But other than that, no, I can’t think of anything.’
‘Can you tell me who used to be particular friends with the dead man and whether they’re still friends?’
‘Adam had his own clique – the other sporty types. And they all attracted the girls. None of them have attended this year, though usually two or three come to the reunion. I suppose I could be called the school swot, along with Victoria, and Alice so we weren’t as popular with the opposite sex. I always thought Adam was very obvious, with his muscles and his fake tan, but it seemed to appeal to the girls. I recall that both Sophie and Alice had a crush on him at one time.’
Rafferty nodded. ‘And what about enemies? Did Mr Ainsley have any that you know of?’
Harmsworth frowned then shrugged. ‘No one that I can recall. Certainly nothing serious. There were the usual spats at school and Adam had his share, but that’s all.’
And so it went on. The other six reunees said much the same as the late afternoon wore into evening and the remaining coffee went cold.
The call from Dr Sam Dally had been the second unwelcome phone call of the afternoon for Rafferty. His ma had been on earlier and had told him to get one of his spare bedrooms ready.
Rafferty had been expecting this. It had only been a matter of time, he told himself. His ma still liked to poke her nose into his life and since his June marriage to Abra, she must be consumed with curiosity to see for herself how wedded bliss was going; staying with them over several days was the only way to indulge this curiosity that would fully satisfy ma. Rafferty, facing what couldn’t be avoided, had given a tiny sigh and said, ‘That’s all right, Ma. When do you want to come and stay?’
But it seemed he’d misjudged his woman. His ma wasn’t requisitioning one of his bedrooms for herself after all, as she was quick to tell him.
‘Don’t be stupid, Joseph. Sure and why would I want to come and stay with you when I’ve got a perfectly good house of my own not half-a-mile away from you?’
‘What do you want it for then, Ma?’ he had asked in his innocence. ‘Do you want to store a pile of Bring and Buy stuff for Father Kelly?’ As long as it wasn’t his ma’s illicit ‘bargains’ she wanted him to give houseroom to. He’d draw the line at that.
‘No’. She paused and Rafferty wondered what was coming.
For once, Ma seemed a trifle diffident. It was unlike her. His ma was nothing if not forthright.
‘The thing is son – you know I’ve got some long-lost cousins coming to stay?’
‘Yes.’ His ma had first mentioned this a month ago. But he couldn’t see that it would affect him. Beyond a courtesy meal out with them, it was unlikely, between his new wife and this new case, that he’d see much of them. But now, as his ma explained, he learned that this family reunion had snowballed. His ma had been on the internet – not so much a ‘silver surfer’ as a dyed brown one – and it turned out that she’d unearthed not only the known about Irish and American cousins and their wives or husbands, but also Canadian, Antipodean and South African ones, the Aussies, no doubt, being Raffertys, would have descended from family who had got there via an ‘assisted’ passage courtesy of the crown.
Rafferty was dismayed as he guessed, rightly, what was coming. He hated having people to stay. He never felt his home was his own with others in the house. And the couple his ma wanted to foist on him – for all that they were family – were total strangers to him. The thought of sharing a bathroom with people whose habits were an unknown quantity was unnerving.
‘Sure and most of them are pensioners like meself,’ she told him in wheedling tones. ‘Can’t afford fancy hotels.’
‘They don’t have to be fancy, do they? Bed and breakfast would do, surely? Or the YMCA these days has nice rooms as cheap as you’ll find anywhere.’
‘And haven’t I told you,’ a faintly cross tone entered his ma’s voice, ‘they haven’t the money for hotels of any description. The air fare’s enough for most of them. And then, they’ll need spending money. And they’re family, Joseph. Family I’ve not seen for a long time.’
‘Can’t one of the girls put them up?’ This was a rear-guard action and not one he expected to hold the tide. But he had a plentiful supply of siblings and he thought that, between them, his two brothers and three sisters should be able to accommodate several cousins, especially if they farmed their kids out at their friends’ houses.
‘The girls have no room, you know that. Besides, even if they were able to foist the kids on someone for the duration, Maggie and Neeve are in the middle of decorating.’
His sisters could be as crafty as all their sex. Rafferty wished he was up to his eyelashes in magnolia emulsion. It would give him the excuse he needed. But once back from their honeymoon after their move to the semi from Rafferty’s flat, he’d delayed making a start on doing the place up and had made excuse after excuse to Abra when she’d suggested he pulled his finger out and got on with it. But he’d never suspected that his ma’s invitation to her American cousins would snowball to the extent of the fifty guests that she casually mentioned she was now expecting over for the family reunion party that had been born out of the small get together originally planned. How could he have anticipated that the casually stated and half-heard idea that his ma was expecting four guests would expand to fit his two spare rooms and more? Because he doubted that ma would stop at liberating just one of his spare bedrooms, even though there was only a bed in one of them. She’d find a bed for the other from somewhere and would then expect him and Mickey and Patrick Sean to lug it around to his house and up the stairs.
‘It’s only for two weeks, son,’ she said, wheedlingly. ‘You’ll hardly know they’re there.’
Two weeks! To Rafferty, it seemed like eternity stretching before him. He hadn’t inherited his Ma’s sociable gene and while he enjoyed a good craic as much as the rest of the family, he preferred to keep his home to himself. So he hadn’t said ‘yes’. But then, he hadn’t said ‘no’, either and that was all the encouragement ma needed. Still, he had consoled himself as he had prepared to set off for Griffin School, this murder would keep him busy and out of the way and these cousins that his ma had saddled him with were likely to be out doing the sights for most of the time. Between his work and their sightseeing, it was unlikely their paths would cross much.
LINK TO MY PAGE WITH THE BLOG TOUR DATES:
A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel by Geraldine Evans
Publication: 24 February 2011 (UK) 1 June 2011 (US)
Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation – a poisoning, courtesy of a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the number of Rafferty and Kelly family attendees has grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim’s fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.
ebooks on amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/4re8apo
ebooks on amazon.co.uk: http://tinyurl.com/6du98kq
Geraldine Evans’s website: http://www.geraldineevans.com
Geraldine Evans’s blog: http://www.geraldineevanscom.blogspot.com
The draw of all the comments throughout the Tour will take place at the end of the Tour (end-Feb). There will only be three winners, each of whom wins one signed copy of Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback (fourteenth in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series), one copy of each of two ebooks that are the first and second novels in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, that is, one of Dead Before Morning and one of Down Among the Dead Men. They will also receive a subscription to my blog (which they can let lapse when it runs out).
Crime Author, Geraldine Evans
Geraldine Evans has been writing since her twenties, though only began to get novels published halfway through her thirties. As well as her popular Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, she has a second crime series, Casey & Catt and has also had published an historical, a romance and articles on a variety of subjects, including, Historical Biography, Writing, Astrology, Palmistry and other New Age subjects. She has also written a dramatization of Dead Before Morning, the first book in her Rafferty series.
She is a Londoner, but now lives in Norfolk England where she moved, with her husband George, in 2000.
Deadly Reunion is her eighteenth novel and fourteenth in the humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. She is currently working on the next in the series.