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Autor: Lesley Cookman
ISBN-13: 9781909624979
Einband: Ebook
Seiten: 300
Sprache: Englisch
eBook Typ: Adobe Digital Editions
Kopierschutz: Adobe DRM [Hard-DRM]
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Murder Out of Tune

14, A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery Series
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The thirteenth book in the Libby Sarjeant series of British murder mysteries which features a retired actress as the female sleuth and are based in the picturesque village of Steeple Martin.
A member of a local ukulele group is found dead in Steeple Martin's churchyard.  Libby's first reaction is relief that the victim isn't anyone she knows. She and the usual suspects have other things to occupy them as they are gearing up for a Christmas concert and pantomime in the Oast Theatre but when Libby's cousin gets romantically involved with a man in whom the police are taking an interest, she can't help asking a few questions – and getting into trouble…
A breeze rustled through the heavy branches of the old yew tree and moved moon shadows over the body that lay quietly stiffening between the gravestones. Voices drifted back to disturb the silence, gradually petering out to be replaced by the sounds of car engines being started up, until, at last, peace returned to the graveyard and its most recent occupant.
‘I don’t care,’ said Libby Sarjeant mutinously. ‘I can’t play the bloody things. They hurt my fingers.’
Her friend Peter Parker regarded her with amusement. ‘And you don’t want to cut your nails.’
‘Well, no.’ Libby regarded her newly varnished nails with satisfaction.
Harry Price, Peter’s life partner and owner-chef of The Pink Geranium restaurant in Steeple Martin’s high street, peered at her hands.
‘So what were you talking about anyway?’ he asked, sitting down at the pub table.
‘The ukulele group,’ said Ben Wilde, Libby’s significant other, returning from the bar with drinks. ‘You know.’
‘I don’t actually,’ said Harry, accepting a pint of lager. ‘Oh, I know there is one – isn’t Lewis part of it? – but I’m not sure what it’s all about.’
‘It’s a craze,’ said Libby. ‘These groups have sprung up all over the country and because ukuleles are cheap to buy and fairly easy to play, they’ve become really popular, especially with the – er – older market.’
‘Pensioners,’ explained Ben. ‘People looking for something to do with their time and who like playing the old songs.’
‘Like that cleaning windows bloke?’ said Harry.
‘Similar,’ said Libby. ‘Anyway, this chap from Canterbury had a group going and decided to start another one here.’
‘Why here?’
‘Because it’s a fairly large village with a decent church hall,’ said Libby.
‘Initially, he tried to use the theatre for his rehearsals, until we explained that it was so often in use he couldn’t and the hire rate would be the same as for the theatre. That peeved him a bit.’ Ben smiled at the memory. ‘So he uses the church hall.’
‘So why were you going to join?’ Harry turned back to Libby.
‘I wasn’t. Somehow, as you said, he’s persuaded Lewis to join to raise the profile, and Edie’s joined too. She used to play the banjo in her salad days, apparently, and she’s really enjoying it, so she wanted me to join too, to keep her company.’
‘And you don’t want to.’
‘No! I wasn’t at all sure about the people – I went once with Edie – and the strings hurt my fingers.’
‘And now they’re going to be part of the big Christmas Concert at the theatre,’ said Peter.
‘Andrew’s charity concert?’ said Harry. ‘But haven’t you got some famous people in that? Won’t they show themselves up?’
‘We’ve got some pro singers and musicians and your Andrew is going to read some Dickens,’ said Ben. ‘You knew that.’
‘Pro musos won’t take kindly to a bunch of geriatric strummers,’ said Harry.
‘Don’t be so rude, Harry Price!’ Libby bent a baleful eye on her friend. ‘It’s for a very good cause, and Andrew will keep everyone in line.’
Sir Andrew McColl was a friend met fairly recently, after the death of someone close to both he and Harry. A theatrical knight, married to a theatrical dame, he had professed himself delighted with the Oast Theatre, of which Ben was the owner. Peter and Libby were both directors of the company. It was he who had suggested the concert, in aid of a homeless charity.
‘How was panto rehearsal tonight?’ Harry changed the subject. ‘Still having trouble with the chorus?’
‘Not my problem any more,’ said Libby. ‘Susannah’s taken them over lock, stock, and barrel. She’s making them sound quite good now. And we’ve got proper dancers again, so they’re doing their stuff in Lorraine’s studio until we stick them all together.’
‘I don’t know Lorraine, do I?’
‘She’s a dancer with her own studio in Canterbury. She takes private pupils, and still appears in TV ads, but says she’s too old now for the West End. She’s bloody good, and hilarious,’ said Peter. ‘I’m sure I pointed her out to you the other day. That furniture polish ad.’
‘Oh, her,’ said Harry. ‘You are getting posh. And is Susannah’s old man quite happy to be doing all the baby-sitting while she’s out gallivanting?’
‘He is,’ said Libby. ‘After all, we’re paying her.’
Susannah’s brother Terry Baker had introduced her to Libby and the Oast Theatre some years before when they were planning a special birthday party for Ben’s mother Hetty. Susannah was a professional singer and pianist, who, since she’d become a mother, was less keen to do the touring that went with the job. She’d happily settled in to the Oast company as almost permanent musical director.
The barman leant across the bar.
‘You talking about the ukulele lot? That’s some of ?em come in just now.’ He jerked his head in the direction of the other half of the bar, where some of the pantomime cast were also drinking.
Peter and Libby craned their necks to try and see round the corner.
‘Don’t recognise any of them,’ said Peter, ‘but I can’t see properly.’
‘Lewis isn’t there, then?’ said Libby.
‘He’d have come looking for us,’ said Ben.
Lewis Osbourne-Walker had come to prominence as a handy-man on a television make-over show and now presented a whole variety, from country documentaries to lifestyle programmes. His own series had featured the make-over of his garden by Libby’s son Adam and Adam’s boss, Mog. He divided his time between London and Creekmarsh, an old house a few miles from Steeple Martin, where his mother Edie had the former housekeeper’s flat.
‘Well, I’m ready to go home now,’ said Libby. ‘I’ve got an appointment with our wardrobe mistress in the morning which I’m not looking forward to.’
‘Why?’ asked Ben.
‘She always wants to make the costumes she wants, rather than the ones I want,’ said Libby. ‘I wrote the bloody thing, I know what I want the cast to look like.’ She stood up and wandered into the other bar to say goodbye to the rest of the cast.
‘And why did you do that?’ asked Peter, when she came back to collect her coat. ‘Just to have a look at the ukulele people?’
‘Of course she did,’ said Ben with a grin. ‘I wonder she doesn’t join them just out of nosiness.’
Libby sniffed. ‘I told you, the strings hurt my fingers. Anyway, I’ve got far too much on with the panto.’
Lewis Osbourne-Walker appeared in the doorway of the pub. He waved distractedly to Libby and her friends but called loudly to the ukulele group in the other bar.
‘Old Vernon in here? His car’s still in the car park.’
A stillness fell over the bar.
‘No,’ said one male voice hesitantly. ‘He never comes to this pub.’
‘That’s what I thought,’ said Lewis. He turned to Libby.
‘Any of you lot seen him? Oldish bloke, reddish hair, thinning on top, glasses.’
‘That could be anybody,’ said Peter.
‘Nobody’s been in this bar but us,’ said Ben.
‘Where is he, then?’ said Lewis. ‘His missus just rang me to say his mobile keeps going to voicemail. What’s happened to him?’

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Autor: Lesley Cookman
ISBN-13 :: 9781909624979
ISBN: 1909624977
Verlag: Accent Press
Seiten: 300
Sprache: Englisch
Sonstiges: Ebook