Chapter Two of Entitled to Murder: A Cozy Mystery Short Story
Hello, Book Lovers!
I’m excited to share with you the second 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?
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.
The clinking of china echoed down the hall as Lucy sat on a large vintage sofa in the conservatory, opposite her grandfather, Alfred. Lucy ran her fingers along the red damask upholstery as she clutched a paperback edition of A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie in her left hand. Sitting next to Alfred on the second identical sofa, Colin buried his head in Alfred’s first edition hardback. Colin brushed his hand down the yellowed page. He was mesmerised.
‘I can’t believe you found this in a used bookstore,’ Colin said, lifting his eyes off the page, only for a second. ‘Someone just donated this. The dust jacket is a little tattered, but it’s beautiful, far better than the Miss Marple TV series cover that Lucy and I purchased.’
Lily flicked her long red hair over her shoulder as she sat down on the sofa opposite Colin. ‘You can’t keep your inner nerd under control even for a second.’
Colin narrowed his eyes at Lily.
Lucy glanced at Lily. ‘I love your hair. It’s beautiful.’
‘Thank you,’ Lily blushed. ‘At least someone does. Three weeks ago my delightful father told me in front of my children and Simon, that I’m too old for long hair now that I’m approaching 40.’
Alfred smirked. ‘I suspect he’s jealous.’
‘Ha, because he’s bald.’ Colin closed the book and pointed at Alfred with a wide grin.
Lucy gazed at Alfred’s thick head of hair. ‘I wonder where Thomas gets his baldness from?’
‘Your great grandfather on Henriette’s side. He went white at twenty and started balding at 30,’ Alfred said.
The fine bone china teacups clinked together as Jane placed the white wooden breakfast tray on the varnished oak coffee. A comforting aroma of cinnamon combined with coffee and tea filled the conservatory.
Grasping a pale blue fine bone china teacup, Jane reached across and rested it on the table. ‘That’s your Chai Tea, Lily. Coffee for Dad and Colin, and Ginger and Lemongrass tea for Lu.’
A few moments later, Lucy, Alfred, Jane, and Lily sat cradling hot beverages in their hands, ready for the first-ever family book club meeting. Among the cups and saucers sprawled across the table were a variety of paperbacks and hardcover novels. Out of nowhere, a blur of grey darted across the coffee table and onto Lucy’s lap.
Alfred raised his eyebrows at Lucy. ‘Since you came to stay, a certain four-legged creature has forgotten I exist.’
Purr—Tiberius buried his head in Lucy’s lap as she stroked his thick fur.
Lucy smiled at Tiberius. ‘I think he just likes me because I brush him every day. Come dinner time, he usually forgets I exist.’
Colin placed his cup on its saucer. ‘Before we start, can we avoid spoiling the end for people who may not have finished reading?’ A sheepish expression swept over Colin’s face.
Lily raised her eyebrows at him. ‘How does a bookseller not have time to read books?’
‘I don’t read books all day. I help customers find their next read.’ Colin sighed.
Alfred chuckled. ‘Colin, she’s stirring you. Don’t bite so hard, boy.’
Jane shook her head. ‘With that in mind, I think we should share our thoughts on the story, one by one.’
Colin smirked. ‘Always the teacher.’
Lily rolled her eyes. ‘I’m disappointed that you don’t get to see much of Miss Marple in this book. This is my first Agatha Christie novel, and I expected the story to be from her perspective.’
‘Me too,’ Jane said, patting Lily’s hand. ‘I think the story would’ve been better if Miss Marple was doing most of the investigating instead of leaving it to the Police.’
Lucy furrowed her brow. ‘I think Agatha Christie was trying to add a sense of realism to the book. How often do little old ladies solve murders?’
Alfred shrugged as he turned the pages of his hardback. ‘I could suspend disbelief to read a story about a crime-solving little old lady.’
Colin leaned over and turned the pages in Alfred’s novel. ‘What I don’t like is how the Police officers keep referring to Miss Marple as an old pussy.’ Colin tapped his finger on the page. ‘It feels a little disrespectful.’
Alfred smiled. ‘This was published 39 years ago in 1950. It was used affectionately to refer to a woman in place of a word like sweetheart or dear.’
Colin shook his head. ‘It’s 1989. We can’t use this word to refer to a woman anymore. I think the story needs updating.’
‘Colin, no. It’s a classic.’ Jane’s eyes widened as she laid her teacup on its saucer. ‘I can’t believe it’s been 13 years since Agatha Christie passed…’
‘Thomas, get back here,’ a youthful voice barked from somewhere outside.
Along with the other four book club members, Lucy raised her head and watched the commotion unfold outside on the lawn through the conservatory window.
Peter, an olive-skinned young man, dashed across the lawn, chasing a tall, balding man. Thomas paused and whirled around, then pointed off into the distance towards the paddock. Muffled yelling continued for another couple of minutes before George and Peter’s father, Clarence, joined the conversation.
Lucy shifted in her seat as Alfred and Colin stood up, walked towards the windows and watched the drama. ‘Maybe we should get back to the book.’
Lily leaned in toward Lucy and whispered. ‘Sorry.’
Lucy sighed, then stood and walked towards the conservatory’s glass panels as Jane and Lily joined her.
Far off in the distance, a pale freckled-skinned woman with shoulder-length auburn hair stepped out of the woodlands and strode across the lawn. A tall man with dark blond curls walked by her side and leaned towards her, whispering in her ear.
Lily nudged Lucy. ‘Aunt Rose has a new haircut. It looks fabulous.’
Alfred groaned, then turned and ambled towards the couch. ‘Henriette cut her hair,’ Alfred said over his shoulder as he sat.
Lucy stared out the window with a vacant expression as a rock formed in the pit of her stomach. She shrugged. There’s no way I’m going to get everyone focused on the book club meeting.
Engrossed in their conversation, Rose and her husband, Arthur, strolled across the lawn and passed by Thomas, Peter, Clarence, and George. With his arms waving in the air, Arthur fixed his gaze on his wife. Rose shook her head and pointed towards the house.
‘This is ridiculous,’ Thomas screamed as his face turned a light shade of crimson and strolled off towards the shed at the side of the house, with Clarence following closely behind him.
Peter threw his hat on the ground and marched towards the house. He stormed passed Rose and Arthur, who stood in front of her with his hands on his hips. George scratched his head, then followed Peter.
Sauntering towards the sofa, Lucy shook her head. ‘The show is over,’ Lucy said as she sat.
‘For now.’ Alfred sighed as he stood and strolled through the conservatory and across the drawing room, disappearing out of sight.
Well, the book club is officially over.
Colin turned and raised his eyebrows at Lily. ‘I don’t know what’s more interesting, what Thomas and Peter are arguing about or whatever Rose and Arthur are plotting.’
As Jane sat on the sofa, she leaned forward, picked up her teacup and took a sip. ‘Did you know that Arthur is still unemployed?’ Jane said as she rested the cup back on its saucer.
Colin turned and leaned up against the glass walls of the conservatory. With a shrug, Colin pointed over his shoulder. ‘Perhaps that’s what they’re discussing.’
Jane tilted her head and pursed her lips. ‘And Rose is pressuring everyone she knows to hire him. But Arthur is making no effort at all. I suspect he’s depressed. Poor Arthur.’
Lucy shifted in her seat as a pinched expression swept across her face. I shouldn’t be saying this. ‘Lately, I’ve noticed that Arthur has become a recluse. And he seems sad, like he’s been feeling that way for some time.’
A loud rattling filled the conservatory. Scrape, George opened the double doors to the conservatory that led out to the lawn. Flustered after his battle with the doors, he fixed his eyes on Colin, who was leaning against the glass windows.
‘Colin, get out here and help,’ George angled his head towards the door. ‘A sheep has wandered off and gotten lost.’
‘In five minutes.’ Colin shrugged.
Lily shook her head. ‘I suspect the fight started because my father doesn’t see the point in spending his time searching for one sheep.’ Lily rolled her eyes. ‘He needs to learn to keep those insensitive thoughts to himself.’
George smirked as he turned and trudged out of the conservatory, closing the doors behind him.
I hope you enjoyed reading the second chapter of my cozy mystery short story, Entitled to Murder. After writing and editing the first two chapters of Entitled to Murder, I’ve come to realise that this is no longer a cozy mystery short story but a story of novella length. Upon reaching the end, I suspect the story will be a little longer than 30,0000 words.
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.