Authors: Emily Brightwell
INSPECTOR WITHERSPOON ALWAYS TRIUMPHS…
HOW DOES HE DO IT?
Even the Inspector himself doesn’t know—because his secret weapon is as ladylike as she is clever. She’s Mrs. Jeffries—the determined, delightful detective who stars in this unique Victorian mystery series! Be sure to read them all…
The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries
A doctor is found dead in his own office—and Mrs. Jeffries must scour the premises to find the prescription for murder!
Mrs. Jeffries Dusts for Clues
One case is solved and another is opened when the Inspector finds a missing brooch—pinned to a dead woman’s gown. But Mrs. Jeffries never cleans a room without dusting under the bed—and never gives up on a case before every loose end is tightly tied…
The Ghost and Mrs. Jeffries
Death is unpredictable but the murder of Mrs. Hodges was foreseen at a spooky seance. The practical-minded housekeeper may not be able to see the future—but she can look into the past and put things in order to solve this haunting crime!
Mrs. Jeffries Takes Stock
A businessman has been murdered—and it could be because he cheated his stockholders. The housekeeper’s interest is piqued—and when it comes to catching killers, the smart money’s on Mrs. Jeffries!
Mrs. Jeffries On the Ball
A festive Jubilee celebration turns into a fatal affair—and Mrs. Jeffries must find the guilty party…
Mrs. Jeffries On the Trail
Why was Annie Shields out selling flowers so late on a foggy night? And more importantly, who killed her while she was doing it? It’s up to Mrs. Jeffries to sniff out the clues…
Mrs. Jeffries Plays the Cook
Mrs. Jeffries finds herself doing double duty: cooking for the Inspector’s household and trying to cook a killer’s goose…
Mrs. Jeffries and the Missing Alibi
When Inspector Witherspoon becomes the main suspect in a murder, Scotland Yard refuses to let him investigate. But no one said anything about Mrs. Jeffries…
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Emily Brightwell
THE INSPECTOR AND MRS. JEFFRIES
MRS. JEFFRIES DUSTS FOR CLUES
THE GHOST AND MRS. JEFFRIES
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES STOCK
MRS. JEFFRIES ON THE BALL
MRS. JEFFRIES ON THE TRAIL
MRS. JEFFRIES PLAYS THE COOK
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE MISSING ALIBI
MRS. JEFFRIES STANDS CORRECTED
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES THE STAGE
MRS. JEFFRIES QUESTIONS THE ANSWER
MRS. JEFFRIES REVEALS HER ART
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES THE CAKE
MRS. JEFFRIES ROCKS THE BOAT
MRS. JEFFRIES WEEDS THE PLOT
MRS. JEFFRIES PINCHES THE POST
MRS. JEFFRIES PLEADS HER CASE
MRS. JEFFRIES SWEEPS THE CHIMNEY
MRS. JEFFRIES STALKS THE HUNTER
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE SILENT KNIGHT
MRS. JEFFRIES APPEALS THE VERDICT
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE BEST LAID PLANS
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN
MRS. JEFFRIES HOLDS THE TRUMP
MRS. JEFFRIES IN THE NICK OF TIME
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE YULETIDE WEDDINGS
MRS. JEFFRIES SPEAKS HER MIND
MRS. JEFFRIES FORGES AHEAD
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE MISTLETOE MIX-UP
MRS. JEFFRIES DEFENDS HER OWN
MRS. JEFFRIES LEARNS THE TRADE
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES A SECOND LOOK
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME, NEW YORK
MRS. JEFFRIES STANDS CORRECTED
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime edition / December 1996
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1996 by The Berkley Publishing Group.
This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, by mimeograph or any other means, without permission. For information address: The Berkley Publishing Group, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-64490-4
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
The name BERKLEY PRIME CRIME and the BERKLEY PRIME CRIME design are trademarks belonging to Berkley Publishing Corporation.
To Matthew James Arguile
My own special gift from God
“So you can see, gentlemen,” Haydon Dapeers said to the two men standing on the other side of the polished mahogany bar, “I’ve done myself proud. The Gilded Lily Pub is a showplace. Take a look at the etched-glass windows.” He gestured toward the front of the pub. “You won’t see the likes of those very often. I hired an artist, mind you, not some glass cutter, to do that work. And what about the partitions—solid wood, they are. Cost me almost as much as those fancy brass gas lamps and fittings. Not that I’m complaining about the expense; you’ve got to spend money to make money. That’s what I always say. And I say it’s money well spent. I’ll have customers fighting to get in here.”
Edward Magil glanced at his companion, Luther Pump. “The pub certainly is beautiful, Mr. Dapeers,” Magil agreed, “but we didn’t come to inspect your premises. That’s hardly our concern. We came to speak with you
about that other matter. The one you wrote us about today.”
“A matter of some importance,” Luther Pump added. He glanced around the rapidly filling public bar. Dapeers might be a bit of a braggart, but the man did have a point. The pub was beautiful. The lingering rays of the June sunshine sparkled through the large windowpanes at the front. Huge lilies, etched within fantastical curved lines, cast intricate patterns against the dark oak floor. Brass lamplights, their bases shaped like lily stems, decorated the richly papered walls. Potted ferns had been placed strategically around the room and the partitions between the public and saloon bars were dark wood panels polished to a high gloss.
“You’ve picked a bad day, gentlemen.” Haydon pursed his thin lips. “I don’t really have time to talk with you now. People are starting to come in. It’s my birthday and our opening night. I do wish you’d come around earlier this afternoon. I could have spared a few moments for you then.”
“A few moments?” Pump raised one dark eyebrow and picked a piece of lint off the cuff of his immaculate black suit. “Mr. Dapeers, may I remind you that you wrote to us.”
“Of course I did,” Haydon agreed apologetically. “But I didn’t expect you to come so quickly.”
“Of course we came straightaway,” Magil said. “You’ve made a very serious charge.”
“I’ll grant that the matter is important.” Haydon gave the ever-increasing crowd a worried frown. “But can’t it wait until tomorrow?”
Magil’s lips pursed in disapproval. “Mr. Dapeers, we’re very busy.…”
“The bottom tap is stuck, Mr. Dapeers,” Molly, the barmaid, yelled from the far end of the bar. “I can’t serve beer
if this ruddy things goin’ to be actin’ up all evening.”
Haydon Dapeers rolled his eyes. “Just a minute, Molly.”
Luther Pump sighed and looked at his companion. “It’s no use, Edward. We might as well make an appointment for Mr. Dapeers to come see us tomorrow. One more day isn’t going to hurt.” He turned back to the publican. “We’ll expect you in our offices first thing tomorrow morning. This is a very serious charge you’ve made. Very serious indeed.”
“I appreciate your understanding,” Haydon said pompously. “Molly,” he called, “get these gentlemen some beer. It’s on the house.” He nodded to the two men and started toward the other end of the bar, determined to get that stubborn tap to work properly. But his attention was caught by the couple coming in the front door. It was his brother, Tom, and his wife, Joanne.
Haydon smiled maliciously as he watched them take their first look at the Gilded Lily Pub. People always said that Tom Dapeers was a younger version of himself, not that Haydon could see the resemblance. All he saw was a thin little fellow with a long, bony face, mousy-brown hair and pale hazel eyes. Joanne, on the other hand, was a handsome woman. Black-haired, blue-eyed and with an hourglass figure that could turn heads…until she opened her mouth. She had the tongue of a shrew, the carriage of a queen and more clothes than the Princess of Wales. Haydon sneered slightly as he took in her attire. The cow was tarted up like she was visiting the palace! Her dark red silk dress was festooned with lace at the throat and wrists, the double skirt was layered in rosettes and she even carried a matching muff and parasol. Ye gods, Haydon thought, it would be a cold day in hell before he’d ever let Moira make a spectacle of herself like that. But tonight he didn’t have to bother with insulting his sister-in-law’s clothes. All he had
to do was stand back and watch her turn green with envy.
“Come in, come in,” Haydon called, waving to the newcomers. “I wondered if you two would come and get a gander at the competition.” He’d known good and well that wild horses couldn’t have kept his sister-in-law away.
“Of course we came, Haydon,” Tom Dapeers replied.
Joanne’s lips curled slightly. “A bit too much brass for my taste,” she said, turning in a slow circle to take in every detail of the room. “But I suppose there’s some that will like it. Nice. But it doesn’t hold a candle to any of our pubs.”
Haydon Dapeers came out from behind the bar and walked over to them, leaving Magil and Pump to enjoy their drink. “I think there’s going to be lots that like it, little brother,” he said, totally ignoring his sister-in-law. “And what’s more, I think they’ll like it enough to leave the two of you wondering where all your trade’s gone. You won’t have to look far, now, will you?”
“Mr. Dapeers,” Mick, the barman, called, “the other tap’s stuck now. Can you come and give us a hand?”
“In a minute, Mick, in a minute.”
“Having trouble, Haydon?” Joanne Dapeers asked. She smiled spitefully.
“Not a bit, just a couple of sticky taps. I’ll get them fixed straightaway.” Haydon nodded toward the two men in suits at the bar. “Place is filling up nicely; even have a couple of guests from Bestal’s Brewery.”
“Expect they’re wantin’ to see if you’re wasting their money or not,” Joanne replied shortly. “Come on, Tom, let’s get a beer before the crowd gets too thick.” She tugged her husband’s arm and they wandered to the bar.
The Gilded Lily continued to fill up. Within half an hour Haydon’s wife, Moira, his other sister-in-law Sarah Hewett and numerous other friends and acquaintances had come
by. Haydon was kept busy darting from one group to another, refilling glasses and seeing to his guests’ comfort.