Read the Opening Scene of My Next Murder Mystery Novella for Free

by | A Writer Writes, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Behind the Scenes, Fiction, James Lalonde, James Lalonde Universe, Mystery

Copyright © 2021 A.D. Hay

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 authoradhay 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!


Just like Missing and Duplicity, I’ve decided to share the opening scenes from my new first-in-series murder mystery novella, The Candidate, with you. As you might have guessed, the candidate is the first novella in a new series called the “Rookie Reporter Mysteries”, featuring James Lalonde. If you want to know more about this new series, check out this blog post and YouTube video.


A few weeks ago, I shared the first four chapters with my James Lalonde insiders. As I pressed the send button on that email, I realised that I hadn’t shared a sneak peek with you. So, if you want news before anyone else, I highly recommend signing up to become an insider.


Without further ado, here is a bit about the story.


About the Murder Mystery Novella, The Candidate


A Murdered Judge. A Dark Secret Silenced.


Rookie reporter James Lalonde is bored. And, he isn’t a journalist. He’s an all-round dogs-body, to editor-in-chief, Rhys Kelly. But, his luck has finally changed.


After eavesdropping in on the morning editorial meeting, James learns he has his first-ever story. There’s one catch. If the story gets too complicated, it will be taken away from him and given to another journalist with more experience.


Sure it’s a boring interview with the soon to be sworn-in magistrate, Albert Harrington, but it finally gets him out of his six-month slump as an editorial research assistant. He finally has a chance to prove himself.


The following day, James turns up to his interview with Albert to discover a trail of blood smeared through Albert’s house, an empty safe, the murder weapon on the floor, but no body. Detective Anwar Khan turns up to the crime scene, puts two and two together, and believes James murdered the controversial magistrate.


Can James clear his name and write his first-ever story before his editor takes it away from him?


June 28, 2010, 11:57 p.m.


Gasping for air, Albert opened his eyes. As the crystal chandelier on the high ceiling came into view, he groaned. With a deep breath, he gripped the bodkin arrow wedged into his chest and pulled. Gritting his teeth, Albert rolled onto his side.

The room spun as crimson flowed from the wound in his chest. Discarding the mediaeval arrow, Albert reached for his walking cane. The blasted thing has finally come in handy for the first time since my ice-skating accident.

Albert scrambled to his feet and made his way to his antique desk and sat. Perched on the edge of the desk, he tugged on his tie until it slipped into his hands. Taking another deep breath, Albert straightened his tie and secured it around his chest, over the arrow wound. 

With a sigh, Albert glanced at the ceiling. Don’t wake her, you fool. She’s thirty-two weeks pregnant. You’ll just stress her out. That’s the last thing she needs. He needed to get to a hospital without waking his wife. My phone. Albert surveyed the tabletop and his study. Then he remembered. Earlier in the evening, his phone went flat after he’d binged his favourite unsolved mysteries podcast. He placed it on the charging dock on his bedside table. There was no way he could descend the stairs in his condition. Pulling out the arrow was a mistake. Why did you do that, you old fool? 

Thanks to his stupidity, he would bleed to death in less than ten minutes. The room spun. Even if Albert had his phone, calling emergency services would be useless. The nearest hospital was nineteen minutes away. As Emma’s pregnancy progressed, Albert had learned the route and calculated the distance between his house and the hospital. He had measured the quickest route between his house and the hospital while driving over the speed limit. What am I going to do?

Leaning back, Albert stared at the ceiling. Calling emergency services was crossed off his list, so he had only one option left. Who am I kidding? I’m not going to survive this, not at sixty-one. Maybe if I were twenty years younger.

Albert grimaced as a wave of pain swept through his body. Then he realised something. His destination was only a ten-minute drive away. There would be no traffic at that time of night. He sighed in relief. His reckless decision would ruin no innocent lives.

As the clock on the mantel chimed midnight, Albert grabbed his keys off the desk. Another wave of pain swept through his body. He grimaced as he thrust his frame off the tabletop then staggered across the thick carpet towards the door, which was ajar. Albert smirked as he heard his cane hit the floor. 

Frightened that he was going to wake his wife, Albert gritted his teeth. He clutched the doorframe for support as the room spun. I’ve lost at least half a litre of blood. 

Curious, Albert glanced over his shoulder at the carnage he was leaving. Leaning against the wall for support, Albert staggered down the hall and towards the foyer. He soon regretted the foyer renovations and those shiny white tiles that his wife, Emma, loved so much. As he reached the end of the hallway, Albert wheezed. Only twenty feet left.

Albert shuffled across the tiles and sighed as he unlatched the locks on the front door. He grabbed the handle and turned it. A tear trickled down Albert’s cheek as he realised he would never get to take his daughter home from the hospital or kiss his wife again.

After closing the door behind him, Albert stumbled towards his silver Mercedes. He pressed the button on his key fob. Reaching out, he grabbed the handle of the car door. Peering over his shoulder, Albert grimaced. He was glad that he had been too lazy to close the driveway gates when he came home earlier that evening. He slumped into the driver’s seat, closed the door, then reversed out of the driveway. All I have to do is not pass out behind the wheel.

I hope you loved the first chapter and found it intriguing. Unfortunately, I’m no longer providing advanced reader copies. But you can buy The Candidate direct from me for £2.49 by clicking the button below.

Now Only!


The Candidate is the novella in the Rookie Reporter Amateur Sleuth Mysteries series. It can be read as a part of the series or as a stand-alone story.


Happy reading, everybody!


Amelia xx

Amelia D. Hay

Amelia D. Hay

I’m Amelia. I write amateur sleuth mystery novels under the pen name A. D. Hay and I’m the author of The Candidate, The Locked Room, The Lawn, Suspicion and Duplicity. I’m also the host of the Mystery Novel Nerd Podcast and The Authorpreneur Podcast™️. Right now, I’m writing the first novella in a cozy mystery series, and writing the third book in the James Lalonde Mystery Series. When I’m not writing, hosting my podcasts or coaching aspiring authors, I love to travel around Europe with my Husband, drink tea, and eat pizza.

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