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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

☀ The Coniston Case: Lake District Mysteries [3] - Rebecca Tope

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for The Coniston Case, a Cozy Mystery & Detective novel by (first published 24 July 2014; this US edition , Witness Impulse, 320 pages).

This is the third book in the Lake District Mysteries series.

Don't miss our interview with author Rebecca Tope.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below. Read the first chapter with Amazon Look Inside.

Author Rebecca Tope will be awarding a digital copy of The Coniston Case to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.   Please do take part: comment on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read other excerpts (☀), interviews (ℚ), reviews (✍) and guest blog posts (✉).


Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Synopsis

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and business at Persimmon “Simmy” Brown’s flower shop is booming. But when Simmy fulfills a string of anonymous delivery orders, she is startled to realize that each contains a secretly menacing message for the recipients. When one of the people who receives a bouquet disappears, it seems that her worst fears have been confirmed.

As if that isn’t enough, Simmy’s friend Kathy turns up, on the trail of her wayward daughter Joanna, who she fears has grown too close to one of her university tutors. When Kathy attempts to reason with her daughter she finds that Joanna’s older lover may be even more dangerous than she had imagined. With both Kathy and Joanna in peril, Simmy and her friends find themselves caught up in a web of deception, blackmail and murder . . .

Teaser: Excerpt

     The morning flew by, immersed in the scentless foreign flowers ordered by self-satisfied swains for their expectant girlfriends. Husbands too were congratulating themselves for remembering the great day in good time to ensure a fitting tribute. Other customers had mutated from being welcome variations on the theme to irritating distractions at this point, wanting a pot plant for their new conservatory or something unusual as a birthday present for someone unwise enough to get born on or near February 14th. When the doorbell pinged at midday, Simmy heaved an impatient sigh and pulled off her rubber gloves. Modern roses might not have thorns any longer, but the stems were tough and bare fingers quickly became sore.
      Standing in the shop, only a few inches inside the door, was a man she had first met five months before. Detective Inspector Moxon was dark-haired, broad-shouldered and rumpled. He knew more about Simmy than she found comfortable, especially as his knowledge apparently led to an affection and concern that made her feel young and vulnerable.
      ‘Busy?’ he asked.
      ‘That isn’t the word for it. Don’t tell me you’ve come for red roses, or I might have to hit you.’
      His smile was just sad enough to make her feel remorseful. She had come to the conclusion that he lived on his own. Within minutes of meeting him she had disclosed her own history – the dead baby daughter and subsequent separation from its father – and got nothing from him in return.He had met her parents, too. Angie and Russell Straw ran a well-known B&B in Windermere, and did their very best to avoid any encounters with the police. Angie could rant for several minutes about the idiocy of people pretending to want bobbies on the beat. ‘The further away from us they are, the better,’ she maintained.
      Simmy agreed with her, but for different reasons. Her dealings with DI Moxon had been connected with a number of highly disagreeable crimes which had been upsetting at best and personally dangerous at worst.Floristry, she had discovered, put a person in the way of seriously heightened emotions, including rage, revenge and hatred. Despite the general goodwill associated with the sending of flowers, the major life stages that were marked in that way could easily be connected to darker feelings.
      ‘I would have thought fresh business would be welcome,’ he said.
      ‘There’s such a thing as too much business. There are only two of us, after all. I had no idea the world could be so romantic.’
      ‘Just wait till Mother’s Day,’ he said. ‘As far as I can see, that now extends to grandmothers, great-grandmothers and almost any female relative.’
      ‘Not my mother,’ said Simmy. ‘She won’t have it so much as mentioned.Says it’s commercial claptrap.’
      ‘We all know about your mother,’ he said with a small shiver.
      ‘So what brings you here?’ she prompted, thinking it really wasn’t her job to get him back on track.
      ‘Ah. Yes. Coniston, Monday afternoon. Remember? You delivered flowers to a Mr Hayter, in a house called Rosebay Echoes.’
      ‘Ye-e-es,’ she agreed warily. She would have liked to explain that it had been her first week back driving and that the lengthy trip to Coniston had been a somewhat stressful experiment. Instead she confined herself to simply answering his question.
      ‘You saw him, I assume?’
      ‘Briefly. Why?’
      He ignored her question and produced another of his own. ‘Can you remember the inscription on the card?’
      ‘Not exactly. Something about a new job.’
      ‘Was it signed?’
      Simmy racked her memory. ‘I don’t think so.’ She went to her computer.‘I might have logged it, even though it wasn’t an online order. Oh, yes – here it is. “Good luck in your new job.” No name or anything. The order came in the post, with cash. I assumed he would know who they were from without being told.’
      Moxon waited a few seconds. ‘Did you gain any particular impressions of him? His frame of mind, for instance?’
      ‘Preoccupied. He hardly looked at me. But I thought he quite liked the flowers. He grabbed them off me and gave them a sniff before he shut the door in my face.’
      ‘He’s been reported missing, you see. And his landlord appears to be away, too. His daughter let us into the house earlier today and we had a quick look round. We found the flowers still in their wrapping and your tape round them, but no card.’ Simmy’s tape had been an inspired innovation a few weeks before. Persimmon Petals was endlessly repeated along its length.
      ‘What a waste.’ It pained her to think of the blooms left to die unloved after her careful work in assembling them, not to mention the time-consuming drive to deliver them. ‘They weren’t cheap.’
      Melanie came out of the back room, clearly having heard the conversation, and interrupted. ‘Wonder what happened to the card.’ Simmy and the detective both looked at her blankly. ‘Why do you say that?’ asked Moxon.
      ‘No reason, really,’ she shrugged. ‘You’d think it would still be with the flowers, that’s all. Probably he liked the thought after all and kept it for sentimental reasons. It might be under his pillow.’
      ‘I doubt that,’ frowned Moxon. Simmy became aware that the detective inspector was watching her closely, waiting for a more relevant reaction. ‘It looks a bit worrying,’ he prompted.
      She put up her hands defensively and took a step back. ‘Oh no,’ she said loudly. ‘No, no, no. Don’t you go involving me in another of your beastly murders. Don’t even think about it. I’m exempt. Immune. I’ve done more than my bit for society in the past few months.’
      Movement on the pavement outside the shop drew the attention of all three. They watched as Ben Harkness tried to push the shop door open, finding DI Moxon to be an obstruction.
     
      Moxon himself sighed, shook his head and muttered an apology, before getting out of Ben’s way.

The Coniston Case
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The Series: Lake District Mysteries

|| [1] || [2] || [4] ||

Click on the book cover to Look Inside the book on Amazon and read an excerpt.


The Windermere Witness [1]

Following a personal tragedy, florist Persimmon 'Simmy' Brown has moved to the beautiful region of the Lake District to be nearer her charismatic parents. Things are going well, with her latest flower arrangements praised and Simmy content to lose herself in her work. But the peace she has found is shattered when, at the wedding of a millionaire's daughter, the bride's brother is found brutally murdered in the lake.

As the florist of the wedding and one of the last people to talk to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy gradually becomes involved with the grief-ridden and angry relatives. All seem to have their fair share of secrets and scandals - an uncaring mother, a cheating father, and a husband twenty-five years older than his bride. When events take another sinister turn, Simmy becomes a prime witness and finds herself at the heart of a murder investigation.

The chief suspects are the groom and his closely knit band of bachelor friends. They are all intimidating, volatile and secretive - but which one is a killer?

[First published 26 November 2012; this reprint edition published 6 January 2015, 349 pages]

The Ambleside Alibi [2]

Simmy has been adjusting to life in Windermere, running her florist shop, integrating into the community and trying to put her tragic past behind her.But just when Simmy thinks her life is quietly coming together, it starts to unravel at the seams.

She delivers a bouquet of flowers with a mysterious message attached to an elderly lady, and sinister secrets come creeping into the light. And when another old woman is found murdered in her own home, Persimmon knows her peaceful life in Windermere is about to be shaken once again.Simmy is inexorably drawn into the centre of the murder investigation as the prime suspect names her as an alibi.

Trying to rebuild her own life, Simmy must untangle the murky lives others and uncover the motive behind the murder before another one is committed.

[first published 26 August 2013; this reprint edition published 10 March 2015, 323 pages]

The Troutbeck Testimony [4]

Murder lies beneath the charm of the Lake District

The spring bank holiday should mark an idyllic first year for florist Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown’s shop in the Lake District town of Windermere. But there’s a funeral to prepare for and the long weekend takes a further deadly turn.

There’s word of a series of sinister dognappings in nearby Troutbeck and whilst walking up Wansfell Pike, Simmy and her father, Russell, stumble upon a dead dog. Unnerved by this and a second suspicious encounter, Simmy reluctantly finds herself caught up in a murder investigation after a body is found on a farm. And when Russell receives an anonymous death threat, Simmy has no choice but to do all she can to find the killer . . .

[first published Published 21 May 2015; this US edition 25 October 2016, 352 pages]

About the Author

Rebecca Tope is the author of four murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker; Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds and now Persimmon Brown, Lake District florist. She is also a “ghost writer” of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.

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