Monday, March 13, 2017

Sneak Peek #2 - Murder on the Disorientated Express

~Coming April 3rd, 2017~

I was up early the next morning. There’s something catchy about lying on rough pine planks being shaken like a martini by the jerky movement of the train, which usually managed violence in all directions. When I get up I prefer to be gently stirred. I headed for the dining car where I discovered Bottles assisting with the morning meals.

“Don’t you ever sleep?”

“Waste of time. Figure I don’t have too much of that left.” He was doing strange things to eggs behind the bar. He had a steaming pan, and a bubbling yellow mixture. It was the spices I wasn’t certain about: cinnamon, chunks of dark chocolate, some nuts, peppers, and large unidentifiable lumps that reminded me of frogs. “Want a heaping plate of today’s special?”

“No, thanks. I’ll have the oatmeal and scalded goat’s milk. With the marmalade topping and just a dab of the whipped cream. And thick black coffee.” I settled into a booth. All that was missing to make the hour complete was the latest morning paper, and maybe Bertha chewing me out for some imaginary sin. I relaxed and let the motion of the train lull me.

“Here you go.” Bottles set a heaping platter down in front of me. “I added a bit of the special as a treat.”

I winced. He didn’t leave. I glanced up with a raised eyebrow. “You forgot the coffee.”

“It’s coming, brewing it down to a sludge. Have you checked for the key lately?” he said.

“What key?”

“The spare key to the compartment where you have Winston J. Blabb under confinement.”

“Oh that key.” I patted my jacket. “It’s safe inside my inner pocket.”

“Have you checked your pocket lately?”

Some gremlins have enough nerve for a trainload of fools. “Of course I have.” I patted my jacket again. Then I fished inside. Then I checked all my pockets. The key was missing. “Well, it must have fallen out yesterday when we were having all that fun. It’s not important. Trixibelle also has a key.”

“Looks to me as though that pocket you checked was self-sealing. How could the key have fallen out?”

I glared at him. “I don’t know.”

Bottles leaned over and lowered his voice. “Think back, was there any time in the last day or two when a person of some interest in the murder case had an opportunity to remove that key?”

We locked gazes. I knew what he was getting at. Dame Suzanne had escorted me from the bar car that night and I woke up a bit out of sorts. But why would she take the key if she was innocent?

“I see the wheels are turning,” he said.

“Is Blabb still safe inside?”

“Yes. I feed him regularly. He’s in there. For now.”

I pushed my breakfast to one side. “I guess I should go have a chat with her.” I’d been avoiding the lanky hobgoblin with the wandering hands and a terrible taste in beverages.

“Or, we could simply keep a close eye on the pair of them until we get to the Free Wet Coast.”

“Okay, buster. Who do you work for?” I stared at him, and then glanced around the car. There was no one within ear.

“Who, me?” said the gremlin. He straightened up, grinned, and went back to burning things at the bar.
~To Be Continued~

Murder On The Disoriented Express

A reluctant Private Eyeball, Randy Aloysius, agrees to accompany an elderly elf and her attractive niece on a relaxing train trip across the continent to the wet coast. They seem harmless enough, so what could go wrong?
Well, there’s the obvious murder of a bent politician, plus a card-playing vampire, a brownie public relations hack, and a grieving widow murder suspect, not to mention other assorted suspicious characters, and someone out of Randy’s past.

Then there is the train itself, which may be in serious need of life support. After all, it does have to cross a prairie filled with woolly mammoths and surmount treacherous mountains passes where nasty things might lurk.

Available for Preorder on the Champagne Bookstore website. 

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