Today on Love Books Group we have an exclusive excerpt from TP Fielden’s A Quarter Past Dead. Out now in the usual formats.
Back of the book
Murder can strike at any hour…
It’s the late 1950s in tranquil Temple Regis, Devon.
For holidaymakers it’s a glorious time of breathtaking scenery, picnics on beaches, and flocks of tourists on their summertime holidays.
But for Miss Judy Dimont, this is all a trifle dull. As a reporter for local rag, The Riviera Express, she needs scandal and intrigue – and one morning, as the clock strikes the quarter hour, she gets it. A woman has been shot dead in one of Buntorama’s upmarket holiday huts, the toffee-nosed rival hotelier next door is rubbing his hands with glee, and Judy and her trusty moped Herbert are off like a shot to survey the scene of the crime.
But nobody can tell her who the dead girl is and there’s no clear motive. To have a story to write, Judy must solve the case – and the intrepid Miss Dimont will leave no pebble unturned until the truth is out!
ONE The trouble with Betty was she could never say no. ‘Oh, Betty,’ sighed Miss Dimont, looking over her Remington Quiet-Riter and pushing the spectacles back up her nose. ‘Who was it this time?’
‘Dudley Fensome.’ Betty was sobbing into a creased handkerchief and was clearly not going to do much reporting this morning. ‘But you know his reputation,’ said Miss Dimont, who’d met the brute at the Constitutional Club. ‘And a Freemason as well – what were you thinking of?’ ‘He said he wanted it that way and I did it to please him.’ ‘Surely not!’ ‘He made me.’ ‘It’s a woman’s right to decide for herself!’ ‘You don’t know what it’s like when they ask.’ You’re right, thought Miss Dimont, I don’t. The chief reporter pushed her notebook aside and got up to make the tea.
‘I don’t know, Betty,’ she said, ‘there was Derek. Then Claud Hannaford in that revolting pink Rolls-Royce – now Dudley Fensome. All in the last few weeks. None of them seems to show you any respect.’
‘I know,’ wailed Betty, ‘sometimes I’m just like putty in their hands…’ Not just sometimes, thought Miss D. But it was true – the burning desire of a bachelor Freemason had got the better of Betty. It might have been better if she’d got a professional to take care of the problem straight away, but Betty had to go and do it herself.
She looked wretched.
‘Platinum’s not so bad,’ said Miss Dimont finally, looking down at the disaster from above, teapot in hand. ‘There are a couple of green patches over your ears, granted, but I’ve got that nice crochet hat the Mothers’ Union gave me last winter – you can have that.’
Betty Featherstone wailed even louder. Nobody else in the newsroom of the Riviera Express took much notice. It was press day, the usual hubbub of a busy newsroom augmented by the occasional bellow of anguish from the editor’s office. Rudyard Rhys may once have been a naval officer, but these days he was not entirely the captain of his own ship.
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