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Authors: Ann Purser

Secrets on Saturday

BOOK: Secrets on Saturday
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D
ON

T MISS
A
NN
P
URSER

S OTHER DIABOLICAL DAYS OF THE WEEK
FEAR ON FRIDAY

“Well paced, cleverly plotted, and chock-full of cozy glimpses of life in a small English village … A fine series that just keeps getting better—a must for British cozy fans.”


Booklist

THEFT ON THURSDAY

“Clever, engaging, and suspenseful … [The] best Lois Meade adventure yet.”


Booklist

WEEPING ON WEDNESDAY

“An inventive plot, affable characters, and an entertaining look at village life.”


Booklist

TERROR ON TUESDAY

“Skullduggery of all sorts greets housecleaner Lois Meade when she opens a cleaning service in the village of Long Farnden … Notable for the careful way Purser roots every shocking malfeasance in the rhythms and woes of ordinary working-class family life.”


Kirkus Reviews

“This no-nonsense mystery is competent, tidy, likable, and clever.”


Booklist

MURDER ON MONDAY

“First-class work in the English-village genre: cleverly plotted, with thoroughly believable characters, rising tension, and a smashing climax.”


Kirkus Reviews
(starred review)

“For fans of the British cozy, here’s one with a different twist. Purser’s heroine is not one of the ‘traditional’ apple-cheeked, white-haired village snoops … The identity of the killer—and the motive—will be a shocker. Fresh, engaging, and authentically British.”


Booklist

“Fans of British ‘cozies’ will enjoy this delightful mystery with its quaint setting and fascinating players.”


Library Journal

The Lois Meade Mysteries by Ann Purser

MURDER ON MONDAY
TERROR ON TUESDAY
WEEPING ON WEDNESDAY
THEFT ON THURSDAY
FEAR ON FRIDAY
SECRETS ON SATURDAY
SORROW ON SUNDAY
WARNING AT ONE

S
ECRETS ON
S
ATURDAY

ANN PURSER

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc
.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700. Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
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Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdce Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

SECRETS ON SATURDAY

A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with Severn House

PRINTING HISTORY
Severn House hardcover edition / 2006
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / April 2007

Copyright © 2006 by Ann Purser.
Cover art by Griesbach and Martucci.
Cover design by Leslie Worrell.
Interior text design by Kristin del Rosario.

All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: Severn House Publishers Inc.,
595 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10022.

EISBN: 9781101567609

BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
The name BERKLEY PRIME CRME and the BERKLEY PRIME CRIME design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

10 9 8 7 6 5 4

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

For Philip

Table of Contents

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-­One

Twenty-­Two

Twenty-­Three

Twenty-­Four

Twenty-­Five

Twenty-­Six

Twenty-­Seven

Twenty-­Eight

Twenty-­Nine

Thirty

Thirty-­One

Thirty-­Two

Thirty-­Three

Thirty-­Four

Thirty-­Five

Thirty-­Six

Thirty-­Seven

Thirty-­Eight

Thirty-­Nine

Forty

Forty-­One

Forty-­Two

Forty-­Three

Forty-­Four

Forty-­Five

Forty-­Six

Forty-­Seven

Forty-­Eight

Forty-­Nine

Fifty

Fifty-­One

Fifty-­Two

Fifty-­Three

Fifty-­Four

Fifty-­Five

Fifty-­Six

O
NE

L
OIS
M
EADE
,
BOSS OF CLEANING BUSINESS
N
EW
Brooms and experienced amateur sleuth, looked out of her window along Long Farnden’s main street, idly thinking about nothing very much. A car drew up and stopped outside her house, and a man—tall, thin, nondescript-looking except for a slight limp—made his way up to her front door.

She dodged behind the curtains in time-honoured village fashion, and waited until she heard the bell. Then she waited some more until her mother came from the back of the house and opened up. “Good morning.” Gran paused, and Lois heard a soft voice asking for New Brooms.

Time to make an appearance. “Can I help you?” she said, and Gran looked at her crossly. Gran liked to know who people were, and to glean as much of their business as she could before handing them over to Lois.

“I wanted to ask about cleaning,” he said politely, looking from one to the other.

“Then you’ve come to the right place,” said Lois, ushering him in firmly. “Our main office is in Tresham, but I’m happy to see you here. Come through.”

Not to be beaten, Gran followed with an offer of coffee, which the man accepted with alacrity. “It’s a cold morning,” he said, “and the heater in my car is on the blink.”

Lois sat behind her desk and picked up a pen. “Now,” she said. “First of all, where’s your house? Got to make
sure you are on our patch. People have rung me from Dorset and Yorkshire, but we stick to a radius of about thirty miles around Farnden.” As Long Farnden was in the Midlands, the heart of England, this took in a nice mix of town and country for Lois’s team of cleaners, and had worked well for a number of years.

“Oh, well, that’s fine,” the man said. “The house is right here in Long Farnden. In the new estate off the High Street. Used to be Tollervey-Jones land. All the nobs are selling off their birthright these days!” The man smiled a wintry smile, and accepted a steaming cup of coffee from Gran with obvious gratitude.

“Oh, right. Have you just moved in, then?” Both Gran and Lois knew who lived in every house in the village, but neither had known that any of the Blackberry Gardens lot were up for sale.

“No, no,” he replied. “It was my uncle’s house, but he’s too old to live by himself now, and we’ve moved him away to a nice comfortable old folks’ home.”

“What?” said Gran. “You mean Mr. Everitt? That nice old chap who used to take his terrier for a walk every morning and evening?”

The man nodded, and Lois said evenly, “We had no idea he needed help. The village is usually very good about looking after its oldies. Now,” she added, “could I have your name, please?”

“Abthorpe,” he said, “Reg Abthorpe. He had no children, his wife died, and there’s just us cousins to be responsible for him. I’m the only one left in England. The rest emigrated to Australia.”

“So how can we help you?” Lois asked. She looked Reg Abthorpe up and down, and decided for no reason at all that she didn’t like him. She didn’t like his soft, smarmy voice, or his thin, mousy hair carefully trained over a bald patch. She didn’t like his soft suede shoes with quiet rubbery soles, and most of all she didn’t like his smile, his cold, one-sided smile.

He settled into his seat, and spoke with more confidence now. “We promised Uncle Herbert that we’d keep
the house in a good state for him. Aired and cleaned, that sort of thing. He thinks he’ll be back when he’s better, poor old lad, but that won’t happen. We just go along with it to please him. After all, it’s his money paying for it! So I wondered if you’d take on the job? Once every couple of weeks should be enough. I’m afraid nobody’s been in for a while, so you may need to do a bit extra at first. We’ll pay, of course.” He smiled at her, and she shivered. “Can you take it on?” he said.

BOOK: Secrets on Saturday
11.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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