Out Comes the Evil: A Cotswold Murder Mystery (An Alex Duggins Mystery)
“Folly is a place where everyone knows everyone’s business . . . except when that business is murder.”
Folly-on-Weir is a village in the Cotswolds just recovering from a murder in its midst. Now they’re thrown back into the turmoil of violent death again.
Pamela Gibbon, a relative newcomer to Folly—she’s only been there ten years—intended to rendezvous with her lover at what is left of old Ebring Manor, “a ragged stone outline . . . with a badly damaged drum tower . . . the shells of several cavernous rooms and an incongruous fireplace or two . . . ”
Instead, she is found dead in the bottom of the manor’s well. It’s a particularly vicious death and there’s no way it can be considered an accident.
“the grate had dropped into place, crushing her fingers beneath its horrendous weight . . . She heard the grill scrape, peered up through stinging eyes to see it moving aside again . . . Two strong smooth hands pulled her bursting fingers free . . . Pamela’s head slammed into the stone walls as she fell . . .”
Since Alex Duggins, owner of the Black Dog Pub and her childhood friend and would-be lover and veterinarian Tony Harrison discovered the body, there’s an immediate hue-and-cry with accompanying speculation.
“Every busybody in the place is trying to pick up bits of gossip. Gossip can ruin an investigation.”
Tony’s still under suspicion for the disappearance of his wife while he lived in Australia. When the officers from that other incident are assigned to the case, people wonder if Alex and Tony know more than they’re telling.
“You’ve been through enough this year. You don’t need more prodding and poking from the police.”
Alex, however, brushes this aside. “Bill Lamb hates you. Don’t ask me why. He doesn’t think much of me either. So what?”
It’s discovered Pamela’s will left her home to her stepson, an unknown entity to the villagers. “Strange none of us even knew he existed . . . maybe we should ask a few questions about Pamela’s relationship with her stepson . . .”
Harry Stone is rumored to be her lover. Handsome but unstable, he’s to receive everything else if her other heirs die. “‘Harry’s the first beneficiary . . . he gets a bundle . . . if Jay dies without issue, the house goes to Harry, too.’” All Pamela’s beneficiaries are also potential suspects in her murder.
In spite of Tony’s insistent protection and Detective Inspector O’Reilly arguments, Alex puts herself in harm’s way to discover the murderer—but there appear to be too many suspects. What no one knows is that Pamela had caught the eye of someone else from Folly, someone who kept that passion a secret until it exploded into murder, and now, that person won’t hesitate to kill again . . . and again . . .
“With care, the one who was finally going to pay would come under suspicion. But the past had already shown that there were those who could prove an unjust outcome. That couldn’t be allowed to happen . . . This is no time for dreams or regrets . . . Love and hate are such close companions . . .”
The outcome to the investigation will be a shock.
Folly is a place where everyone knows everyone’s business . . . except when that business is murder. In Out comes the Evil, the passions exposed after the crime prove no one really knows his neighbor after all.