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Authors: Julia Stuart

The Pigeon Pie Mystery

BOOK: The Pigeon Pie Mystery
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Copyright © 2012 Julia Stuart Limited

All rights reserved. The use of any part of this publication, reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system without the prior written consent of the publisher—or in the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, license from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency—is an infringement of the copyright law.

The Bond Street Books colophon is a registered trademark of Random House of Canada Limited

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Stuart, Julia
The pigeon pie mystery / Julia Stuart.

eISBN: 978-0-385-67661-8

I. Title.

PR6119.T826P54 2012     823’.92      C2011-908599-2

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 or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Jacket design by John Fontana
Jacket illustration © Alison Jay
www.organisart.co.uk
Map illustration by Laura Hartman Maestro

Published in Canada by Bond Street Books, a division of Random House of Canada Limited

Visit Random House of Canada Limited’s website:
www.randomhouse.ca

v3.1

For my mother, with love

We look at other nations and we pity them because

They’re not a little patch on dear old England.

Their trades, their arts, their everything are full of faults and flaws,

So different to clever Model England.


“MODEL ENGLAND,” HARRY DACRE AND EDGAR WARD, 1892

Contents
Cast of Characters

H.H. the Maharaja of Prindur:
former ruler of the Indian state of Prindur, with a weakness for shirt-sleeve pudding

H.H. Princess Alexandrina:
his daughter, nicknamed Mink, and the best woman shot in England

Pooki:
the Princess’s large-footed Indian maid and defender against moths

Dr. Henderson:
amorous general practitioner and bicycling enthusiast

The Honourable Dowager Lady Montfort Bebb:
once held hostage in Afghanistan, and a horror at playing the pianoforte

The Lady Beatrice Fisher:
devotee of exuberant millinery and doves, whose apartments are haunted by Jane Seymour

The Countess of Bessington:
parsimonious widow in perpetual mourning, with an addiction to ferns

Major-General George Bagshot:
former military man with a roving eye, and a Tudor expert who is writing his fourth history of Hampton Court Palace

Mrs. Bagshot:
his wife and patron of a school for the blind who takes cures in Egypt

Cornelius B. Pilgrim:
the Bagshots’ American houseguest, with a woeful grasp of English etiquette

William Sheepshanks:
Keeper of the Maze and victim of the success of
Three Men in a Boat
, a novel by Jerome K. Jerome with a scene in the palace’s leafy labyrinth

Thomas Trout:
Keeper of the Great Vine, who strives to protect his mighty charge from being felled by rats

Mrs. Boots:
bronchial palace housekeeper and Keeper of the Chapel Royal

Mrs. Nettleship:
Dr. Henderson’s incompetent housekeeper, who’s even worse at matchmaking

Alice Cockle:
the Bagshots’ former parlour maid, since demoted to a maid-of-all-work for the Countess

Inspector Guppy:
police inspector with an inglorious past

Silas Sparrowgrass:
homeopath from East Molesey, and Dr. Henderson’s archrival

Charles Twelvetrees:
solicitor and coroner for West Middlesex, who’s had a gutful of the mysteriously dead

Pike and Gibbs:
the butcher’s and grocer’s delivery boys

The Lord Chamberlain:
the Earl of Kellerton, responsible for the allocation of apartments at Hampton Court Palace, and a laudanum addict

The Reverend Benjamin Grayling:
palace chaplain, with an appreciation for the communion wine, who’s at war with the organist

Mr. Blood:
the myopic undertaker who carries a measuring rule tucked under his arm

The watercress seller:
hawks outside the palace gate and sleeps in a coffin

Mr. Wildgoose:
Dr. Henderson’s tailor and taxidermy fancier

The organ grinder:
street musician paid by the public to keep quiet

Wilfred Noseworthy:
palace turncock and hauler of the push, a sedan chair mounted on wheels used by the palace ladies

Alfred Bucket:
bicycling instructor and fancy riding opponent

Horace Pollywog:
one-legged dancing master, who trod on a sea hedgehog

Barnabas Popejoy:
a butterman of over-generous girth known for his bad jokes

The drunk woman who sells pig’s trotters outside the King’s Arms

Albert:
the Maharaja’s monkey, who suits red velvet trousers

Victoria:
a hedgehog named after the British sovereign, with a penchant for beetles and Madeira wine

Lord Sluggard:
the palace mouser, who wouldn’t recognise a rat if he saw one

Gertrude:
Silas Sparrowgrass’s adored rabbit and reluctant prop for his magic tricks

Trixie:
Thomas Trout’s leech and formidable weather forecaster

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