Book 1 – from THE Knicker-Sewing SLEUTH series is on sale at Amazon click this link to purchase
An Innocent Grandma? Or a Murdering old Biddie?
This humorous tale of murder, friends and a goose starts out as a simple case of Grandma minding. Just graduated from his private investigators course, Dermot Mustang has been contracted to keep an eye on his own ‘loopy’ old Grandma. But things are not quite as they seem and he’s soon up to his neck in a murder and his Grandma is the number one suspect.
Not too many people know that the young P.I. on the case, Dermot, is a bit of a wimp, has a few idiosyncrasies and has a gut wrenching reaction to dead bodies. Even fewer people know Dermot’s secret hobby – sewing women’s daringly cheeky knickers – but he only sews for his friend who wants a career on the cat-walk! However, keeping his own secrets a secret is difficult as he tries to uncover other people’s secrets to track down the murderer.
Or is the murderer his Grandma?
Two friends arrive to help him, and then his life gets even crazier when he gets drawn into a bizarre crime with a couple of daft old locals, secret sewing deadlines and lusting after Poppy.
Excerpt from Book 1 of THE Knicker-Sewing SLEUTH :
“We’re shifting the body, ” Rene exclaimed.
Dermot looked in horror at the two elderly-folk. “That’s booze talking.”
“We need a bit of Dutch courage lad,” Henri answered.
“I want no part of it,” and Dermot scraped his chair back, stood up and gave them both a lingering, much practiced steely glare. He needed them to change their minds. But Rene tightened her lips and puffed her fat over rouged cheeks out and she did a damned good impression of a blow fish. Henri on the other hand pulled his old features into a resolute statement.
Dermot knew they would not change their minds so he turned on his heel and left.
On his way biking back to Harriet’s, he saw the new Akaroa policeman, P.C. Erics walking his beat appearing over-zealous as he pivoted left and right glancing into people’s driveways and shining his torch in all directions at random.
Dermot felt a pang of conscience. What to do? NOTHING! They’re two misguided old people, about to commit a felony, cover up an accidental murder. They’re on their own! He biked further along the Rue but then couldn’t help himself. He glanced back along the Rue. The policeman was heading toward Henri’s cottage.
He so wanted to hit the flight button, but he knew at that moment he had no choice. He’d befriended Rene and by default he’d somehow befriended the old codger, Henri. The feeling that Henri’s bits and bobs were in his hands made him U-turn and cycle back.
In the darkened back yard Henri and Rene, already with shovels in their hands, were standing at the large pile of dirt Henri had originally dug for his little dog. They were shifting dirt from around Gerard Heathrow’s hand. Perspiring heavily, Rene was mighty pleased to see Dermot and gestured her shovel toward him to take.
He stuck his right hand up, “Not likely. I’m only back because you need a look-out. Give you a sporting chance while you shift the…ah, body. Now, quick as you can, torches out, duck down over here,” Dermot whispered as he grabbed both of their arms and dragged them behind a group of shrubs near the cottage. “There’s a policeman heading this way.”
Rene stifled a gasp as she squatted behind the shrubs and Henri patted Dermot on the back and whispered, “Good man.” They stayed crouched and hidden for a few minutes and when P.C. Erics walked past, slowly, they all held their breaths, but in all fairness the shovels, grave and terracotta pot were camouflaged in darkness.
Two minutes later, after Dermot had refused Henri another slug of whiskey, “Jest to settle me nerves,” Henri had said, Dermot was stationed in the shadows of the driveway and watched P.C. Erics tread further away.
Dermot shuddered. He was now in it right up to the collar on his carefully ironed shirt. It was a warm evening but he soon settled into involuntary shakes, and when the wind rustled the nearby trees, the restless shadows gave him palpitations and again the immense concern that P.I. undercover stuff was definitely not his calling resurfaced. Although he had to concede this was nothing like the undercover stuff that was outlined in his P.I. manual.
Rene and Henri dug around and down the length of Gerard’s arms then they spent a few fitful minutes leaning on their shovels getting their breath back before they continued digging. Shovel by shovel they uncovered his torso glimpsing his red tie and blue striped shirt now muddied and dank. Then his legs and finally his head and by then they were in his grave up to their knees.
“What were you thinking?” Rene snarled at Henri, gesturing toward the huge pile of dirt they’d heaved onto the lawn. “Your little dog Scooter, was just an iddybiddy,” she said and she placed her hands out to remind Henri just how little his little dog was.”
“I must a made a mistake,” he whined.
“You think?” Rene said with malice as she glanced at the heap of dirt and then at the corpse. She sighed, resigned to the situation.
“Right. Now Henri out you get and we’ll lean down and grab his arms and when I say pull, then we pull him out. Got it?”
Slowly they clambered out and onto the grass, glad the digging was over.
Dermot left his post and joined the grave diggers. The three stood around the grave staring down.
Rene was getting her breath back and realized there was something morbidly fascinating about Heathrow how he was, dead quiet, unable to hurt anyone ever again.
Henri also had his own opinion of the situation. Heathrow was indeed a grisly sight which served him right. He shivered as he spotted a worm slivering around the dead man’s nose and he wondered how he himself, had been chosen to give Heathrow his just deserts.
Dermot however, stood speculating. He tried not to look at Gerard’s grimy dirt covered face. UGH it was all too terrible, he was sure he was going to throw up again. But he stood where he was, something wasn’t quite right. He observed the posture of the corpse, laying on his back arms by his side. He walked to the foot of the grave, squiggled in front of a seven-foot bushy tree, turned his back on the grave and tilted his body back-wards.
Suddenly Henri hurled himself beside Dermot and grabbed him around the waist. “What the?” Dermot squealed. Henri pulled him sideways and told him, “Now youngin, we can’t have you passing out on us—”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I was just seeing—”
Then Rene cut into Dermot’s half-said statement which shot his speculations into oblivion. “Grab his other arm Henri,” she said and bent forwards. As Rene grabbed hold of Gerard’s right arm a loud, RING…RING…RING…shattered the still evening.
DERMOT STOOD FROZEN TO THE SPOT!
Nerves already in tatters Rene jerked her head upwards and snagged her wig on an upper branch of an Acacia tree.
Panicked, Henri swiveled around searching for the ringing, but crikey—Rene’s hair seemed to be floating. Then within a nanosecond, Rene rose on tip-toes and the illusion her hair was part of her head, was complete. Must be the whiskey, Henri decided.
“It’s in there,” Rene hollered and pointed to Gerard’s torso.
Wired with adrenalin and with lightning speed—for a 60 plus year old—the little man leapt back into the grave, and amongst the cloggy dirt and worms he grabbed at Gerard’s top pocket in his jacket and pulled out his cell phone. He wiped the dirt away from the phone and turned it off.
“Phew, that was a heart stopper,” he exclaimed looking at Rene for praise but noticed instead she was wearing a slightly to the left hair style now, but he didn’t give it much thought, it had been a most peculiar evening anyway.