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Authors: Geraldine Evans

Kith and Kill

BOOK: Kith and Kill
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The Rafferty and Llewellyn
Mystery Series

DI Joe Rafferty, working-class lapsed Catholic, is cursed by coming from a family who think - if he must be a copper - he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. When you add the middle-class, moralistic intellectual DS Dafyd Llewellyn to the brew the result is murder with plenty of laughs.

Dead Before Morning
Down Among the Dead Men
Death Line
The Hanging Tree
Absolute Poison
Dying For You
Bad Blood
Love Lies Bleeding
Blood on the Bones
A Thrust to the Vitals
Death Dues
All the Lonely People
Death Dance
Deadly Reunion

DEAD BEFORE MORNING

'This often comic tale sharpens the appetite for more.'

Publishers Weekly

‘Terrific read. Loved Rafferty's relationship with his family.’

Rebecca Dahlke, Allmystery E Newsletter

'Evans' humour seriously added to my enjoyment of her book. The series has stand out central characters and clever plots'

Aunt Agatha's Bookshop, Ann Arbor

DEADLY REUNION

'This is another excellent entry in this marvellous series. The characters spring off the page. The dialogue is sparkling, great interplay between the two detectives, and the mystery intriguing to the end.’

Eurocrime

DYING FOR YOU

‘Evans brings wit and insight to this tale of looking for love in all the wrong places.’

Starred Review from Kirkus

'It's bad enough being suspected of a double murder, worse still when it's your alter ego being pursued and it's the pits when you are the policeman in charge of supposedly catching yourself. I savoured this book and I'm keen to read the rest in the series asap.'

Eurocrime

BAD BLOOD

'A spirited mix of detection, family drama and social commentary.'

Kirkus Reviews

LOVE LIES BLEEDING

'This cleverly-plotted tale has plenty of humour. It's another page-turner from Geraldine Evans and is crime writing at its best. A must for all lovers of the genre.'

Mystery Women

Kith and Kill

This tells the story of the murder of the matriarch of a family of fashion designers. Sophia Egerton had just celebrated her ninetieth birthday. Was it, Rafferty wondered, that one of her family had thought she had lived too long? Because rather than a locked room, this is a 'locked house' mystery with a limited cast of suspects.

Rafferty's family have a celebration of their own, a celebration of Rafferty's father's life and death - like Shakespeare, these events occurred on the same day separated by seventy years. But what to buy Ma as a gift to mark the occasion? Rafferty sets out to convince his siblings that his gift idea is the best. But none of them had remembered that Ma has a mind of her own...

Kith and Kill
A Rafferty & Llewellyn Mystery

by

Geraldine Evans
Kith and Kill
Copyright © 2011 by Geraldine Evans
Discover other titles by Geraldine Evans at
www.geraldineevans.com
 
Published by Solo Books
All rights reserved
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Except for text references by reviewers, the reproduction of this work in any form is forbidden without permission from the publisher.
 
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Aimee Louise Madden –

This one's for you, sweetheart!

Don't say I never give you anything…

Kith and Kill
A Rafferty & Llewellyn Mystery
Chapter One

‘How extremely
vulgar.’ Sophia Egerton raised her ebony cane and pointed up to the large banner suspended above the upper floor of her detached Georgian house. The banner proclaimed ‘Happy 90
th
Birthday, Sophia’, in yellow letters on a peacock-blue background. Balloons of red, blue and yellow hung from the banner and blew in the chilly, but surprisingly light October breeze. ‘Do you think I'm in my second childhood and amused by such infantile contrivances? Get Sullivan to take it down at once!’

‘But Mother, the twins organized it specially. They thought you'd be pleased.’ Penelope's plump face pinched a little. ‘Don't you like it?’

‘Hmph. The twins, you say? All right, leave it, if Adam arranged it. Perhaps it'll grow on me. Though you can still get Sullivan to take it down first thing tomorrow.’

‘Of course, Mother. Whatever you say.’

‘Of course whatever I say. It's
my
birthday, isn't it? I'm the birthday girl. Now, Penelope, give me your arm. I'm cold and wish to return inside.’

Penelope, used to obeying her mother's demands, did as she was bid and slowly, they made their way back up the short drive with its thick hedge either side and planted-up mini roundabout and through the glossy black front door with its delicate fanlight. Inside, the two women made their way across the expanse of original black and white tiled hallway, Sophia's cane tap-tapping, to a small, cosy sitting room at the back of the house. It was only recently that Sophie Egerton had insisted on moving in here from the spacious drawing room at the front of the house, complaining that the larger room was too difficult and expensive to adequately heat. Her sister, Alice, whom she had taken in twenty years earlier and whose sitting room this had until then been, had accepted this incursion with a bad grace and had only stopped her muttered complaints when an exasperated Sophia had eventually reminded her that she was a charity case.

‘I feel the cold,’ Sophia had complained at the time. ‘That big room has too many draughts.’

To her daughter's suggestion that she should wear a cardigan, her reply was a contemptuous: ‘Like you, you mean? I hope I haven't yet given up a preference for style over comfort.’

And indeed, Sophia Egerton
was
stylish. She was still slim and erect, but it wasn't the scraggy skinniness of so many old ladies; she had enough flesh on her bones to ward off that particular danger. She still held herself well, hadn't developed the so-called dowager's hump of old age and, apart from the cane, walked straight-backed and unaided. Even the cane leant her a certain style, with its ebony wood and horse's head handle. The cane had once belonged to her husband, dead now these twenty years, but Sophia had taken to using it when she hit seventy and arthritis had made her limbs stiffen. Although it was October, she wore a lacy cream top that came to a point, front and back. It was by
L’oiseau
, The Bird, her own fashion house. She always wore their own creations. She considered herself to be a good advertisement, even now. The top was high-necked in that elegant Edwardian style and like most of her clothes, had the advantage that it covered up her old lady's neck.

She wore her silver hair in a French pleat with an intricately twisted antique silver comb whose provenance said it had belonged to Marie Antoinette. Altogether, she had much more
élan
than her daughter, who had, on hitting the menopause, abandoned the pursuit of a slimmer figure and embraced the matronly look with relief. She took after her maiden aunt, of course. Alice Pickford had always been on the plump side and, at eighty-seven, was sixteen stone and even plainer than in her youth. Like the divorced Penelope, Alice lived with her sister and, like Penny, had done so since the death of Sophia's husband, Tom, twenty years earlier. Certainly, Thomas Egerton would never have tolerated the two women residing with him while he had been alive. Neither woman, not even his own daughter, was his sort, being plain and lacking wit, unlike Sophia, who still retained both the beautiful bone structure and the biting wit that her good looks had always allowed her to get away with.

Penelope settled her mother in the high-backed armchair by the fire, opposite her Aunt Alice in her identical armchair. Alice scowled at this latest invasion of her privacy. Penelope exhaled on a gentle sigh and said, ‘I'll go and see how Dahlia is getting along with the food for this evening's party.’

‘Leave her alone,’ Sophia commanded. ‘Dahlia is perfectly capable of organizing a small buffet party without your assistance.’ Sophia's lips thinned. ‘So where are the twins? Out buying more balloons?’

Penny gave a nervous laugh. ‘No, Mother. I don't know where they are. They went to the supermarket earlier with Dahlia to get the party makings.’

‘The twins? At the supermarket? I wouldn't have thought they even knew where it was.’ She gave a tiny chuckle. ‘Particularly not Adam.’

‘They're both single, Mother and live on their own. Of course they know where the supermarket is. They both do their own cooking, too.’

‘About time that changed. Three grandchildren in their thirties and not a child between them. When are they going to
reproduce i
s what I'd like to know? Even I can't live forever and I'd like a great-grandchild in my arms before I die.’

This was a recurrent theme and Penelope gave her stock response. ‘They're young yet.’

‘In my day, thirty was middle-aged. And their sister's thirty-eight, with no sign of a child. Already her fertility must be dangerously reduced. The three of them are going the right way to persuading me to leave all my money to the Cats’ Home.’

‘But you don't like cats, mother,’ Penny mildly pointed out.

‘I don't like childless thirty something grandchildren, either. I'd had you, your brother, and four miscarriages by the time I was twenty-eight. They're not gay, are they? God forbid that one of my grandchildren should be gay. They'd inherit nothing from me, that's for sure. Homosexuality was against the law in my day.’

Sophia's pronouncements brought a softening of Alice's facial muscles. They almost relaxed into a smile.

‘Don't be silly, Mother, of course they're not gay. Both Eric and Caroline have been married.’

‘And divorced, with no sign of another wedding breakfast.’

From her corner of the fireplace, Alice piped up in a querulous voice, ‘And who knows the real reason why? All these modern divorces cite nothing more than irreconcilable differences and neither of them will tell me anything more than “it didn't work out, Auntie.” You're right, Sophia. Could be because they discovered they preferred their own sex.’

Sophia banged her cane on the floor to silence her sister. ‘Be quiet, Alice.’ She turned back to her daughter. ‘I want my line to continue. Your brother died young, so I have to rely on
your
family.’ Her tone of voice, if not her choice of words, implied that this was not a state of affairs she relished.

‘Why don't we forget about it for today, Mother, and decide what you're going to wear tonight?’

‘I've already told you that I'm not yet in my dotage. Don't treat me like an old dodderer by trying to decide what I'll wear. I know what I shall wear.’

‘But, Mother, I was only trying to– ‘

‘I know.’ Sophia sighed. ‘Forgive me. I'm a bit tetchy. I'm feeling my age today. I felt so much younger when I could say I was in my eighties.’

BOOK: Kith and Kill
8.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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