At last, the second book in the Lady Rosamund mysteries is now out. (You may not have waited with bated breath, but I did! It’s a been a year since book one.)
Lady Rosamund escapes the tedium of the countryside at a house party with playwrights, poets, and actors—an immoral set with whom no respectable lady should associate. Even so, she hardly expects to wake in the wee hours to find one of the guests lying dead.
As if that wasn’t troublesome enough, Gilroy McBrae is at the same party. Rosie must set aside her confused emotions about McBrae and help him identify the murderer before an innocent person is accused of the crime.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Setup: Lady Rosamund is supposed to be living quietly in the country during her mourning, but she’s bored. She’s not naturally macabre, but she’d already found a corpse in the first book, so her bored mind keeps imagining another one. She jumps at the chance to attend a house party, even if the guests aren’t the respectable sort she’s supposed to associate with.
I sat up in bed, heart battering my chest. By the grey light in my room, I surmised it was almost dawn. Had that shriek been merely a dream? The house seemed enveloped in silence.
And then came more screams, ghastly and chilling, one after another after another.
I leapt out of bed, crammed my feet into my slippers, donned my wrapper once again, and rushed into the passageway.
It was cloaked in gloom, but faint light from the Great Hall filtered up. It was from there that the screams came, now dissolving into hoarse sobs. A door opened behind me across the passage, but I was first to the stairs.
Which you no doubt think was foolish of me, but I couldn’t help myself. Although I have had many small brushes with supposed insanity, I’m not a complete idiot. I peered over the banister before starting down.
Below me, flat on the floor, was a man. All I could discern was his head and feet, for something huge and unidentifiable lay atop him. As I stared, a woman appeared and glanced about. She bent over the huge something, grunting…and then with a swish of skirts, she vanished.
Meanwhile, a sobbing girl stumbled up the stairs toward me. She tripped on her gown and fell, crying out, and I helped her up. “What happened? What’s wrong?”
“He’s dead.” She swayed. “Oh God, he’s dead. He murdered him!”
I feared she would faint, so I kept a firm hold on her. “Who?” A stupid question, I realized. In the first place, I didn’t specify whether I was asking for the identity of the victim or the murderer. In the second place, she was hysterical and unable to speak coherently. I could very well go see for myself, once I got rid of her.
“It’s all my fault,” she whispered, clutching my arm. “I wish I had never come to this horrid place.”
An understandable sentiment, but she couldn’t have predicted this…could she?
“Helen! Miss Gardner, that is.” Mr. Powers hurried up, clad only in shirt and breeches. This utter disregard of the proprieties, coupled with his use of her Christian name, seemed to indicate that his relationship with the young woman might be as close as Harold Bellevue feared. “What happened?”
“He’s dead!” she wailed, and cast herself upon his breast.
“Hush,” he said. “Who’s dead?”
“How could you?” she cried, and sobbed into his shirt. She, at least, was fully dressed, making the embrace less improper than it otherwise might have been.
I left them to it and hastened down to see the body for myself. Obviously, it behooved me to determine first of all whether the man on the floor was indeed dead.
It was the unpleasant Mr. Fence, but looking unlike himself—tranquil and at peace. With a shudder of revulsion, I realized that what lay atop him was a huge rack of antlers. I glanced up at the wall of the landing: sure enough, the largest stag’s head I’d seen there last evening was gone.
I knelt beside him and felt for his pulse—a waste of time, for even if he still lived, he wouldn’t for long. Two prongs of the antlers had pierced his chest.
There was not even a flutter of heartbeat.
I stood and took a deep breath, trying to shove away the thought that ran over and over through my mind: you wanted a corpse, and you got one.
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Here are the Amazon links. It will be available elsewhere, but I don’t have those links yet.
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Now — for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, go to any of the stops on the tour. Here’s the tour link: https://www.escapewithdollycas.com/great-escapes-virtual-book-tours/upcoming-great-escapes-book-tours/lady-rosamund-and-the-horned-god-a-rosie-and-mcbrae-regency-mystery-by-barbara-monajem/