Murder in the Cemetery: A Lady Margaret Turnbull Cozy Mystery Book (International Cozy Mystery Series 3)

BOOK: Murder in the Cemetery: A Lady Margaret Turnbull Cozy Mystery Book (International Cozy Mystery Series 3)
13.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Murder in the Cemetery





C T Mitchell



© 2015 by C T Mitchell

and internal design © Wood Duck Media


rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any
electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval
systems – except in the case of brief quotations in articles or reviews –
without the permission in writing from its publisher, C T Mitchell.


brand names and product names used in this book are trademarks, registered trademarks,
or trade names of their respective holders. We are not associated with any
product or vendor in this book.

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“A nerve
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Chapter 1

A muffled scream was all the emanated from Valerie’s
beautiful mouth as the knife pierced her heart.  Here, nestled in the heart of
the last resting place of so many, Valerie was finally given what she deserved.

A few rats scattered about in the corners, hopefully not to
be seen, and the whole place smelled of mold.  The air was still, but cool, and
felt good on his arms as he moved her around.

Valerie’s dress, purchased not long ago for fear she ever
wear the same thing twice, was immaculate as it should be, except for the large
stain down the front.  She looked like a doll, like a museum doll in a pleasant
little house of horrors, and he was happy to have helped her meet her end on a
day when she was wearing green.  It made the whole scene more exciting,
somehow, not that anyone else would ever see it.

His tormentor for as long as he’d had memories, Valerie
would torment no longer and her assailant breathed a sigh of relief as he
adjusted her body to its last resting position.  On the outside, she looked
better than him in every way, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on his part. 
His miserable existence was because of her, with her out of the scene, perhaps
now he could find a new way in life.

Her hand fell when he placed it across her lap, so he laced
her fingers together and she looked as though she were thinking about
something.  By the time he was finished with her hands, and had adjusted the
last bit of her skirt, her face had fallen a bit.  She no longer looked
frightened or surprised.

Dear Lord, why was she surprised?  She had to have known
this day was coming.  It should have happened ages ago, but he was suppressing
his will to see it through.  Still, she shouldn’t have been surprised.  Now,
though, her face looked calm.  It looked pleasant, even.  And he reached up and
pressed on her cheeks with his fingers until there was a slight smile on her
beautiful face.

Never again would she hear someone tell her how beautiful
she was.  And she was, to be sure, with porcelain skin and silky hair, but the
inside didn’t match the hypocrisy of it all drove him up the wall. 

No one else seemed to be able to see how cruel she could
be.  It made him relatively sad that the truth of her character would never see
the light of day, but it didn’t matter.  Down here in the cool, damp dwelling
place of busy rats and those who’d had their chance at living, at least she
couldn’t hurt him anymore.

The man stood, wiping the sweat from his thick forehead, and
trudged up the stairs into the light.  The smell of the crypt soon left his
nostrils, and he strolled through the cemetery, blood still dripping from the
knife he held loosely at his side.

Chapter 2

Bangalow, New South Wales, Australia is probably one of the
most serene communities in the county – having nothing to do with its name.  A village
like many others throughout Australia, is boasted a hotel and pub, a church, a
small dance hall adjacent to the elementary school, and a small, well-appointed

Lady Margaret Turnbull, one of the most popular town
citizens, was the owner of the bed and breakfast in town called Lawler’s Loft. 
Lady Turnbull moved to Banaglow after the passing of her husband, an internet
millionaire, and has lived there for the last ten years.

When her husband passed in the UK, Lady Margaret turned her
talent to cooking classes and running the bed and breakfast because it gave her
the freedom to do what she loved, and also the freedom to be an amateur sleuth;
something else this busy body loved to indulge in.

The latter was very much to the dismay of Inspector Tom
Sullivan of the Lismore Police Department.  Lady Maggie always loved a good
mystery, and unfortunately for the entire police department’s detective team,
she was very good at solving them.

Maggie had decided to go for a walk that morning since there
were more people than normal bustling around in the gathering rooms of her guesthouse. 
Someone’s family reunion was in town, and the lot of them were not Maggie’s
type of crowd.

A nice, leisurely stroll through the neighborhood, though,
provided all the entertainment anyone ever needed.  With only twenty minutes of
walking, one could get to just about anywhere in town they needed to go. 
Maggie especially loved this about Australia, that each section of the cities
were divided up into miniature towns that held everything a full sized town
would have.

You didn’t even need a car here; you could really just walk
everywhere.  It was wonderful, and Maggie enjoyed it immensely.  The warmth of
the autumn sun on her back reminded her of vacations with her husband, and
something tugged at the back of her throat.  She was nearing the town’s
cemetery, and could see someone standing just inside the far gate near a
tree.   The breeze from the ocean teased the last leaves on the tree.

When Maggie neared the entrance of the little cemetery, she
noticed that her dear friend Jennifer Langley was visiting a gravesite.  It was
probably her late husband’s site, he had died two years ago from a heart attack
and it left her shaken.

They had lived very long, happy lives together, but Jennifer
still had a lot of life in her.  She had finally gotten her visits down to once
a week or so, and talked about the visits often in the quilting club that met
at Lawlers Loft on Monday mornings.

Maggie often overheard, and took part in, these
conversations.  It was like talking to someone with a newborn child.  Only
another parent can really understand what they’re going through.  Maggie would
go to her friend and stand with her as she talked with her husband, it was the
least she could do and was something she’d expect of anyone else.

Making her way through the little gate, Lady Turnbull
noticed that the door to one of the mausoleums was ajar.  It was open enough to
get her attention, and she decided to take a look into it when she was
finished.  After all, that family reunion certainly didn’t need her presence,
and she was in no hurry to return.

Jennifer was especially cheerful this morning, and spent
about half an hour recounting several good times she’d had with her husband to
Maggie.  Maggie listened intently, and hugged her friend as she was leaving,
although she had been secretly eager to get over to the open mausoleum the
whole time.

When she came up to it, finally, she pushed it forward and
it creaked under her palm just like an old movie.  Maggie felt like a grown-up
Nancy Drew, and she grinned a bit as she propped the door open enough to light
the first few steps.  After that, she used her mobile phone to light the way.

It was cold and dark in the crypt, but nothing out of the
ordinary for Lady Margaret, as she lived for this sort of mystery.  Something
about the way the hairs on her arm stood up a bit told her that she would find
something unpleasant down in the bottom of the tomb.  Unless someone was
servicing it, there was really no good reason for it to be open.

Down the steps, just at the end where two large tombs of
what Maggie assumed to be a husband and wife buried next to each other, was the
body of a beautiful woman in a lovely green dress.  Well, lovely, except for
the giant red stain down the center.  The woman’s face was left untouched, and
her mouth was turned up in a gentle, yet awkwardly out of place smile.  Except
for having obviously been stabbed in the heart somewhat recently, she looked as
though she might have been pleasantly sleeping.

Maggie walked quickly over to her and ran her fingers
through an outside portion of the blood on the woman’s gorgeous dress.  It was
still very wet.  Maggie knew that Detective Sullivan would be displeased that
she’d touched the body, but she always played by the rules.  Just this once,
she wanted to bend the rules a bit and gather more information before hand. 
She’d risk the lecture just this once.

Not normally one to be shaken by such a sight, for some
reason the death of this particular girl struck Maggie as a very sad thing. 
Her insides were beginning to knot up, so she stood for a moment at the young
woman’s feet.  She took a few steps back and tried to take in more of the

The young woman’s Italian-made shoes, which Lady Margaret
recognized in an instant as being delightfully overpriced and a status symbol
for many of the upper class women, were caked in mud.  Though her face was
beautiful, and Maggie hadn’t noticed it at first glance, her make up did appear
to be smudged from tears.

And her lips, bright red with lipstick, were actually
bleeding.  The woman had bitten her lower  the Lismore Police Station. 
Constable Donaldson answered on the first ring, and listened to Maggie’s
discovery.  Her instructions, as always, were to wait at the scene and touch
nothing until a police officer or two could get there.

Twenty minutes later, she had given her official statement
to Constable Donaldson and another officer of the law and was free to go home. 
Maggie walked home unnaturally slow, wishing she had something stronger than
sherry waiting on her in the cabinet at home.  A shot of whiskey to ease her
shaky nerves wouldn’t be out of the question, today.  She couldn’t quite figure
out why the image of the young woman had upset her so, but she didn’t care for

Chapter 3

Maggie poured some cooking sherry into a tea class and
sipped it as she strolled through the kitchen of her sprawling colonial home. 
She could still hear the sounds of the large family reunion out on the verandah
and she shook her head a few times to clear the noise from it.

“Why was the woman smiling?  Why did she look like she was
having a good time?” Maggie asked herself.  There was no way in hell that girl
was having a good time being stabbed in the heart.  Something was amiss.

By the fourth time the image of the girl’s laughing face
haunted Maggie’s mind, she heard someone knock at her door.  It was Detective
Tom Sullivan, the man who was always reluctant to admit what a huge help she
was in solving cases, but always seemed to keep coming back for more.

This time, though, Maggie secretly wished he would ask her
to stay out of it.  This time, she would listen.  Tom took his usual cup of tea
when she offered it to him, and he made a mental note of the way her hands
shook when she handed it to him.

“You okay, Lady Margaret?” He asked, taking a sip.  She
nodded but said nothing.  “Okay then,” he said hesitantly.  “Well, we’ve found
out that your victim is named Valerie Chambers.  Ready for the run down?”

Chills ran down Maggie’s spine, but she nodded because she
knew that’s what she normally would have done.  At the moment, she was acting
on instinct, and her instinct told her that she should be interested…so she
faked it.

Tom opened his small notebook with a flick of his wrist and
began reading.  “Thirty eight years old at the time of her death. Single. Lived
in Clunes, New South Wales.  Owned and managed a spa and beauty parlor for the
past ten years.

This, however, is exactly where her story stops, if you’ll
believe it.  No one at the Station has been able to find a trace of her
existence before she moved to Clunes….which I find very strange.”

Maggie nodded.  “Strange, indeed.”  Her silence afterward
told Tom to continue.  When he started to, she raised up her finger to stop
him.  “No wait…why would a beautiful, well dressed woman wander into the
Bangalow cemetery in the middle of the night?

“Perhaps she came with whoever killed her to look at a
tomb?  To look at the tomb she was found in, maybe?  Maybe she was forced into
it.  Who knows?”  Tom shrugged when Maggie didn’t say anything else, and then
continued on with more theories.  “Maybe she came to Bangalow to re-kindle an
old friendship, and then things took a turn for the worse?”

“—wait right there, Tom.”  Tom grinned.  He loved when
Maggie interrupted him with her theories, though he would never admit it to
her.  “You may be right on any of those accounts, but she wouldn’t have done
any of those things in the middle of the night.  That’s not something a lady
would do.”

“Clunes is only 15 kilometers from Bangalow. Do you think
she may have a special male friend here? A love interest, perhaps” Maggie

BOOK: Murder in the Cemetery: A Lady Margaret Turnbull Cozy Mystery Book (International Cozy Mystery Series 3)
13.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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