Authors: Madison Kent
Madeline Donovan Mystery
To Debbie, for the joy she brings into our lives
© 2014, Madison Kent
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author/publisher.
None of the suspects depicted in this story are meant to bear any resemblance to any of the actual suspects in this infamous case.
Although the timeline, location and actual victims of the notorious Jack the Ripper are accurate, all other entities of this story are fictional and based solely on the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to any person is unattended and accidental.
A Beautiful Place to Die
A Madeline Donovan Mystery
In 1889, Chicago, the city is booming, lavish buildings and must-see architectural and cultural wonders are springing up everywhere around the city. Even in Madeline Donovan's little known neighborhood of Goose Island, a luxurious hotel has been built within a half-mile of her home. The Harrison, built by a trio of brothers, has designed its three-story building with unusual features that attract many to its doors.
But soon after its opening, young girls begin to disappear. One of the girl's brothers has employed her to look into her disappearance.
It will begin her journey into the secret world of the Harrison brothers and others who reside in this mysterious place.
Her friend Hugh returns to America, and Jonathan Franks, the reporter from the New York Times is sent to Chicago to cover a different story but finds himself with Madeline and Hugh on the trail of the perpetrators.
Beneath the surface of the beautiful hotel, lies terrifying secrets that they will soon find out.
Please visit my website:
They Mystery at Belle Magnolia
A Madeline Donovan Mystery
What could be the reason for the urgent telegram her father received from Belle Mayfair, owner of a beautiful, southern mansion in New Orleans? Dr. Donovan had read the message to Madeline, Hugh Scott and Jonathan Franks on the very evening that the Goose Island murder came to its conclusion.
Belle gave little indication of why she requested his presence as soon as possible, but her father did not hesitate and made immediate plans to leave.
Madeline, having just recently became gainfully employed as a female detective, not only wished to see her friends at Belle Magnolia but was intrigued to find out what the reason was behind the request.
Upon their arrival, she would be introduced to the world of the occult, and drawn into the world of Maria Laveau, the deceased Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Events would unfold quickly that put her and her friends in danger at every turn. Somehow she would have to determine who really killed the boy Armand Lalande if she were to save Belle Magnolia and the people who lived there.
Some Saints Prey
Madeline Donovan Mystery
Madeline Donovan is exhausted from her experience and the harrowing case she was involved with in New Orleans. On insistence of her father and encouragement from Belle Mayfair, she finds herself traveling to St. Augustine, Florida with Emily Montgomery.
Emily has invited her to stay at their mansion to recover from all that had happened, but before she even reaches the Montgomery estate, she learns of the mystery that has all of St. Augustine talking. two young suitors to Emma St. Fleur have gone missing.
Within a short time, events will unravel that will have not only St. Augustine up in arms but people in other cities. It will be up to Madeline and her friends to find out the secret the people of St. Augustine share that is so dangerous its revelation will reach into every part of the state of Florida.
Some Saints Prey now available on Amazon―published November 25, 2015.
In August of 1888, one of the most notorious murderers of all time made his mark known to the world through the heinous slaying of five women in the slums of Whitechapel, England. Madeline Donovan is about to arrive in London just as Jack the Ripper’s first victim appears, mutilated with her throat sliced clear to the bone. The purpose of Madeline's trip to London changes after that, and she goes into the streets of Whitechapel to ferret out any information about this menace.
She is still aboard the
SS City of New York
when word reaches the ship about the murders, and her intent to embrace solitude is then cast off. She has a chance encounter with Jonathan Franks, a reporter from the New York Times, who has been sent to cover the story. She also meets some dowager ladies, who will seek her help to find their niece, Polly Nichols. She has been lost to the streets, living in Whitechapel as a prostitute. When they learn of the recent murders in Whitechapel, they are determined to find her and bring her home.
Arthur Conan Doyle has just published his first mystery, which introduces the world to the inimitable Sherlock Holmes, the detective Madeline wishes to emulate. She imagines herself as a female sleuth taking on her first case.
Together they try to unravel the curious and frightening events that are about to occur in Whitechapel.
Because of recent tragic events in her life, she has taken to relying on absinthe, a soothing liqueur now all the rage in Paris, for strength to get through the day. But she seems to rely on it more and more to calm her, and soon it will not be enough to assuage her demons, as she begins her unexpected journey.
She plunges herself without fear and reluctance into the world of Whitechapel and there her life will change forever.
The SS City of New York
Her layered black clothing, for
once, was comforting as the cold air rushed upon her, nearly whipping her umbrella from her diminutive hand. She enjoyed the sound of the creaking deck beneath her feet as it distracted her from the thoughts that haunted her. She had been at sea for just a few days and during this solitary time had delved deeply into her barely beating heart for answers again. She would, she decided, she must, let these thoughts go for now if she were to survive. Her dear father, how she missed him already. However, she was comforted by the knowledge that his medical practice would always keep him busy. It was not unusual, even late in the evening, to see him slipping into his white coat to attend to his patients, such as when one of the Carey twins took sick or Billy ate some poisonous berries. She knew his devotion to his practice would sustain him. She would write him often and keep diligent records of her travel; it would keep her father nearer to her and lessen her feelings of missing him.
“Madam, lunch is being served in about twenty minutes,” said Phillip, the young waiter who was endearing in his attention to her. “May I try and seek an escort for you?”
“Phillip, you are more than kind, but I think I will remain on deck, perhaps I will have some tea and cakes a little later,” said Madeline.
There was scarcely an area that was not brimming with activity, children running with delight, elderly couples rocking in harmony with the ocean; it all seemed so purposeful. All sharing the voyage together, traveling to England and other European destinations with the purpose of visiting a new land or reuniting with one.
The SS City of New York
proved to be all it had been rumored about when she had endeavored to obtain information about this great lady that would take her to London. It was the
maiden voyage. She sparkled with her newness, and everyone walked upon her with a sense of awe, proud that they would be the first to test her. Her finances afforded her the opportunity to purchase a second-class fare. Although not as splendid as first-class, it suited her. Here the accommodations consisted of a tiny, claustrophobic room including a bed, a small dresser, and a washing area that had hot and cold running water. In the past, she might have wished for something grander, but now she did not mind this; she didn’t even give it a thought.
The second-class recreation area included a saloon bar jammed with participants passing the hours in revelry.
She sat beneath the night sky, with the moon slicing through the darkness with spotted light, she took comfort in the sounds of the singing that she heard from the men in the saloon, her darkness of spirit somewhat dissipating while listening to their melodic voices. Fate, she thought, is there such a structured nymph who struts with claims on us. For her there must be a new purpose, the harder fought it would be, the better, for then it will challenge her to live again.
“Mrs. Donovan, will you allow me to get you a blanket to keep the cold from you?” asked Phillip.
“Phillip, once again you have come to watch over me, even at this late hour. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but no, I will be returning to my cabin shortly. Tomorrow they say will bring fair weather. I will wish you well and good-night.”
The noise of the waves crashing into the ship and the pure blackness of the sea, she remembered on past voyages had given her an uneasy feeling and a chill that was unsettling, but no longer did she feel this way. Nothing frightened her anymore; there was a freedom in that. Perhaps she would stay a little longer on deck and feel the cold ocean spray upon her face; it was pleasant, after all, to feel something.
A few hours later, a slight tug on her shoulder found her staring up at Mr. Bonneville.
“Mrs. Donovan, excuse me Mum, but I really must insist that you return to your cabin. If you stay out here any longer, it will be your death.”
“If only,” she replied.
“I beg your pardon, Madam?”
“If only I would have heeded Phillip’s request to leave, I would not have fallen asleep under the stars tonight. I must be a sight, Mr. Bonneville, thank you for waking me. My clothing has become saturated with the mist.”
“Let me escort you to your cabin, Mum. Please.”
This time, she acquiesced and leaned against him, grateful for an arm to hold onto.
Although furnished with only a few small pictures, the room did not appear gloomy, her condensed confines compelled her to look often out her porthole. Through this small, round looking glass was an alternate world of limitless space. She marveled at the seeming infinity of the ocean and thought of the places one could travel to upon her shoulders. It was a serene kind of beautiful to see nothing but ocean and a few long spanned birds in silhouette flying over the water.
She touched their photograph with tender fingertips, remarking out loud, “How strong and vibrant you all look. Did I ever realize how remarkable your fine looks were? My little, gentle beings with cheeks like apples—good-night.”
Her dreams once again proved an early morning awakening, startling her in their graphic nature. Of late, she had been awakened by dreams of hideously shaped shadows that followed into a long hall that had no ending. She was running frantically to elude the ghosts, but the narrow passage did not permit her to escape. The ghoulish faces groped at her head and at her feet, pulling at her to come with them. When she awoke from these dreams, she found it difficult to breathe and had been given to having a small flask of bourbon by her bedside that she would sip from. Just a few drops seemed to sharpen her mind again and bring her back to reality.
Although tired from lack of any reasonable sleep, she did not wish to stay in her cabin and left when the clock chimed seven. Several passengers were already partaking of their breakfast by the time she seated herself, bringing with her a copy of
A Study in Scarlet
by Arthur Conan Doyle. It was a fascinating piece, and she was in admiration of this new author who solved crimes with his cunning, rather than his brawn. It had made her fantasize about the mysteries all around her, and she observed people with a more ardent look, imagining them all with some secret mystery of their own. Although this was just fanciful, it provided her mind with an occupation. She tested herself to see if she could remember details about people after they had passed her on the deck, and she would come to elaborate conclusions about them after she observed what they ate and how they presented themselves as they socialized about the ship. She kept a small leather burgundy notebook inside a satchel that she carried and was meticulous about writing down her findings.
She was eating her usual breakfast of toast and jam and some strong Darjeeling tea, when a dark-haired man with graying temples, in a crisp tailored white shirt and tweed suit, spoke to her,
“I couldn’t help but notice that you are reading
A Study in Scarlet;
I also find myself in the midst of reading it. I am only about midway through the book and wondered what your thoughts might be about it.”
“How do you do, sir? I am Mrs. Donovan,” she replied. She did not ask him to sit, although she knew it was expected in polite society to do so.
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Jonathan Franks.”
“Sir, I have just begun my adventure with Mr. Holmes, and I am afraid I have nothing to offer yet in the way of a discussion about the book.”
“Pardon me, Madam. I apologize for my intrusion during your breakfast.”
He hesitated and stood over her in awkward silence, and she knew he was waiting for her to ask him to join her, but she did not do so.
“Not at all, sir, I wish you a good morning.”
In truth, Madeline had already read the novel once and was half way through it a second time. She was quite addicted to this author’s story about the eccentric detective Holmes and his companion, the bumbling, loveable Dr. Watson. She believed if she were a man, being a detective would be a profession she would find exhilarating. What an adventurous life one would have, delving into the unknown and possibly dangerous affairs of another. Yes, she thought, being a man would make life easier in many ways. They seemed so much better at dealing with grief. Almost, at times, as if they were in the habit of taking daily shots of ice water into their veins. Mr. Franks had kind eyes and for a moment, she had thought of inviting him to sit with her, but then decided the struggle to be polite and possibly endure some form of flirtation would be unwelcome. She left the dining area and returned to the deck where sunshine was streaming across it. The ocean waters were rising and falling with such a deliberate dance; it brought many to the rails to see its beauty. She had chosen to return to her deckchair, and begin taking notes in her journal.
August 12, 1888—aboard the SS City of New York, somewhere traveling upon the great Atlantic Ocean
Mr. Franks, an obvious solicitor or accountant, his perfunctory hair refusing to move even against the snapping wind, must find in all things an exact purpose. He believes all problems, if aligned and looked at correctly, will have a solution. He does not partake in idle frivolity and eats potatoes and roast beef whenever possible. He has almost married once, no twice, but had resolutely decided against it after he did not secure his mother’s approval. He is on his way to London to secure a position in the Dorchester Bank.
Yes, she thought, that sums him up nicely. She decided she would write Father today, but as her head was still throbbing from her night out in the elements, she would, instead, just observe her fellow travelers. Coming toward her, she saw the familiar figure of her friend, Phillip.
“Mrs. Donovan, what a relief to see that you are out and about. I will never forgive myself for not having attended you better. Mr. Bonneville told me he found you shivering and asleep on deck in the middle of the night.”
“Philip, do not reproach yourself. I will not hear of it. You appear to be quite young in years. How old are you? Perhaps eighteen—it is not for you to be responsible for someone old enough to have better sense. It is entirely my fault.”
“But no, Mum, I know about well…ah…I know you have had some difficulty and may not be of a mind to consider such things. I should have stayed with you until you were safely inside. I cannot console myself, and feel I was remiss in my duty to you. Oh, I am seventeen, Mum, but have been at sea since I was fifteen and feel a proper man indeed.”
“Of course, Phillip, I should have left the deck when you suggested. Now, will you please bring me a cup of Darjeeling, a glass of absinthe and some cakes? Is that the paper you have tucked in your pocket? May I see it?”
“It is, but I don’t know if it is something you would wish to read. I must say it has made me wonder why an unescorted woman would be seeking to go to London at this time.”
“I’m not sure I understand. What are you referring to?”
“The Whitechapel murders, Mum, and the man, they’ve taken to calling him
“I seem to remember my father speaking of some dreadful man that has been responsible for attacking a woman, but I don’t know much more than that. I have been, of late, withdrawn into my own little pocket of the world, Philip, and I am embarrassed to say I haven’t kept up with the news, even in my state, yet alone abroad.”
“We’ve just received the news from a cargo ship that came to board us to bring supplies. There is another apparent victim. The details are quite…well…not pleasant, Mum, and might be offensive to you.”
“I commend you for all the care you take of us, Phillip, but you may be sure that I have the mental and emotional capabilities necessary to hear this news. My father had spoken of it to me, but I only have a vague recollection. It was one of his concerns about me going to London, but I think I didn’t quite listen. I confess, Phillip, these many months I have withdrawn from society, but now that is something that is my story. Please, may I have the paper?”
“Yes, Mum, and I’ll return shortly with your tea.”
“And my absinthe, Phillip, remember.”
“Of course, and they have those crème filled cakes you like. Mrs. Donovan, I did want to inform you that Mr. Franks said it would be his pleasure to provide the payment for your order.”
“Phillip, that is most considerate of Mr. Franks, but I am afraid I will have to decline, it doesn’t seem proper, as I have only recently made his acquaintance. But if you should see him, please give him my regards.”
Splashed across the London Times were the startling words, “
Ghastly Murder in the East
”. The words written in crimson red had the effect the newspaper intended—the letters were so large they slapped you in the face and made you stare in abhorrent revulsion. Grabbing the newspaper in her gloved hand, she felt as if the red ink was running like blood down her white gloves. She read each word as if her environment had disappeared, and she was there with the Ripper standing behind her. She imagined the girl, poor
, as he stabbed her maliciously and without mercy. She read on, lingering on each page as the paper rehashed the previous murders attributed to Jack. She wondered now if she had fully comprehended that this monster was hidden somewhere in London if she would have changed her mind about traveling here.