I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Excerpt: Three Sisters + a Giveaway!

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Three Sisters
by Helen Smith

Twenty-six-year-old Londoner Emily Castles has been invited to a party in the big house at the end of her street. How could she know, as she left her house that evening, that she was making an appointment with death?

This 70-page comic mystery novella will appeal to fans of M C Beaton and Alexander McCall Smith.

Book Excerpt:

The south London sky exploded with a thousand deaths that night. Emily looked up. Tiny coloured lights hung in the blackness, like Midget Gems suspended mid-rinse in a toddler’s open mouth. She was on her way to the bonfire party, at the big house at the end of the street in Brixton where she lived, at the invitation of the new owner whom she had never met. Emily should have been used to the fireworks at her age because there had always been fireworks on bonfire night, for as long as she could remember - the fireworks now as much a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, and Halloween, the American festival of gore and dressing up, as Guy Fawkes night, when people in England remembered the day back in 1605 when a plot had been foiled which, had it been successful, would have blown up the Houses of Parliament, with King James I inside it.

But tonight each explosion startled Emily slightly, as if it was the sound of a gunshot, danger. And the sizzling sausage smell of blackening flesh that hung in the autumn air made her think of her dog Jessie who had died the week before. The dog had not been barbecued: she died peacefully, after a long and happy life. But she had very much enjoyed eating sausages.

Emily was carrying a tray of homemade cheesy potato bake – a wholesome, portable dish that usually went down well at parties – and a bottle of rosé wine. Ordinarily she wouldn’t have gone. Ordinarily, she would have been at home with Jessie, just in case the dog was disturbed by the noise of the fireworks. But those days were gone. And when the handwritten invitation had been slipped through her letterbox, well, she had interpreted it as a sign that she should start a new life, and find some new friends. How was she to know she was making an appointment, not just with a new life, but with death?

Halloween had fallen this year on the weekend before bonfire night, and as usual many people were out celebrating both events. Local children wandered the streets in ugly masks. At least, she hoped they were masks. For a moment or two Emily felt uneasy – what if this invitation was some sort of trick? What if she got to the big house at the end of the street and the place was dark and deserted? But then she seemed to feel the presence of her dog Jessie walking beside her for a few paces, and she felt reassured.

As she got closer to the house, she saw it was not deserted. First she heard music, and then she saw the coloured lights strung up in the trees, and finally she heard the happy buzz of conversation from people gathered in the garden. The guests were easily distinguishable from their hosts because they wore anoraks, scarves and gloves. The hosts were walking on stilts or juggling fire – the first sight Emily had was of a giant, glowing, pink papier-mâché or fibreglass painted head floating about five feet above the top of the privet hedge that surrounded the property.

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~ Giveaway ~

Win a Kindle copy of Three Sisters by leaving a comment with your email on this post or emailing me at bookishwhimsy(at)gmail.com.  The winner will be randomly picked and notified by email on Monday, December 17th.  Thanks for reading the excerpt!

Praise for the Emily Castles mystery series:

"Fast-paced, funny, and mysterious... Helen Smith is a master story-teller." Socrates Book Reviews

"It grips you from the very beginning." Babs Books Bistro

"Bright, colorful and full of surprises."  Amazon Vine Reviewer

"Fast-paced and unusual, I highly recommend this one". Eva’s Sanctuary

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