Chapter One of Entitled to Murder: A Cozy Mystery Short Story
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address the publisher at: hello at ameliadhay dot com.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Hello, Book Lovers!
I’m excited to share with you the first chapter of my very first cozy mystery short story titled, Entitled to Murder. Every Friday, over the next few weeks, I will release a chapter from the short story over on this blog. If you want to receive notifications via email, then sign up for updates by fill out your first name and email address in the opt-in form below, and you’ll receive an email from me, letting you know the latest chapter is available, plus a copy of the ebook when the story is finished.
Before, I dive into the opening chapter of this cozy mystery short story, here’s a brief description of the story.
About the Short Story
Bookworm and recently widowed, Lucy Hobbs has lived a sheltered life. The only danger she has ever faced was turning the pages of a murder mystery novel. All of that is about to change.
It’s Halloween, Lucy’s favourite time of year, but it’s more than just a holiday—it’s her grandfather, Alfred’s 87th birthday. After months of grieving this is the one thing, she has been looking forward too. But, little does Lucy know she is walking into a family feud, a lost sheep, and murder.
On the day of Alfred’s Will reading, Lucy learns of some unexpected changes that cause her to look at the events of the birthday party under a new light.
Can Lucy figure out who the murderer is before they strike again?
‘You’re insane,’ the voice bellowed through Meadow House.
Thump, thump, thump—three red apples rolled out from the top of Lucy Hobbs’s grocery bags and down the hall and through the maze of open doors as she stumbled through the back door. An eery silence fell over the Derbyshire farmhouse. Grandfather is getting under Thomas’s nerves.
Lucy grimaced as the apples hit the skirting boards at the other end of the short hall with a thud. Careful not to spill the contents of her bags, Lucy ambled through the maze of open doors towards the kitchen. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a familiar lanky, dark-haired man as she shuffled down the hall passed the stairs.
‘Colin, are you trying to grow a beard?’ Lucy stepped into the door frame and squinted at her brother.
George Sims strolled out of the sitting room and into the entry. Clutching a fine bone china teacup, George peered through the open doors and waved at Lucy.
‘Be nice to your brother. It’s taken him five years to grow that.’ George smirked.
Colin shook his head.
A lush, grey fur coat rubbed up against Lucy’s ankles. Purr—Lucy looked down at her grandfather’s grey English Shorthair cat, then leaned over and scratched his arching back.
‘Tiberius, did you miss me?’ Lucy continued to scratch his thick, short grey fur and attempted to balance the bags in her arms.
Thump, thump—another two red apples rolled out of the bags and onto the floor. I hope grandma plans on making apple pie with these.
‘Lucy, is that you?’ A voice called out from the sitting room.
Sauntering down the hall with Tiberius following closely behind her, Lucy placed the groceries on the dark-stained hallway cabinet.
Jane Sims poked her head through the open doorway and looked down the hallway. ‘Oh, you’ve dyed your hair.’ Jane turned and gazed at the two men standing at the entrance. ‘George, why didn’t you tell me?’
‘Did she?’ A confused voice replied. ‘I thought her hair looked different.’
Jane rolled her eyes. ‘Her hair was strawberry blonde, and now it’s brown. You’re telling me you didn’t notice?’
She shook her head.
Lucy bit her lip to stop herself from laughing.
‘Mum, it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t expecting the boys to notice.’ Lucy leaned in towards her mother and hugged her.
‘It’s been too long since we last spoke. I’ve been worried about you. Have you been going out and meeting people?’ Jane grabbed Lucy by the arm and pulled her towards the sitting room.
Jane, Lucy’s mother, was a drama teacher and had a flair for the dramatics, but she was kind-hearted and worried too much. Ever since Lucy’s husband Christopher died in April, Jane called Lucy every few days. Many of those phone calls came at the right time, and Lucy was grateful for those moments. A few days ago, Lucy felt the heavy fog of grief lifting. While she still missed her husband and hadn’t entirely wrapped her mind around the event, she was feeling a little like herself again.
‘It’s too soon,’ Lucy said with a sigh.
Jane patted her arm. ‘I know, but I don’t want you to be alone.’
Lucy looked back at Tiberius, who was sitting in the door frame near the stairs. ‘Mum, I need to pick up the apples, bring the groceries to the kitchen, and help grandma with tonight’s meal.’
Jane raised her eyebrows as she guided Lucy across the polished wooden floor towards the two-seater sofa opposite the fireplace. ‘My Mother has never accepted help in the kitchen, and I suspect she will not change now.’
Colin leaned in and kissed Lucy on the cheek as she sat on the couch. ‘I’ve got the apples.’
‘They’re not for eating.’ Lucy smirked.
Colin shrugged. ‘It was that one time. I was four and hungry.’
‘So, you ate a pound of red apples,’ George said with a chuckle.
‘Coincidentally, I haven’t eaten a red apple since.’ Colin threw the apple into the air and caught it with his left hand.
Henriette Chambers’s tall, elegant frame materialised in the entry. ‘Lucy, don’t worry about helping me in the kitchen. Spend time with your Mum.’
With a slam and a bang, Meadow House vibrated as a series of doors opened and closed on the upper level. The chatter in the sitting room came to a halt.
‘My decision is final,’ a second voice screamed through the house.
George placed his teacup on the mantle and walked over to Henriette, then wrapped his arm around her shoulder. ‘Have they been like this for a while?’
‘Yes, Thomas and Alfred are at it again. I love Alfred, but sometimes he can be difficult and is not open to change. They’ve had two rows since Lucy left for the market.’ Henriette smiled at Lucy as she turned around and ambled towards the door.
A quiver built up in Lucy’s stomach as she listened to the muffled, angry voices. To be honest, their fighting had gotten to her. But she never enjoyed confrontation of any kind. Grandfather Alfred and Uncle Thomas were different. They were strong, opinionated personalities who never backed down. And this argument was no different from all the others.
I hope you enjoyed reading the first chapter of my cozy mystery short story, Entitled to Murder. The story is set on a sheep farm in Derbyshire, England, on October 31st, 1989. Yes, it’s set in the ’80s and early ’90s. Say goodbye to mobile phones, ADSL, and the world wide web. But, it’s not all that bad, in 1989 we had Lotus Notes, Nintendo Game and Watch, and good old landlines. I have to admit the lack of mobile phones with cameras and high-speed internet connections adds a bit of drama and conflict to the world of amateur sleuthing.
Over the next few weeks, as I write and edit the subsequent scenes and chapters. At the same time, I will be sharing chapters over on Wattpad, so be sure to follow me if that’s how you prefer to read. As I draw closer to pressing publish on this story, I will remove everything after the first chapter, depending upon whether I choose to enrol this book in Kindle Unlimited or publish it on all ebook retailer platforms. But that’s a long way off in the future. If you are interested in receiving email updates alerting you of new chapters plus a free copy of the ebook, Entitled to Murder when it finished, subscribe for updates by filling out the opt-in form below.
I’m Amelia. I write mystery and thriller novels under the pen name A. D. Hay and I’m the author of Missing the first book in the James Lalonde series. I’m the host of the Book Nerd Podcast and The Authorpreneur Podcast. Right now, I’m editing my soon to be published mystery novels, The Candidate, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity. When I’m not writing, hosting my podcasts or coaching aspiring authors, I love to travel around Europe with my Husband Roland, drink tea, and eat pizza.