Another summer is here, and once again I am alone, pretending to be a bachelor. Well, actually, that’s not true—I only wish I was a bachelor!
Let me explain. As some of you might know, my beloved wife is Japanese. She returns to Japan every summer to visit her family, and I usually end up staying here and holding down the fort. When I used to work for a living (ha ha) I had only a couple of weeks to use for vacation, so I could only go for a short time. Most years, it seemed like too much of a bother to subject myself to jetlag twice in two weeks. Now that I write, I could literally write anywhere, and as long as a few logistical hurdles are overcome, I could go over for six weeks like she does.
Only one problem: my kids are not all young anymore. Our youngest is eight, and she went with her mother this summer as she always does, but our older boys are twenty-three and just started a new job, and eighteen and just graduated from high school, working for the summer in preparation for university in the fall.
In my mind, I could have gone with my wife and youngest. We would have had to trust the boys to take care of the place. (Yeah, I know—insert laughter at my naïveté here.) I at least would have been mostly confident they would not burn the place down. But my wife is not so confident, and as a result, I am stuck here babysitting my two older sons. Go figure. It’s not that my mother-in-law’s house is an exciting hotbed of fun. Umm . . . Not! But like I said I can work anywhere, they do go to some interesting and fun places on weekends, and I haven’t seen them in some time now. Furthermore, I have left Calgary perhaps two or three times in the past five years. Yup, I think I need a vacation.
Now let’s move onto the main event and leave the personal stuff behind. I am gearing up now for the release of my next offering, entitled Murder at Netherfield. As you can probably tell, this is a bit of a different direction for me, as it is a murder mystery. I’m interested to see how it’s received. It is a fully-fledged mystery, but it contains all the elements of Elizabeth and Darcy we all love to read about over and over again. (And over, and over and over . . . rinse, repeat.) I gave it to a few people who were into mysteries and got some good feedback, so I hope you’ll give it a try.
Murder at Netherfield is scheduled for release on Thursday. As you will likely already note from the timing, it is not available for pre-order—it should be available sometime on Thursday morning, whenever Amazon gets their act together.
Now, without further ado, here is the description and excerpt for Murder at Netherfield!
After the ball at Netherfield, a fault in their carriage results in the Bennet family being forced to stay at the Bingley estate, and when a blizzard blows in overnight, the Bennets find themselves stranded there. Lady Catherine de Bourgh, having heard of her nephew’s interest in the second Bennet daughter, descends upon them, demanding her nephew marry her daughter, making all who are trapped at the estate uncomfortable by her behavior.
The next day a body is found, leading to a string of murders which threaten the lives of those present. As the tension at the estate rises, Elizabeth and Darcy form an alliance to discover the identity of the murderer and save those they care about most. But the depraved actions of a killer, striking from the shadows, threatens their newly found admiration for each other. The stage is set, a race against time to find a sinister murderer before another victim is found.
In the blackness outside Elizabeth’s room, a solitary figure moved in the shadows, taking care not to make any sound which might wake the residents of the estate. The hall was long and dark, with only a little light filtering in through a window at the end, coupled with whatever light was able to penetrate from the entrance hall.
Once the figure reached the end of the hall, it stopped and glanced out onto the night landscape, grimacing at what was revealed. “We have not seen snow such as this in an age. We will all be bound here for days if this continues.”
With a shake of the head, the figure turned and made its way back toward the stairs. There was a sound, a ghostly whisper to its left, and the figure stopped, surprised at the sudden noise. When it was not repeated, the figure shook its head and once again walked down the hall, arriving at the stairs.
But just as the figure was about to attempt them, a shadow separated itself from where it was hidden in a small alcove, and as the figure’s foot touched the first stair leading down, the shadow reached it, pushing with all its might.
Arms flailing to catch itself, the figure hurtled down the stairs, its cry of sudden fear cut short by the sickening sound of breaking bones. It tumbled to the bottom of the stairs and lay still.
The shadow, fearful the cry had been heard, melted back into the darkness of the alcove, waiting to see if anyone arrived to investigate. But all was quiet. The house and the world around it slept on, it seemed.
Gingerly, ready to flee at any moment, the shadow made its way down the stairs toward the fallen figure, eyes alight for any sign of movement. A few short moments later, it reached the fallen body lying on the floor below. Then, satisfied, the shadow bent down to confirm the identity of its victim.
The faint light entered the window and fell on the prone body, twisted limbs lying where it had fallen.